With hunks of crusty sourdough bread, sweet onions, and juicy chicken baked to crispy, caramelized perfection, this easy French Onion Chicken recipe transforms the flavors and ingredients of French onion soup into an easy weeknight one-pan dinner.
Put the words “French Onion” in front of just about any recipe, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to like it.
French onion chicken? Say no more. Just grab me a fork.
Whole roast chicken isn’t something I make often (I’m more of a Baked Chicken Thighs girl for ease), but when I saw a recipe for a French-onion-inspired roast chicken in Cooking Light, I couldn’t put it out of my head.
As tantalizing as the recipe sounded, I avoided the recipe because it was just too fussy.
It called for caramelizing the onions and fixing a sauce in one pan, scraping it all onto a second pan to bake, and butterflying a chicken—sorry, too much work for my average Tuesday (this easy Italian Chicken is more my style).
However, I was not to be dissuaded easily.
I was determined to make an easy French onion chicken, and, friends, this recipe is it!
5 Star Review
“Have made this recipe almost 10 times now and it is one of our all-time faves. SO DELISH.”
— Anna —
I love when big ideas turn into something truly magical.
Caramelizing onions on a sheet pan in the oven and using that same pan to bake the chicken and toast the bread was a total experiment.
It worked even better than I imagined!
- The onions break down in the oven, sweeten, and turn into a glorious caramelized sauce that’s ideal for spooning right over the chicken and bread. (I bet it would be divine on Smothered Pork Chops too.)
- The roughly cut bread pieces transform into big, golden, lightly crispy “croutons” that absorb the chicken’s juices for maximum flavor.
- A touch of Dijon mustard (so French!), real butter, whole cloves of roasted garlic, and a sprinkle of fresh thyme take this dish to all new levels of delish.
Spoiler Alert: If you love my Instant Pot French Onion Soup, you’ll love this healthy French onion chicken thighs recipe even more.
How to Make French Onion Chicken
This easy and healthy French onion chicken oven recipe is made with simple, wholesome ingredients and no soup mix.
Prepared on a single sheet pan (like Maple Dijon Chicken and Vegetables) for easy clean-up, it comes together in right around an hour.
- Chicken. Tender and juicy bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs were my protein choice for this recipe (and Rosemary Chicken Thighs) because they stay moist in the oven when exposed to high oven temperatures. Plus, they have a bit more richness than chicken breasts, which I feel compliments the French onion-inspired flavors of this recipe.
- Onions. Grab the largest onion you can find and slice it thin. Thin slices caramelize best within the recipe’s cook time. I recommend yellow onion for this easy French onion chicken recipe.
- Garlic. For a little extra zip and aromatic bliss.
- Sourdough Bread. For the BEST French onion chicken croutons, splurge on a loaf of high-quality sourdough (whole grain, if possible) from a local bakery. It makes a world of difference.
- Dijon Mustard. A little French Dijon mustard complements this dish’s herbs and onion flavors. (Dijon is also key in this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin.)
- Thyme. A fresh herb that accents the onions, chicken, and garlic.
- Butter + Olive Oil. This combination of fats adds richness and ensures maximum crispness of both the croutons and chicken skin.
- Combine the onions, bread cubes, and garlic cloves in a large bowl.
- Whisk the butter, oil, and mustard.
- Pour the mixture over the onions and bread and toss to coat.
- Put everything on a pan.
Crowding the pan is your secret to success! Normally, crowding a pan of roasted veggies is their demise, but in the case of this French onion chicken bake, it works in our favor by ensuring the onions’ sweet juices don’t escape.
- Bake French onion chicken until the bread is toasted and the chicken is fully cooked, tossing partway through.
Chicken thighs are fully cooked when they register 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer inserted at the thickest part.
- Plan on 30 additional minutes for smaller thighs and 35 to 40 minutes for larger thighs.
- If some chicken pieces cook more quickly than others, remove the cooked pieces to a plate and cover to keep them warm, then return the pan to the oven and continue baking until all of the chicken is cooked through.
- Sprinkle everything with fresh thyme. Serve hot with the croutons and a spoonful of the roasted onions and garlic over the top. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- To Reheat. For best results, warm leftovers on a sheet pan in a 350-degree F oven until the chicken is heated through and the croutons have crisped. Leftover French onion chicken may also be microwaved. However, the chicken skin and croutons will not be as crisp.
- To Freeze. Leftovers may be frozen for up to 3 months. Let defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as directed above.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Sheet Pan. These have been a staple in my kitchen for many years.
- Measuring Cup. An essential measuring tool no kitchen should be without.
- Chef’s Knife. Perfect for chopping, slicing, and dicing.
The Best Sheet Pans
These sheet pans are made from pure aluminum, which won’t rust, increases their durability, and allows for even heat distribution.
This easy sheet pan French Onion Chicken will have everyone at your dinner table saying, ooo la la!
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! I omitted cheese from the recipe since it was intended to be a healthy French onion chicken thigh recipe. However, if you need a little cheese in your life, I support you. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese over the chicken and croutons during the final 3-5 minutes of baking. Remove when melted and bubbly.
I would not recommend making this recipe in a slow cooker. The sheet pan and high oven temps are critical for caramelizing the onions and crisping the chicken skin and croutons. For a tasty slow cooker chicken recipe, try this Crockpot Italian Chicken.
I have only ever made this recipe with chicken thighs, so using legs would be an experiment. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes.
- 1 jumbo yellow onion thinly sliced (about 12 ounces or 3 1/2 cups)
- 8 ounces good-quality sourdough bread whole grain if possible, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 heaped cups)
- 8 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts cut in half crosswise through the bone (side to side, so you have two more “square” vs. long pieces)—about 3 breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat.
Place the onions, bread cubes, and garlic cloves in a large bowl.
In a small heatproof bowl or liquid measuring cup, melt the butter. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt with the butter.
Pour the mixture over the onions and bread. Toss to coat as evenly as possible. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer.
Nestle the chicken pieces into the onion mixture. It can overlap the onions a little, but make sure it does not cover the bread. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the bread cubes. Return to the oven and bake until the bread is deeply golden and the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer inserted at the thickest part, about 15 additional minutes for smaller pieces and 20 to 25 minutes for larger pieces. (If some chicken pieces cook more quickly than others, remove the cooked pieces to a plate and cover to keep them warm, then return the pan to the oven and continue baking until all of the chicken is cooked through.)
Sprinkle everything with fresh thyme. Transfer the chicken to plates. Serve hot with the croutons and a spoonful of the roasted onions and garlic over the top.
- TIP: If you’d like the bread to be extra crispy, you can transfer all the chicken pieces to a plate (cover the plate with foil to keep the chicken warm), then turn the bread once more and return the pan to the oven for 5 to 7 additional minutes, or until the bread reaches your desired crispness. Remove from oven, then serve as directed with a sprinkle of thyme.
- TO STORE: Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- TO REHEAT: For best results, warm leftovers on a sheet pan in a 350-degree F oven until the chicken is heated through and the croutons have crisped. Leftover French onion chicken may also be microwaved. However, the chicken skin and croutons will not be as crisp.
- TO FREEZE: Leftovers may be frozen for up to 3 months. Let defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat as directed above.
Serving: 1servingCalories: 583kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 61gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 178mgPotassium: 1102mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 381IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 4mg
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