This French Onion Chicken Recipe incorporates all the flavors of French Onion Soup and marries it with chicken thighs or chicken breast, for a main dish recipe that is rich and delicious.
As much as I love to make Classic French Onion Soup and Instant Pot French Onion Soup, I never feel like it is filling enough to serve it for dinner.
Instead, I always end up making some type of salad, pork, beef or chicken dish to go along with the soup.
So for today’s new recipe, I decided to combine two of my favorite dinner items to make a one skillet meal that is enough to satisfy everyone.
French Onion Chicken Recipe
- Chicken thighs or chicken breasts
- Kosher salt, divided
- Black pepper, divided
- Olive oil, divided
- Onion, sliced
- Unsalted Butter
- Fresh Thyme
- Bay leaf
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Dry Red Wine, optional
- Beef stock
- Gruyère cheese, grated
French or Italian bread slices
More Information About Some Of The Ingredients
In order to get the most flavor out of your French Onion Chicken, use bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs. Not only does the bone add more flavor, the skin adds extra fat that is rendered perfectly into the meat.
Therefore, the meat turns out nice and tender and can be cut with a fork.
However, if you are trying to eat a little healthier, you can use thin, boneless chicken breasts instead of the thighs.
The meat is more lean and will most likely require a fork and knife to cut when serving.
This may surprise you, but nutmeg is the secret ingredient in this recipe. The warm and nutty spice provides an additional depth of flavor that compliments the sweet caramelized onions perfectly.
However, when you are using nutmeg, a little goes a long way. Therefore, be sure to use only the amount listed in the recipe card below.
3. Fresh Thyme
I highly recommend using fresh sprigs of thyme. The fresh leaves release plenty of flavor as the mixture simmers on the stove.
And because the stem of thyme is coarse and thick, it is easy to remove before serving.
However, if you don’t have access to fresh thyme, you can substitute dried ground thyme. In general, 1 sprig of thyme is the equivalent of 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme.
Therefore, in this recipe, you would add 3/4 – 1 1/2 teaspoons of the dried spice. If you worried about such a large range of recommended thyme, remember that this spice is very mild and it is hard to over season your French Onion Chicken.
4. Dry Red Wine
Although this ingredient is optional, it adds huge flavor to the onion mixture. However be sure to use a dry red, drinking wine.
Dry red wine varieties include, but are not limited to: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.
As the wine cooks, the alcohol will burn off, leaving you with only deep rich flavor that compliments the beef broth and sweetened onions perfectly.
However, if you prefer not to use wine, simply substitute additional beef broth in place of the red wine.
5. Gruyere Cheese
You can most often find Gruyere cheese in the speciality cheese section at the grocery store. This is the preferred cheese for French Onion Soup because it is both rich and creamy when melted.
As always, it is best to shred your own cheese rather than using pre-shredded, store-bought cheese. Block cheese, when shredded, melts better because it has not been treated with an anti-caking agent like pre-shredded varieties.
Simply use a box cheese grater or a food processor that has a shredding blade to grate the cheese.
However, before you head to the grocery store, be aware that Gruyere cheese is more pricey than your typical, every day cheese.
Therefore, if you prefer not to spend the extra money, you can use Swiss cheese instead. Swiss cheese has a similar taste profile to Gruyere and it melts well when heated.
However, in absolute pinch, you could also use Mozzarella cheese. Although, be aware that the taste will be much different because this is such a mild cheese.
The first step in making this French Onion Chicken is to gather an oven safe, deep skillet. I prefer to use a cast iron pan whenever possible.
Then season each piece, top and bottom, with salt and ground black pepper. If you are using chicken thighs, cut any excess skin from the under side. However, be sure to leave the top skin in place.
Once the chicken is prepared, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium, high heat. Then add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes.
When the skin is browned and ready to be turned, it will release from the pan easily. Don’t flip too early or the chicken will stick to the bottom of the pan.
After you turn the chicken cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then remove the browned chicken pieces from the pan and set aside on a platter.
Then, using the same pan, add in the remaining olive oil and reduce the heat to low. Add the sliced onions and cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Then remove the lid, stir and continue to cook until the onions become caramelized and dark golden brown color in color. This process will take 20-25 minutes, so be patient.
Once the onions are caramel in color add butter, nutmeg, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3 more minutes.
Then increase the heat to high and add the red wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.
Next, add the beef stock. Bring it back to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Preheat The Oven
While the onion mixture simmers for the final time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Then remove the fresh thyme stem and bay leaf and place the chicken back into the pan with the onions. Place the pan in the preheated oven, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Carefully remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the cheese on top of the chicken. Then place the pan back in the oven under the broil setting until the cheese is melted.
*Watch carefully so that the cheese does not burn.
Serve the French Onion Chicken warm on top of a piece of Italian or French bread slice, along with the caramelized onions.
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French Onion Chicken
Chicken thighs cooked in all of the flavors of Classic French Onion Soup. A delicious dinner for two!
- 2-3 Chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
- 1 tsp Kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper, divided
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil, divided
- 1 Large onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup Dry red wine
- 1 cup Beef stock
- 3 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
- French bread or Italian bread slices, optional
- Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is browned and it releases from the pan easily. Turn chicken and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan add in remaining olive oil and reduce heat to low. Add onions and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, stir and continue to cook until they become caramelized and dark golden brown color in color. This process will take 20-25 minutes.
- Once the onions are caramel in color add butter, nutmeg, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Increase heat to high and add wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add beef stock, and once it comes back to a simmer, cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
- Remove thyme and bay leaf and place the chicken back into the pan with the onions. Place in preheated oven, uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken and place back in the oven under the broil setting until the cheese is melted. *Watch carefully so that the cheese does not burn.
- Serve warm on top of a piece of Italian or French bread slice.
Although skin on, bone in chicken thighs provide the most flavor, you can substitute boneless and skinless thighs or breasts as desired.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Nutrition InformationYield 3 Serving Size 1 chicken thigh
Amount Per Serving Calories 611Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 218mgSodium 1011mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 41g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.