This Skillet Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses Sauce is simple to prepare with budget-friendly ingredients. Featuring golden pan-seared chicken thighs smothered in silky honey pomegranate sauce, this skillet chicken thighs recipe is the ideal sweet and tangy dinner recipe for everything from weeknight dinners with the family to entertaining over the holidays!
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About this skillet chicken thigh recipe
Boneless, skinless, and seasoned chicken thighs are seared in a skillet until golden brown on all sides, then submerged in a rich and flavorful sweet and tangy pomegranate sauce with softened onions and spices. The Skillet Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses Sauce is topped with fresh parsley, beautiful pomegranate arils, and zesty slices of lemon!
This winner-winner chicken dinner is sure to become your new obsession! The simple addition of pomegranate molasses instantly produces a sweet and sour flavor in the cook-in sauce, infiltrating every inch of the tender chicken thighs.
Serve your pomegranate chicken over jasmine rice, with mashed potatoes, or alongside roasted vegetables!
Why this pomegranate chicken works
Besides being finger-licking delicious, this chicken thighs skillet recipe is:
- Super simple. Simple, fresh ingredients and minimal effort are all you need to make this winner-winner chicken dinner!
- Looks great! While this chicken pomegranate dish may be uncomplicated, it’s still elegant – perfect for serving guests!
- Incredibly versatile! You can easily adapt this chicken pomegranate recipe to combine the pomegranate sauce with other meats or poultry.
- One pan! This tender chicken pomegranate dish is made in one pan for easy cooking and less clean-up.
What is pomegranate molasses sauce?
Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that’s been reduced into a thick syrup with a strong sweet and sour flavor. It’s great for adding tanginess to sauces and dressings.
I’ve used pomegranate molasses as a key ingredient to make the pomegranate sauce in this recipe, which the chicken thighs are cooked in.
Ingredients for chicken pomegranate
This easy and delicious chicken pomegranate recipe requires very little effort and minimal ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
Chicken with pomegranate
- Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Substitution: Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or legs can also be used in this recipe for pomegranate chicken, but you must increase the cooking time. For those who prefer white meat, use chicken breasts!
- Olive oil
- Substitution: Canola or avocado oil.
- Pomegranate molasses – Use any brand that you prefer. It adds a deep sweet and tart flavor to the juicy chicken. You can typically locate this in the international aisle of your local grocery store.
- Pomegranate juice
- Lemon – Freshly juiced.
- Substitution: Bottle lemon juice can be used in a pinch.
- Garlic cloves – Minced. This provides the right amount of aromatic bite to this pomegranate molasses chicken recipe.
- Substitution: Jarred minced garlic or garlic paste can be used instead.
- Shallot – Finely chopped.
- Substitution: Red or white onions or a combination of shallots and onions can be used.
- Balsamic vinegar – Provides a lovely tang to the pomegranate chicken marinade!
- Substitution: Red wine vinegar.
- Kosher salt and black pepper – Popular savory dish staples!
- Substitution: Flaky sea salt works great too!
- Spices – Cumin, ginger, and chili powder.
- Substitutions: Paprika, zaatar, or oregano can also be added.
- Cornstarch – To thicken the pomegranate sauce.
- Garnish – Top your pomegranate chicken thighs with fresh parsley, pomegranate arils, and slices of lemon as an option. The pomegranate arils add a lovely burst of color and flavor to the dish.
Pomegranate molasses chicken variations
- Chicken. Bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and thighs can be used in this recipe. Always increase the cooking time for bone-in meat.
- Garnish. I love to garnish this chicken and pomegranate with fresh parsley, pomegranate arils, and slices of lemon. This garnish is totally optional and can be changed to suit your tastes.
- Bake. I’ve cooked this dish on the stovetop. Add the ingredients to a casserole dish and bake it for 50-60 minutes at 400F. Broil the chicken for 3-5 minutes for a lovely golden finish.
- Easy ingredient swaps. Red or white onions instead of shallots, red wine vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar, canola or avocado oil instead of olive oil, and different seasonings are easy ingredient swaps for this chicken pomegranate recipe.
How to make chicken thighs skillet recipe
This one-pan chicken thigh recipe is super simple to make. Here’s how:
Rub Chicken: In a small bowl combine the seasonings and then rub the spice mixture all over the chicken thighs.
Mix Pomegranate Sauce: In a 2-cup measure or a medium bowl, combine the molasses with the pomegranate juice, honey, vinegar, and lemon.
Sear Chicken Thighs: Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once oil shimmers, add the raw chicken and cook until golden brown and almost cooked through, about 4-6 minutes per side. Then, remove chicken thighs to a plate and set them aside.
Saute Aromatics: Add shallot to the skillet and cook until soft. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add Sauce: Add the molasses mixture and bring to a rapid simmer. Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and whisk to combine. Once the sauce is simmering, add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally.
Finish Chicken in Sauce: Add the chicken thighs back to the skillet and turn to coat in the sauce. Cook chicken in pomegranate sauce for 2-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Garnish and Serve: Garnish chicken thighs with fresh parsley, pomegranate arils, and lemon if using. Enjoy!
Tips for making the best pomegranate chicken recipe
- Bone-in. Bone-in meat requires additional cooking time. Consider this if you decide to use bone-in chicken for this dish, as you’ll need to add it to the oven.
