My baked chicken thighs with a delicious maple dijon sauce is a weeknight family favorite. A big cast iron skillet is filled with vegetables, tender apples, and then roasted with a zesty topping.
Celebrate the taste of Fall with this baked chicken thighs recipe! Wholesome ingredients are cooked together with butternut squash, green apples, caramelized onions, and poultry. To enhance the flavor of the dish, a quick, flavorful Dijon sauce is prepared, then applied right in the pan with the protein and vegetables.
The naturally sweetened tangy dijon mustard sauce infuses into the squash and apples as they gently simmer in the oven, making each bite irresistible. As the dish roasts, aromatic fresh thyme adds a fragrant earthiness to the ingredients. This tenderly baked chicken dinner is a complete meal, layered with delicious seasonings.
I often buy bone-in chicken thighs from the market because they are extremely affordable and easy to build in flavor. All you need is a large ovenproof cast iron skillet to produce the crispy skin, then finish the cooking process in a hot oven for the perfect doneness.
Purple onions get a light saute in the skillet to create caramelized flavors, enhancing the inherent sweetness of the vegetable. Small cubes of butternut squash are also lightly pre-cooked to add some color and texture from Maillard browning to the vegetables.
It’s important to keep the size of the squash pieces small so that it cooks consistently and evenly in the oven. To balance the sweet flavors in the vegetables, tart green Granny Smith apples are added to the vegetable base. This flavor combination highlights the warm and comforting autumn seasonal ingredients.
The hero of the dish is the sauce, and it’s easily made with four key staple pantry ingredients. Coarse ground dijon mustard, pure maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar. The resulting combination is an incredible flavor booster.
The sauce is tossed together with the sauteed vegetables and apples, right before baking the chicken skillet in the oven. A small amount is reserved on the side for an extra drizzle on top of the chicken. You will be happy you saved some!
The natural acidity added to the sauce using unfiltered apple cider vinegar provides just the right balance to the maple syrup and pungent mustard. The cider vinegar is also an excellent complement to the sliced green apples in the recipe. There are many types of vinegar that naturally enhance a dish, with each variety having a different flavor profile.
When you’re craving a delicious savory chicken supper, I promise this one-skillet recipe will satisfy your taste buds. There won’t be any leftovers, just happy eaters! Once you’ve tried this recipe, I have a tasty Baked Honey Mustard Chicken to add to your dinner rotation for another crowd-pleasing meal.
Benefits of baking chicken thighs
Baking the chicken in the oven allows the meat to stay moist, while further crisping the skin for the ultimate enticing crunch. When cooking the chicken skin on, it’s best to sear the poultry skin side down first on the stovetop to render some of the fat and begin creating the crust. Chicken thighs contain more fat, and when roasted at high oven temperatures of 400°F, they can stay tender and not dry out as easily compared to lean breast pieces.
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Baked Chicken Thighs with Maple Dijon Sauce
- 5 bone-in chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- paprika, as needed for seasoning
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cups red onion, thinly sliced, ⅛-inch thick
- 2 cups butternut squash, ½-inch cubes
- 3 cups granny smith apples, thinly sliced wedges, ⅛-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup coarse ground dijon mustard
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- Set th oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken thighs. Generously season both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Heat a large 12-inch oven-proof pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, carefully add in chicken thighs, skin-side down. Sear for 5 minutes until the skin is crispy and browned. Flip over and cook 2 minutes, turn off the heat. Transfer chicken to a clean plate and drain grease.
- Heat pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot add onions and garlic. Saute 5 minutes, until onions are crisp-tender.
- Add butternut squash to the pan, saute until just beginning to soften, 5 minutes.
- Add apples to the pan, saute until crisp-tender, 5 minutes.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together sauce ingredients; apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt. Reserve ¼ cup of the sauce, set aside.
- Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the apple mixture, stir to combine.
- Place seared chicken on top of the apple mixture. Add sprigs of thyme evenly dispersed around the pan.
- Transfer pan to oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through (160-165°F on a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh) and butternut squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove thyme from pan. Serve chicken onto plates. Season apple mixture with salt and pepper as desired and serve with chicken.
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