While French onion soup seems to be reserved for beef in form of soup, it also pairs delightfully well other proteins; chicken and even pork! And then this French Onion Baked Chicken was born!
Since French onion is one of my favorite soups, but I rarely feel like cooking it up on a weeknight, I thought making up an easy baked chicken recipe with all of my favorite elements would be a second. Juicy chicken breasts topped with a rich French onion soup, melty cheese and of course a little crunch in the form of croutons.
This french onion chicken recipe brings the classic flavors of french onion soup into one delicious dish fit for any occasion. It’s made with simple ingredients and it’s an easy dinner recipe that your whole family will love.
Why You’ll Love This French Onion Baked Chicken
- Easy – This French onion chicken bake is an easy way to make a complete meal in one dish with very little prep time.
- Versatile – While this chicken bake can certainly be the main event at the dinner table, it can also easily be served as a side dish or as a topping for mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles, pasta or cauliflower rice.
- Quick – It takes little time to prep and then the rest is hands-off.
- Appealing – This is the type of meal the entire family will enjoy. With flaky biscuits and plenty of ooey gooey cheese, even the pickiest eaters might overlook if you snuck some veggies and healthy goodness into their meal.
The ingredient list is simple and made from pantry staples.
- Low sodium beef broth – You can also use bouillon – just check the substitution amounts. Low sodium allows you to control the saltiness. You can use regular, but be mindful of this when adding additional kosher salt late and make sure you taste test first. And of course, feel free to make your own!
- Balsamic vinegar – Balsamic complements poultry and also brings an acidic brightness.
- Olive oil – I like to use olive oil for its flavor and the way it works in this recipe, but feel free to use the oil of your choice. Avocado oil would be my second pick.
- Dried thyme leaves – This ingredient adds earthy depth. Fresh can be used, but since this is an easy recipe, I went for the spice rack.
- Garlic powder – It’s easy to use powder, but you can use minced fresh cloves garlic if you prefer.
- Ground black pepper – Freshly ground will pack the most punch. White pepper or a table shaker are other options.
- Coarse Kosher salt – A little goes a long way with high quality salt. Avoid being heavy handed since the cheese, caramelized onions and broth will also bring saltiness to the dish.
- Skinless Boneless chicken breasts – Tender chicken breasts are what we recipe tested with, but there is no reason why you can’t substitute chicken thighs, bone-in or boneless.
- Caramelized onions – In a large skillet, caramelize any sweet onions you like — yellow onions and Vidalia onions are some of my favorites to use. Make extra and you can refrigerate or freeze them to throw into your favorite French onion soup recipe another time (or make onion jam). There is a difference between simply sauteing and caramelizing, so make sure you read up on it! Sliced onions like yellow onion have the best sweet flavor.
- Gruyere cheese – The slices of swiss make it easier to get it on the dish quickly but you can also shred fresh gruyere cheese, which is more authentic.
- Mozzarella cheese – Shredding at home makes it fresher and better, but if you only have shredded mozzarella in your fridge you can use that.
- Garlic croutons – Make sure the croutons are crumbled, yet coarsely. Just throw them in a ziploc bag and crush them. They are the slab of bread that usually tops a crock of soup. I love incorporating texture into a generally smooth dish.
How to Make French Onion Baked Chicken
- In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients with the spices and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet. I love using cast iron for the this purpose! Much better than baking in a casserole dish.
- Sear the chicken breasts on all sides until browned but without cooking all the way through. It should take just a few minutes on each side. Browning the meat before baking adds unmai flavors and will help to further deepen the sauce.
- Pour the beef broth and spice mixture over the chicken in the skillet. Continue cooking until it is at a low simmer — broth should be mildly bubbling. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Top the chicken with the caramelized onions. Spread them liberally so that they cover the chicken. Then, top with the cheese and bake.
- Once the chicken comes to temperature, and the cheese is golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to rest.
- Just before plating, garnish with the garlic croutons and herbs.
- White or red wine – You can add a dash of white wine to the onion mixture or the beef broth to add some brightness or depth.
- Seasoning – Add a dash of Italian seasoning to the chicken for subtle extra flavoring. Substitute soy sauce for salt some added umami.
- Low carb – To make this recipe low carb simply omit the croutons.
- Cheese – Consider substituting a slice of provolone cheese for each slice of swiss cheese instead, or mix the two.
- Method – You can easily adapt this recipe to make it in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or pressure cooker.
- Swap the Salt– Instead of coarse Kosher salt, reduce by half to only 1/2 teaspoon and use poultry seasoning or seasoned salt.
Storage and Freezing
You can store this French Onion Chicken Bake in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze for up to three months.
More Chicken Recipes
- Creamy Garlic Chicken
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Juicy Brined Chicken
- Orange Chicken
French Onion Baked Chicken
- 2/3 cup low sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 ½ cups caramelized onions
- 1/2 cup Swiss or Gruyere cheese shredded
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- ½ cup garlic croutons coarsely crumbled
- Minced thyme or parsley for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a liquid measuring cup or mixing bowl, whisk together the beef broth, vinegar, thyme, garlic pepper and salt. Set aside.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sear chicken breasts on all sides until browned. They will not be cooked the whole way through.
- Pour the beef broth mixture over the chicken, heating until at a low simmer.
- Top with the caramelized onions and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the chicken registers at 160°F.
- Remove and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes (carry-over cooking will bring it up to 165°F).
- Before serving, sprinkle liberally with garlic croutons and garnish with fresh thyme or parsley, if desired.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.