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Kalyn's Kitchen

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken is a tasty low-carb dinner that’s loaded with flavor. If you use an approved sweetener and gluten-free soy sauce and this recipe would be low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Diet phase one. Use Chicken Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken!

This Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken is a recipe I first made back in 2005 when I first started blogging, and when I looked at the old version recently I decided it was overdue for new photos. Once I got started, I gave the recipe a little update too, because hey, I hope I’m a better cook now than I was in 2005! I’m using Golden Monkfruit Sweetener here to keep it low in carbs, but even if you used regular brown sugar I wouldn’t worry much about the amount of sugar that clings to the chicken when it’s marinated like this. Remember, you’re only using the amount of the marinade that clings to the chicken, which isn’t much.

I don’t know why this recipe was called Forbidden City Chicken, but I was lucky enough to visit Beijing in 2001 with my wonderful brother Rand, and we saw the Forbidden City from the outside. When Sam from Becks and Posh asked what the Forbidden City was back in 2005, I did find some information about the Forbidden City and even some photos of the Forbidden City. Hope you enjoy learning more about it.

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.com

Heat the oil for about a minute over medium heat, then stir in all the marinade ingredients. Trim chicken and make slits crosswise down each breast if you want, then put chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour in marinade. Let marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. (These photos show half the amount in the recipe.)

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the marinade and place in a glass or crockery baking dish with the top side down, brushing each side with marinade. Let chicken come to room temperature while the oven preheats. After 20 minutes, turn chicken and brush both sides again with marinade, then put back in the oven.

Cook for 10 minutes more, then brush the top side with the marinade that’s collected in the pan and cook 5-10 minutes more. Chicken is done when the top is lightly browned and it feels firm (but not hard) to the touch; don’t overcook or it will be dry. Serve hot.

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.com

Of course this is delicious with rice, but serve with The Best Easy Cauliflower Rice for a low-carb meal!

More Ideas for Chicken Dinners:

The Top 20 Instant Pot Chicken Dinners ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Grilled Curried Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chinese Chicken and Broccoli from Andrea Meyers
My Favorite Low-Carb and Keto Recipes Using Chicken Breasts from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken is a tasty low-carb dinner that’s loaded with flavor.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 T peanut oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. Curry powder (I used Sweet Curry Powder)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp. ginger puree (sold in small jars, or use fresh grated ginger root)
  • 1 tsp. garlic puree (sold in small jars, or use finely crushed fresh garlic)
  • 3 T sweetener of your choice, see notes, or use brown sugar if you prefer
  • 3 T soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T chicken stock
  • sliced green onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil in small pan for about 1 minute, then turn off heat.
  2. Whisk in curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and sweetener of your choice.
  3. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, and chicken stock.
  4. Stir until well combined.
  5. Trim all visible fat and and tendons from chicken.
  6. Make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast. (This allows the marinade to penetrate more.)
  7. Put chicken in Ziploc bag and pour marinade over.
  8. Marinate 3-4 hours in refrigerator.
  9. To cook, remove chicken from marinade and place top side down in glass or crockery dish (not metal) that you have sprayed with nonstick spray.
  10. Use a pastry brush to brush both sides of chicken with the marinade left in the plastic bag. (Save the rest of the marinade to brush one more time.)
  11. Let chicken come to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 325F/162C.
  12. When oven is heated, put chicken in and cook 20 minutes.
  13. Then remove from oven, turn chicken with top side up and brush with marinade you saved in the plastic bag. (Discard any unused marinade at this point.)
  14. Cook 10 minutes more.
  15. After 10 minutes, remove chicken again and brush with the marinade that’s collected in the pan and cook 5-10 minutes more, or until chicken is lightly browned and feels firm (but not hard) to the touch.
  16. Don’t overcook or chicken will be dry.
  17. Serve hot.


I’d use Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener for this recipe, which I think comes the closest to brown sugar of any sweeteners I’ve tried.

This recipe adapted from a Junior League Cookbook I no longer have.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
With an approved sweetener this Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken should be approved for low-carb and low-glycemic diets, including any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    33 Comments on “Marinated and Baked Forbidden City Chicken”

  1. I found this recipe on a blog around 1999/2000 in an article with tons of ways to cook chicken when you get a good sale 🙂 I have been using a packet of either stevia or monkfruit sweetener in mine since I started keto/very low carb.
    Also works well with chicken thighs and drumsticks and pork loin (cut it into 1/2-1″ medallions for a quick meal). Due to my health I marinade overnight and bake it in the oven (slow cooker is also an option). Everyone I have made it for loves it. Since I don’t do carbs anymore, I serve it with cauli rice.

  2. Eliza, so glad you liked it. Love to know that this will work for a grilled recipe too.

  3. Love it! I grilled it. Skipped the garlic and ginger and subbed in 1T of maple syrup for the sugar. Really good! Thank you!

  4. Kate, so glad you liked it, and good to know that the Splenda packets will work. (And I see a typo in the recipe, it should say Splenda-Brown Sugar blend, arghh. Will fix right now)

  5. Wow – I made this last night, along with "Wake-up-your-mouth Thai cucumber salad", and they both were amazing! I used one packet of Splenda in each recipe in place of any sugar, and I think it turned out great. I'll definitely make this again soon. Thank you for all the recipes!

  6. Hi Michelle,
    So glad you enjoyed the recipe enough that you wanted to take a picture. I can't think of any way to add a place where people can post photos to the blog though. Maybe you'll just have to post them on Facebook!

  7. I made this a couple of nights ago and it's so delicious!!! This was my first recipe of yours to make and I can't wait to try more!!! I don't know if it's possible but I would love it if you could make a spot where we could put our own pictures of it up! It was so pretty I wanted to take a picture of it! Thanks so much again!

  8. Anonymous, thank you! I always love hearing that people are enjoying the food.

  9. Oh my goodness! This chicken is out of this world! So fragrant and delicious! My husband and I couldn't stop talking about it and can't wait to make it again! Thank you for your wonderful blog, Kalyn. Every recipe we've tried has beed fantastic! And we've tried so many! How is possible to eat such flavorful food and still lose weight? Honestly, your blog makes it easy and fun! I know you've heard it a million times but I have to say it again…YOU ROCK!!

  10. That makes two of us who aren't that good at planning ahead! Glad to hear you liked it.

  11. I just made a fast variant of this today to see if I'd like it (plus I'm not very good at planning ahead :))…anyways…..WOW !

    I'm definitely making this the next time I have guests over.

  12. Yum! This looks delicious. I love the name of the dish as well. Will try this soon!