Apple cider chicken is a comforting, easy-to-make recipe with chicken thighs coated in a warm, flavorful spice blend cooked with sliced apples in a delicious apple cider sauce. This apple cider chicken is packed with fall flavors and comes together in one pan for an excellent weeknight meal!
You cannot beat the ease of one-pan meals and this apple cider chicken is the ultimate quick and easy dinner recipe! Chicken thighs, sliced apples, sweet onions, and warm spices come together to create a flavor-packed fall dinner.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy one-pan recipe! Everything cooks in one pan, making the prep and cleanup for this apple cider chicken a breeze. This easy chicken recipe is an excellent weeknight meal.
- Bursting with cozy flavors! Sweet and savory flavors like maple syrup, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and allspice do a beautiful dance in this dish to create a tantalizing flavor experience.
- Ultimate fall dinner! I can't think of a more fitting fall dinner than chicken cooked with apples and cinnamon in apple cider.
Important Ingredient Notes
A complete list of ingredients with measurements along with detailed recipe instructions can be found in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.
- Spices. Plenty of flavorful spices and herbs, including cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and thyme, add warmth and depth to this delicious apple cider chicken. Feel free to adjust the spices and measurements to suit your tastes. You may also grind up whole spices for an even more intense flavor.
- Chicken. This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs but you may use bone-in thighs or chicken breasts if you prefer. Be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Apples. I prefer to use a mixture of Granysmith and Honeycrisp apples for sweet and tart flavors but you may use any apple variety you like. However, I recommend staying away from softer apples like Red Delicious and McIntosh as they can become too mushy when cooked.
- Onion. We use sweet yellow onion for this recipe but you may white or red onions according to what you like.
- Apple Cider. You want to use unfiltered apple cider for this recipe and not processed apple cider or apple juice. Unfiltered apple cider can be hard to find outside the Autumn months but you can make my homemade apple cider year-round!
How To Make Apple Cider Chicken
- Mix the spice blend. Add the spices to a small bowl and mix with a fork to create the spice blend for the chicken.
- Cook the chicken. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with the spice blend and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Cook the sauce. Cook the apples, onions, and garlic in butter for a few minutes then add the brown sugar, maple syrup, and apple cider. Cook the sauce until it thickens and the apples are tender.
- Add the chicken to the sauce. Place the chicken thighs back in the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.
Variations and Substitutions
- Instead of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, try this recipe with bone-in chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Try different spices such as coriander, cardamom, cumin, or turmeric to switch up the flavors in this apple cider chicken.
- Try making this apple cider chicken recipe with pears instead of apples.
I love to use my 12-inch cast-iron skillet for this recipe although a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, Dutch oven, or braiser works great as well.
I recommend using a combination of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples for this apple cider chicken, although any crisp apple such as CosmicCrisp, PinkLady, or Gala will work well also.
What kind of apple cider should I use for this recipe?
Unfiltered, refrigerated apple cider is the best apple cider for this recipe as it has the most flavor and has not been overly processed. I do not recommend filtered, shelf-stable apple cider or apple juice. Try making this apple cider chicken with my homemade hot apple cider!
What To Serve with Apple Cider Chicken
This apple cider chicken skillet pairs well with a number of side dishes for a comforting and delicious meal. Try serving this dish with some of the following:
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- Best Homemade Creamed Corn
- Southern Squash Casserole
- Maple Glazed Carrots
- Southern Green Beans
- Southern Collard Greens
- Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Soul Food Candied Yams
- Southern Chicken and Dressing
- Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
- Fluffy Sweet Potato Biscuits
- Southern Spoon Bread
- Hot Water Cornbread
- Sweet Cornbread Muffins
- Sweet Potato Cornbread
Leftover apple cider chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.
More Fall Recipes You Will Love!
- Southern Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
- Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
- Southern Smothered Chicken
- Cajun Crawfish Etouffee
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Chocolate Chess Pie
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
- Apple Cider Donut Cake
- Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- Southern Pecan Pie
- Easy Brown Sugar Glaze (For Ham, Chicken, And More!)
- Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
- Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
Apple Cider Chicken (Easy One Pan Recipe!)
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 medium apples sliced, about 2 cups, I used one Honeycrisp and one Granny Smith
- ½ cup yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup unfiltered apple cider not apple juice and NOT apple cider vinegar
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
- Add the salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, thyme, cloves, and allspice to a small bowl and mix with a fork until well combined.
- Wash your chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, and season both sides with the spice blend.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken thighs for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until cooked through to a temperature of 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Melt the butter in the same skillet (do not wipe the skillet out!), add the apples and onions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, and apple cider, and give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the apples and sauce for 7 to 9 minutes, until the apples are tender but not mushy and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with fresh thyme leaves if desired.
- Serve chicken thighs with apples and sauce spooned over top. Enjoy!
- You may make this recipe with bone-in chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly.
- You may use any apple variety you like, however, I recommend staying away from softer apples like Red Delicious and McIntosh as they can become too mushy when cooked.
- Leftover apple cider chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.