Apple Cider Glazed Chicken

This quick skillet dinner is perfect for the fall when apples are coming into season and everyone looks forward to a warm dinner as the evenings get cooler. It comes together quickly so be ready to serve it over some rice or potatoes.

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Apple Cider Glazed Chicken on a white plate with a bowl of salad and serving utensils.

Quick Chicken Dinner

Every cook, no matter how busy a life they lead, loves a quick dinner. There are just those days when you want to push the ‘Easy Button’ in the kitchen. For those days, this Apple Cider Glazed Chicken dish is perfect. After initial browning, you just toss some apples and shallots in the pan, then add some apple cider and chicken stock and return the chicken to the pan to simmer for 15 minutes or so. It’s quick and easy, but more importantly, it’s delicious with all the flavors of fall.

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Ingredients on a cutting board - a whole chicken, apples, shallots, thyme, dry mustard powder, apple cider, soy sauce and chicken stock.

What Pieces of Chicken to Use

Some people only like white meat and others only dark meat, so what pieces of chicken you use for this recipe is up to you. My favorite way to make any chicken dish is to use a combination of both white and dark meat, so I usually buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself. This is the most economical way to buy chicken and it allows you to make sure the pieces are cut and trimmed to suit your preferences. If you’d like to learn more about how to cut up a chicken, you can check out that lesson with step-by-step photographs in the cooking school. It’s not difficult as long as you have a good sharp knife. If you’re going for speed, however, you can pick up any pre-cut chicken pieces you like. I prefer bone-in pieces because they generally have more flavor, but you could choose boneless too. With boneless chicken, shorten the simmering time to 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size.

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Apples, onions and thyme cooking in a pan with a plate of browned chicken next to it.

Brown First

The first step in this recipe is to brown the chicken. This is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. It will set the appearance of the finished dish, it determines the flavor of the finished dish and it gives the chicken a head-start in cooking so that the simmering time can be shorter. Make sure the chicken gets a good brown color because the color will fade as the chicken simmers.

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Apples, onion and thyme cooking in a skillet.

Best Apples for Braising

What apples to use is also a matter of personal preference. For this apple cider glazed chicken recipe, you want an apple that has a crisp texture (it won’t stay crisp after being braised, but you don’t want it falling apart) and a sweet flavor. How sweet an apple to use is where your preference comes in. I recommend the following apples in order of the sweetest to the very slightly tart: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala or Roma. In other words, if you want sweet, pick the Honey Crisp or Fuji; if you want the dish to be less sweet, try a Roma apple; if you want something in between, Gala is your pick.

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Chicken, apples and onions cooking in a large skillet.

Braising Chicken on Stove top

This recipe is not really a braise because it isn’t covered as it cooks, but it’s similar to a braise. The chicken cooks on the stovetop in simmering liquid that reduces over time and forms a glaze for the chicken. Turn the chicken over a couple of times as you simmer, but leave the skin side up for most of your cooking time. If you’d like a crispy skin at the end, pop the pan under the broiler for a minute or two before serving.

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Apple Cider Glazed Chicken on a white plate with a bowl of salad and serving utensils.

Apple Cider Glaze

After the liquid reduces on the stovetop, it creates a glaze for the chicken – not a sauce. You won’t find a pool of sauce left in the pan after the chicken has finished cooking. All that should be left is enough to pour over the chicken once to coat everything one last time – to glaze it.

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Cider Glazed Chicken on a blue plate with rice and a side salad, on a wooden table with more chicken and a bowl of salad next to it.

What to serve with Apple Glazed chicken

You can serve apple cider glazed chicken with any combination of vegetables. I like it over basmati rice, mashed potatoes or this parsnip, pear and rosemary mash, but it would also be really nice over polenta or grits too. Aside from something starchy to mop up any leftover glaze, I think a simple mixed greens salad is perfect with this fall dish, but it would also be nice with some steamed broccoli or green beans. Toss in a glass of white wine and you have the perfect fall dinner.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Cut up a Whole Chicken

Breaking down a whole chicken is a great skill to have because it allows you to customize how you want...View Technique

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Apple Cider Glazed Chicken & Apples

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 25 m
  • Total Time: 35 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 1 cut up chicken or 4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 3 apples, sliced - Roma, Gala, Fuji or Honey Crisp
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with dried thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter and sear the chicken on both sides until well browned. Remove the browned chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  3. Add the shallots to pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the apples and thyme sprigs and sauté for a few more minutes. Deglaze the pan with apple cider and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Whisk the chicken stock, soy sauce and mustard powder together and then add it to the pan. Return the chicken to pan, nestling it in the apples and liquid. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce thickens to a glaze and the chicken is cooked through ( it should register 165ºF on an instant read thermometer). If your liquid evaporates a little too quickly, add a little more chicken stock.
  4. Turn the chicken over in the sauce to completely coat it and then transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Remove the thyme sprigs from the pan and discard. Season the sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon the apples over the chicken and drizzle the glaze on top. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and serve immediately.
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Comments (5)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Maureen. The difference between apple juice and cider is that cider is not filtered to remove coarse pulp or sediment. It’s cloudy and has a bit of an earthier taste to it. Martinelli’s has both cider and juice, but they are actually the same thing with different labels (Martinelli admits this freely). So, the answer is yes – feel free to use cider or juice. The juice might need a little more reducing to get to the glaze stage, but that’s just a matter of a minute or two. Go for it!

    1. I do think this dish is best prepared in a skillet so that the cider reduces to a glaze, but if you did want to try slow cooking it, you could cook it on high for 2 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours. I would put the apples in the cooker raw. The sauce won’t reduce in the slow cooker so you may need to either simmer or thicken the sauce after slow cooking.

  1. 4 stars
    I made this recipe last night. I was very anxious to make it, as it sounded like the perfect fall meal. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. They were very moist and delicious. I was disappointed in the apples I used, a couple of Fuji’s. I liked the flavor of the sauce, but the apples didn’t seem to have any taste. Thought I would use Granny Smith next time. Overall, a very easy dinner to make, and will make again.

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