Chicken With Cherries Recipe


Chicken with Cherries Recipe makes a great appetizer or a main course meal. The combination of cherry, white wine and spices makes a unique and delicious sauce. chicken with cherry tomatoes and garlic is my favorite holiday dish.

Sweet and tangy chicken recipe is a simple and easy recipe that doesn’t need any special ingredients. It’s very similar to chicken stew as it gives the same tenderness and softness, but here it’s all about the taste of cherry! Below you will find the health benefits of eating chicken.

Sweet and Tangy Chicken Recipe

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves, about 6 sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts) a couple of handfuls
  • 3 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • 1 cup dry white wine, 1/4 of a bottle
  • 1 cup dried cherries, a couple of handfuls
  • 2 cups plain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, eyeball it
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup honey, eyeball a healthy drizzling
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


  1. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the 3 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Season chicken liberally with half of the thyme, salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. In the bottom of a medium sauce pot, heat and toast pine nuts over moderate heat and remove. Add 2 cups stock and 1 tablespoon butter to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Return the chicken skillet to the burner over medium-high heat, add 1 turn of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, add the onion, celery, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the celery and onions are tender. Add the white wine, and cook until the pan is almost dry, 1 minute. Add the 2 cups boiling chicken stock, and dried cherries and continue to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan. Turn the heat off the under the pan. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter in small pieces and whisk until it has completely melted.
  4. In a medium saucepan bring the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to a boil, add couscous, allspice, cinnamon and a little salt. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle honey over the couscous and add the pine nuts, scallions and parsley. Toss and fluff with a fork to combine.
  5. Serve the chicken whole or sliced with cherry sauce poured over it and couscous alongside. Dark seared greens or simple salad complete the meal.

Chicken With Cherries Recipe

  • 15m prep
  • 40m cook
Roast chicken with cherries in red wine

Coated with fragrant herbs, this roast is complemented by tart cherries.

Food Writer

594 calories per serve

Allergens: Recipe may contain sulphites and alcohol.

  • 14 Ingredients
  • 4 Method Steps
  • 2 x 1.6kg whole chickens
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Cherries in red wine
  • 670g jar morello cherries, drained
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh orange juice
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 500ml (2 cups) dry red wine
  • 2 tsp corn flour

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  • Step 1 Place chickens, breast-side up, on a clean work surface and cut the chickens into pieces.
  • Step 2 Preheat oven to 210°C. Combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic, lemon rind, chopped rosemary, tarragon and fennel seeds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 3 Place the chicken in a large baking dish. Rub the oil mixture over chicken to coat. Top with the rosemary sprigs. Roast, basting occasionally, for 40 minutes or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.
  • Step 4 Meanwhile, to make the cherries in red wine, cook cherries, orange juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the cherries are soft and have released their juices. Reserve 60ml (1/4 cup) of wine. Bring remaining wine to boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the cherry mixture and cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir reserved wine and cornflour in a bowl. Add to the cherry mixture. Boil for 1 minute or until thick. Serve with the chicken.

Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic

Cast iron chicken thighs with cherries is the perfect one-pan dinner. It’s easy to make and perfectly balanced in flavour – and you’ll LOVE the extra crispy chicken skin! A great dish to use fresh cherries at the height of the season!

crispy chicken thighs in a skillet surrounded by juicy cherries with a pink napkin around the handle.

At this time of year, we love cherries – like LOOOOOVE cherries. They are totally the best thing ever and they are the perfect match for this cast iron chicken thighs dinner. Cherries are the ultimate summer fruit. Do you agree? We love having them for breakfast in these Cherry Bakewell Quinoa Breakfast Parfaits, or in desserts like these epic Dark Chocolate Cherry S’mores Bars or this Cherry Almond Polenta Cake which is super popular right now! So, I think it’s about time I shared a savoury cherry dish with you. I’ve actually been making this cast iron chicken thighs recipe for a couple of years now, so I was excited to shoot and write up the recipe!

Growing up, I never mixed sweet and savoury foods together. That was such a no-no in my mind. Anyone else? But ever since I got married, my husband helped open up the world of sweet and savoury (especially fruit and meat) and now I just love it. So this is a celebration of cherries, but paired with the most beautiful, tender chicken thighs with the crispiest skin. Those chicken thighs are partnered with roasted garlic, lemon and thyme all perfectly tied together with a sweet, tangy and savoury sauce that begs to be mopped up with lots of crusty bread. Or maybe you’ll skip the bread and just lick your plate… no judgement here!

Cast iron chicken thighs with cherries is such an easy dish to put together and I love that it only uses one pan. I mean, who else hates washing up?! I can’t wait for you to make this, so let’s get straight to it!

