Especially at Christmas time, there’s nothing like decorating the house with stockings and wrapping gifts for the Christmas tree. The cherry on the top has got to be the food on the table, though.
Here’s one dish I’m making for Christmas this year: cranberry rosemary chicken with a maple glaze.
It is no secret that cranberry and rosemary go hand in hand as one of the most unique and sophisticated holiday flavors. From rosemary-infused cranberry vodka to cranberry rosemary bread pudding, this is a combination that will always guarantee satisfaction. I love how the tart cranberries are laced by the headiness of rosemary (Pro tip: rub it between your fingers to release the fragrant herbaceous oils).
This cranberry chicken is a one-pan dish that is quick and easy, with only 10 minutes of prep time. Preparing for Christmas already takes a lot of time, so I know I’ll appreciate this quick and easy dish when all my guests begin to roll in. Plus, it just smells amazing while it’s cooking.
The cranberry rosemary marinade is poured over the chicken (we use breasts here but they’re still so succulent!) and baked for 35 minutes. I’ll show you how to make it all from scratch with the use of fresh cranberries. The flavor will explode in your mouth!
Complete your Christmas dinner spread with asparagus blankets and an avocado chocolate mousse that’s so healthy, it’s too good to be true.
Bring on the festive vibes!
This cranberry chicken recipe serves 6.
Make your cranberry rosemary marinade with these ingredients:
- Cranberries – ¾ cup of fresh cranberries. I love visiting the farmers’ market and getting my hands on some sweet, juicy ones.
- Rosemary – Gather 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves without the stem. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stem by pulling the needles in the opposite direction from which they grow. They should easily slide off the stalk.
- Garlic – Flavor the marinade with 4 minced garlic cloves. I’d usually say go all out with garlic, but for this recipe, we want to be a little reserved as we want the cranberry and rosemary flavors to still stand out.
- Maple syrup – Measure 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten the sauce and create a thick, oozy glaze. You can also use brown sugar.
- Chicken broth – Measure ¼ cup of chicken broth to give this marinade some depth (if you want to watch the sodium, get the low-sodium kind).
- Pro Tip: Dry white wine is an easy and flavorful substitute for chicken broth.
- Extra virgin olive oil and soy sauce – To enhance the flavors in the marinade.
For the baked chicken:
- Chicken breasts – 6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless. If you prefer, you can use chicken thighs. I just always prefer chicken breasts because they’re much easier to serve and there are no pesky bones!
- Olive oil – Prepare 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil. It will really help to tenderize the chicken.
- Salt – For seasoning.
- Fresh cranberries – These fresh cranberries will be baked alongside the chicken and they’ll pop and open up when hot, bursting with sweet juices.
- Fresh rosemary – Prepare 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish, if you want to get fancy.
Step One: Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
Step Two: Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the chicken breasts on the dish. Pour the marinade over, spreading to coat the chicken evenly on both sides.
Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Pro Tip: If you are short on time and don’t have time to marinate the chicken, that is okay. I have made this recipe without letting the chicken marinate and it still tasted delicious.
Step Three: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sprinkle ½ cup of fresh cranberries and 4 sprigs of rosemary around the chicken breasts. Drizzle the olive oil and season with salt. Cover the baking dish with foil.
Step Four: Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and discard the foil. Bake uncovered for 15 more minutes. To check for doneness, a meat thermometer should show an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Step Five: When ready to serve, baste the chicken with the sauce from the baking dish. Spoon the remaining ¼ cup of cranberries on the top of the chicken and serve immediately.
- Pro Tip: The secret to juicy, perfectly cooked meat is letting it sit out. Room temperature meat cooks more evenly and fewer juices leak out or evaporate during cooking. Let your chicken sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
- Pro Tip: Remove the rosemary stems as they are tough and hardy, posing a bit of annoyance and worst, a choking hazard.
If you’re like me, you’ll love making one-pan recipes like this cranberry chicken. These delicious, one-pan dishes are great for meal-prep and for sharing:
- Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Balsamic Chicken Breast with Mozzarella Cheese
- Lemon Butter Salmon
- Garlic Parmesan Crusted Salmon
Cranberry Chicken Recipe
Cranberry Rosemary Marinade
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (can substitute for dry white wine)
- 6 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or avocado oil)
- sprinkle of salt
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary plus more for garnish if you want to get fancy!
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
- Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and add chicken breasts to the dish. Pour marinade over, spreading to coat chicken evenly on both sides.
- Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries and 4 sprigs of rosemary around chicken breasts and cover the baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and discard foil. Bake uncovered for 15 more minutes or until internal temp reaches 165ºF.
- When ready to serve spoon cranberries and sauce on top of chicken and serve immediately.