Enjoy flavor-packed chicken thighs with fresh veggies, stuffed into a Five Spice Chicken Pitas recipe for a quick lunch. Super easy recipe; optional to buy hoisin or sweet chili sauce!

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Fragrant Chinese five-spice powder is what makes these chicken pita sandwiches so good. It’s a mix of cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, peppercorns, and cinnamon, and is very popular in Chinese cooking. We love it added for flavor to these a chicken pita sandwich.

Five Spice Chicken Pitas

These Five Spice Chicken Pitas are comforting and filling. With a little bit of veggie crunch and chicken pita sauce (make our homemade fig and grape sauce), you’ve got a unique, tasty, flavorful lunch!

Of course we love these little pita sandwiches served with our Greek Peasant Salad Recipe or Trader Joe’s Macaroni Salad Recipe! YUM.

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s an easy lunch or dinner, a simple chicken pita recipe.
  • You can make ahead and take on a hike or a picnic.
  • Optional to make the homesauce, or just use hoisin or sweet chili from the grocery store.

What’s the difference between chicken gyro and chicken pita?

A pita bread is a soft and leavened flatbread, generally oval or round. It is often used in pockets as it helps hold the fillings together and can also be cut and used as a tortilla. A gyro is the filling inside the pocket (in this case, a chicken gyro).

Gather these ingredients:

  • Bone-in chicken thighs (with skin), fresh ginger, garlic, and shallots.
  • Five spice powder and salt
  • Avocado, olive, or peanut oil
  • Chili oil (Sambal Olek), dried black mission figs, and red seedless grapes
  • Tamari (or soy sauce), molasses, and lime
  • Avocado oil

How do you make the fig and grape sauce?

  1. While the chicken bakes, in a separate pan, add 2 Tbsp oil. Heat over medium, then add the remaining ginger, shallots, garlic, and the chopped figs and grapes.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes, until ingredients soften, then add molasses, chili oil, and tamari. Reduce down on medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened— 17-20 minutes.
  3. When figs, grapes, and aromatics are soft and the liquid has thickened by about half, transfer to a small blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

How do you make the five-spice chicken?

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a towel. Sprinkle thighs with salt and five spice powder on both sides.
  3. Heat oil in the pan on medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, lay the thighs in, skin side down. Cook for about 7 minutes, or when the thighs naturally release from the pan and are browned. Make sure to not move or flip the chicken too early—this will ensure the skin is crispy. When chicken is cooked, flip with tongs and remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of ginger, shallots, and garlic to the oil, gently shake the pan and nestle the chicken into the aromatics—skin side up so it stays crisp.
  5. Place in the oven for 13-15 minutes—there might be some smoke from the oil, but not too much.
  6. When thighs are cooked, remove and allow to cool slightly.

Extra toppings for the chicken pitas

  • Cucumbers, shredded carrots, and radish
  • Cilantro and mint
  • Sesame seeds
  • Toasted pitas

How to serve a chicken pita

To serve, remove chicken from the bones and roughly chop.

Fill the inside of a toasted pita with chicken, veggies, and the homemade fig sauce, or you can buy store-bought hoisin or chili sauce.

Tips and Substitutions:

2 five-spice chicken pitas
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Get the Recipe:

Five Spice Chicken Pitas

You can skip the sauce (reduction) and buy hoisin or sweet chili sauce!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6
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Ingredients
 

  • 5-6 chicken thighs about 2.25 pounds bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger, divided
  • 4 Tbsp chopped garlic, divided
  • 1 small shallot chopped , divided
  • 2 tsp Five spice powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Avocado oil

Sauce and Extras:

  • 2 Tbsp chili oil Sambal Olek
  • 1 cup dried black mission figs, quartered
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 ½ Tbsp molasses
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil

Toppings:

  • Cucumbers
  • Shredded carrot
  • Radish
  • Fresh cilantro and mint
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pita bread , toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the chicken:

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with a towel. Sprinkle thighs with salt and five spice powder on both sides.
  • Heat oil in the pan on medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, lay the thighs in, skin side down. Cook for about 7 minutes, or when the thighs naturally release from the pan and are browned. Make sure to not move or flip the chicken too early—this will ensure the skin is crispy. When chicken is cooked, flip with tongs and remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of ginger, shallots, and garlic to the oil, gently shake the pan and nestle the chicken into the aromatics—skin side up so it stays crisp. Place in the oven for 13-15 minutes—there might be some smoke from the oil, but not too much. When thighs are cooked, remove and allow to cool slightly.

Make the sauce:

  • While the chicken bakes, in a separate pan, add 2 Tbsp oil. Heat over medium, then add the remaining ginger, shallots, garlic, and the chopped figs and grapes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until ingredients soften, then add molasses, chili oil, and tamari. Reduce down on medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened— 17-20 minutes. When figs, grapes, and aromatics are soft and the liquid has thickened by about half, transfer to a small blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

Make the pita sandwiches:

  • To serve, remove chicken from the bones and roughly chop. Fill the inside of a toasted pita with chicken, veggies, and hoisin or chili sauce.
Cuisine: Chinese
Course: Main Course
Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 2259mg, Potassium: 675mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 177IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 75mg, Iron: 3mg
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