30-Minute Dinner/ Christmas/ Dinner/ meat/ Valentine's Day

Cranberry balsamic chicken

3 December 2019

Tender chicken breast with flavorful cranberry sauce seasoned with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Cranberry balsamic chicken is a beautiful festive dish or you can just serve it as everyday fall/winter meal, because it’s so easy and quick to make!

Cranberry balsamic chicken in a frying pan
Cranberry balsamic chicken on a plate with cooked potatoes and red cabbage slaw

INGREDIENTS – WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

Cranberry balsamic chicken ingredients
  • Chicken – instead of chicken breast, you can use chicken thighs (but I personally prefer chicken breast for this recipe and like my chicken thighs rather on the bone and cooked/baked for a longer time).
  • Cranberries – need to be fresh, you can not substitute for dried cranberries. You can use frozen cranberries.
  • Balsamic vinegar – please use good quality balsamic vinegar. This recipe does not call for a balsamic glaze/reduction or balsamic sauce, which is reduced and sweetened balsamic vinegar. You can try to use these condiments but you need to reduce the amount of honey so that your sauce won’t come out too sweet. Instead of balsamic vinegar, you can use red wine vinegar and soy sauce (I haven’t tried this combo but I think it would work). Alternatively dry red wine would also work (just bear in mind that the flavor will be different, this recipe works best with balsamic vinegar).
  • Herbs – I used rosemary and I think it works best here but thyme would be a good substitute. If you have leftover rosemary you can use it to cook these dishes: Baked chicken with apples and onions, White bean soup with potatoes, garlic and rosemary, Potato and cheese pierogi the American way – homemade cheddar pierogi, Turkey roulade with butternut squash, mushroom and cranberry stuffing.
  • Broth – use chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Mustard – I used honey mustard since we’re adding honey anyway (and I love honey mustard) but you can sub for Dijon mustard.
  • Honey – it’s a sweetener and makes the sauce thicker and a little sticky. You really need to add it. Balsamic vinegar and cranberries are sour so you really need something to contrast their tartness. You can sub for light brown sugar.
  • Orange juice and zest – orange and cranberries are a match made in heaven and whenever I add fresh cranberries I try to add the orange, it just works so well.

HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY CHICKEN STEP BY STEP:

This is a complete recipe, scroll down for printable recipe card.

Cranberry balsamic chicken preparation steps

STEP 1: Season 4 chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Pound the thickest part of the breast, so that the piece of meat is almost of even thickness (it will cook more evenly).
STEP 2: Heat 2 Tbsp of frying oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, cook without stirring for 2 minutes or until browned, then cook on the other side until browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate. The cooking time will depend on the pan type and how crowded the chicken is. It shouldn’t be cooked through in the middle, just golden brown on both sides.

Cranberry balsamic chicken preparation steps

STEP 3: Reduce the heat to medium and add 3 finely chopped cloves garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

STEP 4: Add all the other ingredients for the sauce: 1.5 cups of cranberries (5.3oz/150g), 2 twigs rosemary, 1 cup of chicken broth, 1/3 cup of orange juice and 1/2 ts of orange zest, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp honey, and 1 ts honey mustard. Season lightly with salt and pepper (only lightly, the sauce will reduce its volume and can become too salty).

Note about the cranberries: If your chicken breasts are rather big, the most cranberries from the sauce will fall apart before the chicken is cooked through. If you wish to have more cranberries that have just burst but have not fallen apart, add 1 cup of cranberries with all the other ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup a couple of minutes later. If your chicken breasts are rather small, it doesn’t matter, as they will cook faster and the cranberries won’t have time to completely fall apart.

Cranberry balsamic chicken preparation steps

STEP 5: Bring to a boil, then add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through (flip the chicken breast halfway through). Cooking time depends on how big (thick) the chicken breasts are and how long have you seared it. Small chicken breasts will need just a couple of minutes, bigger chicken breasts will need about 10 minutes.

How to check if your chicken breast is ready: It’s best to check the internal temperature inside the meat with a meat thermometer. It should be 165°F/74°C (insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast).

STEP 6: Transfer the chicken breasts to the plates. Remove the rosemary twigs from the sauce, season the sauce with salt and pepper, if necessary. If the sauce is too sour for your liking, add more honey, if too sweet just add a little more vinegar. It should have a nice sweet and sour balance of flavors, but it needs to be rather on the sweet side because the cranberries itself are rather tart (try the sauce with the cranberries).

