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close up photo of apple cider chicken with apples and rosemary in skillet.

Skillet Apple Cider Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 58 reviews
  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

One skillet is all you need to cook this tender, juicy chicken with sweet apples and apple cider sauce. A blend of spices add impeccable flavor, and the apple cider sauce is made right in the same skillet! Review recipe Notes before starting.


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (454g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (250g) apple slices (about 1/4-inch-thick slices, no need to peel)
  • 1/3 cup (40g) chopped shallots (or yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
  • optional: fresh thyme and rosemary, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. I usually use a cast iron skillet, but any skillet this size works. You can also use a Dutch oven.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 teaspoon salt, the coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried thyme, and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken thighs.
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to the hot skillet, and swirl to coat. Add the chicken thighs to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 more minutes or until cooked through (internal temperature should be at least 165°F (74°C)). Transfer chicken to a plate and cover lightly. You’ll add it back to the pan in the end of the next step.
  4. Add the butter to the pan (no need to wipe it out first), and gently swirl to coat as it melts. Add the brown sugar, apples, and shallots, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in the apple cider and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cider sauce has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Spoon the apple mixture over the chicken to serve. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary, if desired.
  6. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. The butter in the sauce will solidify, but once you reheat, it all comes back together. You can reheat on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave.

Notes

  1. Special Tools (affiliate links): Cast-Iron Skillet | Tongs | Instant-Read Thermometer
  2. What can I use instead of coriander? Ground coriander brings a lot of flavor to this dish, so I don’t recommend skipping it or substituting it. In an absolute pinch, you can just leave it out or substitute ground caraway, or 1/4 teaspoon each dried oregano and ground cumin.
  3. Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs? You can, but you’ll lose some flavor, and they may take longer to cook. For best results, I strongly recommend boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  4. Can I use apple juice instead of apple cider? You can, but you’ll lose some flavor. Apple cider is fresh, unfiltered, and typically unpasteurized, so it’s more like the raw, purer version of juiced apples. Apple juice has had the pulp and sediment filtered out, and is pasteurized to extend its shelf life. 
  5. Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.