Tangy, tart, and delicious this One Pan Cranberry Chicken Thighs recipe will leave you ready for more. You only need 10 ingredients and a cast-iron skillet to whip it up.
Delicious Cranberry Chicken Thighs in the Cast Iron Skillet
Cranberry season doesn’t last long in the fall, so I love to whip up a couple of great recipes to enjoy a flavor that is hard to come by the rest of the year.
This recipe uses skin-on chicken thighs, fresh cranberries, and savory herbs to produce a recipe that is not only gorgeous but tastes fantastic as well!
The crispy skin holds all the herbs while the bottom half of the thigh holds the cranberry/balsamic flavor. Each bite is slightly different and oh-so-good.
Closeup of Bone In Skin On Chicken Thigh with Dried Herbs
Why This Recipe Works
It’s festive – The flavors of the chicken are so juicy and succulent. Paired with the herbs and cranberries, it’s bound to be a yearly holiday favorite.
Can be made in under 1 hour – Even on the busy weeknights that consume us all, you can make this easy dinner idea.
You only need one pan – No need to dirty a bunch of dishes! You can use the cast-ironed skillet to do all the work for you.
Easy to meal prep – Adding tasty meal prep dishes to your rotation just got a lot easier. You can make this chicken and save it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Your mouth is bound to be wondering after you see the main ingredients in this cranberry chicken recipe.
Chicken – We prefer to use chicken thighs with the skin on them. They get crispy and add extra moisture to the chicken. YUM!
Seasonings – You will need to use a combination of Herbs de Provence, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, and brown sugar. It’s a heavenly combination.
Fresh Cranberries – I recommend using fresh cranberries because they give you a perfectly delicious tart flavor every time. In a pinch, you can swap them for dried cranberries but the texture will be different and I wouldn’t cook them for longer than a minute or so as they will get hard.
Plated Cranberry Chicken Thigh with Rosemary and Fresh Orange Zest
Recipes that are quick, easy, and delicious are always my favorite! So let’s get started with this one.
Step One: Mix together the olive oil, herbs de Provence, and garlic. Rub this on the chicken and add some salt and pepper.
Step Two: Sear the chicken thighs on a nice heated cast iron skillet. To help obtain that crisp skin that we all want and allow the oil to get toasty and lightly smoke. This can take 4-7 minutes. But, once you place your chicken skin side down, it immediately starts to sizzle, and you will be so happy you waited. Cook the thighs for 5-7 minutes and flip them over. Cook another 5 minutes.
Step Three: While the chicken is cooking, mix the brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl. Add the cranberries to the mixture.
Step Four: Once the chicken has cooked for a total of 10-12 minutes on the stovetop, pour in a cup of white wine or chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the delicious remnants mixed in. Allow this to boil for 2-3 minutes and place the chicken back in the pan.
Step Five: Add the cranberry mixture to the top of the chicken thighs and put the entire pan in the oven for 20 minutes. You will hear the cranberries start to cook and pop open! That is a great sound!
Step Six: After 20 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach 165 degrees to ensure that it is fully cooked. Serve and enjoy!
The Cast Iron Skillet is Going into the Oven for the Final Step
🥘 Meal Prep
You could easily meal prep a bit of this to make it a quick weeknight meal. Although they seem minor, I find that anything that allows me to move forward at a spiffier pace, I embrace! Recommendations include:
- Measure everything out and place them in their own containers for the chicken rub.
- Measure out everything for the cranberry mixture and place it in their own containers.
📌 Expert Tips
- Freeze fresh cranberries and use them in this recipe. Spread cranberries out on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. On the next day, remove them and place them in a ziplock bag. Place them back in the freezer for later use. They defrost in less than an hour on the counter, and you can use them the exact same way for this recipe. It’s a great way to extend their life.
- Substitute lemon or lime juice/zest for the orange juice/zest.
- Use a combination of rosemary and thyme in place of the herbs de Provence. We sometimes cheat (shhh – don’t tell anyone) and use whatever fresh herbs are available in the garden.
- Use a different cut of chicken. Using boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work but use your kitchen mallet and make them thinner and more even.
- Precut the Chicken. To make this recipe even easier, cut up slices of chicken, and cook the same way. Toss the cranberries on top and cook for just about 10 minutes on the stovetop. Be careful to adjust the cooking time to avoid the chicken over-cooking.
🍳 Tips For Using Cast Iron
Cooking in a cast-iron skillet is addicting! Yes, I have some amazing All Clad pans that I love, but the cast iron rarely is put away, and I can’t wait to share with you why!
- Cast Iron pans heat evenly. The entire pan is made of the same material. You hardly ever need to worry about a hot spot. If it doesn’t cook evenly, check your stovetop burner. I know mine seems to angle a bit, and there is one spot on one burner that is a little wonky. It’s not the pan; it’s the burner!
- Cast Iron pans go from the stovetop to the oven seamlessly, as you will be doing for this recipe! You can season and brown the skin quickly on the stovetop, and then pop in the oven to finish cooking. That versatility is fantastic.
- Once you cook with them several times, they will naturally season, which means they become nonstick. I love that!
- Clean up is a breeze. I have a little Pampered Chef scraper (remember those brown ones we all would get at a party?), and everything usually comes off with hardly any effort. If your cranberries stick in this recipe, soak the pan for a few minutes (not more than that because you don’t’ want it to rust!) and then scrape. Easy!!
- Enjoy the variety of recipes that are out there now using seasonal ingredients. Yes, you can freeze fresh cranberries (our newsletter included how-to’s on it in case you are looking to freeze a batch!) and use it in this dish.
Yes, You can easily substitute unsweetened dried cranberries for fresh if you have a cranberry craving off-season! This is so easy; you may want to use dried instead of fresh!
Measure out the number of cranberries needed and place them in a bowl.
Pour boiling hot water over them and allow them to soak for 20 minutes.
Drain, and the cranberries will be ready to use – just as if they were fresh!
Glazed carrots, roasted brussel sprouts, baked potatoes, butternut squash, or even a simple sauteed zucchini and yellow squash will make this meal come together quickly on a weeknight leaving you more time to catch up on the days of your loved ones. Did you try it? What did you serve with it?
After the chicken thighs have cooled, place them in an airtight container. They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Delicious One Pan Cranberry Chicken Thighs [/caption]
One Pan Cranberry Chicken Thighs
- 4 Chicken Thighs skin on
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Herbs de Provence
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- zest Orange
- 2 tbs Orange Juice
- 1 cup White Wine or chicken broth
- 1 ½ cup Fresh Cranberries dried can be used, reconstitute as directed
- 2 tbs Brown Sugar
- 2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- Preheat the oven at 425 degrees.
- Combine herbs, garlic and olive oil together in a bowl. Rub on chicken thighs.
- Heat cast iron skillet on stove top at medium high heat. Wait for the oil to heat up several minutes before placing chicken in pan to create the sear. Once fully heated, place in hot skillet.
- Cook each side of the chicken for 5-7 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and orange zest in a bowl and mix together. Add in the cranberries and mix together.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and pour wine or chicken broth into the hot skillet. Scrape up the remnants on the bottom of the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Place chicken back in the pan and cover with the cranberry mixture.
- Place skillet in heated oven for 15-20 minutes or once the chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.