Unforgivingly juicy, deliciously festive, and super flavorful – that’s cranberry chicken for you! This recipe is quick and easy and can feed a whole family!
Cranberries receive a lot of attention during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, especially in the form of a tangy cranberry sauce. If you are a chicken lover, you’ll enjoy this super simple recipe of cranberry chicken.
My entire family loves juicy cranberry chicken. It’s a beautiful dish to serve on Christmas dinner. Just look at those bright, holiday-appropriate colors!
But guess what? This is an easy-enough-to-serve-any-weeknight kind of dinner. Yes, it’s beautiful and stunning. But it’s also SUPER easy to prepare!
But what really steals my heart is the use of pantry staples. Even if you don’t have something in hand, you can find it in almost all the big grocery stores around you.
This dish is also perfect for meal prep lunch. Make it on Sunday and heat it up for lunch for days!
Ingredient List of Cranberry Chicken
Chicken Breasts – Chicken is a great source of lean protein and one of the easiest-to-cook meat. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe. And no, they won’t turn out dry as long as you don’t overcook them. You can use bone in breasts or even thighs for this recipe as well. If you’re using bone-in chicken, increase the cooking time accordingly.
Rosemary – Rosemary has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. I used fresh rosemary for that strong, lavender-like aroma. Separate the leaves from the stem and chop the herb finely.
Thyme – Another Mediterranean cooking staple, thyme adds a slightly citrusy and minty flavor to the chicken. Again, chop the fresh thyme leaves before seasoning your chicken.
Avocado Oil – It’s the high smoke point that I love about avocado oil. It also isn’t an inflammatory oil like vegetable oil can be. Olive oil can work here as well if that’s what you have on hand.
Balsamic Vinegar – It’ll help deglaze the pan after you’ve seared the chicken breasts. This will add tremendous flavor. Balsamic vinegar has a nice complex sweetness to it that combines pretty well with the tart cranberries.
Fresh Cranberries – The star of the show! Whole Cranberries burst open upon cooking, which creates a delicious cranberry sauce that’s perfect for this dish.
Maple Syrup – Fresh cranberries have a bitter and tart flavor. Maple syrup is a great option to balance that out. You can use honey or agave nectar, too.
Ginger – For the delicious aroma! I prefer freshly chopped ginger – nothing like it!
Dried Cloves – Cloves add a warm, slightly sweet, and aromatic flavor to the dish. Crush them if you want a deeper flavor.
Cinnamon – Just a pinch will do wonders for the overall flavor profile. Use ground cinnamon for an even distribution of flavor.
Salt & Pepper – The ultimate duo in seasoning! Use generously to taste.
You can get the details on the quantities in the recipe card attached at the bottom of the post.
Ideas for Additional Ingredients
Chicken is a happy-go-lucky bird. It’s easy to work with and pairs deliciously with a ton of other ingredients. If you feel the need, here are some other simple ingredients that you can add to this easy roasted cranberry chicken recipe.
Lemons – Use the entire thing for another layer of zesty and slightly bitter flavor. If you’re more comfortable with lemon juice, that works, too. Orange zest and orange juice will do the same thing.
Brown Sugar – Replace maple syrup with brown sugar. It’ll caramelize the berries, which will be delicious.
Green Beans – Add some additional texture with these beautifully green and crunchy beans. Wouldn’t the green and red create a perfect festive look? Ah, lovely!
How to Make Easy Cranberry Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat the chicken dry.
- In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Season the dried chicken
breasts on both sides.
- Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat in a large oven-proof skillet. (I use a cast
iron skillet for this.)
- When the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes per
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon,
and dried cloves.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and deglaze the bottom of the skillet .
- Add the cranberries to the skillet and nestle them between the chicken breasts.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for an additional 8-15 minutes*, until the
internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees and the cranberries are starting to
- Serve each chicken breast topped with the cranberries. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- Never overcook your chicken! It’ll dry out the juices. Also, adjust the cooking time according to the size of the chicken breasts you’re using. Thicker ones take longer, but smaller ones will cook quickly.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken. I prefer an instant-read thermometer for quick and accurate readings.
- Let your chicken rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking before slicing into it. This helps the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful chicken breast.
Got leftover cranberry chicken? Store it! Feel free to splash in some water when reheating to rehydrate your cranberry sauce.
You can safely keep the remaining cranberry chicken in your fridge to enjoy the next day. Just use an airtight container. This way, it’ll last for three days at least.
If you want to freeze it, use a freezer-safe bag. Expect three months of shelf-life. To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight and reheat it in a slow cooker.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use My Air Fryer for This Recipe?
Absolutely! Follow the same instructions, but transfer from pan to your air fryer to finish and adjust the cooking time and temperature according to your Air Fryer’s manual. It may take less time than the oven.
Can I Use Another Cut of Chicken?
Sure! You can use skinless chicken thighs if that’s what you have. You can use bone-in chicken, but you’ll need to cook them longer.
Will Frozen Cranberries Work Well?
Since the season of purchasing fresh cranberries is short, if they aren’t available when you want to make this, you can use frozen. If you’re using frozen cranberries, thaw them before adding them to the pan. If you add them frozen, the cooking time will need to be adjusted.
What to Serve with Cranberry Chicken
There’s so many compliments to this meal! Enjoy it as a complete meal with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. For a fuller meal, pair it with brown rice or quinoa. Get some specific ideas below:
If you make this Cranberry Chicken recipe, or any Happy Healthy Mama recipe, I would LOVE to see it! Please take a pic and share it on Instagram or the Happy Healthy Mama Facebook page and tag me @happyhealthymama and use the hashtag #happyhealthymamarecipes to be featured.
Also, if you try it, would you mind rating the recipe? It’s VERY helpful for me and other readers if the recipes have ratings and reviews. I appreciate you!Print