French Onion Chicken

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French Onion Chicken — If you like French onion soup, you’re going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine’s dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

French Onion Chicken Recipe

For those occasions when you want to create an elegant dish that’s layered with richness, this French onion chicken recipe with caramelized onions is exactly the recipe you need!

Begin by caramelizing onions to sweet, nutty, luscious perfection. If you’ve never caramelized onions, don’t worry. It’s easy! I have a detailed section below how to do so.

After caramelizing the onions, you sear chicken breasts or thighs before simmering them in mixture of the caramelized onions, broth, and dry white wine for about 20 minutes.

Then you’ll top the chicken with shredded cheese and bake it momentarily to melt it to gooey perfection.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

The whole thing reminds me of French Onion Soup between the brothy wine sauce which reduces as it simmers and takes on the flavors of the onions. And then the melted cheese on top makes it all taste so decadent and luxurious.

Make sure to sop up the sauce with Mashed Potatoes or some crusty French bread as you’re digging into the tender, juicy chicken too.

While this may not be the quickest meal ever, it’s definitely a comfort food recipe that’s perfect for cold winter nights, special occasions like an anniversary or Valentine’s dinner at home, holiday dinners, or a Sunday family dinner.

I promise everyone who tries this chicken won’t ever forget it!

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Ingredients in French Onion Chicken Skillet

There aren’t as many ingredients in this impressive French-inspired recipe as one may imagine. And everything is a fridge or pantry staple and easy to find including the following:

  • Onions
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Beef broth
  • Dry white wine
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded Swiss cheese
  • Fresh parsley, for garnishing

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelizing onions simply means that you are going to cook the onions slowly until the natural sugars in the onions caramelize, resulting in a sweet, nutty, caramel-like flavor. 

Not so sweet or caramely to be confused with a dessert, but as onions go, they’re rich and decadent. And not difficult – just have patience!

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

There are some tips and pointers for making caramelized onions which are as follows:

  1. Start with yellow, white, or sweet Vidalia onions.
  2. You can slice them vertically (common in French Onion Soup) or you can slice the onions horizontally to form rings which is what I did for this French Onion Chicken recipe.
  3. Slice them thin, but not so thin that they’ll be prone to disintegrating or burning when the hit the hot pan and stay there gently cooking for 30 to 60 minutes.
  4. Be patient. That 30 to 60 minutes is not an exaggeration. If you try to rush this process the onions often just burn rather than caramelize. 
  5. Babysitting. You are going to need to toss and stir the onions every 5 minutes or so. Standing in your kitchen and organizing your spice rack, tossing out old food from your fridge, or checking your social media scroll on your phone are (good) uses of your time as you toss the onions to ensure even cooking.
  6. Use medium-low heat. Do not become tempted to turn up the heat to rush the process because you could end up with burn onions, not caramelized onions, and will have to start over. If they’re browning too quickly, turn the heat down since all stoves vary.
  7. Use real butter. I have seen people use a combo of butter and olive oil but I never have and solely use butter for this task.
  8. After the onions have turned a deeply rich shade of brown (think the color of coffee with a tablespoon of skim milk added to it), smell heavenly, are super soft and almost like a compote (jam-like texture), you’re done. Please note for this recipe, the onions as shown in the photos aren’t as dark as I would normally go. My French Onion Soup onions are!
  9. Crock-Pot method. Finally, for those with a Slow Cooker, you can add the onions, butter, and cook on low for about 8 to 10 hours, stirring once or twice midway through. If they’re still not done and/or overly moist, you can cock the lid of your Crock-Pot slightly by about an inch to allow steam and moisture to escape while you continue cooking another 2 to 3 hours. Remember all slow cookers vary dramatically in their heat output and this is a very long cooking process with quite a bit of margin in cooking time.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Pan selection is also important!

I have three favorite skillets for recipes like this that are heavy-bottomed, heavy-duty, and can go from stovetop to oven:

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

How to Make French Onion Chicken

Now that I’ve outlined how to make the best caramelized onions, we can make French onion chicken with those caramelized onions.

