This easy balsamic chicken is a 20-minute weeknight dinner with just 4 simple ingredients but great flavor! Serve with rice, quinoa or couscous to soak up the yummy juices!
Today's easy balsamic chicken recipe is a great go-to dinner on a busy weeknight for two main reasons:
- It requires only very basic pantry ingredients. (Really just 4 ingredients, plus olive oil and salt and pepper.)
- It's ready in 20 minutes, start to finish.
Hello, busy weeknight, you got nothing on me! 🙌
Or shoot, it also works for a weekend night when you just want to be lazy and not be in the kitchen all night long. That happens here a lot too. 😉
The flavor here though is not lacking and that's because of one of my favorite ingredients. Balsamic vinegar.
I adore balsamic vinegar. It makes all.the.food so delicious.
(Check out my slow cooker balsamic chicken, balsamic herb grilled chicken marinade and balsamic pork tenderloin with thyme for other yummy recipes!)
It’s so rich and has a really deep flavor. Particularly when you let it reduce down a bit and thicken and become even more syrupy and sweet.
Balsamic vinegar, you are my sun, my moon... OK, I'll stop before I get indecent. 😬
Now, it does help to have a really good balsamic vinegar for this recipe, since it's the big flavor.
That does NOT mean, however, that you need to get the most expensive bottle you can find.
In fact, I actually buy my balsamic vinegar at Costco. They have big bottles that are really good quality and also super affordable. Total win.
But if you don't have one near you or you are looking in a regular grocery store, here's a few tips.
Balsamic vinegar tips:
* We are cooking with the balsamic vinegar in this recipe, so a basic grocery store aged balsamic vinegar of Modena is what you want to use. These are different than the truly traditional and authentic balsamic vinegars from Italy, which you would not want to cook with. (Those are also really hard to find and crazy expensive.)
* The thicker and darker the vinegar is, the more sweet it will be. But again, we are cooking this down, which will both thicken and sweeten the sauce, so it's OK if yours doesn't start out that way.
* You want to choose a vinegar that has grape must as the first ingredient. If another vinegar is the first ingredient, keep looking.
Here's a really thorough complete guide if you want to read more about the different kinds of balsamic vinegars.
Heads up, I’ve got some notes and tips coming up for this recipe. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making easy balsamic chicken:
- Cutting the chicken breasts into strips helps speed up the cook time and also ensures a more even cooking. It's one of my favorite tricks for making dinnertime easier and less stressful!
- Once you sauté the onions, just scootch them over in the pan and add your chicken. Once it's well browned on both sides, add your vinegar and broth.
- Then you just need to let everything simmer and get cozy together. Once the chicken is done, you can turn off the heat and let the sauce finish thickening as you get your plates ready.
Now, this is intentionally a really simple recipe. Cause plenty of nights, that's all that I have the time and energy for.
If you want to bump up the flavors or add to this dish, you absolutely can!
Flavor add-ins for balsamic chicken:
- Garlic lover? Add a couple of cloves of garlic, minced, to the pan when the onion is softened, just before you add the chicken.
- Like it spicy? Use ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to season the chicken when you add it to the pan.
- Fresh herbs - such as thyme, rosemary or parsley - can be great flavor boosters. Add chopped fresh thyme or rosemary along with the chicken to cook down a bit. Or use fresh parsley to finish the dish at the end.
Or you can add some vegetables to this dish as well. Keep reading for details on that.
Oh, and around the holidays, I also have a slightly different version I make with this cranberry balsamic chicken. The sauce is scrumptious!
As is, you've got the protein portion of your meal covered with this recipe. You just need to add your favorite starch and veggies for a complete meal.
Need some ideas? I got you covered!
Serving ideas for balsamic chicken:
- This chicken dish goes great with steamed brown or white rice, quinoa or couscous. They all help soak up the extra juices.
- Pasta is another good option for a side to go with this. I'd suggest either a long, thin noodle (like spaghetti or angel hair) or orzo.
- Try cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a low-carb option with this chicken.
- You can serve this with any steamed or roasted vegetable you love - such as asparagus, broccoli or green beans. Or just make a simple side salad to go with it.
- You could also add some mushrooms, peppers or zucchini to the pan with the onions to cook along with this dish. (It's a great way to use up extra veggie scraps from the fridge!)
Next time you are short on time and ideas, pull this out. It's sure to be a family favorite!
P.S. Check out all of my easy chicken recipes with 5 ingredients or less for more easy cooking inspiration! Psst: Easy baked lemon chicken is a new favorite. ❤️
Easy balsamic chicken
This easy balsamic chicken is a 20-minute weeknight dinner with just 4 simple ingredients but great flavor!
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup low sodium chicken broth
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and sauté until lightly browned and softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Push the onion to the sides of the pan and add the chicken to the pan.
