Skillet Orange Cranberry Chicken -crisp, pan-seared chicken breasts, simmered in a sweet and savory cranberry-orange sauce. This recipe is a great way to transform leftover cranberry sauce into a quick and cozy weeknight dinner the whole family will love. Gluten-free option included.
If you're looking for a way to repurpose your leftover holiday cranberry sauce, you've come to the right place. For this one-skillet orange cranberry chicken, you will use whole berry cranberry sauce and freshly squeezed orange juice to make a mouth-watering pan sauce to pair with juicy pan-fried chicken breasts.
This insanely delicious orange cranberry chicken comes together in 35 minutes or less. What I love the most about this dish is that it is simple enough for busy weeknights and elegant enough for dinner parties. Not to mention, with a few swaps, this recipe can be made gluten-free!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's filled with fun and festive flavors, perfect for the holiday season!
- You'll only need 35 minutes and a handful of ingredients.
- This is the BEST way to use leftover cranberry sauce.
- Everything comes together in one pan!
- The gluten-free adaptation is just as yummy.
Ingredients You'll Need
- All-purpose Flour: The chicken is lightly coated in seasoned flour to create lightly browned and crisped surfaces. You can also use gluten-free flour! See RECIPE TIPS for gluten-free adaptation.
- Seasoned Salt: flavors the flour with a blend of spices and herbs.
- Chicken: You'll need about 4 boneless, skinless breasts. You can also use boneless, skinless thighs here. What's more important is that you pound the chicken out to an even thickness.
- Olive Oil & Butter: Using a little bit of both prevents sticking and helps achieve perfectly crisped, moist and flavorful chicken.
- Sweet Onion & Garlic: intensifies the savory flavors to balance the tart fruit flavors.
- Orange Juice: Using freshly squeeze orange juice makes a world of difference. It brightens up the whole recipe!
- Chicken Bouillon: So for the bouillon, I highly recommend Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base for the most decadent flavor. See RECIPE NOTES for gluten-free adaptation.
- Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce: Homemade cranberry sauce is a winner in this dish and only takes about 10 minutes to make with a few simple ingredients. I usually make it the day before I plan to make this recipe. In a pinch, you can use canned prepared whole berry cranberry sauce.
- Paprika: adds subtle sweet and smokey flavor and a dash of color.
- Fresh Parsley: This is totally optional but definitely recommended. Garnishing the dish with parsley makes the sweet and savory flavors more vibrant and delicious.
How To Make Orange Cranberry Chicken
Step 1: Pound out chicken. Pat your chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan, pound the chicken out to an even thickness.
Step 2: Make breading. Add the flour and seasoned salt to a resealable bag. Shake the bag to combine.
Step 3: Bread chicken. One at a time, add the chicken breasts to the bag and shake to coat in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess and set aside on a clean plate.
Step 4: Brown chicken. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until just melted. Add the breaded chicken breasts to the pan and cook until lightly browned on one side (about 4 minutes).
Step 5: Add garlic and onion. Flip each breast and cook on the other side for one minute. Then, add the garlic and onion to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and fragrant and the chicken is lightly browned on both sides (but not cooked through).
Step 6: Add cranberry-orange sauce. In a small bowl, whisk the chicken bouillon into the orange juice and then add the mixture to the pan to deglaze. Add the cranberry sauce and paprika and mix everything together well.
Step 7: Cook chicken through. Lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
Step 8: Thicken cranberry-orange sauce. If you prefer a thicker sauce, uncover the pan once the chicken is cooked through, raise the heat to medium and let cook until the sauce thickens (about 2 to 3 more minutes). Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and enjoy!
- Don't skip pounding out your chicken! Not only will it help the chicken cook evenly all the way through, but it also helps tenderize.
- Before squeezing your orange, zest the peel and set it aside. Sprinkle a bit of the zest over each piece of chicken as garnish before serving.
- The olive oil and butter must be hot enough that the chicken sizzles when it touches it but not so hot that the oil and butter begin to smoke.
- The nutritional information is based on four 6-ounce chicken breasts. To stretch the dish out into 6 servings, slice the chicken breasts into smaller 4-ounce portions. For 6 servings, each serving has about 270 calories, 25 grams of protein, 25 grams carbs, and 7 grams of fat.
This festive dish is just as delightful when made with wheat-free ingredients. Most of the ingredients are inherently gluten-free. To make the whole recipe gluten-free:
- Gluten-free Flour: Use your favorite gluten-free all-purpose breading. When seared in hot butter and oil, it will create a beautifully browned coating.
- Gluten-free Chicken Bouillon: Better Than Bouillon doesn't make any gluten-free claims, so it's best to use a certified gluten-free chicken bouillon like Herb-Ox granulated bouillon.
- Chicken thighs or pork: Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. You can even use pork chops or sliced pork loin. You'll need to adjust the cooking time a bit to cook the pork to temperature.
- Give it a kick: Add a little spice to this sweet and savory dish with a dash of cayenne or chipotle chili powder.
What To Eat with Cranberry Orange Chicken
This recipe is great for busy weeknights and an impressive entree for guests. Complete the festive meal with a couple of simple side dishes.
- Rice - White rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice tastes great with the sweet and sticky cranberry-orange sauce.
- Potatoes - The options are endless -mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, roasted potatoes and roasted sweet potatoes are great options.
- Salad - Keep things simple with mixed greens or serve with a winter salad like roasted beetroot salad or kale crunch salad.
- Green Vegetables - Green veggies look beautiful plated with the deep red cranberry-colored sauce. Try with these amazing bacon-wrapped green beans or green beans almondine.
Storing & Reheating
Cranberry orange chicken is best served straight from the skillet when the chicken is crisp and juicy, and the sauce is warm and bubbly.
To store leftovers: let cool completely to room temperature and then keep in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this one.
To reheat: microwave for 2 to 3 minutes or heat on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
For the boldest flavor, homemade cranberry sauce is the way to go. However, canned whole berry cranberry sauce works too. Ocean Spray has a variety of canned whole berry cranberry sauce to choose from.
No. To make this dish, you need to use prepared whole berry cranberry sauce.
Cranberry sauce kept in an airtight container lasts in the fridge for 10 to 14 days. Plenty of time to make cranberry orange chicken with your leftover holiday cranberry sauce!
If you love this recipe I would be so grateful if you could leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below. I love reading your comments and feedback!
Skillet Orange Cranberry Chicken
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour can also use gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 24 oz chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup sweet onion very finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed, or not from concentrate juice
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon *see notes
- 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce *see notes
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- fresh parsley *optional for garnish
- Using a meat mallet, pound out the chicken breasts lightly to an even thickness.
- Combine the flour and seasoned salt in a sealable bag and shake to mix.
- Add the chicken breasts, one at a time. and shake to coat. Shake off any excess flour and set aside.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, non-stick, skillet over medium heat until butter is just melted.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on one side, until lightly browned.
- Flip the breasts over and cook for 1 more minute, then add the minced garlic and onions to the pan and continue to cook for 3 more minutes, stirring the onions occasionally, until the onions are soft and the chicken has lightly browned on both sides.
- Stir the chicken bouillon into the orange juice and add to the pan to deglaze. Add the cranberry sauce and paprika, stir to mix well.
- Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. with a meat thermometer.
- If you want to thicken the sauce a bit, uncover when cooking time is done, and turn the heat up to medium. Cook 2-3 minutes more until sauce has thickened.
*Posted February 20, 2012. Updated December 10, 2021.