Cranberry Chicken

On my Wisconsin bucket list: visit a cranberry bog, then use said cranberries to make Cranberry Chicken.

Sticky Cranberry Chicken Thighs. The whole meal cooks in one pan and is healthy AND delicious. Winner dinner!

One of the dozens of things I didn’t know about Wisconsin when Ben coerced me to move here four years ago was that, for the past 20 years, Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production. Sure, the Massachusetts bogs of cranberry juice commercial fame are picturesque, but it’s plaid-clad Wisconsin that grows the largest haul.

So, in addition to the state’s fabulous selection of cheese and beer (which can be conveniently enjoyed at this public park biergarten), Wisconsin can boast cranberries too, and I’m glad. These tart little jewels give me happy holiday tingles and provide much-needed brightness on winter evenings, when the sun sets at 4:30. Why does daylight savings time need to end again?

One Pan Cranberry Chicken

As with nearly all of my groceries, I find my cranberries at Pick ‘N Save, the state’s largest buyer of local produce. I love seeing the way the cranberries are piled proudly right at the front of the store, like a big stack of rubies. Each red gems is prescious.

One Pan Cranberry Chicken. Juicy chicken with a sticky cranberry glaze. Ready in only 30 minutes!

An easy chicken recipe using fresh cranberries- Cranberry Chicken

Fresh cranberries receive the most attention at Thanksgiving in the form of cranberry sauce (please promise me you will make your own from scratch this year—I made this version with orange and honey last year. It takes less than 20 minutes and puts the can to shame!). Cranberry Chicken, however, proves that fresh cranberries also deserve a spot in your weeknight dinner rotation all fall and winter long.

One Pan Cranberry Chicken. Fresh cranberries make a sweet and savory sauce, and the whole meal is cooked in one skillet! Quick, healthy and delicious

This one pan wonder begins with fresh cranberries that are cooked down with honey, shallots, and spices to form a sweet, sticky, savory glaze. Chicken thighs are seared until golden and crispy on the outside and sweet and juicy on the inside. The sauce is slathered on the chicken, then earthy, fresh thyme is sprinkled on the sauce. Everything happens in the same pan, and fewer dishes = better tasting food. Can we agree?

One Pan Cranberry Chicken with Wild Rice. A fast and healthy dinner recipe!

To make the meal complete, I served our Cranberry Chicken with a side of wild rice and our favorite Balsamic Brussels Sprouts. Our dinner was cozy, bright, and a reminder that every season has jewels to treasure.

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Cranberry Chicken

One Pan Cranberry Chicken. Juicy chicken with a sticky cranberry glaze. Sweet, tangy and ready in only 30 minutes!

Yield: Serves 2-3

Total Time: 30 minutes


For the Chicken

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

For the Cranberry Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, for serving


  1. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place on a plate or tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature while you prepare the glaze.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the shallot and sauté until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cranberries, water, cider vinegar, and honey. Cook until the berries soften and begin to lose their shape, 5-8 minutes. Stir often so that the berries cook on all sides and much of the liquid cooks away. Once soft, roughly smash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon so that they burst, then stir in the ginger, salt, and allspice. The mixture will be very thick.
  3. Transfer the cranberry glaze to a bowl. With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet clean, then heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Once hot and shimmering, add the chicken thighs in a single layer, seasoning-side down. Let the chicken cook for 5-7 minutes undisturbed, until the first side is golden brown and does not stick to the pan. For the best browning, try not to move the chicken around in the pan as it cooks. Flip the chicken over, then cook it an additional 4-6 minutes, until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 165 degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and spoon the cranberry glaze over the top. Let rest 5 minutes, sprinkle with chopped fresh thyme, and serve with extra cranberry glaze for dipping.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

I’m sharing this post in partnership with Pick ‘N Save. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to provide quality content to you!

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...


  1. Just add it to my bucket list too! Pictures are beautiful :) 

  2. The cranberry glaze sounds just incredible! Interesting recipe.

  3. This looks fabulous! I am thinking that this might be nice instead of turkey this year for Thanksgiving. How do you think it would work in the oven,  and baked in a casserole for a party of 10?? 
    Thanks, Marcia

  4. Thank you Erin – sounds so good and I love cranberries.

  5. This dish sounds wonderful.  One pot is always a winner (just ask my husband…), and I like the sound of your dinner.  I’d probably do just plain roasted Brussels sprouts.  It just occurred to me that this could be a great Thanksgiving dinner when there are only two people, who don’t want a lot of leftovers

  6. Oh my gosh, look at the color of that beautiful sauce on the chicken!! I had no idea that Wisconsin produces the most cranberries! Whenever I think of cranberries, I always think about those big, fashion-forward overalls that farmers wear to harvest the berries!

  7. oh yummy!! This would be really good!!

  8. This would be really good! Thank you for sharing.

  9. Cranberries are so tart, and there is vinegar in the sauce, which seems like it will make the sauce VERY tart, with only 1 tablespoon of honey added.  I’m kind of afraid to try this recipe. Is the sauce really delicious without more sweetener added?

  10. I stumbled upon your website while on Pinterest.  Everything I have tried has been fantastic.  I am excited to try this recipe with cranberries because we have an organic cranberry marsh in northern wisconsin!  I am always looking for new recipes.

  11. Erin, thanks to you, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  We had the cranberry chicken, your vanilla bean sweet potato casserole and a chard and persimmon salad from another blog.  This is a dinner I could definitely do again, although I will have to put a bit more honey in the cranberries because they were too tart for my husband’s tastes.  Not for mine, though.  Hope you and Ben have had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  12. Delicious! I did not make any modifications to this recipe, except that I had to cook my chicken thighs a bit longer. I served this with Uncle Ben’s wild rice and a side of butter-sautéed Brussels Sprouts. Will DEFINITELY make this again!

    Rating: 4.5
    • Hooray, Keisha! I’m so glad to hear this recipe was a winner for you! Thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review and for sharing what you served it with!

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