My French onion chicken recipe combines the savory flavor of French onion soup with juicy, seared chicken breasts for an easy one-pan chicken dinner. Prepared with an abundance of deeply caramelized onions in a beefy wine-kissed pan sauce, the chicken is nestled into the sauce then topped with Gruyere cheese for that classic French onion flavor!
French Onion Chicken, Inspired By a Beloved Soup
From the time I was a youngin’, all the way to present time, I've had an incredible soft spot for French onion soup. With its rich flavor and cheesy lid, I could never resist it any time I spied it on a menu, as it always tasted like such an indulgent treat!
When I created my recipe here for French onion chicken, I used my love of that classic, beloved soup as my guide, and coupled it with a desire to come up with an easy and super flavorful one-pan chicken recipe that could be whipped up in no time at all as a delectably cozy meal.
I thought it would be a fun and tasty task to implement all of those classic flavors, a deeply caramelized onion sauce, kissed with white wine and beef stock, some Gruyere cheese plus a sprinkle of thyme, and come up with a recipe that would both warm and comfort the soul.
Saucy enough to spoon over top of some mashed potatoes or rice, or even to sop up with fresh bread, my French onion chicken is a tried and true recipe perfect to prepare as a casual weeknight meal, or even when you long to nourish those you love for a special occasion.
A French Onion Chicken Recipe for the Skillet
To prepare this savory one-skillet chicken dish, loaded with lots of French onion flavor, you'll simply need a few seasonings, several onions, some beef stock/broth, a hint of white wine, and a finishing topper of grated nutty and aromatic Gruyere cheese to melt over top of the chicken.
Because I find chicken breasts can be a bit large, I like to use two larger skinless, boneless breasts and cut them in half length-wise to create four thinner cutlets. That way, the chicken can be seasoned and seared to golden, flavorful perfection in just a few moments.
I follow up the chicken prep with the preparation of the sauce, which takes just a little longer to allow for the caramelization of the onions to a “jammy” deliciousness.
Here's a at my French onion chicken recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To begin, I season my chicken breast cutlets and allow them to marinate for about 20 minutes, to impart some flavor; then, I sear the breasts in the hot cast iron skillet (or other heavy bottom pan) until deeply golden and cooked through; I set them aside.
- Next, to that same skillet, I add some oil and butter, and once melted together, I add in my sliced onions and allow those to caramelize for 25-35 minutes, until jammy and deeply golden-brown; then, I deglaze with wine and add the beef stock/broth, and allow that to reduce a little until thickened and glossy.
- The sauce is finished with a touch of garlic, some thyme leaves and a bit of extra butter; and once the butter is melted in, the seared chicken is added in and nestled into the sauce, topped with grated Gruyere cheese and broiled just until the cheese is melted.
- I like to serve the French onion chicken with garlic mashed potatoes or rice, or simply on its own with some rustic bread.
French Onion Chicken
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 594 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise to create 4 thinner cutlets
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Olive or avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
- 3 white onions, quartered and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided use
- 1 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- Add the chicken cutlets to a bowl, and sprinkle in all of the ingredients beginning with the Herbes de Provence up to and including a drizzle of the oil, and toss together to combine. Allow the meat to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even over night if preparing ahead.
- Once the chicken is marinated, place a cast iron skillet (or other large pan) over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of the oil; once it gets hot, add in the chicken cutlets and sear until golden-brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside, keeping warm.
- Into the same cast iron skillet or pan add in another 4 tablespoons of the oil, plus the 2 tablespoons of the butter, and allow that to become hot and melt together. Add in the sliced onions (it will seem like a lot of onions, but they will cook down substantially) and stir, and allow the onions to begin to caramelize a little bit before adding in a pinch or two of salt and black pepper. Continue to caramelize the onions, stirring frequently, for about 25-30 minutes, or until a deep golden-brown, and very soft.
- Deglaze the caramelized onions with the wine, and after about 30 seconds to 1 minute, when the wine has reduced, add in the beef stock, and allow that to reduce for several minutes until thickened and glossy.
- Finish the onions by stirring in the garlic, about 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves, and the butter; once the butter is melted in, turn off the heat. Return the chicken to the skillet, and nestle it into the onion mixture.
- Turn your broiler on, and top each chicken breast cutlet with some of the Gruyere cheese; place under broiler to melt the cheese, and make it slightly golden and bubbly.
- Finish the chicken with the remaining sprinkle of thyme leaves, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my French Onion Chicken:
- Larger chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise: If you happen to be able to find some smaller skinless, boneless chicken breasts, feel free to use those. Otherwise, if you have larger chicken breasts, you can do as I do and cut them in half length-wise to create 4 thinner cutlets for easier searing.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes: Season the chicken with herbs and spices and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight if preparing ahead. This imparts extra flavor to the chicken breasts, which is always a plus.
- Lots of onions to create that French onion soup flavor: I use 3 large onions and caramelize them for about 25-35 minutes until they become almost “jammy” or soft and caramelized. This creates that deep, earthy and savory flavor reminiscent of French onion soup, especially when the beef stock or broth is added in.
- Omit the wine, if you prefer: The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of white wine to help balance out some of the richness, but feel free to leave it out if you prefer. You can add 1/4 cup more stock/broth, and proceed with the recipe.
- Gruyere cheese, or your favorite meltable cheese: Gruyere is what is classically used in French onion soup, so I stick with that here. But you could substitute mozzarella, Havarti, provolone, sharp cheddar, or your favorite meltable cheese instead.
Hungry for more saucy and delicious chicken recipes? Check out these Braised Chicken Thighs, this Balsamic Chicken, this Stuffed Chicken Southwest Style, this Chicken Stroganoff, or this Chicken Pot Roast!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!