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This Creamy Apple Cider Chicken Skillet is an easy, delicious Fall dinner with sweet and savory flavors. We loved this served with mashed red potatoes with the easy pan sauce spooned over the top.
Creamy Apple Cider Chicken Skillet
This may just be my new favorite fall meal. It’s got some pretty fantastic qualities – caramelized apples and onions, juicy seared chicken, and the aroma of apple cider and fresh thyme wafting up from the skillet. Plus, it’s easy, quick (about 30 minutes from start to finish), wholesome, and totally delicious. I’ve been craving this dish like crazy ever since I made it and it will be on repeat for all of apple season, I’m sure.
This creamy apple cider chicken skillet is just what I needed to switch up my regular rotation of chicken breast dinner ideas. The original recipe came from an email I got from Cook’s Country for Chicken Fricassee with Apples. I love the Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen recipes, but often find them overly complicated or containing unnecessary steps, which was the case with their apple-inspired chicken fricassee recipe. It tasted wonderful, but I knew I could simplify without sacrificing the end result.
Chicken fricassee is classic French comfort food that falls somewhere between a saute and a stew. Traditionally, chicken is simmered with vegetables in a rich, creamy sauce. Here the sauce is made from a combination of apple cider, chicken broth, and cream. While the cream is not the healthiest addition, there isn’t so much of it as to make this seem like an overly heavy dish. You could substitute coconut milk if you are looking for a healthier alternative.
You could forego serving this with mashed potatoes and it would still be a satisfying one-pot meal. But I’ve gotta say that I just love the rich sauce spooned over creamy mashed red potatoes with their skins on (my favorite type of mashed potatoes).
Dredging the chicken lightly in a little flour helps keep it from becoming tough while it’s being sauteed in the pan. Plus is serves the purpose of giving the silky sauce a little more body without really thickening it into something more like a gravy. And the little bit of apple cider vinegar adds a whole additional layer of flavor and brightness that really makes the finished dish shine.
As far as choice of apples go, I used Envy apples and they were fantastic. Fuji, Gala, and Braeburn are other good options because they retain their shape fairly well and stay sweet once they are cooked, while tart apples like Granny Smiths aren’t the best choice for this recipe. Leave the apple skins on both for color and to help the apples retain their shape rather than melting into the sauce once they are cooked.
How to Make Creamy Apple Cider Chicken Skillet
- Brown the apples and onions in a little butter in a cast iron skillet with the thyme just until the onions soften and both start to caramelize but the apples still have a bit of bite to them. We want al dente apples, not mushy ones. This adds to both the wonderfully complex flavor of the dish as well as texture, and the red apple skin provides a nice vibrant color to make the dish pop. Transfer the apples and onions to a plate.
- Dredge chicken breasts in a small amount of flour seasoned with salt and pepper, shaking off any excess, then brown on both sides in the same cast iron skillet with a little butter and olive oil. The chicken doesn’t need to cook through, just develop a nice exterior crust.
- Add apple cider and chicken broth to the skillet along with the seared chicken breasts, then cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8-12 minutes.
- Return the apples and onions back to the skillet with the chicken and add in the cream. Cook for another 2 minutes or so, just until the sauce has thickened slightly, before adding the vinegar and adjusting the seasonings to taste.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and the sauce spooned over the top of the chicken, apples, and onions.
Looking for More Cast Iron Skillet Inspiration? Try these recipes!
- Creamy Apricot Pork Chops
- Skillet Lemon Chicken & Rice
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 apples, peels on and sliced into 1/2-inch thick wedges (I used Envy, but Fuji, Gala, and Braeburn would all work well)
- 2 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a shallow dish, season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour to lightly coat, shaking to remove excess flour, then set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced apples and onions and season with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the apples and onions can soften and brown slightly. The apples should be al dente - not turned to mush but not to crisp still either. Transfer to a second plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining butter to the empty skillet along with the tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter has melted, place the dredged chicken into the pan and cook over medium heat until lightly browned all over, about 2 minutes per side. Add the apple cider and broth to the pan and heat until boiling. Cover, reducing heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through to 160 degrees F on an instant-read meat thermometer, about 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.
- Return the apples and onions to the pan with the chicken and sauce. Add the cream and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Sprinkle with additional minced fresh thyme, if desired, then serve with the sauce, apples, and onions spooned over the chicken and mashed potatoes on the side.
Adapted from Cook's Country.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 581Saturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 207mgSodium: 751mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 50g