This fabulous Apricot Chicken Recipe uses fresh apricots. The roasting method results in juicy roasted skinless, boneless chicken.
I was rushing to make a dinner that both my mom and my nephew would like to eat. The chicken breasts seemed harmless enough, and I’ve been schooling myself this summer on how not to dry out skinless boneless (or any chicken), baked in the oven. So any new opportunity to experiment and confirm has been welcome.
Seems like whenever we were cooking for the whole big family in July, there was always a conversation about how to make whatever was on the menu, better. Potatoes? Parboil them before roasting. Pie? High crust-to-filling ratio (especially when it’s this crust).
Chicken? Don’t you dare dry it out. And add a sauce of some kind, any kind, to make it better.
This rushed dinner for Mom and John was not, I thought to myself, going to be blah. I will not overcook this chicken, I said aloud. What do I have to make it taste great? (Also aloud. No answer from any corner.)
A little bowl of apricots that had been hanging out on the counter all week, with zero attention from any of us, caught my eye. Poor little guys were past their ripeness, destined for trash.
I chopped (or rather, just smushed) a couple of the apricots in a pan with a touch of sugar and cooked them to a jam. These would glaze the chicken.
The rest I halved, brushed with olive oil, dusted with sugar, and roasted at the same time as the chicken.
Mom’s reaction when she discovered that the morsels on her plate with her chicken were apricots, her most beloved fruit? First surprise, then delight.
John’s reaction was fine with the glaze, and not as much with the side apricots. The King’s Hawaiian (I’m no fool) were clouding his vision. His main attraction with the chicken was that it was juicy and not dry. He noticed!
I voted a big yes on the apricot chicken, and have put the apricot chicken recipe in repeat performance here.
You can make juicy chicken too, by coating the chicken well with olive oil and seasoning well too. Then roast the chicken at a fairly high temperature, remembering it doesn’t take all that long to get to the 165 degree safe zone temperature. The time this takes depends on the thickness of the breasts. If you have filets or have pounded the chicken down at all, it will cook through faster. Staying on it is key. Then, the chicken has to rest a good 15 minutes so the juices have time to redistribute. Otherwise, you’ll lose all of that juicy goodness when you slice the meat.
For the apricot glaze, go as sweet as you like–add just a bit of sugar, cook, then taste and if it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar. I like mine fairly sweet since the glaze is just a thin coating on the chicken. A little hit of cayenne does a great balancing act in the apricot glaze . . . optional, though, just like the King’s Hawaiian, very optional.
Apricot Chicken Recipe
This apricot chicken uses fresh apricots two ways: cooked down to a jammy glaze, and roasted as a side to the chicken. Buy high quality chicken and results will always be much better. The skinless boneless chicken breasts are roasted to a juicy perfection. Be sure to keep an eye on the chicken so that it doesn't overcook, and let the breasts rest for 15 minutes before cutting into them, to allow the juices to redistribute.
- 6 ripe apricots
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Few grinds Black pepper
Heat the oven to 425 degrees, on convection roast if you have it. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.
Halve all of the apricots by pulling them apart with your fingers. Chop half of them into a small dice. Place the remaining halves on the prepared sheet pan.
In a small saucepan, combine the apricots with all but a teaspoon of the sugar (just hold back on the tablespoons and leave some to top the apricot halves). Add the cayenne, if using. Cook the apricots over medium heat until they are soft and a jammy consistency. Taste, and add more sugar and cayenne, to taste.
Brush the apricot halves with some of the olive oil and sprinkle with sugar. Add the remaining olive oil to a roasting dish that just fits the two chicken breasts.
Place the chicken breasts in the roasting dish and turn to coat them completely with olive oil. Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the apricot jam glaze over each breast, and coat the tops with the jam, taking care not to use too much of the glaze here. Some of the top of the chicken breasts should be visible.
Roast the chicken and the apricots side by side in the oven. The chicken will cook through in 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts. Halfway through cooking, gently brush the breasts with the olive oil and juices in the pan. Check the thickest parts with a thermometer until they reach 165 degrees.
Remove the breasts and apricots from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes. Slice the breasts against the grain, and serve with the apricots alongside.