You’ve picked a peck of apples and baked an apple pie. Good job! Now dive into your stash and grab a few more tasty varietals for this one pan family friendly delight, Apple Chicken with Cider Mustard Sauce. Juicy chicken, tender apples, and big flavor await.
Are you ready for your October homework? It’s super easy, and FUN too! Here’s your assignment:
Part 1: Grab your children (or obtain some children from friends, or just skip this part).
Part 2: Head to the local pick-your-own-farm. Go on a hayride. Pet some goats. Ride the big slide. Pick a peck of apples and grab a jug of fresh-priced cider.
Part 3: make this Apple Chicken with Cider Mustard Sauce for dinner.
I told you it was fun and easy! And also delicious – like lick your plate, no-leftovers in sight, Imma-make-this-twice-this-week TASTY TOWN. As my toddler likes to say “Let’s do this thing Mommy!”.
Apple Chicken Recipe Ingredients
You need just seven whole food ingredients to pull together this oven-baked chicken and apples recipe:
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: pat them dry, then season with salt and pepper
- Sweet but firm apples: think gala, fuji, honeycrisp; quarter the apples, then core and thinly slice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Whole grain mustard
- Unsweetened apple cider: the apples bring just the right amount of sweet into this savory recipe, so be sure to grab unsweetened (and preferably unfiltered for best flavor) apple cider. Fresh from the farm is best!
- Chicken bone broth: the collagen in bone broth will help thicken up the sauce, but regular stock would also be fine (see my notes for creating a thicker pan sauce)
- Fresh thyme: for a woodsy contrast to the sweet apples
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- Cast Iron Skillet or other oven-proof cooking vessel like a stainless steel skillet or dutch oven. I prefer to use a 12″ skillet so that I have enough room to brown all the chicken in a single layer.
- Instant Read Thermometer to test the chicken thighs for doneness (at least 165°F).
How to Make Apple Chicken with Cider Mustard Sauce
Chicken with Apples and Cider Mustard Sauce. It sounds so fancy, right? And it very well might be, but this apple cider chicken recipe is also easy, relatively quick (45 minutes), and a one-pan winner your family will devour. There are so many ways to enjoy the bounty of apple season, and if you’re in need of a savory fix after your eleventy-billionth apple pie, this is the dinner recipe for you!
- STEP 1: Pat the chicken thighs dry, then season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear skin side down in a splash of olive oil over medium high heat until the skin is browned and crispy. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for one minute, then remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside onto a plate.
- STEP 2: Add the sliced apples to the skillet and toss in the rendered fat. Sautee until the apples are soft and slightly caramelized around the edges (2 or 3 minutes).
- STEP 3: Add the apple cider vinegar to the skillet to deglaze, and be sure to scrap up any browned bits from the bottom. Once the vinegar stops bubbling, add the whole grain mustard, apple cider and chicken broth. Give the liquid a good stir with the apples to distribute the mustard.
- STEP 4: Nestle the chicken thighs in between the apples and into the cider sauce, then sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Transfer the skillet to a 375°F oven and braise until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F using an instant read thermometer.
How ’bout THEM apples? (sorry, I had to!).
The resulting chicken is going to be that perfect balance of crispy, golden skin and moist, tender meat. The cider mustard sauce is thin, but flavorful, and best served over a grain that can sop up every ounce of deliciousness, like rice or cauliflower rice.
My Best Tips and Tricks for Perfect Apple Chicken with Cider Sauce
- Use an oven-safe skillet like cast iron, a dutch oven, or stainless steel.
- Season the chicken liberally on both sides with salt and pepper, and be sure to pat the skin dry before seasoning and searing – this will help you achieve a crispy, golden crust.
- Brown the chicken properly, which means allowing it to release on its own before flipping. If you meet any resistance when attempting to flip, give it another minute. Browning the skin also releases flavor bits into the sauce.
- Use fresh, crisp, firm apples for best texture after baking.
- Safety first! Check the temperature of the cooked chicken thighs using an instant read thermometer, and be sure to remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts – the pan will be super hot!
- If you prefer a thicker pan sauce, remove the chicken thighs and apples to a serving platter using a slotted spoon; tent the chicken and apples with foil to keep warm. Place the skillet over medium high heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half (5-8 minutes).
More Fresh Apple and Apple Cider Recipes
Enjoy the fruits of fall labor at peak flavor with any one of these simple, healthy apple and apple cider recipes:
- Carrot Apple Soup
- Apple Cider Sangria
- Apple Cider Brined Chicken Breasts
- Apple Cider Hot Toddy
- Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork
- Thick Cut Pork Chops with Apple Jicama Slaw
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- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in an oven-proof skillet like cast iron. Pat chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Cook skin side down until the skin is browned and easily releases from the pan, 8-10 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook skin side up for 1 minute. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
- Add the apples and saute in the rendered fat, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, 2-3 minutes..
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the skillet to deglaze, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard, apple cider, and chicken broth, stirring to mix completely.
- Nestle the chicken thighs in between the apple slices. Transfer the skillet to the oven and braise until the chicken is cooked through and reaches 165°F using an instant read thermometer, 20-25 minutes depending on size.
- Plate the chicken, and top with the apple slices, cider sauce, and fresh thyme to taste. Serve immediately.