The sauce consistency: If your chicken is already cooked through but the sauce is not thick enough, put the chicken breasts on a plate and cook the sauce a little longer, until thickened. On the other hand – if your chicken is not cooked through yet but your sauce is already very thick and reduced try to add more chicken stock or water to the sauce to dilute it just a little and cook the meat until cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

WHAT TO SERVE IT WITH:

Cranberry balsamic chicken on a plate with cooked potatoes and red cabbage slaw

Cranberry balsamic chicken

Tender chicken breast with flavorful cranberry sauce seasoned with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Cranberry balsamic chicken is a beautiful festive dish or you can just serve it as everyday fall/winter meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 378kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups cranberries 5.3oz/150g
  • 2 twigs rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth 120ml
  • 1/3 cup orange juice from 1 small orange / 1/2 big orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard or Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Pound the thickest part of the breast, so that the piece of meat is almost of even thickness (it will cook more evenly).
  • Heat the oil over high heat in a big frying pan. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, cook without stirring for 2 minutes or until browned, then cook on the other side until browned. Transfer the chicken to a plate. The cooking time will depend on the pan type and how crowded the chicken is. It shouldn’t be cooked through in the middle, just golden brown on both sides.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add finely chopped garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add all the other ingredients for the sauce: cranberries, rosemary, chicken broth, orange juice and zest, vinegar, honey, mustard. Season lightly with salt and pepper (only lightly, the sauce will reduce its volume and can become too salty).
  • Bring to a boil, then add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through (flip the chicken breast halfway through). Cooking time depends on how big (thick) the chicken breasts are and how long have you seared it. Small chicken breasts will need just a couple of minutes, bigger chicken breasts will need about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to the plates. Remove the rosemary twigs from the sauce, season the sauce with salt and pepper, if necessary. If the sauce is too sour for your liking, add more honey, if too sweet just add a little more vinegar. It should have a nice sweet and sour balance of flavors, but it needs to be rather on the sweet side because the cranberries itself are rather tart (try the sauce with the cranberries).
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • How to check if your chicken breast is ready: It’s best to check the temperature inside the meat with a meat thermometer. It should be 165°F/74°C (insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast).
  • The sauce consistency: If your chicken is already cooked through but the sauce is not thick enough, put the chicken breasts on a plate and cook the sauce a little longer, until thickened. On the other hand – if your chicken is not cooked through yet but your sauce is already very thick and reduced try to add more chicken stock or water to the sauce to dilute is just a little and cook the meat until cooked through.
  • Cranberries: If your chicken breasts are rather big, the most cranberries from the sauce will fall apart before the chicken is cooked through. If you wish to have more cranberries that have just burst but have not fallen apart, add 1 cup of cranberries with all the other ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup a couple of minutes later. If your chicken breasts are rather small, it doesn’t matter, as they will cook faster and the cranberries won’t have time to completely fall apart.
  • What to serve it with: I like it with cooked potatoes and this red cabbage and apple slaw with pomegranate and walnuts.
  • Calories count = 1 serving of the chicken and sauce (1/4 of the recipe). This does not include the potatoes and the slaw that are on the photo. This is only an estimate!
  • Ingredients substitutions:
    Chicken – instead of chicken breast, you can use chicken thighs
    Cranberries – need to be fresh, you can not substitute for dried cranberries. You can use frozen cranberries.
    Balsamic vinegar – please use good quality balsamic vinegar. This recipe does not call for a balsamic glaze/reduction or balsamic sauce, which is reduced and sweetened balsamic vinegar. You can try to use these condiments but you need to reduce the amount of honey so that your sauce won’t come out too sweet. Instead of balsamic vinegar, you can use red wine vinegar and soy sauce (I haven’t tried this combo but I think it would work). Alternatively dry red wine would also work (just bear in mind that the flavor will be different, this recipe works best with balsamic vinegar).
    Herbs – I used rosemary and I think it works best here but thyme would be a good substitute.
    Broth – use chicken or vegetable broth.
    Mustard – you can sub for Dijon mustard.
    Honey – you can sub for light brown sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine international
Keyword chicken with cranberry sauce, cranberry balsamic chicken, cranberry chicken, cranberry chicken breast recipes

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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