Moist, tender perfectly seared Skillet Chicken is delicious with the flavors of apple cider, cranberries and apple slices. The wholesome ingredients make an easy dinner recipe that’s fast to make! It’s a family favorite chicken dinner.
If you love roasted chicken, this chicken skillet recipe is for you! Cast-iron skillet cooked chicken recipes are always a favorite and this Cranberry Apple Skillet Chicken does not disappoint.
The pan seared chicken has golden brown skin, tender chicken and is such an easy chicken recipe. Simple ingredients with all the flavors of the season.
This delicious recipe finishes in the oven for layers of flavor in a delicious sauce.
Sweet and savory, quick and easy recipe is a restaurant quality chicken dish! Perfect for a weeknight dinner or when hosting guests.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Chicken Thighs. This recipe uses bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. They stay moist and juicy when cooked. The bone and skin give the chicken more flavor too. See more notes below.
Seasonings. Salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, garlic clove. They add great flavor to the chicken before searing.
Chicken Broth and Apple Cider. These two savory and sweet liquids combine to keep the chicken moist and flavorful. You can even use homemade apple cider!
Cranberries. Fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries can be used for this recipe.
Apple. A fresh apples cooked beautifully with the chicken thighs. Serve it up on top for more enjoyable flavor.
Light Brown Sugar. Brown sugar gives a hint of caramelized sweetness to the chicken skillet.
Country Mustard. Country mustard is a grainy mustard that has a rustic texture and delicious homey mustard flavor. It adds a wonderful contrast to the sweeter flavors in the recipe.
A Note on Chicken Thigh size
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken thighs, which normally would be 4-6 thighs depending on the individual size.
I’ve found I’m getting massively large chicken thighs in my grocery orders recently. The larger the thigh the longer the cooking time.
Here are some Pro Tips for best results:
Use similar size chicken thighs so they will all cook in the same amount of time.
To check for doneness use the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165 degrees F to be considered ‘cooked’.
If using larger thighs begin to check for doneness at the time suggested in the recipe. Extend the time monitoring closely, as needed to fully cook the chicken.
When Can You Buy fresh Cranberries?
Fresh cranberries in the United States are harvested in the fall. You can find them in grocery stores from September through January usually.
When fresh berries aren’t available frozen berries are and work well for this recipe.
I actually buy extra bags each fall and freeze them myself. The recipe in the photo was made with thawed home-frozen cranberries.
What type of Apple Should I use?
Go for an apple with big flavor. I love Honeycrisp apples for their flavor and texture. They won’t become mushy when cooked.
For more ideas check our suggestions for best baking apples.
What Skillet to Use?
A large heavy oven proof skillet is the best choice for this recipe. It cooks partially on the stove top then finishes in the oven.
Using a cast iron skillet is a great choice. I find the chicken skin does not stick as much as in a thinner skillet. It also distributes heat well.
A Dutch oven is another good option.
How to Make this Skillet Chicken recipe
STEP 1. Preheat
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
STEP 2. Season & Sear
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, the rosemary and garlic in a small bowl. Brush onto both sides of the chicken.
Add the remaining olive oil into a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Cook the chicken skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip over and cook 5 more minutes. Remove chicken from the pan.
STEP 3. Add ingredients
Combine the cranberries, apple slices, brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl. Toss to coat the fruit.
Combine the chicken stock and apple cider.
Reduce the heat to medium. Slowly pour the liquids into the pan. Scrape up any browned bits sticking to the pan with a spatula. Remove pan from heat.
Add chicken back to the pan, skin side up. Spoon on the cranberry apple mixture.
STEP 4. Bake
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.
Remove from heat and allow to rest a few minutes before serving.
What to Serve with it
This hearty dish is perfect with potatoes. Here are some of our favorites:
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Smashed Red Potatoes
- Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Garlic
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love!
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Salt & Pepper Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Vegetables
- Lemon-Garlic Braised Chicken
- Moroccan Chicken
Cranberry Apple Skillet Chicken
- 2 pounds Chicken thighs 4-6, skin-on bone-in (see Notes)
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary diced
- 1 Garlic Clove diced
- ½ cup Chicken Broth
- ½ cup Apple Cider
- 1 cup Cranberries fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 Apple peeled, cored and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Country Mustard
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs.
- Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, rosemary and the garlic clove in a small bowl. Mix together and brush onto both sides of the chicken.
- On the stove top heat a large cast iron skillet (10 inch) or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- When the oil is rippling on the top place chicken thighs skin side down in the oil. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip over taking care to release the skin from the pan (do not allow the skin to stick and tear off).
- Cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- While the chicken is cooking, in a small bowl combine the cranberries, apple slices, brown sugar and mustard. Toss to combine and coat the fruit.
- Combine the chicken stock and apple cider.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Slowly pour the liquids into the pan and use a heat proof spatula to deglaze the pan removing any stuck bits of food on the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add chicken back to the pan skin side up.
- Spoon the cranberry apple mixture into the pan evenly around the chicken.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving hot.
- Use similar size chicken thighs so they will all cook in the same amount of time.
- To check for doneness use the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165 degrees F to be considered ‘cooked’.
- If using larger thighs begin to check for doneness at the time suggested in the recipe. Extend the time monitoring closely, as needed to fully cook the chicken.
- If fresh cranberries are not available frozen and thawed cranberries can be substituted.
Originally published: October 18, 2020
Marina Goodwin says
This was SO yummy, and definitely a big hit with my family– except my two year old decided to smash every cranberry she found on the floor! Oh well, I’ve been meaning to get my tile cleaned. Thanks for the recipe, this will be a regular dish during the fall season!
SO delicious! Easy and quick from start to finish. I invited people over for my first time making it and everyone raved!
Toni Dash says
Yay! I’m so glad Linda. I love the recipe too. So perfect for the season. Thanks for letting me know!
This is a 5 star dish. I am a care giver for an 88 year old. It’s part of my rotation of meals. She loves this cranberry chicken dish. And so do I. Very easy and reheats in the microwave well.
Toni Dash says
This makes me so happy to hear John! I love that you love it and share it with the person you care for ❤️
This looks so delicious! I love easy meals that have a bunch of flavor!
Allyson Zea says
YUMMM!!! This is the perfect easy meal!!!
Ryan Escat says
😋 thanks for sharing the recipe!