This Cranberry Orange Chicken is the perfect one pan meal for the holidays! The chicken is pan seared until crisp and then smothered in a sticky sauce that’s packed with garlic, shallots, orange and lots of juicy cranberries. This dish is Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal. 

Orange Cranberry Chicken

Why you are going to love this Cranberry Orange Chicken:

  • It’s the perfect holiday meal! This is such a fun festive dish to serve during the holidays when cranberries are in season. 
  • All you need is one pan! I absolutely love a one pan meal that equates to minimal washing up. Any oven proof pan will work well for this recipe but I really like using a cast iron skillet.
  • Cranberries and Orange is a winning pair: the combination of tart and sweet is so delicious! You can adjust it with more honey or vinegar depending on your preference. 
  • So versatile: While I like making this dish with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, chicken breasts, boneless thighs or even pork chops work well too!

Paleo Cranberry Chicken

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Absolutely! Frozen or fresh cranberries both work equally well for this recipes. If using frozen I recommend running them under room temperature water for 10 seconds and then leaving them to drain in a colander to prevent the sauce from becoming too watery. I do not recommend using canned cranberry sauce as it will change the consistency and flavour of the sauce.  

Paleo Orange Cranberry Chicken

How to make this Cranberry Orange Chicken:

  1. Pat the skin of the chicken thighs dry and generously season with salt and pepper, then sear them skin side down in a hot skillet until the skin becomes golden in colour and crispy.
  2. The sauce is incredibly simple to make. Sauté shallots and garlic until soft and then add in orange juice and zest for sweetness, plus chicken stock, apple cider vinegar and honey (or any other sweetener you prefer) and cranberries and leave the sauce to simmer until it has thickened. 
  3. Once the sauce has reduced and become thicker in consistency, return the seared chicken thighs to the pan and arrange slices of oranges and a few more fresh cranberries around a bit of extra colour. Then just pop it in the oven to cook until the sauce is thick and sticky and the chicken is cooked through. 

Orange Cranberry Chicken

Alternatives to using bone in skin on chicken thighs:

  • Boneless skin on chicken thighs: You will still get the crispy skin and flavourful meat, but with a shorter cooking time. In step one sear the chicken for 2 minutes per side and when baking in the oven reduce the cook time to 10 minutes. Added bonus, without the bone the chicken is much easier to eat. 
  • Boneless skinless Chicken Breasts: this is a lower calorie alternative to chicken thighs. Unfortunately you won’t get that nice crispiness without the skin, but you should still be able to develop a crust on the breast when searing. 
  • Pork Chops: Sear the pork chops for 5 minutes per side in step 1. 

Cranberry Chicken

What you can serve with this chicken:

Keep things simple! You don’t need to go with side dishes with bold side dishes because the flavours in this dish are already so vibrant. Stick to simple veggies like cauliflower mash, roasted broccoli, green beans and bacon or sheet pan brussels sprouts. Even a simple salad works well as a side as it helps to lighten up the flavours on the plate.

Cranberry Chicken


Here are a few other ways you can use bone in skin on chicken thighs:

If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!

Cranberry Orange Chicken

Every Last Bite
This Cranberry Orange Chicken is the perfect one pan meal for the holidays! The chicken is pan seared until crisp and then smothered in a sticky sauce that's packed with garlic, shallots, orange and lots of juicy cranberries.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Diets Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal
Servings 4


  • 5-6 chicken thighs bone in skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large shallot finely diced (1/3 cup diced)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cranberries (+ 2 tbsp for garnish)
  • 1/2 orange thinly sliced


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat and sear the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side until golden. Once the chicken is seared set it aside on a plate (don't worry about whether its cooked through)
  • Add the diced shallot and minced garlic to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any leftover bits of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add to the pan chicken stock, orange juice, orange zest, apple cider vinegar and honey and stir. Add in the cranberries and bring to a gentle simmer, leave to cook for 8-10 minutes until the cranberries have begun to soften and the sauce has thickened.
  • Arrange the seared chicken thighs in the pan. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken and scatter the remaining 2 tbsp of cranberries and slices of orange around the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below and let us know how it was!