Balsamic Fig Chicken feels fancy enough for guests but is fast enough for a weeknight, and is a great way to dress up chicken thighs. Made with caramelized shallots, dried figs, fresh thyme, and balsamic vinegar, the rich color and depth of flavor is sure to be a hit.
If you’re looking for a recipe that comes together quickly and won’t bust the bank, look no further! These balsamic chicken things are super simple, but at the same time will make people think you are a rock star in the kitchen.
Excellent in a Pinch
I imagine that somewhere in this world there are people that are 100% cool with unexpected guests. Maybe you have friends and neighbors that just drop by. They might mosey over with a glass of wine that turns into opening a bottle to share while you chat, and then you think Hey! Let’s share a meal!
Is this a thing? Or is this like something I made up in my head in my 20’s when Desperate Housewives was still on TV? Those women were ALWAYS just running over to each other’s houses, showing up any hour of any day, and loitering like there’s no place to be.
I do not live in the ‘y’all just come on by’ world.
I need time to move the stacks of folded clothes off the arm of the couch, get all the things that have accumulated on the kitchen island OFF of it, and then I need to relocate all the dogs. If you don’t give me a heads up and I have no time to check the bathroom and hide all my cosmetics before you roll up at my house?
I might not forgive you.
So anyway, whether you are in a rush because of life, or just a rush because people show up with no warning looking to be fed, this Balsamic Fig Chicken recipe is the answer.
Ingredients in Balsamic Fig Chicken
This recipe starts out like my One Pot Garlic Chicken Thighs. Chicken thighs are like the unsung dinner hero. They are always affordable and they are LOADED with flavor. You start by crisping up the skin with a little bit of olive oil, and then you remove the chicken and start layering in more flavor.
- olive oil
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- dry white wine (you can substitute chicken broth or vegetable broth!)
- balsamic vinegar
- dried figs
- chicken broth
- pure vanilla extract
You can typically find dried figs in the produce department. Grab some fresh thyme while you’re there.
Can I Substitute Dried Thyme for Fresh Thyme?
You sure can! Typically the rule for swapping fresh herbs for dried is to use 1/3 the amount of fresh herbs called for. 1 sprig of thyme equals about 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
If you need to swap fresh for dried thyme in this recipe, my suggestion is to start with 2 teaspoons.
Can I Substitute Imitation Vanilla?
Listen. Originally I developed this recipe for Nielsen-Massey and I used their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Trust me when I say this needs to live in your pantry forever and always. I love it in cookies and cakes, but it gives this Balsamic Fig Chicken a depth of flavor that you can’t get anywhere else.
Pure vanilla is shelf-stable for longer, and in simmered sauces (like this one!) it yields the best results.
Imitation vanilla might make this a touch too sweet, but if it’s what you have, roll with it and see how it goes.
Tips for Making Balsamic Fig Chicken
- SALT the skin. And pepper. I like to be a little heavy-handed with the salt and pepper on the skin because there’s not any added salt in this recipe.
- Don’t overcrowd your pan. If you don’t have space between your chicken pieces in the pan, you need a bigger pan.
- Be sure you reduce the heat when you add the shallots. You want them to soften and sweeten a bit, and you definitely don’t want them to burn.
The sauce is great over creamy garlic mashed potatoes, but if you aren’t looking to get another pot dirty you can throw a sheet of quick veggies to roast (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans) in the oven for the last 10 minutes the chicken is cooking.
This dish looks impressive, keeps the mess to a minimum, and is really an all-around hit!
Oh oh oh! Also. If you have a thing for figs you HAVE to try my recipe for Fresh Fig Newtons.
Balsamic Fig Chicken
Balsamic Fig Chicken is a quick and simple way to dress up chicken thighs with caramelized shallots, sticky dried figs, and fresh thyme. Fancy enough for guests, fast enough for a weeknight.
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 6 Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Shallots, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup Dry White Wine
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup Dried Figs, coarsely chopped, see notes
- 5-6 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle the chicken skin with salt and pepper and place the thighs skin-side down in the skillet.
- Cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat, or until the skin is crisp and turn, cooking skin-side up for another 2 mins. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Add the shallots to the pan and reduce the heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until translucent.
- Add the wine and balsamic vinegar and stir. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
- Stir in the chopped dried figs, the sprigs of thyme, and the chicken broth, simmer, and then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Nestle the chicken thighs down in the sauce (skin side up) and roast in the oven for 20-25 mins, or until the internal chicken temperature reaches 165°F.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken, garnish with a little fresh thyme, and serve.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 249mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 7g
Wednesday 13th of July 2022
Can you substitute fresh figs?
Mary Kay Viscounty
Tuesday 30th of November 2021
I hate to ask, but I'm not a thigh fan! Could I use boneless chicken breasts?
Saturday 11th of December 2021
You'll have to be careful it doesn't dry out but probably.
Tuesday 6th of April 2021
Im going to use Vidalia onions caramelized in the balsamic and chicken stock make portions and put mozzarella cheese and broil yum!
Wednesday 7th of April 2021
YESSS Vidalias are so good!
Friday 27th of December 2019
Since we like briny, spicy twists to sweet things I added spicy brown mustard and chopped Kalamata olives to the sauce. YUUUUUUMMMMMM!!! Definitely a keeper.
Saturday 28th of December 2019
Thank you, Megan! This is one of my fave chicken recipes. So glad you enjoyed it! Good call on the mustard and olives!
Tuesday 3rd of December 2019
I had dried figs leftover from Thanksgiving Turkey stuffing that I wanted to use up. This recipe looked interesting and worthy of my leftover figs. It exceeded all expectations! Wow, what a simple but tasty combination of ingredients. What I thought would be a just ok dinner ended up to be a complete hit. Hubby said I could serve that anytime. Now to find more dried figs in my little mountain town. If not, it will be another Amazon order soon! Thanks for this keeper recipe.
Friday 6th of December 2019
Suzy I am so thrilled to hear that this worked well with dried figs! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such great feedback!