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Dutch Oven Cider Braised Chicken Thighs and Potatoes is an easy, family-friendly, elevated weeknight dish, and most of the cooking time is completely hands-off!
This is such a cozy dish, fitting for fall! Serve it with a side salad and you’ll be set for dinner! One-pot meals during the fall season are some of the best meals–something about a cozy dish and cool weather hits differently!
Ingredients + substitutions
Chicken thighs - bone-in, skin-on thighs are best but you can also use drumsticks or boneless, skinless thighs.
Seasoning - Italian seasoning, kosher salt (always use kosher salt, table salt has a metallic taste but if this is what you’re using use way less), pepper (freshly cracked is best).
Olive oil - for coating the dutch oven and searing the chicken. Any neutral-tasting oil will work, though.
Butter - salted butter, for flavor.
Baby Yukon potatoes - sliced in half. You can also use regular sized yellow, red, or russet potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces.
Onion - thinly sliced onion for flavor and texture.
Tomato paste - to thicken the sauce a bit and add flavor.
Apple cider - for braising. If you don’t have apple cider you can use 1 cup of chicken broth and ½ cup of regular apple juice - the flavor will be slightly altered but it’ll be close!
Fresh thyme - for flavor. It’s slightly minty and lemony, it has an herbal, earthy flavor. It’s perfect for this dish but you can substitute it for a sprig or two of rosemary or oregano if you wish.
How to make dutch oven cider braised chicken thighs (step-by-step)
STEP 1: Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and pepper (use more if needed).
STEP 2: Sear the chicken on each side.
STEP 3: Toss the butter, halved potatoes, and thinly sliced onions into the dutch oven.
STEP 4: Saute for 3 minutes, the butter should be melted and it should smell awesome!
STEP 5: Add the tomato paste and stir until the vegetables are coated.
STEP 6: Next, add the apple cider vinegar and apple cider to the pan. Bring it to a simmer.
STEP 7: Return the chicken thighs to the pan. Add the bundle of fresh thyme. Finish it off by baking it in the oven.
How to get crispy skins
For extra crispy skins you can turn the broiler on high for 1-3 minutes. Just be sure to stand by the oven and watch closely so that the skins don’t burn!
If you walk away, they’ll likely burn, there’s a fine line between crispy skin and skin that’s burnt to a crisp…(trust me, I know).
This recipe is best made in a 5.5-6 qt dutch oven or a 3.5 qt braiser. A heavy bottomed-pan is necessary for this recipe because it requires searing on the range and then some time in the oven.
The heavy bottom keeps this dish from burning to the bottom of the pan when searing and then again during the braising process.
- Add cooked, crumbled bacon - add saltiness and bacon flavor with some leftover crumbled bacon. Just top the dish with crumbled bacon before placing it into the oven.
- Add carrots - make it an elevated classic chicken stew.
- Finish with lemon juice - finish this dish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to up the flavor and bring out some acidity.
- Make it spicier - add ½ tsp of red pepper flakes to the spice mixture for just a touch of heat.
Storage and leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To reheat, microwave on high for three minutes or reheat in the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Can you make this recipe ahead?
You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it. I suggest after cooking this dish, allow it to come to room temperature and then place it into a freezer safe container, cover it leaving 1 ½-2 inches of space between the lid and the chicken. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to make it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat it into the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F (or until the chicken is warmed through).
What to serve with cider braised chicken thighs?
Is the sauce thick?
It’s not thick, it’s reminiscent of the consistency and thickness of a stew. If you’d like to thicken it, remove some of the pan sauce, heat it up in a saucepan, and whisk in a cornstarch slurry.
Is the sauce sweet?
No, despite the apple cider being sweet the sauce is not sweet after cooking, this is a savory dish.
Dutch Oven Apple Cider Braised Chicken Thighs and Potatoes
- Dutch Oven or Braiser
- 5 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ lb baby yukon potatoes sliced in half*
- 1 white onion cut into thin slices
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1 small bundle fresh thyme
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and pepper (use more if needed).
- Heat your dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sear the chicken thighs on each side (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Without cleaning the dutch oven, toss the butter, halved potatoes, and thinly sliced onions into the dutch oven and saute for 3 minutes. They’ll pick up plenty of flavor as you saute them.
- Then add the tomato paste and stir it until it coats the vegetables.
- Next, add the apple cider vinegar and apple cider to the pan. Bring it to a simmer, then turn the burner off and return the chicken thighs to the pan. Add the bundle of fresh thyme.
- Bake for 40 minutes, uncovered. The sauce should be bubbly and the internal temp of the chicken should read at least 165 degrees F.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.