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These Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with California Grapes and Sweet Potatoes is easy, healthy and bursting with fresh flavour. The chicken gets beautifully crispy on the outside, super juicy in the middle and pairs perfectly with the briny olives, caramelized shallots, and sweet, roasted red grapes from California. It also happens to be Paleo and Whole30-friendly.
What You Need For Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Grapes
- Chicken: This recipe works best with bone-in and skin-on chicken. The skin gets nice and crispy in the pan and the bone helps keep the meat juicy as it finishes roasting in the oven. Feel free to use thighs, drumsticks, breasts or chicken quarters.
I recommend avoiding thinly sliced pieces of chicken, such as tenderloins, in this recipe. They cook too quickly and will dry out before the rest of the ingredients have had a chance to cook through.
If you really want to make this with thinner pieces of chicken, you can sear it in the pan until cooked through, then remove it and set it aside as you prepare the pan sauce and roast the remaining ingredients in the oven. To serve, plate the cooked chicken and pour the pan sauce overtop.
- California Grapes: They’re plump, juicy and have the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Grapes from California work incredibly well in variety of recipes and make for a healthy, natural and filling snack. Be sure to grab some at your local market while they’re still in season (May through January).
- Spices: A very simple combination of salt, pepper, smoked paprika and dry oregano help give the pan-roasted chicken thighs some colour and flavour. You can, of course, use your favourite spice mix, but I find this combination compliments the roasted grapes without overpowering them.
- Olives: For a subtle briny flavour and pop of colour, try adding a handful of green olives to the pan to roast along with the chicken and grapes. I like Castelvetrano olives because they’re not too salty, have a delicious flavour and tend to hold their shape and texture well during cooking. Just be mindful of the pits when serving.
- Shallots: They get beautifully caramelized and get a little sweet after cooking. Try slicing them in half with some of the root end still in tact so that they maintain their shape while cooking.
- Chicken Broth: For best results, use the highest quality chicken broth you can find. I like the ones from Kettle and Fire.
- Fresh Rosemary: Chicken and rosemary are the best of friends. It also pairs very well with the olives and grapes. Alternatively, try using fresh thyme or oregano.
Use the Right Cookware
This recipe really boils down to technique and for best results, you need to use the right kind of pan.
- Material: You can use stainless-steel, cast-iron, enamelled cast-iron or carbon-steel. These are all oven-safe materials, and can withstand high heat. They’re also ideal because they will help build a fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pan), which is crucial to forming a delicious pan-sauce.
Non-stick pans, on the other hand, are not good at forming a fond, so try to avoid using those in this recipe. Avoid pans with plastic or wood handles because they will get damaged in the oven.
- Use the Right Size Pan: This depends entirely on the amount of chicken thighs you’re using. What’s important is that you don’t overcrowd the pan with chicken because that will cause steaming and prevent browning. If you only have a smaller pan, then you can brown the chicken in batches or use two separate pans.
This recipe was created in partnership with the California Table Grape Commission. All opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with California Grapes and Sweet Potatoes
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut in half, lengthwise
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 6 bone-in & skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup Castelvetrano olives
- 4 small shallots, peeled and sliced in half, lengthwise
- 4 small clusters of red Grapes from California, around 2 cups total
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt. Massage to coat and place each potato cut-side down. Transfer to oven and cook until golden brown and fork-tender, around 40 minutes total. Do not flip halfway.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl or plate, season the chicken with the paprika, salt, oregano and black pepper. Massage to coat.
- Preheat an oven-safe pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crispy, 6-8 minutes. Flip each chicken thigh and discard all but 1 tablespoon of rendered fat in the pan.
- Nestle the olives and shallots, cut-side down, between the chicken pieces. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth. Top with the grape clusters and rosemary sprigs. Cook until the chicken broth has reduced by ¼ in volume, then transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the thickest part of each chicken thigh registers around 185F, around 12 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving with the sweet potatoes.