Follow these straightforward steps for the best French onion chicken recipe that everyone will adore.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Step 1: At the end of the process to caramelize the onions, add garlic, thyme, and oregano. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Step 2: Add the olive oil, seasoned chicken, and brown each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove it.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Step 3: Place the onions back in the skillet, add the broth, wine, and stir. 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Step 4: Place the chicken on top and simmer for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced by half.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Step 5: Sprinkle the top of the chicken with the cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated oven until melted and bubbly.

Step 6: Garnish and serve immediately!

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

What Kind of Chicken Is Best?

You’ve got many options for the type of chicken you use in this comfort food chicken dinner including the following:

  • Skinless or skin-on
  • Boneless or bone-in
  • Breasts or thighs

You can select any combination of the above. 

Note that:

  • Chicken with skin-on will have a richer flavor and likely be juicier than skinless.
  • Bone-in chicken has a bit more flavor but takes an extra 10 to 15 minutes to cook when it simmers in the wine sauce before baking it to melt the cheese.
  • We all know the difference between the flavor of breasts versus thighs and people tend to be in one camp or the other on this based on personal preferences for white or dark meat.

For the recipe as photographed, I used boneless chicken thighs with the skin on. 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Do I Have to Use Wine for French Onion Chicken?

I think the French are known for their wine, and for cooking with wine. In my opinion, you can’t really have French onion chicken without wine. The alcohol content largely burns off and what you’re left with is a richness and depth of flavor to the finished dish that is just so satisfying and wonderful so I urge you not to omit it.

However, if you absolutely don’t want to use wine, use 3/4 cup additional chicken broth instead.

What Kind of Wine Is Best for This Recipe? 

A dry white wine such as the following are my recommendations:

  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Pinot grigio
  • Chardonnay 

Tip: If you like cooking with wine because you love the final flavor, do not miss my Garlic Butter Chicken recipe with white wine and my Creamy Tuscan Chicken.

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Serving and Storage Suggestions 

The French onion chicken thighs are best served warm and fresh with your favorite side dish like Classic Mashed Potatoes, breadsticks or French bread, or a side salad.

Leftover French onion chicken with caramelized onions will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Tips for the Best Cheesy French Onion Chicken

This French onion chicken skillet tastes like a million bucks and is actually so easy. I’ve got a final few tips and pointers for you to ensure your French onion chicken is the best!

Caramelizing the Onions – Make sure to read the section above about how to properly caramelize onions and what type of onions to select since they’re an integral part of the recipe. Not too thin, real butter, take your time, and patience are the Cliff’s Notes. 

Thyme and Oregano – You can use either dried or fresh of either herb. With dried herbs, you use half the listed quantity of fresh herbs since they’re more concentrated and potent. 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

BrothBeef broth is more traditional in “French onion” recipes from soup to chicken and that’s what I used here. I use reduced-sodium beef broth and then add salt at the end if I think the dish needs it. After the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes and reduces by half, the sodium concentrates and seems more intense which is why I like to start out by using reduced sodium broth.

You can also use chicken broth if that’s what you have on hand. It’s a little milder in flavor overall than beef broth so your finished dish won’t have quite the intensity that beef broth lends. I also recommend using reduced sodium chicken broth too as opposed to regular. 

French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 

Cheese – I used shredded mozzarella and shredded Swiss cheese. They melt nicely, are readily available, and are a good value.

If you’d like to splurge, use Gruyere cheese which is the type typically used on top of French onion soup. Comte is another luscious cheese that you can use to make the final dish taste even more elegant.

Keep an Eye On It – There are three phases in the recipe where you want to keep an eye on your food fairly closely and they are include:

  1. Caramelizing the onions
  2. Simmering the chicken with the wine sauce to ensure the chicken cooks through properly (160F for breasts and 170F for thighs on a digital thermometer). Make sure to cook your chicken until it’s done – not more and not less – because all pieces of chicken will vary in size, and therefore so will cooking times. Using a thermometer will ensure accuracy and remove guesswork.
  3. Baking the chicken with the cheese to ensure it melts but doesn’t burn. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It would be an utter shame to burn anything at this point right before serving it!

