Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs

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These melt in mouth Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs couldn't be easier to make but pack in so much flavor. They are an instant favorite.

276 CAL 16g CARBS 9g FAT 33g PROTEIN

You won't believe just how delicious these simple tomato braised chicken thighs are! The chicken is tender, the sauce is rich, and there are so many different ways to customize the dish and take it in all different flavor directions. Serve it with rice, creamy polenta, spaghetti squash, or pasta.

This delicious recipe from Food 52 is easy to make and is one of my favorite recipes to make when we have guests for dinner. Many times I will use the bone-in thighs for a dinner party and leave some with the skin on for those who like it. It's easy to remove for those who don't like it though so either way, everyone is happy.

However, when I am making it for just us, I always use boneless, skinless thighs to shave some extra calories and I love the addition of onions to pack in more flavor. Olives are also delicious as an addition. Feel free to amp up the garlic and thyme to get it to just where you like it. The versatility of this recipe is what makes it so great, so go ahead, get creative!

Tomato chicken thighs in a tomato sauce with cooked white rice and parsley.

How Do You Make Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs?

As easy as this is to adapt, it's even easier to make!

The first thing you should do is season the chicken with salt and pepper. Next, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the chicken thighs in a single layer and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown. Push the thighs to one side of the pan or take them out of the pan and put them on a plate to rest.

Next, add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the same skillet. Cook this for 2 minutes or until the garlic is nice and fragrant. Add to this mixture the tomatoes, chicken broth, and thyme. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and put the chicken back into the broth and veggies and cover.

Let the whole thing cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley (optional) and serve!

Recipe Ideas

This easy tomato braised chicken recipe is basically screaming for you to customize. There are so many ways to switch up this recipe that you could make it every week and have a completely different flavor profile.

  • Make this dish Meditteranean by adding sliced olives (Calvestrano are my favorite), drained canned chickpeas, and some crumbled feta cheese on top. Capers would be delicious as well. You can also add some drained artichoke hearts.
  • Go in a Mexican direction by adding a chopped chipotle pepper, swapping oregano for the thyme, and serving it with queso fresco and cilantro. You could also use spicy canned tomatoes like Rotel.
  • Make this Italian style with fresh or dried basil, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Deepen the flavor in this dish by adding some roasted red peppers and swap in fire-roasted tomatoes. This adds a smoky flavor that is really delicious.
  • Add some greens by adding chopped kale when you are cooking the onions or wilting in some spinach during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Make a heartier dish by adding some canned beans. Chickpeas, cannellini beans, or Great Northern white beans are all good options.
  • Saute some fresh mushrooms with the onions to add an earthy element to the dish. Canned mushrooms could also be added in a pinch.
  • Make this Caprese style by finishing the dish with fresh basil, mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or glaze.
  • Swap in any herbs you like for this recipe. You can use thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, or a combination of herbs. They can be fresh or dried.
  • Add curry spices and finish with some coconut milk for an Indian spin on this dish. 
  • Make the dish creamy by finishing the dish with a splash of half and half, creme fraiche, coconut cream (or milk), or cream cheese.

Braised chicken thighs in tomato sauce with chopped parsley.

How to Use Leftover Tomato Braised Chicken

  • Tacos: Shred the chicken and make tinga style tacos with tortilla, diced onions, cilantro, avocado, and some hot sauce or spicy salsa.
  • Shakshuka: Use the leftover sauce to make some baked eggs in a classic Shakshuka style or simply baked with some melted cheese on top.
  • Pasta: Shred the leftover chicken, saute or roast some vegetables, and toss everything with some freshly cooked pasta.
  • Grain bowls: Cook up some farro or quinoa, make some sauteed greens or veggies, and add your leftover braised chicken. Pack them up for lunches during the week or an easy leftover dinner.

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The Recipe
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Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs

Adapted from
276 CAL 16g CARBS 9g FAT 33g PROTEIN
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  • 1.33 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 20 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper

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Season the chicken with salt and pepper.


Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Push to one side of the pan or remove and rest on a plate.


Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Nestle the chicken in this sauce and cover.


Cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276
Calories from Fat 28
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 131mg
Sodium 443mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 8g
Protein 33g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs
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May 5, 2024 - 17:51
Add a Rating:
I tried this yesterday and it was great! Then this morning I used some of the sauce and made shaksuska...that was also wonderful. Now that I have some leftovers how do you think the chicken and sauce would freeze how about just the sauce thanks for all the great ideas
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February 25, 2024 - 20:35
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Absolutely delicious! I added capers, kalamata olives and various italian seasonings, cannelini beans.
Served over fettucini and sauteed rapini on the side.
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August 23, 2023 - 00:51
If you don’t have crushed tomatoes can you use whole tomato’s in juice?
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August 24, 2023 - 06:46
That will work! The sauce just won't be quite as thick but it will still taste delicious.
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February 8, 2023 - 15:37
The recipe notes mention an option of adding “a splash of” cream or alternative to “finish it off”. We are going to make this tonight and are wondering how much is “a splash” and how do we proceed once the splash is added to the sauce? Thank you!
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March 28, 2023 - 16:38
Just add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the tomato sauce and stir to combine right before serving. Hope you enjoy it.
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November 11, 2022 - 03:48
Can I make this is a slow cooker?
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November 11, 2022 - 12:20
It would work great in the slow cooker. Cook it on low for 4 hours.
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Natalie Bonnet
August 28, 2022 - 17:38
Add a Rating:
Can I freeze the leftovers?
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April 25, 2022 - 01:28
Add a Rating:
This recipe is delicious! I added kalamata olives and served it over brown rice with homemade ww garlic bread. What a treat!
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September 11, 2021 - 14:27
Add a Rating:
Absolutely delicious and satisfying to make! I added calvestrano olives, but otherwise followed the recipe to a T and OMGOSH.
Served with buttered orzo. Love.
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