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Balsamic Chicken Thighs

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These balsamic chicken thighs are an easy and flavorful one pot meal! You’ll love the rich flavors of our homemade balsamic chicken marinade paired with pearl mozzarella and fresh basil. Serve with pasta or a salad!

You’re going to absolutely love these balsamic chicken thighs — we’re making them completely in a cast iron (on the stove top and then finish in the oven), and they’re doused in a bath of our amazing balsamic chicken marinade.

I love prepping the balsamic chicken marinade the night before so that when it comes time to making the dish, it’s a breeze. We loved eating these thighs over pasta with a salad, but they’d be delicious paired with a grain and a green as well.

What You Need for Balsamic Chicken Thighs

For the balsamic chicken marinadE

  • Balsamic Vinegar: Infuses a rich, tangy-sweet flavor and helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Olive Oil: Provides a rich texture and enhances the overall richness of the dish.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a zesty kick and helps emulsify the marinade.
  • Brown Sugar: Balances the acidity of the balsamic with a bit of sweetness.
  • Dried Thyme: Adds a warm herby flavor to the marinade.

For the Chicken

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs: Serves as the protein base and soaks up the flavorful marinade.
  • Olive Oil (again): Used for cooking the chicken and enhancing its flavor.
  • Dry White Wine: Deglazes the pan, and adds depth to the sauce.
  • Tomato Paste: Introduces a rich, tomato-y flavor to the sauce.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Provide bursts of juicy sweetness and vibrant color.
  • Mozzarella Pearls: Adds creamy, cheesy goodness. Don’t skip these!
Grilled chicken in a skillet on a white background.

Easy Ingredient Swaps

Chicken: We’ve tested this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well as breasts. Bone-in chicken thighs will work, too, but they will need a longer time to sear and cook. 

Mozzarella: You can use large mozzarella pearls or chunks of mozzarella in place of the small pearls. 

For a thicker sauce: Start by removing the chicken from the pan. Then, remove ½ cup of the liquid in the pan and whisk 3 teaspoons of cornstarch into the sauce. Add the cornstarch sauce back into the pan and bring to a light simmer until it thickens, and then add the chicken back into the pan.  

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Grilled chicken in a skillet with tomatoes.

Top Tips

Avoid placing the chicken thighs on the pan cold: This may cause the chicken to stick to the hot pan.

Season the chicken thighs well: Don’t skip on the marinating time for this chicken recipe! Allowing enough time for the meat to marinade will yield a much more flavorful chicken in the end.

Allow for the mozzarella to melt: Remember to top this dish with mozzarella when there is 5-10 minutes of bake time left. This will give the cheese enough time to melt — and who doesn’t love gooey mozzarella 😀

Grilled chicken in a skillet on a white background.

try it!

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Our go-to balsamic chicken marinade is what gives these balsamic chicken thighs their amazing flavor. Bookmark this marinade to use over and over again!

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A skillet with chicken in a sauce with basil leaves.

Storage

Store any leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Note that the sauce will thicken as the chicken sits.

To reheat, place in the oven at 350°F and bake until heated through or when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

A plate of pasta with chicken, tomatoes and basil.

How to Serve this Dish

We recommend serving the chicken over pappardelle pasta, but any pasta will do. Looking for something on the greener side? We love serving this with our caprese quinoa salad, The Cheese Knees’ classic caprese salad, roasted broccoli, or our balsamic sea salt roasted brussels sprouts.

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.



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