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Skillet French Onion Chicken Breasts

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This French Onion Chicken skillet recipe is just as ooey, gooey, and cheesy as your favorite French onion soup but is packed with lean protein to keep you full. The best part is that it’s made in one skillet for easy cleanup and it’s ready in about 45 minutes!

Overhead view of a plate of skillet French onion chicken breasts smothered with gruyere cheese and served with steamed green beans.

One of my favorite things to do when I have time on the weekend is to go for a long drive with no destination in mind. We’ll find a small town and grab a meal at a local restaurant. We’ve found some real gems over the years!

I don’t have a typical order, and usually get whatever on the menu calls to me. But the one thing I can never seem to resist is French Onion soup. There’s just something about the rich broth, sweet onions, and gooey cheese that always hits the spot! 

This French onion chicken skillet takes the best parts of French onion soup and transforms it into a simple yet filling weeknight dinner. That classic flavor always brings back so many memories!

But aside from being utterly delicious, it’s:

  • Easy to cook;
  • Freezer friendly, perfect for families on the go;
  • A one-pot meal with minimal clean up;
  • Full of cheesy goodness in every bite!
Ingredients for making French onion chicken

French Onion Chicken Skillet Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the base of this recipe. Thinner breasts will cook faster. Mine here were HUGE so I split them crosswise before cooking.
  • Chicken or Beef Broth. Your choice — use whatever you have on hand! I used chicken both this time because I had a carton open already. 
  • Fresh Thyme. I absolutely love the flavor of fresh thyme and think it’s non-negotiable when it comes to getting that classic onion soup flavor. 
  • Flour. Just a little bit, to thicken the broth.
  • Yellow Onions. 
  • Baking Soda.
  • Dijon Mustard.
  • Gruyere Cheese.

How to Make French Onion Chicken

Start by browning your chicken breasts in a hot pan. Don’t worry about cooking them all the way through right now, since they’ll finish cooking in that delicious onion gravy. Right now, you just want to get some color on them. Transfer the chicken to a plate and save for later. 

Next, caramelize your onions. This is the longest step of this recipe, but I shared some tips below that will help speed things up. 

Once your onions are soft and jammy, add the flour and seasoning. Cook for a minute or two, then whisk in the broth

Return the chicken to the pan and bring everything to a simmer until the chicken is cooked through. (Use a meat thermometer to get the perfect temperature and avoid overcooking)

Smother with the shredded cheese and pop the pan under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbling and browned.

How to caramelize onions quickly

Properly caramelizing onions can take a really long time, which I don’t usually have. 

The secret to speeding things up? Add a pinch of baking soda to the pan!

This changes the Ph of the onions, helping them soften and brown more quickly. It also brings out their natural sweetness. Adding a splash of water to the pan during the first few minutes of cooking also helps the onions soften more quickly. 

Pro-Tip: If you’re really impatient, you can also make a big batch of caramelized onions (I love this method for slow cooker caramelized onions) and freeze them for later. Then just pull some out when you want to make this chicken! You can cut about 10 minutes off the total cooking time. 

A plate with skillet French onion chicken and green beans.

FAQs

What should I serve French onion chicken breast with?

This skillet dinner is so versatile! It’s delicious with rice, quinoa, or farro; over mashed potatoes; or with a green vegetable. I love steaming green beans or broccoli in the microwave while the chicken is broiling. It’s so effortless!

Can this be frozen?

Yes! Similar to chicken parmesan and other saucy recipes, these French onion chicken breasts freeze beautifully. To reheat, bake at 325F for 20 minutes, or until heated through.  

Can I use a different cheese?

Gruyere gives this recipe its classic flavor, but you can definitely swap in other good melting cheeses. I’ve made this with:

Provolone
Fontina
Mozzarella

They’re all delicious!

I’d avoid sharper Swiss cheeses, which lack creaminess and can overpower the other flavors in this recipe. They don’t typically melt well either. 

Can I use chicken thighs for this recipe? 

Definitely!

I personally love boneless, skinless chicken thighs but I developed this recipe to be made with chicken breasts since I know they’re more popular.

If you want to use thighs, follow the same instructions but keep an eye on the cooking time since they’re generally smaller and cook faster than breasts do. 

What kind of skillet should I use for this recipe?

You’ll need a skillet that can go under the broiler. I recommend stainless steel or cast iron.

Looking for more easy weeknight recipes? Try my Air Fryer Nashville Hot Chicken or One Pan Cacio e Pepe. You’ll also love my air fryer chicken drumsticks.

Serving up a plate of skillet French onion chicken, a block of gruyere and a cheese grater are on a cutting board to the side.

Skillet French Onion Chicken Breasts

This French Onion Chicken skillet recipe is just as ooey, gooey, and cheesy as your favorite French onion soup but is packed with lean protein to keep you full. The best part is that it’s made in one skillet for easy cleanup and it’s ready in about 45 minutes!
5
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 429 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 onions halved and sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup water
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the onion and water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Uncover and stir in the baking soda. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the broth, mustard and thyme. Bring to a rapid simmer.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with cheese. Broil for 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and browned (keep a close eye on the pan while it broils to prevent burning).

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 48gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 380mgPotassium: 843mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 346IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 316mgIron: 1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @TheBusyFoodieLauren or tag #busyfoodie!
This French Onion Chicken skillet recipe is just as ooey, gooey, and cheesy as your favorite French onion soup but is packed with lean protein to keep you full. The best part is that it’s made in one skillet for easy cleanup and it’s ready in about 45 minutes!
By on October 22nd, 2021
lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren!

I love to cook -- but even more importantly, I really like to eat! I have a demanding day job that keeps me busy, so time is precious. I'm a culinary school graduate and five-time cookbook author who's all about finding ways to make delicious, restaurant-quality meals at home on a tight schedule. Read more...

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