French Onion Chicken Skillet is French onion soup in a cheesy chicken skillet form! Tender chicken breasts are swimming in a thickened french onion sauce, covered with nutty grueyre cheese, and broiled until the cheese is gooey, golden brown, and crusty.
French Onion Chicken Skillet
French onion soup just got a whole lot more interesting, and, dare I say it? More delicious.
French Onion Chicken Skillet is just that. French onion soup with chicken, in a skillet.
But here’s a prettier picture: Seared chicken breasts swimming in an intoxicating pool of thickened French onion soup, topped with obscene amounts of nutty gruyere cheese, and broiled until said cheese is gooey, crusty, and completely addictive.
Can you think of anything better??
I’ve been so excited to post this recipe. For one, it’s such a great winter recipe. French Onion Chicken Skillet is one of those dishes that’s going to warm you from the inside out and keep you satisfied without weighing you down, which is always something I love this time of year.
However, the main reason I’ve been so excited to share French Onion Chicken Skillet with you guys is because it’s SO incredibly delicious. So delicious, if I were given the task of having to choose one thing to eat for the rest of eternity, it just may be this. And I am not ashamed to admit that I may have been seen briefly licking my plate clean after every last morsel was gone.
Another great thing about French Onion Chicken? From start to finish, including caramelizing those stubborn onions, this dish comes together in about 35 minutes. Another win.
Ingredients in French Onion Chicken Skillet
Butter and olive oil. French onion soup isn’t complete without a little bit of butter. Here, we use just a touch to cook the chicken along with a little bit of olive oil. Butter also makes an appearance when we caramelize the onions.
Chicken. I like to use chicken breasts on the smaller end, just because large portions aren’t my thing. If you want, you could also use chicken thighs.
Onions. French onion chicken skillet calls for onions, lots of them. If you’ve ever caramelized an onion before, then you know how much they cook down. Here, we need about five cups, which should equal about three medium-sized onions or two large onions.
Garlic. Just a little bit will do. And honestly, if garlic isn’t your thing, it can easily be left out.
Salt and sugar. Salt and sugar bring out the natural sugars in the onions when caramelizing them, plus it helps to speed up the process just a touch.
Cognac. This is my secret ingredient in French Onion Chicken Skillet. I am obsessed with the taste of cognac here. It adds a nutty, sweet aroma that’s so incredibly delicious. Please please please don’t skip it! You can buy a small bottle at your local liquor store pretty inexpensively.
White wine. A lot of French onion soup recipes call for red wine, but I find white wine compliments the onions and cognac a little bit better and makes this dish a little bit lighter.
Flour. Just a few tablespoons to thicken the sauce.
Beef broth. Any beef broth will do!
Fresh thyme. Fresh thyme adds a lovely fresh herbal note to this French onion chicken skillet. It’s a pretty pronounced flavor, so a little bit goes a long way, and it also makes a big difference in the end flavor of the dish, if you leave it out.
What is gruyere cheese?
Ok, so gruyere cheese is arguably the most important part of French onion soup. But what the heck is it? If you haven’t had gruyere cheese before, man you’re missing out! It’s kind of similar in flavor to American Swiss cheese, but has a sharper, more nutty flavor. It’s also a harder cheese than Swiss, and oftentimes aged much longer.
Even though it’s considered a hard cheese, it actually melts quite beautifully, which makes it the perfect cheese to use in fondue, and, you guessed it. French onion soup.
How to make French Onion Chicken Skillet
Brown the chicken.
The first thing you want to do is get a nice sear on your chicken breasts. I season both sides with plenty of salt and pepper and then sear them in a little bit of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Once they’re brown on both sides, take them out of the pan and transfer them to a plate. Cover with foil.
Caramelize the onions.
Add a little bit more butter to the same skillet you cooked the chicken in along with all of the onions. Toss and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add a little bit of sugar and plenty of salt to help get the process starting,
Now, this part takes a little bit of patience, but if you get through it, you’re well on your way to devouring French onion chicken skillet.
The process of caramelizing onions takes time.
When you slowly cook the onions, the sugars in the onion slowly release, turning them that beautiful golden brown color we all love. Make sure to stir the onions every few minutes or so, so they don’t start to brown or burn. After about 15 minutes, the onions should be caramelized enough for our French onion chicken skillet. They should be golden brown, soft, and super sweet.
Make the French onion sauce.
Add cognac and wine to the onions. Turn the heat back up to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the alcohol has cooked out. Stir in flour. Cook one minute. Whisk in beef broth and thyme leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken.
Add the chicken back to the sauce and let it cook for another few minutes until the sauce is thick and the chicken is just shy of being done.
Cover with cheese.
Evenly divide the cheese between the four chicken breasts. Pop the chicken into the broiler. Broil until the cheese is bubbly, brown, and crisp. Serve with fresh thyme.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes! You can make the entire dish in advance up until you broil the cheese. Cool the French onion sauce and chicken completely and store in the skillet you cooked it in. Be VERY careful to not overcook the chicken, since you will be heating it again later. Cover with a lid and store until you’re ready to eat. 30 minutes before re-heating, pull the skillet out to set at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the skillet with the lid on in the oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn it on broil. Cover the chicken with cheese and broil until bubbly and hot.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Be sure to cook the onions low and slow! Caramelizing the onions gives this French onion chicken skillet almost all of its flavor.
- If you can’t find cognac, you can replace it with white wine.
- If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use all beef broth.
What to serve with French Onion Chicken Skillet
- This everyday kale salad is one of my favorites and the perfect light and healthy salad to serve with soup.
- If you want your chicken with a side of pasta, this Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Orzo would compliment it perfectly!
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 small chicken breasts
- 5 cups sliced onion (about 3 medium onions)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup cognac
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (we use sauvignon blanc, but basically any white wine that's not sweet will work)
- 1 cup beef broth or stock
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 8 oz shredded gruyere cheese
- Large skillet
- Preheat the oven to broil.
- Heat a large skillet with high sides to a medium heat. Season chicken breasts with plenty of salt and a little bit of pepper on both sides. Once the skillet is hot, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Sear chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and on to a platter or plate. Cover with foil.
- Add remaining two tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Once the butter melts, add the onions. Stir to coat the onions. Add salt and sugar. Stir again. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to slowly caramelize the onions. Stir every few minutes. After about 15 minutes, the onions should be golden brown and caramelized.
- Stir in the cognac and white wine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the alcohol is cooked off and slightly reduced. Stir in flour. Cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in beef broth. Add thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly thicked. Add chicken back to the skillet and nestle in the sauce. Cook for another 2-3 mintues until the chicken is almost all the way cooked through. Evenly divide the cheese between the four chicken breasts. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Broil untilt the cheese is melted, brown and crisp.
- Serve immediately.