Tangy Turmeric Chicken with Sumac & Lime

Tangy Turmeric Chicken with Sumac & Lime

Wondering how to marinate chicken? This tangy turmeric chicken recipe is a perfect place to start. Savory fresh garlic combines with earthy turmeric and tangy lime zest for a perfect balance of flavors. The result is a super savory dish that’s sure to be approved by everyone at the table.

How to Marinate Chicken

Marinating chicken to effectively absorb flavors is a combination of both timing and method. The more time the marinade is left on the chicken, the more flavor it will absorb. This recipe can be marinated for anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours for maximum flavor. Using oil when marinating chicken is essential, as fat carries flavor, and helps even distribute the garlic, turmeric, and lime flavors throughout the entire dish.

Skin-on vs. Skinless Chicken

I love crispy chicken skin. It’s a shame to let chicken skin go to waste by not browning it before hand. Non-crispy chicken skin is rubbery and just all around unpleasant, in my opinion. For this easy chicken recipe, I crisp up the chicken skin in the pan before popping it in the oven. If you use skinless chicken for this recipe, browning isn’t necessary, just pop the spice-rubbed thighs right into the oven. (They will take less time to cook). Also, if you are leaving the skin on, be sure to cut slits in it, so that the flavor of the marinate goes deeper into the meat.

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What is Sumac?

The sumac used in cooking, often in Middle eastern cuisine, is a powder made from the dried berry of a bush that common grows in the Mediterranean region. Sumac powder is a beautiful purple-ish color, and has a tart and sour flavor. It is a great counterpart in this easy chicken recipe to the earthy flavor of ground turmeric. I also use sumac in this Crisp Romaine Salad with Parsley and Mint, and it is a main ingredient in za-atar spice blends. Sumac may be found at Middle eastern grocery stores, or ordered online.

Serving Suggestions

I love to serve this easy chicken recipe with Crisp romaine salad with parsley and mint, or this Pear and fennel salad.

healthy chicken marinade

Crispy Turmeric Chicken with Sumac & Lime

A tangy and simple chicken recipe. 
Adapted from a recipe from Serious Eats
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: easy chicken recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs* (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sumac


  • Pull out chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it, if possible. This will ensure even cooking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Zest limes and mince garlic. Combine in a small bowl with turmeric, salt, pepper, and olive oil. 
  • Rub chicken thighs with lime/turmeric/salt mixture. You can let the chicken marinate up to 24 hours, or proceed with recipe.
  • Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once you see whispy white smoke, add chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip chicken over, and slide entire pan into oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 
  • Remove chicken from oven sprinkle and with sumac. Serve with zested limes cut in half, for squeezing over chicken if desired. 



*If you use skinless chicken, you may skip the browning step and just bake the chicken for 25 minutes, or until done.
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