My apricot chicken recipe turns simple split chicken breasts into a sweet, succulent, and deliciously cozy one-pan chicken dinner. Kissed with the flavors of apricot preserves and pineapple in combination with savory and earthy caramelized onions, this rich and glossy apricot chicken is absolutely mouthwatering served over fluffy rice!
Deliciously Sweet and Saucy Apricot Chicken
Apricot chicken is just one of those recipes that I find myself gravitating towards whenever I'm craving classic comfort food that I can cozy up with after a long day…
For me, it holds within it that simple-yet-magical combination of sweet and savory flavor that awakens the palate and makes me crave bite after bite, making this dish an irresistible dinnertime offering to enjoy spooned over hot, fluffy rice to soak up all that tasty sauce.
I love the earthy and savory caramelized onions and the sweet, subtle flavor of the apricot preserves that are added in, as well as the slight tanginess from the pineapple chunks and that little bit of pineapple juice for brightness—mouthwatering!
What makes this tasty little chicken recipe even more appealing is that it's prepared in one pan, and makes use of juicy and flavorful split chicken breasts that are simmered to perfection, just until tender and succulent.
It's a deliciously sweet and saucy chicken dish that hits all the right flavor notes for a warm, cozy meal brimming with love!
My Apricot Chicken Recipe
When preparing my apricot chicken recipe, I like to use split chicken breasts with the skin on and the bones in for added flavor.
The beauty of split chicken breasts for a recipe such as this, which requires the chicken to simmer in the sauce until cooked through, is that they remain juicy and tender, and take on the flavor of the seasoning and spices that are sprinkled over before searing and cooking.
The meat is easy to slice from the bone once the chicken is cooked through, yielding thick, juicy slices that stand up to that sweet, deliciously “sticky” sauce!
Here's a peek at my apricot chicken recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To begin, I simply season my chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, and sear it skin-side down in the hot pan until golden-brown (I love my Dutch oven for this preparation). Then, I remove the breasts before creating my apricot sauce.
- Next, I caramelized some onions in the pan for earthy flavor, followed by some garlic, then round out the flavors with pineapple chunks, plus a touch of pineapple juice, some chicken stock, and a tablespoon of BBQ sauce.
- The chicken is simmered for about 35 minutes until cooked through and juicy, then removed to cool slightly so that it can be sliced.
- To finish the sauce, I reduce the sauce a bit more and finally whisk in a touch of cold butter to make the sauce extra glossy and rich.
- To serve, I spoon the apricot chicken with sauce over some rice and garnish with sliced green onion.
by Ingrid Beer
This succulent apricot chicken is brimming with sweet-savory flavor, simmered with apricot preserves, pineapple and caramelized onions!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 621 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- 2 large skin-on and bone-in chicken breasts (or 1 pair split chicken breasts)
- Olive oil
- Cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika, divided use
- 2 small white onions, sliced into thin semi-circles
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 cup chicken stock/broth
- 1 cup all-natural apricot preserves
- 1 cup canned organic pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved (about 6 fluid ounces juice)
- 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
- 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon chopped green onion
- To begin, gather and prep all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place a large, heavy-bottom pan such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- While the pan heats, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil over the chicken breasts, and season with a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus 1 teaspoon of the paprika, and rub the seasoning in.
- Once the pan is hot, drizzle a little oil into the pan, then add the breasts skin-side down into the pan. Allow them to sear on that first side for about 4-5 minutes, or until golden and browned, then flip and sear on the bone-side for another 3 minutes, or so. Remove the breasts from the pan and set aside for a few moments.
- Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low, and if needed, drizzle in a little more of the oil if things look dry. Add in the sliced onions, and allow them to caramelize and soften for about 10-12 minutes, stirring them frequently to prevent burning.
- Once the onions are well caramelized, sprinkle in the remaining 1 teaspoon of paprika, add the pressed garlic cloves, and stir to combine and cook for a moment or two, until aromatic.
- Next, add in the chicken stock or broth, the apricot preserves, the pineapple chunks, all of the reserved pineapple juice, plus the BBQ sauce, and stir/whisk together until blended and the preserves melt into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Add the chicken breasts back into the pan, bone-side down, and reduce the heat to low or medium/low. Allow the chicken and sauce to gently simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, turning the chicken over in the sauce during the last ten minutes of cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside for a moment. Turn the heat up to medium-high under the pan, and simmer the sauce for about 5-7 minutes more to reduce it and slightly thicken it. Turn off the heat.
- Finish the sauce by whisking in the cold butter until the sauce is glossy, and sprinkling in 1 tablespoon of the chopped green onion.
- Slice the chicken meat from the bone (it may need to cool slightly first), and add it back into the pan.
- Serve the chicken liberally glazed with the sauce over your choice of accompaniment, with a few dashes of hot sauce or sriracha for added heat, if desired, plus garnished with a little extra green onion.
Tips & Tidbits for my Apricot Chicken recipe:
- Two, large split chicken breasts for flavor: Since split chicken breasts come with the skin on and bones in, this helps create flavor plus keeps the meat nice and succulent as it simmers in the sauce. Once cooked, you can allow the chicken to slightly cool, and then carefully remove the bones and slice the meat, or you can simply slice the meat directly off the bone at a slight angel.
- Good quality apricot preserves for sweetness: If you'd like to use homemade apricot jam or preserves for this recipe, click here for that. Otherwise, choose good quality preserves with chunks of apricots and sweet-tangy flavor.
- Prepare your apricot chicken ahead: This recipe can be prepared a day or two before you'd like to serve it, and the flavors will marry and mingle even more during that time. If prepared ahead, you can slice the chicken once it's completely cold from being in the fridge, and then add it back to the sauce and gently reheat everything that way, if you'd like.
Craving more saucy recipes? Check out this Pineapple Chicken, this Pulled Chicken Sandwich, these Braised Chicken Thighs, or this Harissa Chicken!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2014, and has been updated with even more love!
Omg, just made this, it's super good, glad I found this blog!!!!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Shanah! Thanks so much for sharing your experience—I'm very excited that you enjoyed this recipe, and that'll be back on the blog for "seconds"! 🙂
Beth E Hite
Do you think you can can this sauce?
The Cozy Apron
Hi Beth, I personally am not a big "canner", so I don't have much experience. However, I don't see why (if you have a proficiency in this area) this sauce couldn't be canned and used later. But I myself have not tried this, so it's tough to offer advice.
I love this dish, I have it bookmarked because I’ve made it so much. But didn’t you used to have the recipe for the rice as well? Toasted jasmine rice with green onions if I’m remembering correctly. Do you have that recipe anywhere on your website? I’d love to make the whole dish again. Thanks! Love your recipes.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Ali, thanks for your comment! Glad you're enjoying the recipe. Please check your email, sent you a little something. 🙂 (If it didn't go to your main email, please check your "spam" or "promotions" folders. I think I may have forgotten to add a "subject" line.)