Don’t forget to leave us a comment and rating on the recipe below, I love hearing from you and know you’ll love it as much as we do

close up of crispy chicken thighs with cherries in a skillet with thyme leaves and lemon slices around.

Why you’ll love this recipe

If not convinced already, here are some reasons why you need to make these cast iron chicken thighs with cherries:

Crispy – crispy chicken skin is one of those simple pleasures of life, I don’t care what anyone says, it just is, perfectly savoury and salty.

Easy – this recipe is so easy to throw together you can even do it for a midweek meal, start it on the stove and finish in the oven… simple throw it together in one pan.

One pan – as said above, no one likes doing the dishes, so why make more of them dirty? This recipe is the perfect use for your heavy duty cast iron skillet.

Leftovers – if not completely devoured by the family or friends, the leftovers make a lovely salad, check out the tips later in the post!

What ingredients do I need?

You only need simple ingredients for these cast iron chicken thighs, I’ve got all the tips and advice you need for each below:

bowls of ingredients including chicken thighs, cherries, garlic, lemon, thyme with labels and on a warm background.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – get the best quality ones you can find for your budget. I used 6 large chicken thighs which weighed 1 kg (2.2 lbs) before the excess skin was trimmed. If your chicken thighs are slightly larger or smaller, you might need to adjust the cooking time a little.

Olive oil – use standard olive oil rather than extra virgin (which is reserved for dressings) to start off the wonderful browning of the skin.

Garlic – a whole head of garlic seems like a lot but the cloves caramelise in their skins as they roast and taste delicious and sweet. You can squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and make any leftover sauce into a dressing with them.

Lemon – brings another dimension of acidity to the dish which pairs wonderfully with cherries. Make sure to use unwaxed, or just scrub them well if you can only find waxed ones.

Fresh thyme – a match made in heaven with chicken, lemons and thyme. If you get a plant from the supermarket and look after it, it will last a long time. 

Fresh cherries – the absolute hero of the dish, buy them in season for the best for sweetness and depth of flavour. If they’re not in season for you, you can substitute frozen, but I would recommend thawing and draining them before using, otherwise the sauce might be too watery.

Pomegranate molasses – such a wonderful ingredient; sweet and tart at the same time, it an adds another layer of complexity to the dish. If you can get hold of it, use it! We use this pomegranate molasses. If you can’t get hold of or don’t want to use it, up the honey to 2 tablespoons and add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar instead.

Honey – helps create a glaze and adds sweetness to balance out the acidity and tartness that comes from the lemon and pomegranate molasses. 

Salt & pepper – always season well, food is to be enjoyed and salt brings out the flavours from each ingredient so much more! 

How to make it

Follow these simple steps to success in making your next favourite cast iron chicken thigh recipe:

Process steps of trimming chicken thighs, browning them in a skillet and prepping for oven.
  1. Firstly, tidy up your chicken thighs, removing excess skin and fat if needed. If the skin is folded under the thigh, it will just go soggy in the juices produced whilst cooking.
  2. Season the thighs with salt and pepper and place skin side down in a preheated cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to move them during this time – let them crisp up really well and turn beautifully golden.
  3. Turn the thighs so that they’re skin side up and arrange evenly in the pan.
  4. Place the thyme (toss the sprigs in oil first to prevent burning), garlic cloves and lemon slices in and around the chicken thighs and place in the preheated oven (200C/400F) for 10 minutes.
Process showing the addition of cherries and pouring over the pomegranate molasses and honey mixture
  1. Take the pan from the oven and scatter over the cherries, tucking them in and around the chicken.
  2. Drizzle over the honey and pomegranate molasses and then scatter over the lemon zest. Season the cherries with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

These cast iron skillet chicken thighs with cherries are really as simple to make as that. In just a few simple steps, with a few lovely ingredients, soon enough this will be your tasty dinner! I mean, come on, just look at that perfect golden, crispy skin!

Top tips for crispy chicken thighs

  1. Make sure you preheat your cast iron, it should be hot enough so when the oil is put in it will start shimmering.
  2. Ensure the skin is super dry, use a paper kitchen towel if needed to remove excess moisture before seasoning.
  3. Place the thighs skin side down and do not touch or move them. Let the skins get nice and golden after about 5-7 minutes. They will not stick, especially if your cast iron is well seasoned.
  4. Don’t pour the pomegranate molasses mixture over the skin whilst roasting them in the oven, just pour it over the cherries.
close up of crispy chicken skin and cherries surrounded with lemon slices thyme and garlic.

How to store it and what to do with leftovers?

