Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken

Some years back we had a family over for lunch and they brought a delicious chicken dish with a very interesting ingredient that was “new” to me. I did not realize then that this same ingredient is found in five-spice-powder. While I do use five-spice-powder every now and then, I have never used this particular spice on its own. I was intrigued.

Known as Szechuan peppercorns, these brown berries are not peppercorns at all. They are berries from the prickly ash bush with a truly unique flavor. Biting into a berry releases a peppery taste with a hint of anise and lemony overtones, followed by a tingling and numbing sensation to the tongue. Also known as huājiāo, it is widely used in Szechuanese cuisine giving it that fiery flavor.

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken

In Japan, it is called sanshō and is usually sold ground. It appears a little more yellow in color and has a slightly milder flavor. Typically used on grilled foods like yakitori or eel, it is also one of the ingredients in shichimi togarashi. The fragrant serrated kinome leaves are used as a garnish.

I used ready ground Szechuan pepper for this Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken dish.

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 3 to 4 lbs (1.5kg) chicken, cut into pieces and fat trimmed
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  1. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle Szechuan pepper, salt, and pepper over chicken. Mix well and allow chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on a large baking tray.
  3. Drizzle canola oil onto chicken pieces. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.
  4. Remove and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
**Please finely crush 2 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorns if preferred.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 servings

Do give this Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken a try. It is fragrant and delicious with a slightly spicy bite.

Szechuan Pepper Roast Chicken

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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  1. says

    Biren, this chicken looks fabulous! It’s new ingredient to me too, but we always love new spices to roast the chicken! Perfectly roasted chicken… Now it’s our lunch time and I wish I have this for lunch… Looks so good!

    • Biren says

      I love sansho on yakitori. This is a little like that except that the Szechuan peppercorns have a stronger flavor.

  2. says

    I love chicken leg piece and this is making me hungry. i am seriously drooling and hoping we had some chicken at home. You have a great space :)

  3. says

    Your chicken looks perfectly cooked, Biren! I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Szechuan pepper, I bet it adds great flavor to the dish!

  4. says

    I have to make a trip to one of our Asian markets very soon to pick up those peppercorns. Your chicken looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. Jenny Ooi says

    This looks good. Will definitely try it – so simple with few ingredients. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Biren says

      You should have no problems finding Szechuan peppercorns at the Asian grocery stores. Do give it a try. :)

    • Biren says

      I have been using it quite a bit especially in chicken and pork dishes. I am glad too tha I found it. :)

  6. says

    Love this recipe, Biren. Super easy and flavourful. I’ll have to try this next time. Thanks for sharing. Hope you and your family have a lovely weekend.

  7. says

    I also recently started to use Szechuan peppercorns, love the aroma from this pepper, your roast chicken must be very flavourful with added this pepper. Have a lovely weekend to you too. I balik kampung today, ^^…

    • Biren says

      We do use quite a bit of five spice powder. I wonder why Szechuan peppercorns are seldom used in Malaysia. Glad that you found it too. I wish I can balik kampung too. :)

  8. says

    I have heard so much about szechuan peppercorns, and I wish I could taste them! This sounds like such a fabulously aromatic and delicious chicken recipe… I am going on a hunt for these peppercorns soon! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Biren says

      You are always welcomed for dinner. :) I hope you find the peppercorns. As I was saying to Sonia, I often wondered why it is seldom used in Malaysia. Perhaps it is because most people use five spiced powder instead.

  9. says

    I spotting this on FoodGawker and will say there has never been a more alluring photo of chicken taken! It jumped off the page. This sounds simply delicious and I cannot wait to try to make it myself (for real, not just sayin’ that!). YUM-mee. Thank you for this beautiful post!

    • Biren says

      Thanks for the compliment! The Szechuan pepper does make the chicken very flavorful. I hope you enjoy the dish as much as we did. :)

  10. says

    Wow, sichuan peppercorns have worked their magic on this awesome chicken dish. Loved your explanation and photographs! I am lucky that these are available in Hong Kong!

  11. says

    It’s strange that I’m in an Asian country and I haven’t had szechuan pepper chicken although I had szechuan pepper in other things. It does sound like an interesting dish to make though!

  12. says

    I like the tingling and numbing sensation that sze chuan pepper leaves in your mouth, though it’s not really spicy like chilli or pepper. I’ve never tried roasting chicken with it and like the idea of chicken flavoured with it. I will try this soon! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    • Biren says

      Is Szechaun pepper easily found in Singapore? Although it is found in five spice powder which we use quite a bit, I don’t ever remember my mom using Szechuan pepper. It was quite a revelation when this friend brought the dish to our house. I use it quite often now as it is delicious with chicken and pork. I even put a little on my crackly pork (siao bak). :)

      • says

        Yes! You can find it here without problem – I have a jar in my kitchen right now!! Stop giving me ideas please LOL I’m up to my ears in work, I’m practically brain dead and want nothing more than to push everything off the table and go mess around in the kitchen with pork belly and szechuan peppercorns 😉

  13. says

    Oh my gosh, I almost forgot about szechuean pepper before I read this post! Thank you for reminding me 😀 Oh how the life of a student leads to meals of pizza and tomato pasta…everyday :S

  14. says

    Szechuan pepper has subtle tingling sensation… My Beijing friend uses it to incorporate into his flower buns. I’ve tried them with chicken before. This is interesting.

  15. says

    I like having this kind of roasted chicken too! Must try it some day. Just received some szechuan pepper from Ann & Gert. Yay!


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