Chicken with Apricots is a delicious Mediterranean-style restaurant-quality dinner that comes together fast in just 30 minutes, using only one cooking pan! This quick and easy Summer weeknight meal features savory chicken and sweet fresh apricots, with honey lime sauce. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, and high in protein.
30-Minute one-pan dinner
Chicken with Apricots is a well-balanced one-pan meal that combines protein (skinless boneless chicken thighs) with fresh Summer stone fruit (apricots). It's perfect for meal prep, making ahead, preparing on a busy weeknight, or freezing for the future! The whole recipe uses only 5 ingredients (not counting the spices), yet the result is the restaurant-quality main course! Everything is cooked in one pan in just 30 minutes - a perfect weeknight choice for busy people and families. This easy Mediterranean-style main course also makes a beautiful presentation, and you can serve it on special occasions when you have company over or guests. If you love using Summer stone fruit in dinner recipes, be sure to check out my chicken with peaches.
When are apricots in season?
Fresh apricots are generally available from May to August. Take advantage of this delicious seasonal stone fruit, and use it in your cooking and baking! As you will see in this recipe, apricots work really well in savory dishes and create beautiful dinners!
How to choose the best fresh apricots
- Choose a firm texture. Buy apricots that are firm and crisp. They should be plump and firm (or slightly soft) to the touch, with unwrinkled skin. Ripe apricots should have a rich orange color or a combo of rich yellow/orange.
- Firm apricots are best for cooking. They will hold up the best when you have to cook them such as in this recipe or desserts. You need a firm apricot that holds up well under the heat of cooking.
- Avoid overripe apricots that are easily indented when touched or the ones that have cuts or wrinkled skin.
- Should apricots be refrigerated? Once the apricots are ripe, they should be refrigerated to prevent them from spoiling.
Apricots are highly nutritious little stone fruits! They are a good source of Vitamins A, C, and E. They are rich in antioxidants (such as beta-carotene and lutein). They provide Potassium, Magnesium, and are rich in fiber. And, they are low in calories!
What kind of chicken to use
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs. That's what I used in this quick recipe - the dark meat of chicken thighs is juicy and tender and is usually quite forgiving to cook.
- Chicken tenders are also a perfect choice for this recipe. Make sure to avoid overcooking as chicken tenders cook fast.
- Skinless and boneless chicken breasts tend to dry out faster, so be sure to watch your cooking times closely, ensuring that the chicken is cooked through quickly, without drying out.
- What about bone-in chicken? I do not recommend it as it takes much longer to cook.
How to make chicken with apricots
- First, you will sear skinless, boneless chicken thighs (seasoned with paprika, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper) in olive oil in a skillet until the chicken is completely cooked through.
- Then, you will remove the cooked chicken from the skillet to a plate, and briefly cook sliced apricots in the same skillet (about 5 minutes).
- Next, add honey and freshly squeezed lime juice and stir.
- Finally, add back the cooked chicken thighs - nestled in between the cooked apricots. Top with fresh thyme and garnish with lime slices.
- Use fresh firm apricots. Fresh apricots have a short season (May through August) so take advantage of this delicious Summer produce!
- Do not peel the apricots. Keep the apricots' skin on - not only does it add color and vibrancy to the dish, but why also get rid of the fiber contained in the apricots' skin?! However, be sure to wash apricots thoroughly in warm running water to get rid of any dirt and debris.
- Do not overcrowd the pan when cooking the chicken. Creating space between the chicken thighs will allow the chicken to sear nicely instead of steaming. Use a large enough pan to accommodate all of your chicken or work in batches. The 12-inch cast-iron pan works the best!
- Use fresh herbs such as thyme to add more flavor to this sweet and savory dish! Fresh herbs always pair beautifully with the chicken and fruit combination. Fresh basil is another herb that will work well with chicken and apricots.
- Use honey to create a sticky and syrupy glaze-like sauce.
- Freshly squeezed lime juice - I squeezed one lime. It will add tartness to the sweet and savory flavors of this dish.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Store seared chicken with apricots in an airtight container for up to 4 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish because that will dry out the chicken and turn the apricots into mush.
- Reheat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Check and reheat for 30 seconds more or longer.
- Reheat on the stovetop. You can also reheat the chicken on medium heat in the skillet on the stovetop. When reheating, heat olive oil in the skillet first until it shimmers, then add the leftovers.
What to serve with chicken and apricots
Chicken and apricots are great on their own - it's a delicious and satisfying meal that doesn't need any side dishes. But, just in case, here are some delicious ideas:
- Roasted vegetables. You can add roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, green beans, onions, and mushrooms.
- Rice. Serve chicken with apricots over white rice, brown rice, or even wild rice.
- Cauliflower rice. You can use fresh or frozen (defrosted).
- Pasta. My favorite is rice-shaped pasta - orzo - it will make a perfect pairing with chicken and apricots. I also recommend fine pasta, such as angel hair. Or short pasta, such as fusilli, penne, or farfalle (bow-tie pasta). You can add a little butter or olive oil, and salt and pepper to the pasta.
- Quinoa. Cook quinoa in chicken broth to add richness. Then toss with garlic and fresh herbs.
- Salad. Serve this with a fresh salad, such as Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, feta, and capers. Or, pair this dinner with Apple spinach salad with pecans.
Chicken with Apricots (30-Minute, One-Pan Meal)
How to cook chicken
- Season chicken thighs with paprika, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Heat a large, high-sided, 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. This allows the cast-iron skillet to heat through.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chicken thighs. Cook the chicken on medium heat for 5 minutes, without moving it. This allows the chicken to sear.
- Flip the chicken thighs over, reduce heat to low-medium, and cook for about 5 more minutes or longer until it's completely cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove chicken from skillet.
How to cook apricots
- To the same, now empty, skillet, on medium heat, add sliced apricots and slightly cook them in chicken juices, without overcooking, - about 3 or 5 minutes. They should not get mushy.
- At the very end, add honey and lime juice. Add more honey and more lime juice to taste, if you like.
- Add back the cooked chicken nestled in between the apricots. Reheat briefly. Remove from heat.
- Top with fresh thyme. Garnish with fresh lime slices.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.