Smothered Chicken Thighs in Onion Gravy
Smothered Chicken Thighs in Onion Gravy

Take a bite and fall in love with this southern classic: Smothered Chicken Thighs in Onion Gravy. Pair this dish with steamed vegetables, rice or mashed vegetables for a weeknight dinner.

This Smothered Chicken Thighs in Onion Gravy recipe will break the mold or the pan, depending!

Typically, anything served with sauce falls firmly into the “comfort food” category, giving the impression of being super fatty, often served with something fried, and almost always unhealthy.

This is traditional fare that’s more of a down-to-earth dinner than a dinner party, and is great for an easy, inexpensive, and fairly healthy weeknight dinner. Pair it with steamed green beans or broccoli and a side of rice or a mixed vegetable puree to make it a complete meal.

Everything about braising

Julia Child is said to have said, “Those who understand the technique don’t need a recipe.” Well, most of us won’t be Julia Child in the kitchen, but the good news is that we’re tackling one of the easiest techniques to master will take – braising.

I know, I know, when you think of braising you think of short ribs, pot roast or beef stew, but the technique can also be used to cook dishes that require shorter cooking times, like this one.

Braising harnesses the power of both dry and moist heat, with a sear followed by gentle simmering in a flavorful, aromatic broth that makes its own gravy. The chicken thighs are dusted with seasoned flour, a sauce is prepared and the chicken is simmered in the sauce in the oven. And that’s a pot roast!

Bone-in chicken breasts can also be used in this dish, but the amount and cooking time of the chicken will vary slightly. You should use 4 bone-in breasts and cook them for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you wanted to use boneless, skinless breasts or thighs (you can), but I’ll warn you, it just won’t be as good – cooking meat on the bone always tastes better. If you go the boneless, skinless route you reduce the cooking time to 10-15 minutes and because of this the sauce doesn’t cook as long and can be a little thin.

Here are a few other swaps and subs you can make in this dish:

  • Instead of onion powder, use Creole seasoning or your favorite seasoning salt.
  • If you can’t find smoked paprika, using regular paprika will also work.
  • If you don’t have fresh thyme, feel free to leave it out.
  • Use a dried bay leaf instead of fresh.

Sauce: The secret sauce

The sauce in this dish is made in the same pan as the chicken, using the all-purpose flour as a thickener. You can also use whole wheat white flour if you have that in your pantry.

Prepare gluten-free sauce: Chickpea or garbanzo flour (aka “besan” if you’re shopping at an Indian market) or broad bean flour are great gluten-free flour alternatives for many savory dishes. It cannot be used cup for cup in baking, but it is an excellent flour to use in smaller batches.

Both chickpea flour and broad bean flour have a better nutritional profile than refined wheat flour, providing more vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein but fewer calories and carbohydrates. (I’m not gluten-free but have this flour in my cupboard and will use it when needed to boost the nutrient density of a recipe. I also love the earthy flavor of the bean flour.)

To thicken the thin sauce, place the cooked chicken on a plate and place the pan with the onion sauce on the stovetop over medium-high heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. bonus: The same cooking method can be used with pork chops too!

How to store leftovers

You’ll want to clean up your plate with this recipe, but if you do have leftovers, simply transfer them to a sealable container and store in your fridge for up to 4 days. If you need to reheat it, put it in a skillet and heat over medium-high heat.

Smothered chicken thighs in onion sauce

preparation time
30 minutes

cooking time
25 minutes

total time
55 minutes

up to 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepperor to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salttaste

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil

  • 8th (3 Lb) Bone chicken thighsskin removed

  • 2 big sweet onionschopped

  • 3 cloves garlicchopped

  • 3/4 Cup self-made chicken broth or reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed

  • 2 branches fresh thyme

  • 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 green onionthinly sliced ​​for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven:

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Season flour:

    In a large shallow bowl, combine flour, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir.

  3. Heat the oil and prepare and season the chicken:

    In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.

  4. Season and sear the chicken:

    Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken in the flour and spice mixture to coat both sides. Shake off the excess flour (making sure to set the flour aside, you’ll need it for the sauce).

    Add the coated drumsticks to the pan, without crowding, and sear in two batches (if necessary), until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate.

  5. Cook the Flavors:

    Add the onions to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-high. Season with the remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

    Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds.

  6. Add flour and prepare sauce:

    Add the remaining flour and spice mixture to the onions and stir to coat and combine. Add the chicken broth to the onion and flour mixture. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer.

  7. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to skillet:

    Add the reserved chicken thighs to the pan with any accumulated juices, sprigs of thyme, and the bay leaf. Place the thighs in the onions and turn them to coat all sides in the sauce.

  8. Finish in the oven:

    Place skillet, uncovered, in oven and cook until the chicken’s juices run clear when pierced with a knife and the temperature reads 165°F when inserted with an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes .

    If the sauce seems too thick, remove the chicken thighs to a serving dish and gradually add the chicken broth. (The sauce should be thick enough to cover a spoonful.)

  9. Season and serve:

    Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

nutritional information (per serving)
423 calories
26g Fat
9g carbohydrates
42g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!