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers of these cast iron chicken thighs (we usually do as there’s only two of us at home) here’s a bonus mini recipe for you to use them up, always a win as we’re all trying to be less wasteful! #loveyourleftovers

Once cooled down, store everything (including all those precious juices!) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and then follow these steps for a quick throw together salad:

You’ll need:

  • leftover cast iron chicken thighs with cherries (keep all the juices but discard the lemon slices!)
  • mixed salad leaves
  • sliced radishes and mini cucumbers
  • fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • your favourite packet of grains, we love these Glorious Grains from Merchant Gourmet
  • a few crumbles of feta cheese
  • some water and salt/pepper as required to adjust seasoning
  1. Peel off the skin from the thighs, you can crisp this back up in a frying pan or under a grill/broiler.
  2. Shred the chicken off the bone and throw in a bowl with salad leaves, sliced radishes and mini cucumbers, fresh cherries, grains and feta.
  3. Make the dressing by putting all the juices, including the caramelised garlic cloves (skin removed) in a blending jug with a splash of water and blend until smooth. Toss with your salad and season to taste. Enjoy your incredible leftover salad!
a crispy chicken thigh served on a plate with cherries, garlic and lemon with knife and fork to the side

Health Benefits of Eating Chicken

1. Body weight maintenance:  

With chicken being an excellent source of high quality protein, it helps in maintaining body weight especially for obese people. Adequate protein quantities would mean that your stomach stays full leaving no scope for binge eating. Including chicken two to three times in a week is not a bad idea, however, ensure to cook it in a healthy way.

2. That toned figure that you desired:  

Do you aspire to have a muscular and toned body, then chicken is your answer. The high protein content would give you the necessary energy to function properly. However, do ensure to balance it out with enough macro and micro nutrients in your diet.

3. Strong bones and healthy teeth:

The protein content in chicken helps in decreasing bone loss. Bone loss is a major concern for women (aged 30 and above) and the geriatric population.  Consuming 100gms of chicken breast would be sufficient in fulfilling half of your daily protein intake. Furthermore, the phosphorus in chicken helps in maintaining healthy teeth, bones, and ensures proper functioning of kidneys, liver and the central nervous system.

4. Increased metabolism

Since selenium is present in good quantities, consuming chicken would mean increase in metabolism rates especially the thyroid hormone, antioxidant defense system and immune function of the body.

5. Protection from cancer

You heard it right! Chicken is rich in niacin, a particular kind of Vitamin B that guards the body against cancer and other genetic complications.

6.   Rich in Niacin  

Another B-vitamin, niacin helps guard against cancer and other forms of genetic (DNA) damage.

7.   Natural Anti-depressant  

If you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin amino acid levels in your brain, enhancing your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to sleep.

8.   Promotes Eye Health   

An excellent source of retinol, alpha and beta-carotene, and lycopene (all derived from vitamin A) and all vital for healthy eyesight.

9.   Essential for Healthy Tissue   

Riboflavin (or Vitamin B2), found in chicken livers, will drastically reduce your skin problems and repair dry or damaged skin.

10.   Prevents Bone Loss 

If you’re entering your senior years and you’re concerned about Osteoporosis or arthritis, eating chicken will aid in your fight against bone loss thanks to the protein punch it packs!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep chicken from sticking to cast iron?

The number one rule is that you need to ensure your cast iron skillet is well seasoned! If it’s patchy and has rusty areas you need to spend some time giving it some TLC. Check out this video on how to restore, season and clean your cast iron skillet. Once seasoned correctly, place your skillet on a heat source and preheat over a medium to high heat, until it is hot, then add your oil – don’t preheat with the oil as it’ll potentially burn. Place your chicken thighs skin side down and don’t touch them for a few minutes. If you try to turn them too early, they will potentially stick. 

How do I cook bone in chicken thighs in a pan?

Make sure you pick an appropriate sized skillet for them to fit in with a little space in between; we recommend using a 10 inch cast iron skillet and preheating it over a medium high heat. Swirl a little oil in the pan and place your patted dry seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down and don’t move them for about 5-7 minutes. Flip them over and they should be lovely golden brown and crispy. Follow the rest of the recipe to make the cherry dish or if you just want to cook thighs on their own, place the skillet in a preheated oven (200C/400F) for 40 minutes. They will no longer be pink around the bone and read an internal temperature of 165F or 73C.

Why does food stick to my cast iron pan?

A couple of reasons: 
1. Your cast iron pan is incorrectly/poorly seasoned. How to restore, season and clean your cast iron skillet, seasoning builds over time too, don’t ruin it with incorrect washing of your skillet or highly acidic foods like tomatoes.
2. Your cast iron pan was not preheated enough, ensure it is preheated so when oil is added it shimmers and spreads easily over the base of the pan, then add your food.
3. Fat, ensure you add some fat to aid heat transfer contact between the food and pan, also fat makes things tasty and it aids polymerisation which in effect is when fat is baked onto the cast irons surface building up the seasoning.

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