Baked Cranberry Chicken

4.84 from 18 votes
57 Comments

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This cranberry chicken is tender, sweet yet tangy and easy to make! With less than five minutes of prep time, this is a perfect dinner for busy weeknights.

Fork holding piece of cut Cranberry Chicken.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Ingredients in Cranberry Chicken
  2. How to Prepare Cranberry Chicken
  3. Frequently Asked Questions about Cranberry Chicken
  4. Other Yummy Cranberry Recipes
  5. Baked Cranberry Chicken Recipe

This Cranberry Chicken recipe is one of those dishes that always saves my life when I’ve had an especially busy day and didn’t think ahead to put anything in the crock pot. The chicken is baked to perfection in a savory sweet cranberry sauce with sweet bursts of dried cranberries and toasted pecan pieces. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes and green beans or a green salad. The red and green look so pretty together and so classy. It’s a simple meal that makes a statement, so it’s sure to impress your guests.

Ingredients in Cranberry Chicken

The combination of ingredients for this Cranberry Chicken may seem unusual, but I promise, once it is all baked together the flavor is HEAVENLY and it really is one of the easiest chicken recipes you’ll ever make.

  • Chicken – Start with four large boneless chicken breasts, cut in half – you can substitute with bone-in chicken or chicken thighs if you prefer. You should have enough chicken to fill a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Cranberry sauce – I like to use a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, but you can use leftover homemade sauce from Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Dry onion soup mix – one packet
  • Pecans – one cup chopped or more if you like an extra crunch
  • Craisins – or dried cranberries
  • One bottle of Catalina salad dressing – usually the smaller bottle is plenty.
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
Cranberry Chicken on a dinner plate with mashed potatoes and green beans.

How to Prepare Cranberry Chicken

  1. First, arrange the chicken in a baking pan, prepped with some cooking spray. If you’re using thighs with skin, make sure to put the skin-side down.
  2. Spread cranberry sauce all over the chicken in a nice, thick layer over each piece of chicken.
  3. Next, sprinkle the onion soup packet, chopped pecans and dried cranberries over the chicken.
  4. Then pour the Catalina salad dressing over the top.
  5. Lightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Uncover the chicken and bake again for 15 more minutes so the sauce thickens and becomes a shiny glaze.
  7. Serve the extra sauce in a bowl and spoon over the chicken when serving. You can also garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cranberry Chicken

Is cranberry sauce healthy for you?

Cranberries themselves are rich in vitamin C and fiber so yes they are healthy! Try our low sugar cranberry sauce for all the flavor but less sugar!

How can I make my chicken more flavorful?

Season with salt and pepper before adding the rest of the ingredients. The cranberry sauce, onion packet and salad dressing will add a whole host of flavors that will complement the chicken.

Can I freeze cranberry chicken?

Yes! Store leftovers in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator and warm up either in the microwave or oven.

READ MORE:35+ Chicken Breast Recipes

Other Yummy Cranberry Recipes

Plate of Cranberry Chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes.

Baked Cranberry Chicken

4.84 from 18 votes
This cranberry chicken is tender, sweet yet tangy and easy to make! With less than five minutes of prep time, this is a perfect dinner for busy weeknights.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Video

Equipment

  • 9×13 inch pan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place chicken in baking pan. Generously spread cranberry sauce over the chicken.
    Craisins, onion soup mix, cranberry sauce, pecans, chicken and Catalina dressing to make Cranberry Chicken.
  • Sprinkle onion soup mix, pecans, and craisins over the chicken. Pour Catalina dressing over top.
    Glass dish with Catalina dressing covering the Cranberry Chicken.
  • Bake lightly covered with foil at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.
    Foil covering glass dish of Cranberry Chicken.
  • Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.
    Cranberry Chicken on a dinner plate with mashed potatoes and green beans.
  • Tip: Spoon extra sauce over the chicken and rice or mashed potatoes when serving.
    Fork holding piece of cut Cranberry Chicken.

