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Baked Balsamic Cranberry Chicken is a festive and delicious dish that’s perfect this time of year! With hints of bright orange juice and zest, tart cranberries, and warm spices, your whole family will enjoy the complex flavor of this simple chicken recipe! Serve it with your favorite seasonal sides for a comforting meal.

Top view of a skillet with 4 cooked chicken breast in a cranberry sauce.
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Cooked in one pan, this Cranberry Chicken Recipe is perfect for an easy dinner at home, yet it’s elegant enough to serve if you’re hosting guests. Marinated chicken breasts are seared to lock in all of the juices and then baked to perfection with a simple homemade cranberry sauce. Sprinkle the finished dish with fresh parsley and serve with healthy mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash salad for a meal that’s perfect for the holidays!

Why you will love this recipe

  • Packed with flavor: Golden chicken breasts, nestled with roasted cranberries and sauce. It’s a tasty combination of tangy, savory, and subtly sweet.
  • Easy preparation: Cooked up in one pan with simple ingredients, roasted chicken breasts with cranberries are a recipe that comes together with very little effort.
  • Great for the holidays: If you’re bored of the same roasted turkey, give this gorgeous, mouthwatering chicken recipe a try! It’s gorgeous to look at and even better to eat!
Chicken breast cooked in cranberry sauce.

Ingredients needed

Even though this recipe for cranberry chicken looks fancy, it requires minimal, super simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Chicken: We typically use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, however, the marinade would work on other cuts of meat, too. If you want to use boneless chicken thighs go right ahead.
  • Seasonings: The chicken rub is a mix of delicious, warm spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, and cayenne).
  • Balsamic vinegar: Balances out the sweetness of the maple syrup with a bold, complex flavor.
  • Maple syrup: Adds natural sweetness to balance the tart cranberries in the sauce.
  • Olive oil: For the marinade and for searing the chicken. You may use avocado oil.
  • Red onion: Brings a sweet and slightly pungent flavor to the sauce.
  • Cranberries: You can find fresh cranberries in the produce section of your local store when in season.
  • Orange: The juice and zest of the orange add a wonderful fresh flavor.
  • Garnish: For an extra pop of color, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over the finished dish.
Raw chicken breast, fresh cranberries, an orange, spices and an onion.

How to make this cranberry chicken recipe

  1. Marinate the chicken: Rub the chicken with salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, and cayenne. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Rub very well to coat on all sides, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour overnight.
  2. Sear the chicken: Preheat the oven to 370ºF. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, just until golden, then set aside.
  3. Make the cranberry sauce: Sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes, then add the cranberries, 1 tbsp maple syrup, juice, and zest of your orange. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to develop and meld.
  4. Bake and serve: Return the chicken back to the skillet and into the sauce. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through and the inside temperature reaches 165ºF. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Expert Tips

  • Use chicken breasts that are approximately the same size, so that they cook at the same rate. You can even lightly pound them to an even thickness, which will help to make them more tender.
  • Let the chicken sear in the pan without moving it around. The chicken will be able to get golden brown on all sides if you only move it once when flipping.
  • Don’t throw away the brown bits! The browned pieces in the pan from searing the chicken, add extra flavor to the sauce.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my chicken is done?

To ensure that the meat is done cooking meat, it’s a good idea to check the internal temperature before eating. Stick an internal digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. Chicken is safe to eat at 165°F.

How do you keep chicken breast moist when roasting?

Three steps in this recipe will keep the chicken moist. The marinade, searing the meat in a pan and the sauce all work together for the most tender, juiciest chicken breast ever!

Can I use dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries?

For this recipe, it’s essential that fresh or frozen cranberries are used. The juiciness of the cranberries is what will create a sauce that has plenty of liquid. If you’re looking for a chicken recipe with dried cranberries, try our cranberry-roasted chicken skillet.

top view of 4 baked chicken breast over a bead of cranberry sauce in an orange skillet

Serving suggestions

This dish goes well with so many different sides! Here are some of our favs to try:

top view of baked chicken breast in cranberry sauce in a pan

Storage recommendations

This cranberry roasted chicken is so tasty, that you’ll definitely want to enjoy leftovers (if there’s any left!).

  • Refrigerate: When everything has cooled completely, transfer it into an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Freeze: Once the chicken and sauce are cool, freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: Let the dish thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. Set oven to 350°F and place chicken and sauce in a baking dish. Warm the chicken to the desired temperature. You could also heat individual servings in a microwave.
Cranberry roasted chicken topped with cranberries and fresh parsley.

More chicken recipes

Top view of a skillet with 4 cooked chicken breast in a cranberry sauce.

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5 from 2 votes

Baked Balsamic Cranberry Chicken

By: Rena
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Top view of a skillet with 4 cooked chicken breast in a cranberry sauce.
Balsamic Cranberry Roasted Chicken is a festive and delicious dish that's perfect this time of year! With hints of bright orange juice and zest, tart cranberries and warm spices, your whole family will enjoy the complex flavor of this very simple recipe! Serve it with your favorite seasonal sides for a comforting meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium orange, juice, and zest of
  • Optional: freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Rub the chicken with salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, and cayenne. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Rub very well to coat on all sides, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 370ºF. Heat the remaining tbsp of oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, just until golden, then set aside.
  • Sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes, then add the cranberries, 1 tbsp maple syrup, juice, and zest of your orange. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to develop and meld.
  • Return the chicken back to the skillet and into the sauce. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through and the inside temperature reaches 165ºF. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

Notes

Storage recommendations
    • Refrigerate: When everything has cooled completely, transfer it into an airtight container. It can be stored for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
    • Freeze: Once the chicken and sauce are cool, freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months.
    • Reheat: Let the dish thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. Set oven to 350°F and place chicken and sauce in a baking dish. Warm the chicken to the desired temperature. You could also heat individual servings in a microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 267kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 25gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 718mgPotassium: 585mgFiber: 3gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 229IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 47mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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