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The most tender, juicy and flavorful baked chicken breasts! This 5-ingredient Dump-and-Bake Cranberry Chicken is a cozy, easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for cool nights.

Front shot of cast iron baking dish with cranberry chicken

You only need 10 minutes (at most!) to throw together this baked chicken dinner that’s basted in a sweet-and-savory cranberry glaze. With hints of bright orange zest, tart cranberries and zesty onion seasoning, you won’t believe how complex this simple recipe tastes!

I used a can of whole berry cranberry sauce for convenience, but this would also be a perfect way to use up any leftover homemade cranberry sauce that you might have from the holidays. You can find my favorite 3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce recipe here.

Overhead shot of baked cranberry chicken with cranberry orange glaze in a baking dish

How to make Cranberry Chicken:

You only need 5 ingredients and about 10 minutes of prep for this oven baked chicken breast recipe!

Ingredients for cranberry chicken breasts

The best way to cook chicken breast in the oven:

First, season the chicken with salt and pepper and place it in a two-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Raw chicken breasts in a baking dish with salt and pepper

Next, stir together the ingredients for your cranberry glaze:

  • French salad dressing (or use Russian or Catalina dressing instead)
  • Whole berry cranberry sauce
  • A packet of dry onion soup mix seasoning
  • Zest from half of an orange
Cranberry glaze for chicken in a glass measuring cup

I love the bright, fresh burst of flavor from the orange zest when paired with the cranberry in this dish. When zesting the orange, be sure that you only scrape off the outer peel — this is where all of the essential oils and flavors are found. You do not want to scrape off the white pith, since it has a bitter taste.

Orange with microplane for zest

Pour the sauce over the raw chicken breasts,

Chicken with cranberry sauce in a baking dish

cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes.

Lid on a baking dish

After 30 minutes, remove the cover and return the chicken to the oven for another 15 minutes (or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F). Then spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve!

Front shot of baked cranberry chicken in a cream colored cast iron pan

What to serve with cranberry baked chicken breasts:

This dish pairs nicely with just about any vegetable and starch. Here are a few easy side dishes that go well with the cranberry chicken:

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Have leftover homemade cranberry sauce? Omit the canned sauce and use 1 1/2 cups of homemade whole berry sauce.
  • I used Ken’s Country French dressing, but you can substitute with Catalina dressing or Russian dressing if you prefer.
  • When zesting the orange, be sure that you only scrape off the outer peel — this is where all of the essential oils and flavors are found. You do not want to scrape off the white pith, since it has a bitter taste.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. The type of baking dish that you use can also impact the cooking time (dark, nonstick metal pans or a cast iron pan will cook the meat faster than a ceramic or glass dish, for instance). As a result, a meat thermometer is the best way to know when your chicken is done. The meat is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Instead of the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, substitute with about 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The thighs will cook faster than the breasts, so remove the cover after about 15-20 minutes before continuing to bake for the final 15 minutes.
  • Nutrition information provided is based on all of the sauce in the pan. If you do not consume all of the sauce, nutrition facts will vary drastically.
Close up front shot of cranberry orange chicken on a serving spoon in a casserole dish

More easy baked chicken breast recipes that you might enjoy:

Front shot of cast iron baking dish with cranberry chicken

Dump-and-Bake Cranberry Chicken

4.93 from 14 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 543.6 kcal
This 5-ingredient Dump-and-Bake Cranberry Chicken is a cozy, easy dinner recipe that's perfect for cool nights!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs. total)
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) French, Russian or Catalina salad dressing
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (1 ounce) packet dry onion soup mix seasoning
  • Zest from ½ of an orange

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place chicken in the prepared dish. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, cranberry sauce, dry onion soup mix seasoning and orange zest. Pour sauce over chicken.
  • Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and return to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

Notes

  • Have leftover homemade cranberry sauce? Omit the canned sauce and use 1 1/2 cups of homemade whole berry sauce.
  • I used Ken’s Country French dressing, but you can substitute with Catalina dressing or Russian dressing if you prefer.
  • When zesting the orange, be sure that you only scrape off the outer peel — this is where all of the essential oils and flavors are found. You do not want to scrape off the white pith, since it has a bitter taste.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. The type of baking dish that you use can also impact the cooking time (dark, nonstick metal pans or a cast iron pan will cook the meat faster than a ceramic or glass dish, for instance). As a result, a meat thermometer is the best way to know when your chicken is done. The meat is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Instead of the boneless, skinless chicken breasts, substitute with about 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The thighs will cook faster than the breasts, so remove the cover after about 15-20 minutes before continuing to bake for the final 15 minutes.
  • Nutrition information provided is based on all of the sauce in the pan. If you do not consume all of the sauce, nutrition facts will vary drastically.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 543.6kcalCarbohydrates: 37.9gProtein: 52.5gFat: 18.9gSaturated Fat: 2.8gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 775.8mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 28.9gVitamin C: 0.9mg
Keyword: Baked Chicken Breasts, cranberry chicken, oven baked chicken breast recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so, so good. My husband who is terribly fussy ate every bit of it!! This is definitely going into my meal rotation!!

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe is fantastic! It looks and tastes like “company” food, but it’s so easy! I like to use boneless, skinless thighs, and a mushroom-onion soup mix. A keeper!

      1. In the photo, It looks Like There is thyme and maybe parsley added to the chicken but I don’t see that listed in the recipe.