- Cook until chicken is well browned, then flip the pieces over and cook on the other side until it is browned, about 6-8 minutes total.
- Add balsamic vinegar and chicken broth.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook until it’s reduced by half and chicken is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
- Serve chicken with extra juices drizzled on top.
This balsamic chicken is great served with steamed rice, quinoa or couscous to help soak up the juices. Even pasta pairs well with it.
This is an intentionally simple recipe, but you could certainly add to it if you want to change up the flavor. Here's a few ideas:
- Add a couple of cloves of garlic, minced, to the pan when the onion is softened, just before you add the chicken.
- Like it spicy? Use ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to season the chicken when you add it to the pan.
- Fresh herbs – such as thyme, rosemary or parsley – can be great flavor boosters. Add chopped fresh thyme or rosemary along with the chicken to cook down a bit. Or use fresh parsley to finish the dish at the end.
- You could also add some mushrooms, peppers or zucchini to the pan with the onions to cook along with this dish. (It’s a great way to use up extra veggie scraps from the fridge!)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 540mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 54g
Yum, that looks amazing and I think you are right that there are a ton of veggies that would be great with it!
Thanks Carlee! Yes, you could add in anything you've got hanging out in the fridge. Such an easy, adaptable dinner!
I love balsamic too. This would even be yummy cold and shredded over a salad. Delicious!!
Oooh, yes Malinda! I think that sounds like a fabulous idea. Now I'll just have to make more so we can *hopefully* end up with leftovers 😉 Thanks for stopping by!
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
How quick and easy is that!? And I have all of the ingredients at home already ! Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Foodie Fridays! Have a great weekend! xxx
Thanks for hosting, Lucy! It's definitely a good go-to when you're looking in the fridge or pantry and wondering what in the world you're gonna make. Easy and so tasty!
Sarah James @ Tales From The Kitchen Shed
I love balsamic vinegar & what a great idea for a quick supper. Got lots of zucchini growing, perfect ! Thanks for sharing, popping over from Fabulous Foodie Fridays
It really is a lifesaver on a busy week - easy and fast! And yes, some zucchini would go great with this (I know I have an abundance this time of year!) Thanks for stopping by!
Cristina @ I Say Nomato
This looks so delicious! I'm always looking for quick and easy chicken recipes, and balsamic is sooooo amazing!
Thanks Christina! Balsamic makes everything better, doesn't it? This is definitely a weeknight life-saver for us!
I made this for the first time yesterday evening. My kids absolutely loved it. I just recently discovered your site on Instagram and am thrilled that I did. Your recipes are exactly what my family of five has needed - yummy, simple, nutritious meals. I cannot thank you enough. 🙂
Thank you so much, Liz! That makes my day 🙂 I'm so glad you loved this balsamic chicken - it's definitely one of our favorites, too!
Can I use something other than chicken broth
Hi Jackie! You could substitute vegetable broth. You could also just use water but it'll lose a little bit of flavor and richness. Hope that helps!
Do you mind if I ask what brand of Balsamic vinegar you use for your recipes? I went to the store today and saw bottles ranging from 3 dollars to 40 dollars. I had no idea it was like picking out a bottle of wine. Is there one or two brands that are your favorite for cooking? Thank you.
Balsamic vinegar (and olive oil too) can be really tough to pick out! I actually buy mine from Costco - it's a large bottle but I go through it. It's a great price and great quality. I've gotten some from Trader Joe's before too and also used the Colavita brand before I think. If you are at the store, you could ask an employee for a recommendation. I hope that helps!
Apologies, but this one, which seemed promising, did not go over well in my house. The husband found it didn't taste like much. My son, who has a decent palate, would not eat it. I admittedly was not a big fan, either. It was so plain; the sauce was maybe too understated for us. Ah well. I'm sure we'll try something else and be successful.
Hi there, I'm so sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this. It's definitely a pretty simple recipe (which is why I love it as a go-to for a weeknight dinner). It helps to have a really good balsamic vinegar, since that's so much of the flavor, but you could also add some garlic or red pepper flakes to this, or stir in some diced tomatoes, and/or finish it with fresh herbs to bump up the flavor if you want to try it again.
Great recipe! Very versatile.
Just serve over rice or pasta or quinoa, and you've got a tasty, complete meal!
Yes, definitely very versatile! So glad you enjoyed it Marcion!
I have made this dish twice now. The first time I made it, I followed the directions as written and my family thought it was OK. The second time I made it I cooked the chicken with the onions a lot longer than the suggested time. I cooked each side on medium high heat for about 10 minutes turning it every now and again. Then when I added the chicken broth and the balsamic vinegar I cooked it until all the liquid was just about gone. My family absolutely loved it!!!
Oh I'm so glad that worked out - thanks so much for sharing with us!