Whether it comes straight from the orchard or the nearest grocer, apple cider is the secret to cozy meals with all the fall feels. It plays the starring role in some of the best seasonal treats ( hello , apple cider donuts), can liven up any cocktail hour, and shines at dinnertime too.
Here, we’re using it for a seasonal weeknight dinner. You’ll infuse apple cider with wintery herbs, garlic, and mustard; simmer until thick and glossy; then spoon it over crispy, golden-brown chicken thighs. This is a one-skillet dinner you won’t want to miss.
The Grocery Store Swap That Upgrades Dinner
You’re not alone if chicken is a family favorite. But if all you’re serving is chicken breast, it’s time to make a change to your weekly grocery list and pick up chicken thighs instead. Dark-meat chicken thighs have a more robust flavor, so you can skip the brines and marinades and opt for a full-flavored glaze instead. Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, which are easier on the wallet and more forgiving to cook.
Apple Cider Is Fall’s Favorite Flavor
In this seasonal chicken dinner, you’ll boil apple cider to concentrate the apple flavor and to give it a thick-enough-to-glaze consistency. To give it balance, you’ll add a sprig of rosemary, a pair of smashed garlic cloves, and a dollop of tangy Dijon as the cider simmers. Finishing it with the pat of butter makes the glaze rich and luxurious.
To finish off the meal, you’ll spoon the cider sauce over crispy browned thighs as they bake, creating a sticky, not-too-sweet coating everyone will love.
Apple Cider-Glazed Chicken Thighs
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 35 minutes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 1 (2-inch) fresh rosemary sprig
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Smash 2 garlic cloves and place in a small saucepan. Add 1 cup apple cider, 1 fresh rosemary sprig, and 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Stir and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, start cooking the chicken.
- Pat 2 pounds chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
- Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place the chicken skin-side down, and cook undisturbed until the skin is browned and the chicken releases easily from the pan, adjusting the heat if the skin begins to burn, 8 to 10 minutes.
- When the glaze is ready, whisk in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted, then remove from the heat. When the chicken is ready, transfer it to a plate. Carefully pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Return the chicken to the pan skin-side up, and spoon the glaze evenly over it.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Spoon some of the glaze in the pan back over the chicken, then continue baking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes more. Turn the oven on to broil, and broil until the skin is dark golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes.