The Easiest Sweet and Savory Balsamic Chicken

If there’s one thing everyone knows about me, it’s that I love balsamic vinegar. It’s something that I crave pretty frequently.

Vertical image of four balsamic glazed chicken breasts on a white rectangular ceramic serving platter, with two plates of steamed green beans in the background, printed with orange and white text near the middle and at the bottom of the frame.

Every month or so, my sudden desire to consume meals that feature this ingredient reappears. It rivals my obsession with Nutella. And that’s a BIG deal for sure, coming from this gal.

This is one of those recipes that I go back to over and over again, whenever I want to enjoy a hit of balsamic in a super simple way.

Making this recipe is so easy that once you’ve tried it a couple of times, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re able to memorize it, like I have at this point.

Overhead vertical image of four balsamic glazed pieces of poultry on a white ceramic serving platter.

The chicken breasts sit in a balsamic marinade for a couple of hours to really infuse them with flavor.

The key here is to make sure that you only marinate the poultry for a couple of hours. If you marinate it overnight then you risk allowing the meat to get tough, because of the vinegar.

Once the poultry has had the right amount of time to soak up all that flavor, it gets added to a skillet to cook through.

Vertical image of two white dinner plates with a black patter, with portions of balsamic chicken breast and steamed green beans, with a white ceramic serving platter of more of the poultry entree, on a red and white striped cloth, with silverware.

After the chicken is cooked, you simply remove it from the pan and add the remaining marinade to the same skillet. The mixture cooks down and gets a little thicker, creating a lovely sauce. It’s a gloriously thick glaze that coats the juicy poultry in even more flavor.

The result is juicy and tender poultry that was oh-so-easy to make. Seriously, this dish is absolutely bursting with balsamic flavor. It has just the right amount of tanginess, but there’s also a subtle hint of sweetness to balance out the flavors.

Vertical overhead image of two white patterned plates of marinated chicken and steamed green beans, with silverware, on white cloth napkins with red borders, next to a white ceramic platter of the poultry entree, on a gray surface.

This is one of those recipes that is ideal for when you have no idea what to make for dinner. It takes barely any brain power to make, and I always have the ingredients on hand in my fridge or freezer and my pantry to make it.

All you need to do is to make sure you always have chicken breast on hand. It’s the perfect last-minute meal solution, and if your household is anything like mine, a small cache of must-have ingredients like a few pounds of frozen poultry can be a lifesaver.

Honestly, I think this dish looks a lot fancier on the plate than it is to make. That’s why it’s one that I will always hold close for those impromptu dinner parties that sometimes pop up.

Horizontal overhead image of a portion of balsamic chicken breast and steamed green beans on a white plate with a black patter, on a gray surface topped with a red and white cloth.

In terms of pairings, this dish is super versatile, so you can make a different meal every single time you serve it.

Personally, I like to serve it with some steamed vegetables, but you can also serve it over rice or with pasta, if you choose. Or serve both your favorite starch and some veggies that are quick and easy to make!

A white plate of chicken and green beans with a fork taking a piece, on a red and white cloth.

This marinade is also perfect for making chicken thighs, or even pork chops as long as they have the same approximate weight as what’s recommended on the recipe card below.

Simply follow the same instructions, allowing more or less cooking time as needed, until the meat is completely cooked through. Transfer the meat to a platter, cook down the sauce, and return the meat to the pan.

The only question is, how many times in a week can you eat this recipe without getting sick of it? For me, it’s going on about four times a week (I told you I’m addicted, didn’t I?).

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Horizontal image of four balsamic glazed chicken breasts on a white rectangular serving platter, on a white cloth with a red border, on a gray surface.

The Easiest Sweet and Savory Balsamic Chicken


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This balsamic chicken recipe is a skillet dish that packs a big punch of sweet and savory flavor. It’s a juicy, tender one-pan entree.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 44.5 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, sugar, garlic, dried herbs, and onion powder. Place the chicken breasts in a resealable bag with the marinade. Seal and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours, flipping the chicken halfway through.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the remaining liquid.
  3. Place the chicken breast halves in the heated pan and cook until they start to brown and are no longer pink inside, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  4. Decrease heat to medium-low. Add the rest of the marinade to the skillet, and cook until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken back to the sauce, turn to coat, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Poultry

Keywords: chicken, balsamic, balsamic vinegar, marinade

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Garlic and Measure Ingredients

Peel one clove of garlic and give it a rough chop, or pass it through your garlic press.

Horizontal overhead closely cropped image of four chicken breasts on a white plastic cutting board with small square and round glass bowls of sugar, spices, minced garlic, chicken broth, and balsamic vinegar, on a gray surface.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Marinade

Add the balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, sugar, garlic, dried herbs, and onion powder to a small bowl. Whisk together until combined.

Horizontal overhead closely cropped image of a stainless steel bowl of vinegar and dried herbs, on a gray surface.

You can use homemade chicken stock for this recipe, or a low-sodium store bought version.

Step 3 – Marinate Chicken

Add the marinade and the chicken breasts to a resealable zip-top plastic bag, turning the breasts to coat.

Horizontal overhead image of chicken breasts marinating in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and other ingredients in a clear plastic zip-top bag, on a dark blue-gray surface with white sponge painted splotches.

Seal and refrigerate for 2 hours. Make sure to turn the chicken halfway through the process, to ensure even application of the marinade. Do not soak for more than 2 hours.

Step 4 – Cook

Add the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the liquid.

Once it’s hot, add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned outside and cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Close-up horizontal image of balsamic glazed chicken in a large skillet.

Decrease heat to medium-low. Add remaining marinade to the skillet, and cook until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. To ensure that the broth is fully cooked since it contained raw chicken, bringing it to a boil and then reducing to a simmer to thicken is advisable.

Add the chicken back to the pan and turn to coat, then continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Horizontal image of four balsamic glazed chicken breasts on a white rectangular serving platter, on a white cloth with a red border, on a gray surface.

Serve immediately, with your choice of sides.

How Long Is too Long to Marinate?

As I mentioned before, letting the chicken sit in the marinade for too long can actually do more harm than good. That is why you only want to marinate for 2 hours with this recipe.

This is enough time for the soak to flavor and tenderize the poultry, without turning the outside layer mealy and mushy or toughening the meat.

Whereas thick, full chicken breasts might hold up to a longer soaking period, this is particularly applicable when you are using pre-cut breast halves such as with this recipe, or other thinner cuts of meat.

Horizontal image of four balsamic marinated chicken breasts on a white rectangular ceramic serving platter, on top of a white cloth with a red border on a gray table, with two plates of steamed green beans in soft focus in the background.

Are you as obsessed with balsamic vinegar as as I am? Even if you aren’t, you won’t want to miss these recipes from Foodal:

What will you serve with this easy entree? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe after you try it to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Based on a recipe originally published by Shanna Mallon on December 16, 2009. Last updated: November 4, 2019 at 17:47 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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