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4.41 from 10 votes

French Onion Chicken

By Averie Sunshine
French Onion Chicken- If you like French onion soup, you're going to LOVE this elegant chicken dinner complete with caramelized onions and melted cheese on top! A PERFECT comfort food recipe for special occasions like a holiday meal, an anniversary or Valentine's dinner, or anytime you want to take chicken to the next level! Rave reviews guaranteed! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients  

  • 2 large yellow or sweet Vidalia onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch diameter rings (white onions may be substituted but I prefer the other choices)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, or breasts*
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup beef broth, reduced sodium recommended, reduced sodium chicken broth may be substituted but isn't as traditional
  • ¾ cup dry white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay; use 3/4 cup additional broth if don't' want to use wine
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese**
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese**
  • Fresh parsley, for garnishing as desired

Instructions 

  • To a large, heavy-bottom skillet or pan that can go from stove to oven***, add the onions, butter, and heat over medium-low heat to melt the butter and allow the onions to caramelize. Tips - Please read the blog post for more details. Do not rush the caramelization process, it will take at least 20 to 30 minutes, up to 1 hour, to properly caramelize onions. Do not rush it because you'll just burn the onions rather than caramelize them. Use medium low heat and if they're cooking too quickly, turn the heat down. Stir and toss every 3 to 5 minutes or so. Onions are ready when they are a deep and rich brown color, sweet, soft, and almost jam-like. Go darker and deeper than my photos show.
  • In the final moments of caramelizing the onions, add the garlic, thyme, oregano, stir to combine, and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
  • After the onions have caramelized, remove them from the skillet; set aside in a bowl.
  • Add the olive oil to the same skillet (you don't have to wash it even if it looks dark and ugly), season the chicken with the salt and pepper on both sides, and place it in the skillet with the skin-side up (if your chicken has skin on it).
  • Allow it to sear for 5 minutes on each side over medium heat.
  • After 10 minutes and the chicken has been seared and is lightly browned on both sides, remove it from the skillet; set aside momentarily
  • Add the onions back into the skillet, add the beef broth, wine (be careful it may bubble up!), and stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet, and allow it to simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until cooked through (160F for breasts and 170F for thighs on a digital thermometer), and the wine-broth sauce has reduced by half. Tips - While the chicken simmers, preheat the oven to 375F. Make sure to cook your chicken until it's done - not more and not less - because all pieces of chicken will vary and therefore so will cooking times. Using a thermometer will ensure accuracy and remove guesswork.
  • After the chicken is done, evenly sprinkle the cheeses over the top of each piece of chicken.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and is as golden browned as desired. Tip - Keep an eye on it because the cheese may melt faster than you think and you do not want to burn it, especially at this point!
  • Remove the skillet from the oven, evenly sprinkle with parsley as desired, and serve immediately. Chicken is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

*You’ve got many options for the type of chicken you use in this comfort food chicken dinner including the following:
  • Skinless or skin-on
  • Boneless or bone-in
  • Breasts or thighs
  • You can select any combination of the above. 
Note that:
  • Chicken with skin-on will have a richer flavor and likely be juicier than skinless.
  • Bone-in chicken has a bit more flavor but takes an extra 10 to 15 minutes to cook when it simmers in the wine sauce before baking it to melt the cheese.
  • We all know the difference between the flavor of breasts versus thighs and people tend to be in one camp or the other on this based on personal preferences for white or dark meat.
  • For the recipe as photographed, I used boneless chicken thighs with the skin on. 
**Cheese - You can mix and match the types of cheese used. Gruyere and/or Comte are two other types of cheese that while not cheap, are decadent, luscious, and perfect for the recipe.
***Favorite Heavy Bottomed Skillets and Pans for this recipe:

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 491kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 200mg, Sodium: 790mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. Why can’t we Pin your recipes in Pintrest. I delete any recipes that aI can’t Pin. I do not have a copier to copy.

    1. Upper right hand (or left hand) corner depending on your device, there’s a floating Pin It button if you hold your mouse or finger over it to pin all recipes.

  2. So as to not have to babysit your onions,
    caramelize them in the crockpot. I do it all the time. I cook a crockpot full and freeze. It’s nice to always have them on hand.