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Roasted chicken breast with molasses, apples and onions is a delicious taste of autumn! The bone-in, skin-on chicken breast is slathered with a molasses and apple cider sauce, then baked in the oven until crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Serve the chicken with mashed potatoes, biscuits or pumpkin bread, plus your favorite green veggies for an easy, family-friendly dinner!

Overhead shot of roasted chicken breast with molasses, apple cider sauce and apples and onions in the pan

Succulent, juicy, and crispy roasted chicken breast is such an underrated, affordable way to feed a family. Flavored with fresh herbs, apples, and onions and basted with an apple cider sauce, this simple, wholesome meal will soon become a staple in your fall and winter meal rotation. Use fresh herbs if you’ve got them, or dried herbs when necessary — the easy roasted chicken breast will be delicious either way!

How do you roast chicken breast without drying it out?

Boneless, skinless chicken breast has a reputation of turning dry and tough after roasting. Instead, we’re using bone-in, skin-on chicken breast here, which stays juicy and flavorful in the oven. The skin and bones add flavor to the dish and help to keep the meat moist. Additionally, basting the chicken with the molasses and apple cider sauce throughout the cooking process contributes extra flavor and moisture to the dish.

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare the baked bone-in chicken breast. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Molasses, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and apple cider: the sweet, savory and tangy ingredients that make up the sauce.
  • Bone-in, skin-on split chicken breast: I like bone-in, skin-on chicken because the skin and bones add flavor and keep the meat nice and moist in the oven. You can obviously pull the skin off after roasting if you prefer, but I highly recommend enjoying the crispy, golden brown exterior!
  • Apples and onions: a sweet and savory taste of fall that flavors the meat and creates a nice side dish.
  • Garlic: for even more flavor.
  • Rosemary and thyme: fresh herbs are best when available, but you can substitute with dried herbs if necessary.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.

How to Roast Chicken Breast

Technically, this is a baked chicken breast recipe (rather than “roasted”), because roasting requires a higher temperature (400° F and above) to create a browned, flavorful crust on the outside of the meat. Baked chicken breast, by contrast, is cooked at a lower temperature (375° F and below). I find that the slightly lower temperature prevents the skin from burning while the meat cooks through. If you’re not concerned with technical terms, then you can call it what you like — oven roasted chicken breast or baked chicken breast. In the end, you’ve got crispy, juicy meat with just a few minutes of prep!

  1. Whisk together the molasses sauce.
  2. Add chicken to the sauce and let the meat marinate for about 15 minutes.
  3. Arrange onions, apples, garlic and herbs in the bottom of a roasting pan; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the chicken on top.
  5. Pour the marinade over the chicken; season liberally with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake the chicken breast in a 375° F oven for about 55-60 minutes, basting the chicken with the pan sauce at the 30, 40, and 50-minute marks. Baste again at the very end before serving.
Process shot showing how to make molasses and apple cider sauce with whisk in a mixing bowl
Bone in skin on chicken breast in a bowl of molasses and apple cider marinade
Apples onions garlic and herb in a roasting pan
Bone in skin on chicken breast in a roasting pan before baking

How to Know when the Chicken is Done

The total baking time will vary depending on your individual oven, on the size of your chicken breast, and on the temperature of your chicken when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is the best tool to know when your chicken is cooked through. The meat should reach an internal temperature of 165° F.

This can take as little as 35 minutes for very small chicken breasts, or as much 70 minutes for very large chicken breasts. I used 2 chicken breasts that weighed about 1¼ lbs. each and required a total cooking time of 55 minutes.

Close overhead shot of a roasting pan full of the best roasted chicken breast recipe

What to Serve with Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

This versatile roasted split chicken breast goes well with almost any of your favorite sides. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Overhead shot of a pan of roasted chicken breast with apples and onions

Storage

Store leftover roasted chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe Variations

  • Scale the recipe to suit the size of your family. With the molasses sauce and the apple and onion base, you can roast as many as 4 split chicken breasts or as few as 2 without needing to adjust anything else.
  • Switch up the herbs and just use your favorites. For instance, parsley and oregano are also nice options here.
  • Using boneless, skinless chicken breast? Baking with the bone and the skin will give you a more juicy, flavorful breast; however, you can use boneless, skinless meat if you prefer. The boneless, skinless chicken breast will only need about 30 minutes in the oven.
  • Substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the breast meat. Chicken thighs typically have a shorter cooking time, so they will likely only need about 45 minutes.

Tips for the Best Roasted Chicken Breast Recipe

  • Use bone-in, skin-on chicken for the best flavor and texture.
  • I prefer Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or other firm apples that hold their shape well during baking.
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme yield the greatest flavor.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken and on the temperature of the meat when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your chicken is done. It will be perfectly tender and juicy when it reaches 165° F.
  • Have leftover roasted chicken? The meat is delicious on sandwiches, on top of salads, in chicken salad, in soups, and in casseroles.
Overhead shot of oven roasted chicken breast with apples and onions in a cast iron pan

More Roasted Chicken Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of roasted chicken breast with molasses, apple cider sauce and apples and onions in the pan

Roasted Chicken Breast with Molasses and Apples

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 404 kcal
Crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, you'll love this flavorful roasted chicken breast that's basted with a molasses and apple cider sauce!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup apple cider
  • 2-4 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch slices (I like Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or a combination of the two)
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: additional fresh herbs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a large baking dish or roasting pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together molasses, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and apple cider. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let chicken sit in the marinade for about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange onions, apples, garlic and herbs in the bottom of the prepared dish. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Place chicken on top; pour remainder of the marinade over chicken. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for about 55-60 minutes, basting the chicken at the 30-, 40-, and 50-minute marks. Baste once more after removing from the oven. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. This can take as little as 35 minutes for small chicken breasts, or as much 70 minutes for very large chicken breasts. A meat thermometer is the best way to tell when your chicken is cooked through.
  • Garnish chicken with additional herbs, if desired.

Notes

  • Use bone-in, skin-on chicken for the best flavor and texture.
  • I prefer Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or other firm apples that hold their shape well during baking.
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme yield the greatest flavor.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken and on the temperature of the meat when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your chicken is done. It will be perfectly tender and juicy when it reaches 165° F.
  • Have leftover roasted chicken? The meat is delicious on sandwiches, on top of salads, in chicken salad, in soups, and in casseroles.
  • This recipe is inspired by a dish from the Morning Glory Farm cookbook on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken breast and 1 serving of apples and onionsCalories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 41gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 411mgPotassium: 1358mgFiber: 4gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: Baked Chicken Breast, bone in, roasted chicken breast
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!

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