Love French Onion Soup? Wait until you get a taste of French Onion Chicken! These juicy baked chicken thighs are smothered in savory onion gravy and baked with melty cheese. A hearty dish inspired by all the cozy flavors we love about the classic soup recipe!
French Onion Chicken Recipe
Today, we’re taking some savory inspiration from my Easy Crockpot French Onion Soup and turning it into a flavorful and easy chicken dinner! This French onion chicken is a saucy, flavor-packed meal that you’ll LOVE. Seriously, my kitchen smelled like a 5-star restaurant, and I didn’t even need to break a sweat. All I had to do was pan-sear the chicken thighs, make the sauce, and bake everything in one skillet. Honestly, some recipes just have it all, and this is one of those.
Using bone-in chicken thighs makes this skillet chicken recipe nearly impossible to mess up, and the whole dish cooks up super tender and delicious. The beefy onion gravy just seeps into all the nooks and crannies, and the cheese gets all melty and irresistible.
Why We Love This Chicken Recipe
- It’s easy. Like, one-pot-and-the-simplest-ingredients easy. French onion chicken is the perfect way to add a little luxury to your meal without turning your kitchen and shopping list into a circus. As in, no jumping through hoops. Just a straightforward skillet dinner with a major flavor payoff!
- It’s inspired by a bistro favorite. A warm bowl of French onion soup is a cozy and classic, comforting meal. We’re upping the ante by bringing succulent, savory chicken thighs into the mix.
- You can save leftovers for lunch! This chicken dinner bakes up like a dream in a single skillet and you can refrigerate the leftovers for easy reheating.
French Onion Chicken Ingredients
- Chicken Thighs: I use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs for my recipe. They turn out extra juicy and delicious!
- Seasoning: Salt and pepper to taste, plus dried thyme and sweet paprika. If you don’t have thyme, basil or oregano will also work.
- Olive Oil: Choose a decent quality olive oil or vegetable oil for cooking at higher temperatures.
- Onions: I use yellow onions and slice them into rings. Other varieties like Vidalia or brown onions will also work.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar, or light brown sugar for caramelizing the onions.
- Butter: Use salted or unsalted, and adjust your seasoning as needed.
- Garlic: I recommend using freshly minced cloves.
- Wine: Like in a traditional French onion soup, a dry white wine (like chardonnay) is used to enhance the flavors of the sauce. If you’d prefer to cook without alcohol, you can substitute the wine with equal parts broth.
- Beef Broth: Or stock, preferably low-sodium. This way you can season to taste without the gravy becoming too salty. If you can get your hands on some bone broth, that is best in terms of flavor.
- Gruyere Cheese: This is the classic hard cheese used when making French Onion soup. Other options are Emmental or raclette cheese. You could also use white cheddar, in a pinch.
- Fresh Parsley: Chopped for optional garnish.
How To Make French Onion Chicken!
- Prep the Chicken: First, season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, thyme, and paprika. Next, sear the chicken skin-side down in the hot skillet with a bit of olive oil. Let the skin side cook for a few minutes, then flip and sear the underside. After another 5 minutes or so, take the browned chicken out of the pan and set it aside.
- Cook the Onions: Add more olive oil to the pan, reduce the heat a bit, then add in your sliced onions and sugar. Cover and cook until the onions are super soft and caramelized. Next, stir in the butter and garlic. Toss in a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add Wine and Broth: After a couple of minutes, pour in your white wine. Bring everything to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to half. After this, stir in the beef broth and continue to simmer.
- Add the Chicken: After 10 minutes, transfer your seared chicken thighs back to the skillet. Place the whole thing in the preheated oven.
- Bake: Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, then take it out and sprinkle over some grated Gruyere. Return the skillet to the oven to get the cheese nice and melty. Finally, take out your French onion chicken, garnish, and serve!
Tips For Making French Onion Chicken
- Pat Dry the Chicken: It’s a good idea to pat down the raw chicken thighs with paper towels before you season them. Absorbing the moisture helps the seasoning go over evenly and also lets the chicken sear up nice and crispy.
- Don’t Overcook: Make sure that you’re only pan-searing the chicken until browned and not cooking it through completely. That’s what the oven is for.
- Scrape the Bottom of the Skillet: As the ingredients cook, bits and pieces will stick to the bottom of the skillet. That’s loads of extra flavor! Be sure to use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir and lift those bits from the bottom.
- Use Freshly Grated Cheese: Not only is the flavor better, but packaged pre-shredded cheese has a waxy coating and doesn’t melt as nicely.
- Can I Use Chicken Breasts Instead? This recipe will work with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, chicken breasts are more likely to overcook and become dry, so adjust the cooking time accordingly. Check your chicken frequently with a meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, it’s done!
What Sides Go with Chicken?
A classic French onion soup is topped with crusty bread and cheese. So, why not serve your cheesy French onion chicken with a side of crusty French bread, garlic bread, or Low Carb Keto Garlic Breadsticks? Toasted bread is perfect for mopping up the extra onion gravy, too. Here are more easy sides to serve with chicken:
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Basil Pesto Bread
- Jasmine Rice
- Tomato Burrata Salad
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Sauteed Broccolini
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store any leftover chicken thighs and sauce airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat leftover French onion chicken in the microwave, or in the oven at 325ºF until the chicken is hot throughout.
Will This Recipe Freeze Well?
- Yes! You can also freeze this French onion chicken for up to one month. Once the chicken is completely cool, seal the leftovers inside a freezer-safe bag or container.
- Thaw the chicken overnight in the fridge before reheating.
French Onion Chicken
- 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 yellow onions, sliced into thin rings
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine, like chardonnay
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 8 ounces grated gruyere cheese
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, thyme, and paprika.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken thighs to the heated oil, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip over the chicken thighs and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add more oil, if needed.
- Remove chicken thighs from the pan and set them aside.
- Return the pan to the burner and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the sliced onions. Stir in the sugar; cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Give it a stir and continue to cook for about 5 to 10 more minutes, or until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Add the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the wine; bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, or until half of the liquid is reduced. Stir in the beef broth and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the burner. Add chicken back into the skillet, arranged on top of the onions. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Place back in the oven and cook until cheese is melted; about 3 to 5 more minutes.
- Remove from oven. Garnish with parsley and serve.
- Chicken: This recipe uses chicken thighs, but if you want to use chicken breasts, please adjust the cooking time. Chicken breasts will need less time to cook through. Use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is cooked through when chicken’s internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
- Gruyere Cheese: I highly recommend using shredded Gruyere cheese for French Onion Chicken, but if you must use something else, you can try this recipe with Fontina or Emmental.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.