Notes

  • Use four large boneless chicken breasts, cut in half – you can substitute with bone-in chicken or chicken thighs if you prefer. You should have enough chicken to fill a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Arrange the chicken in a baking pan, prepped with some cooking spray. If you’re using thighs with skin, make sure to put the skin-side down.
  • Serve the extra sauce in a bowl and spoon over the chicken when serving. You can also garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 26gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 898mgPotassium: 526mgFiber: 3gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 2.8mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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Comments

  1. I am new to the recipe method for cooking and want to try this. I not sure exactly how much dressing?? A small bottle or large bottle. And can I use walnuts in place of pecans?

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried this combo before, but I LOVED it! That savory fruity sweet flavor combo was delicious! Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    I love cranberry so much that I buy in bulk during the holidays so I can have them all year, so I knew I was gonna love this! I was not disappointed, this is amazing!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for once-a-year family get together this Christmas and it was a super hit! Everyone loved it so much that I made it for a vegetarian dinner later using Worthington’s Fry Chik instead of the chicken and everything else exactly as shown. It was deeelicious! My family consists of adult children, grandchildtren and great grandchildren. It’s nice to know that they still think I’m a great cook! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

  5. HEY COOKS! Make sure to double the Nutritional Info, unless you’re feeding eight 5 yr. olds! Everyone I know ordinarily eats 1/2 chicken breast. Here, you’re cutting the half chicken breast into yet another half. This might work if you’re feeding eight 5 yr. olds, but not for a normal adult. I DO pay close attention to Nutritional info, and I find this recipe to be extremely high in calories, etc., for ONLY the (unreasonable) portion size. It does sound tasty, though.

  6. 5 stars
    This was absolutely divine! My husband swears it is gourmet, 5-star restaurant dining. Thank you so much for this exquisite recipe! I made it exactly as you described – fork tender and simply “moreish “!

    1. So glad you liked this chicken! It’s so fun to see people’s reaction to this recipe because they are like “this is amazing, what’s in it?!” and after we tell them how simple the ingredients are they are always surprised! So easy, right? Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    1. I think you may be asking, what are craisins? They are dried cranberries. You can find them on the grocery aisle next to the raisins and other dried fruits. Thank you for asking!

  7. 5 stars
    My Mom made this for years with French dressing, no pecans. Mixed it all together and poured it over the top. One of my childhood favorites.

  8. What are the ounces of can for whole berry cranberry sauce and what size of package for chopped pecans do you use and any recommendation brands for either of these two?

    1. I usually use Ocean Spray cranberry sauce – I don’t have a can on hand to tell you exactly, but it is a 12 -14 oz can. I use approximately 1 cup of pecans. I use pecans often for salads and baking, so I buy the Kirkland Signature brand at Costco. I keep store them in the freezer to keep them fresh tasting and pull out what I need when I’m cooking. I hope this helps. Thank you for asking!

  9. Can you use Lite Catalina dressing and it turn out just as good? I accidentally bought Lite dressing at the store..

  10. 5 stars
    Very good I made it with boneless skinless thighs and it was a big hit and will make it again. There is nothing I would change.

  11. 2 stars
    I want to be nice, but I made this for my family and they are still mad at me. It was SO awful!!!! I ultimately had to wash the stuff off the chicken and just re-purpose it with barbecue sauce – I couldn’t bear to throw that much chicken away. I’m sure it was my cooking skills (or lack of) that didn’t help, but the recipe is too vague for the chef with no instincts. I doubled the meat, but apparently doubling the other stuff is NOT the way to go, AND in doing so, my pan was not big enough I guess because I had Catalina dressing running over in the oven and them hovering on top like a nasty red forcefield. Any further clarification you can add to the recipe would help people like me. I may try again, but in seclusion until I’m sure it’s right and I’ve won back their trust.

    1. I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t turn out for you. It has worked great for me every time. I have never doubled it in one pan, so that may have been the problem. I will take a look at the recipe again and see if I can make the instructions more clear.

