Roasted Maple Glazed Chicken Thighs with Apples & Cranberries

Tender bone-in chicken thighs are slathered with a rich maple glaze and roasted with sweet apples and tart cranberries! It’s a festive fall meal that’s perfect for the holidays!

A roasted chicken dinner inspired by fall flavors cooked in an oven safe pan

Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner? (Seriously I feel like summer was just a few weeks ago and now we’re almost to November?! Where did the time go?!) But then after thinking about it, I love this time of year! Not just because Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays, but also because the food during this time is always the best! Soups, slow cooker meals, one pot meals…basically everything that screams warm cozy comfort food. And these roasted maple glazed chicken thighs are about as cozy and comforting as it gets! It’s an easy one pan meal that’s made by searing tender chicken thighs, brushing them in a sweet maple glaze and roasting them with sweet apples and tart cranberries to crispy golden perfection. How could ayone say no to that?

Ingredients used to make maple glazed chicken thighs

Ingredients for this roasted chicken dinner

  • Chicken thighs: Look for bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on for this recipe. (We’ll be removing the skin before baking them.)
  • Apples: Sweet apples work the best for this chicken dinner. (I used Lucy Rose apples for mine but honeycrisp or fuji apples would work too!)
  • Fresh cranberries: Adds a little tartness to balance out your sweet flavors.
  • Apple juice: Look for unsweetened or no sugar added apple juice for the best results. (Your dish may become too sweet if using regular apple juice.)
  • Maple syrup: Adds sweetness without a lot of processed sugar. (Make sure to use pure maple syrup and not pancake syrup. Pancake syrup is much thicker and can alter your flavors.)
  • Dried & fresh thyme: Dried thyme goes in your sauce and fresh thyme is used for garnish on top. (Plus it adds a pop of color to your dish too!)
  • Salt & pepper: Always got to have some salt and pepper to help bring out those flavors!
  • Ground sage: Just a pinch is all you need. (I love the smell of sage because it instantly reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner. Which makes this dish so warm andd cozy!)

I love shopping for produce at Sprouts during this time of year because there’s so many fun varieties to try. Just like these Lucy Rose apples! I chose them because they look like a regular apple on the outside but when you cut into them they’re a beautiful rosy red color! Which makes your dish look so pretty and festive for the holidays! Plus they’re naturally sweet flavor is accentuated even more after roasting making them such a great addition to this already flavorful dish.

A festive holiday dinner made with roasted maple glazed chicken and seasonal fruit all baked in a cast iron pan

The sauce

Start out by mixing your apple juice, maple syrup and dried thyme together in a sauce pot. Then bring it to a simmer overe medium high heat and let it reduce down by half or until it’s slightly thickened. (This should take about 5-6 minutes depending on the intensity of your simmer.) You’ll know the sauce is done when it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When your sauce is done, remove your pot from the heat and set it aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Note! Your sauce will thicken as it cools so it’s ok to take it off the heat when it’s still a little runny. (You can always simmer it more later to reduce it down even more.)

Let’s talk chicken

Next we’re going to take the skin off our chicken thighs and season both sides with salt, pepper and a pinch of ground sage. The easiest way to remove the skin is to use a sharp knife and run it beween the skin and thigh meat until the skin slides right off.

Then heat a large cast iron pan over high heat and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Once it’s hot, add your chicken thighs to the pan (top side down) and sear for 2-3 minutes. Then flip them and sear for 1-2 more minutes. Remove your pan from the heat.

An easy dinner made with cooking bone-in chicken thighs, sweet apples and whole cranberries in a cast iron and drizzling a sweet maple sauce over the top

Ready for the oven

Arrange your sliced apples and cranberries around the thighs in the pan and divide you sauce in half. Brush one half of your sauce over the chicken and place 2 sprigs of fresh thyme on top. (If you want to reserve more of your sauce for serving later, only use 1/4 of it for brushing instead.) Then place your pan in a preheated oven (preheated to 400 degrees) and cook for 30-35 minutes.

No cast iron? No problem! Use a large non-stick pan to sear your thighs then transfer them to a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. That’s it!

Serve!

Serve your roasted maple glazed chicken thighs, apples and cranberries with your remaining sauce and any side dish you’d like!

This chicken dinner is so easy and simple yet looks so fancy too! It’d be a perfect meal to serve during fall and the upcoming holidays!

A cast iron skillet filled with maple roasted chicken thighs, apples, cranberries and fresh thyme sprigs

FAQ’s

  • Do I have to take the skin off my chicken thighs before roasting? No. But if seared incorrectly, your skin can turn soggy and bland by the time you sit down to eat. I would suggest adding 1-2 more minutes for searing if you’re planning to leave the skin on.
  • What temperature do chicken thighs need to be cooked to? 165 degrees. You can use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of your thighs to get a good reading.
  • Can I use boneless & skinless chicken thighs instead? Yes. They take a much shorter time to cook though. I would reduce your cooking time to 20 minutes for boneless and skinless chicken thighs.

Why you’ll love this baked chicken thigh recipe

  • All the flavors of fall! Maple, thyme, sage, apples, cranberries – these roasted chicken thighs have it all!
  • A one pot dish! Your cast iron literally does all the work so there’s no intense clean up to worry about!
  • Flavor on flavor on flavor! First we’re searing our spices into our chicken, then slathering on a sweet sauce, then pairing it with sweet apples and tart cranberries and adding even more sauce at the end for a pop of pizzaz!

Need it gluten free? Great news, it already is!

Need it dairy free? Great news, it already is!

More chicken recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Maple Glazed Chicken Thighs with Apples & Cranberries

Tender bone in chicken thighs are slathered in a sweet maple glaze then roasted to perfection with fresh apples and tart cranberries! It's a warm & cozy meal that has all the flavors of fall!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Dairy free, Gluten free
Keyword: apples, chicken thighs, comfort food, cranberries, dinner, easy meals, maple glazed, one pot meal, oven roasted
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, bone in & skin removed*
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 medium apples, sliced
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • ¼ dried thyme
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of ground sage

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Then mix your apple juice, maple syrup and dried thyme together in a pot and bring it to a low boil. Let the sauce simmer until it's reduced by half or until it's slightly thickened (about 5-6 minutes) then set it aside.
  • Next season your chicken with salt, pepper and sage on both sides. Then heat a cast iron or oven safe pan over high heat and sear your chicken thighs on both sides for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove your pan from the heat & arrange your apples, cranberries and fresh thyme sprigs around the chicken thighs.
  • Next divide your sauce in half and brush one half of the sauce over your chicken thighs. Bake for 35-45 minutes. (Your chicken should have a internal temperature of 165 degrees.)
  • Serve immediately with your remaining sauce on the side.

Notes

*The amount of chicken thighs depends on how big they are and how many will fit into your pan. 
Boneless & skinless chicken thighs can be used instead. If using boneless thighs, only bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

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