- Garnish: While the garnish in this dish is completely optional, I highly recommend adding it for extra flavor!
- Skillet. A cast iron skillet is best for searing food! Cast iron skillets can also go into the oven, which makes them handy if you need to cook the chicken further in the oven.
- Size of chicken. If you’re using large chicken thighs, you may need to add the skillet to the oven at 350F for about 7 minutes to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked. You can also test the chicken by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest section, which should read 165 F.
FAQ: chicken pomegranate recipe
What flavor is pomegranate molasses?
Pomegranate molasses has the consistency of syrup with a sweet and tangy flavor. The sauce in this recipe is further intensified by the flavor of the juicy chicken thighs, spices, aromatics, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
What does pomegranate molasses go with?
Pomegranate molasses adds flavor complexity to various dishes – both savory and sweet!
You can use this sweet and sticky sauce as a glaze for chicken, pork, and meats, drizzle it over salads, serve it with greek yogurt or ice cream, add it to a pavlova or cheesecake, or try it as a cordial in your favorite drink recipes.
Does pomegranate molasses tenderize meat?
Yes! Pomegranate molasses serves as a meat tenderizer while also enhancing the flavor of the meat. It’s a pantry staple in most parts of the Mediterranean.
Serving chicken with pomegranate sauce
I love skillet chicken thigh recipes since they are so easy to pair with various side dishes. I’ve added some of my favorite choices below, but feel free to serve your pomegranate chicken with whatever your family and friends love the most!
How to serve this pomegranate glazed chicken?
This chicken pomegranate recipe is perfect for special occasions like Thanksgiving and other holidays, as well as an easy midweek family dinner.
Garnish this skillet chicken thigh recipe with fresh parsley, pomegranate arils, and lemon slices.
What to serve pomegranate molasses chicken thighs with?
There are countless side dishes that you could pair with this finger-licking chicken pomegranate recipe, such as:
- Potatoes – mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or potato salad
- Mashed Cauliflower – Great as a low-carb option!
- Rice – Jasmine rice, plain white rice, or sticky rice,
- Roasted seasonal vegetables
- Simple green salad or Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
How to store and how long does it keep?
- Store leftover pomegranate chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Use leftover pomegranate sauce chicken (sliced or shredded) on sandwiches, wraps, or salads.
Can you freeze this recipe for pomegranate chicken?
Yes! Store chicken and sauce in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months. Thaw the chicken and sauce overnight in the fridge, and reheat it in the oven.
Reheat leftover chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350-degrees Fahrenheit, or until warm throughout. Cover the chicken thighs with foil to prevent them from drying out.
This Skillet Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses Sauce is perfect for entertaining friends and family during the holiday season or getting a winner-winner chicken dinner on the table for a midweek meal in less than an hour!
How to make Skillet Honey Pomegranate Chicken Thighs Recipe👇
Skillet Pomegranate Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 1 Small Bowl (for combining chicken seasonings)
- 1 2-Cup Glass Measure (for preparing sauce)
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet (for cooking chicken and pomegranate sauce)
- 1 ½ - 2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (about 6-8 thighs) (SEE NOTES)
- 2 TBS Olive Oil
- ½ tsp EACH: Kosher Salt and Cumin
- ¼ tsp EACH: Ground Black Pepper, Ground Ginger, & Chili Powder
- ½ Cup Pomegranate Molasses
- 1/3 Cup Pomegranate Juice
- ¼ Cup Honey
- 1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 small Lemon – juiced
- 1 small Shallot – finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic – minced
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- Optional Garnishes: Fresh Parsley, Pomegranate Arils, Slices of Lemon
- Serving Suggestions: Coconut Rice, Jasmine Rice, or Sticky Rice
- Season Chicken: In a small bowl, combine the kosher salt, cumin, pepper, ginger, and chili powder. Place the chicken thighs onto a clean work surface and generously sprinkle the seasoning mix all over both sides of the chicken breasts. Use your hands to rub the seasonings into the chicken. Set the spice rubbed chicken thighs aside.
- Mix Pomegranate Sauce: In a two-cup glass measure or medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice, honey, vinegar, and lemon. Set aside the sauce aside.
- Brown Chicken Thighs: Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the raw chicken thighs to the skillet. Cook the chicken until golden brown and almost cooked all the way through, about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the hot pan and transfer to a clean plate. Set the chicken thighs aside.
- Sauté Aromatics: To the same pan, add the shallot to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add Sauce: Add the molasses mixture to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high to bring the sauce to a rapid simmer. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and whisk to combine.
- Thicken Sauce: Once the sauce is simmering, add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet and whisk well to fully incorporate. After whisking well, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the pomegranate sauce, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- Finish Chicken: Add the chicken thighs along with any juices that have collected on the plate to the skillet. Turn to coat the chicken in the sauce. Cover the skillet and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Garnish and Serve: Garnish the skillet of chicken thighs with chopped fresh parsley, a handful of pomegranate arils, and a few slices of lemon. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Chicken: You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. If using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, you will need to finish cooking the chicken in a 350-degree oven. Simply follow the instructions in the recipe card - at the end cover the skillet of chicken and instead of finishing it on the stove-top, transfer it to an oven preheated to 350-degrees and bake until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165-degrees.