      1. Thank you!! I hated to be a debbie downer, I’m sure the votes saying it worked beautifully come from more experienced and better cooks. Would appreciate a little help for doubling (because I would have to double for all the hungry mouths in my brood). I’ll try again or have my mom try it so we can blame her if we hate it again. It sounded delish to me!

      2. This recipes calls for 3-4 chicken breasts – I am thinking that this means 3-4 WHOLE chicken breasts OR 6-8 HALF chicken breasts. If you only want to make 4 servings (1/2 ckn breast/svg) you will need to cut the recipe in half. Correct ??? That is what I plan to do unless I want extra sauce.

        1. Yes, the 3-4 chicken breasts are boneless, skinless breasts that have already been halved, not whole chicken breasts. For four servings, I would recommend two half chicken breasts cut in half again. If you are using prepackaged breasts, one breast is enough for 2 servings. There will be a lot of extra sauce even with cutting the recipe in half. I will say that when I’ve made this my guests usually go for seconds. This also is delicious reheated if you want leftovers for lunch the next day. Thank you for your comment!

  12. This looks and sounds great. I would like to make this with boneless/skinless chicken. How long should I cook it for?

    1. The recipe calls for boneless/skinless chicken breasts. It cooks for 45 minutes with the foil on, and then an additional 15 with foil removed. You are going to love this recipe – it is so good!

    1. Yes, I’ve made it before with our Orange Cranberry Sauce and it is amazing! Any homemade cranberry sauce would work and taste great. Thanks for asking!

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe sound delicious. Can I cook in my casserole crockpot? Or top my stuffing with the chicken?

    Going to try it on Christmas.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    1. I have made this in the crockpot before, but I prefer baking it in the oven. The last few minutes of cooking without the foil gives the chicken and the pecans a chance to brown a little. Are you thinking of serving the dish with stuffing instead of rice? I think it would be great with stuffing!

  14. I am wondering too what size of dressing you use….you said regular but is that the small size or the larger size?

      1. Thanks…I am having my daughter over for supper tonight and plan on serving it. It sounds so delicious!!

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve made this with chicken thighs. I mix all the ingredients together and rub it all over the chicken including under the skin and then bake. Comes out deelish!!!!

    1. You would need to simmer them down first with some sugar to bring out the flavor and add some sweetness. You would do a 12-oz. bag with about 1 c. of sugar and a couple Tbsp of water. Let it simmer until the cranberries pop and soften and then add them as directed to the recipe! I have done this recipe this way before and it is amazing! 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    I came across this recipe about 9 months ago and my entire family of 10 people all love this so much! I just bought cranberries in bulk so I will be able to make it throughout the year! Thank you for sharing this!

  17. I bookmarked this recipe ages ago and am just now getting around to making this. What size bottle of dressing? And what size package of pecans?

    1. Just the regular size dressing, and the amount of pecans you want to use is really to taste. Just enough to sprinkle over the chicken.

    2. .trying this on the grill with.. added blue berries & a little crushed red pepper. Touch of apple cider vinegar

  18. Question: What size catalina dressing and what size pecan package. They have small and large in my store.

  19. 5 stars
    THis was delicious! I just barely came across your blog and it is a new favorite! I also made your lemon bars for work and they were a hit!

  20. Sounds good! I have never tried it with cranberries. I will have to try that next time. I do the same recipe but use apricot jam. . . I love it!

  21. Thanks Kristen! Believe me, I know how you feel. Good sushi is hard to find when you don’t live on or near the coast!
    I’m glad you like the blog! Visit often!

  22. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. Thank you for all of your delicious recipes. I cannot wait to try the sushi. We recently moved (okay, it’s been 3 years) from the Seattle area and I miss sushi more than just about everything else.

  23. I came across this receipe on facebook. It sounds awesome and I will give it a whirl. But I also think a turkey breast would be great also this way.