        1. Hi, Vicki! Yes, you’re right! I often add a garnish for the photos, but it’s certainly not necessary and it’s not officially an ingredient in the recipe. You can feel free to add an herb garnish as well, but it’s not necessary to purchase any for the recipe itself…just an extra touch. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I made this before many times. I marinated it overnight and cut up the chicken breast in small bites pieces. I served it with rice and salad. yummy

        1. Hi, Janie! I haven’t tested it myself, but here’s a quick “recipe” for a homemade version of the onion soup mix, which you might want to try: 3 tablespoons of minced onion flakes, 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon parsley flakes, 1/8 teaspoon ground celery seeds, and a pinch each of black pepper, sweet paprika, and salt. If you don’t like the seasonings/flavors used in the onion soup mix, then I would just play around with the seasonings that you do like and make a version that suits your tastebuds. Hope that helps!

  3. 4 stars
    Hi! I just discovered your site. I made this but winded up with Way too much liquidy sauce. I’m inexperienced so it may have been errors on my part. I had three pounds of boneless chicken thighs in a three quart rectangular Pyrex dish which made them pretty close together but in one layer. I made up the sauce as directed but when I opened the Ocean Spray whole berry sauce it turned out to be almost all jellied sauce with just a few whole berries. It all measured two cups of sauce in my measuring glass cup which looked like a lot but I went ahead. It took like an hour and a half before the chicken was done and the chicken was almost submerged in a thin sauce.which was way too much even with rice. It tasted good but was hard to manage. What do you suggest I do the next time? Put the chicken in two pans? Would it get rid of some moisture if I browned the chicken first. Was it the jellied sauce? Should I substitute homemade sauce or dried cranberries or just make half the sauce?. You make want to update the recipe. I looked at the Ocean Spray website and I saw many complaints in the reviews about the same thing I noticed that the sauce is basically jelly now. Help! I look forward to trying more of your recipes and I LOVE reading about your family. Your boys look like such fine children. I am so sorry about the death of your parents’ dog over the holidays. So sad.

    1. Hi, Marion! Thanks for your note! From what I can gather, it sounds like you didn’t do anything wrong when preparing the recipe. If you can see in the photos that I took, the sauce is definitely thinner after baking. I just use a slotted spoon to remove the meat, and then spoon a smaller amount of sauce over the chicken (leaving the excess in the pan). If you want a thicker sauce, you can definitely make your own cranberry sauce AND you can try baking the dish without a cover at all. The sauce will thicken up more without the cover, but your meat may also cook quicker, too, so just keep an eye on it. Hope that helps, and thanks again for reading the blog! 🙂

      1. Hi, Janie! Here’s a quick “recipe” for a homemade version of the onion soup mix, which you might want to try: 3 tablespoons of minced onion flakes, 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon parsley flakes, 1/8 teaspoon ground celery seeds, and a pinch each of black pepper, sweet paprika, and salt. If you don’t like the seasonings/flavors used in the onion soup mix, then I would just play around with the seasonings that you do like and make a version that suits your tastebuds. Hope that helps!

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious My mother and I just loved it. We also tried it with a roast pork loin but definitely better with chicken. I added a sliced green pepper in the mixture that is all I did different very good. Try just a cut up onion and two beef Bullion cubes if you do not like onion mix. When it’s all cooked together with the mix though it is delicious

    1. Wonderful! Thanks, Janis! I’m so glad that you liked it, and I appreciate your helpful comments about the different variations. 🙂

    1. Hi, Mary Jo! Yes, I think it would work. The sauce will be a bit thinner than the oven-baked version, because in the oven you remove the cover and let the sauce thicken a bit at the end of the baking time. The slow cooker holds the condensation in the pot, so the sauce will get more watery. If you use the Crock Pot method, I would try about 4-6 hours on LOW or 2-3 hours on HIGH. Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this tonite and it was delicious! I wasn’t certain that I would really like it but I did like it and so did my picky eater. The only exception to the recipe was that I used 4 whole chicken thighs. I wanted a bit of crispy skin so I browned them in an air fryer for about 20 minutes. Put them into a corning ware dish and followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Made a pot of white rice to go with it and could not be happier. Thank you for the recipe and will definitely be serving this again!

    1. Your twist sounds perfect, Jimmy! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a note. I’m glad that even your picky eater approved! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Made this last night but with a whole chicken… absolutely delicious! Thank you I will be sharing this recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe has been a staple in our household since the 1990’s. Always delicious, and great for this time of year around the holidays.

  8. 5 stars
    A friend hosted several of us ladies last evening and served this chicken. It was outstanding! She used chicken thighs which she browned before cooking in her crock pot with all the rest of the ingredients. We poured the sauce over our chicken and mashed potatoes. Delicious.

  9. 5 stars
    I dislike chunky cranberry sauce. I dislike French or Catalina or similar dressings. I dislike onion soup mix. I like, no, love this dish. I recommend that people should try to make it before trying to change it. It is an odd thing what happens when you mix everything. It’s a beautiful delicious thing!

  10. Need help Blair, looks like such great recipe. I am in Australia, so trying to replace some of the ingredients, also, can this dish be cooked in advance & is it suitable for freezing.
    Regards
    Jude

    1. Hi, Jude! Yes, this dish will be fine cooked in advance, and it will also freeze well before or after baking.

      If you don’t have onion soup mix in Australia, I would try a homemade version like this: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/217155/dry-onion-soup-mix/

      Here’s a recipe for homemade catalina dressing that looks like it would work well if you can’t find something similar in your own stores: https://sweetandsavorymeals.com/homemade-catalina-dressing/

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Blair,
        Having guests Saturday night & it’s on the menu. I will report the result, I’m sure it will be great.
        Jude

    1. Hi, Laurie! You can double the ingredients and bake the doubled recipe in a 4-quart (deep 9 x 13-inch) dish. If you do TWO of those large pans — so, a quadruple recipe — it should make enough for 16 people. Have a great party!