This classic French chicken in white wine sauce is one of my favorite one-pan recipes to make when I’m craving a comforting, flavorful dish. The meal is so easy to whip up and can be ready in under an hour.
Chicken in White Wine Sauce
The French name for this dish is coq au vin blanc, the sister dish to classic coq au vin. Classic coq au vin is made with a red wine sauce, whereas this one is made with a white wine sauce.
The dish can be made with or without cream, but it’s just dreamier with the cream.
As Julia Child says, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”
While coq au vin is typically made with mushrooms, I tend to make this chicken in white wine sauce with carrots.
It’s not that the mushrooms aren’t delicious, I just find that more often than not, I’ll have carrots stocked in my fridge rather than mushrooms.
Easy White Wine Sauce for Chicken
The delicious flavor of this dish is largely derived from the white wine cream sauce that the chicken is essentially bathed in.
The poached chicken in white wine sauce absorbs all the scrumptious flavor from the creamy white wine sauce and the ingredients in that sauce.
Those ingredients include a classic French staple: bacon! Similar to how beef bourguignon is started, this chicken in white wine sauce recipe begins with browning some bacon.
You’d be surprised at what bacon can do for a dish like this. A couple of slices, chopped up and fried to a crisp will create the perfect starter for this recipe.
While a white cream sauce has the luxe richness of cream, the crisp bacon helps add a savory punch of flavor.
The chicken is browned in this bacon fat and set aside until it’s added again later for further cooking.
What kind of chicken do you use?
You can use any cut of chicken that you prefer. You’ll just want to use chicken with skin on.
Whenever you’re making a stew, it’s best to use poultry or meat with the skin on. That way you can brown the chicken or beef and get incredible flavor.
You can always peel the skin off later if you’re not a fan of chicken skin.
I tend to use a variety of cuts when I make this dish, including drumsticks, thighs, and chicken breast, but chicken thighs are my favorite!
White Wine for Cooking
After you’ve browned the chicken and removed it from the pot, you’ll want to sauté a mix of diced onion and garlic.
After the onion and garlic are added to the pot, a splash of white wine is poured in to help deglaze the pan and scrape up all those glorious bacon bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
That’s really as fancy as the base for the white wine sauce gets, but after you taste it, you’d think the ingredient list would have been a whole lot longer.
What wine is good for cooking chicken?
A crisp, dry white wine is always best for cooking chicken. I enjoy using sauvignon blanc when I make this chicken in white wine sauce.
Contrary to some people’s opinion, you don’t have to use an expensive bottle of wine for dishes like this.
That said, I like to choose something decent that I can happily drink afterwards with the dish as well.
Once the pan has been deglazed, the chicken is added back into the pan, along with the carrots/mushrooms, and a more generous helping of white wine.
This mixture simmers away for about 35 minutes until the heavy cream is added. Mmm, this is where the goodness happens.
Yes, you could make chicken in white wine sauce with no cream, but what’s the fun in that? You’d get none of the the thickness and richness of a cream sauce.
The cream is added in the last 10 minutes of the recipe. Once the cream has been added, the contents of the dish are left to simmer and bubble for the final 10 minutes.
The sauce will reduce and become thick and luscious.
It’s perfect for dipping a crusty French baguette in. A sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley is the finishing touch before you can dig in.
Now that’s what I call a fantastic dinner!
- 6 pieces of chicken, skin-on bone-in, either thighs or drumsticks or a mix
- 2 strips bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1/2 a bottle white wine
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, (180 ml)
- parsley, for garnish
- 2 tbsp olive oil, (30 ml)
- French bread, to serve with
- Pat dry the chicken pieces, then salt and pepper both sides of each piece of chicken.
- To a cast iron pan, add the chopped bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken to the pan, skin-side down first, cooking each side for about 4-5 minutes over medium heat or until the chicken is nicely browned and crisp. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the diced onion. Sauté over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent and softened. Add the garlic slices and sauté for another 30 seconds. Pour in a splash of white wine (about 1 heaping tablespoon) so that you can deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any bacon bits stuck to the pan.
- Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the sliced carrots, and about half a bottle of white wine. The wine should reach just up to the tops of the chicken pieces, but the chicken should not be fully submerged to the point that you can't see the top of the chicken. Place a lid on the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 35 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and add in the cream. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then give the mixture a stir. Raise the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer and bubble away for another 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken a couple of times as the sauce simmers for those 10 minutes. Taste test the sauce for salt, and add more if needed.
- Garnish the dish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with a side of crusty French bread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 570