Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

This beer braised chicken is made from chicken thighs and root vegetables–onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery root–simmered in porter along with brown sugar, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, and thyme to create a luscious, rich, satisfying stew with some of the most flavorful chicken thighs we’ve ever experienced.

A red Dutch oven filled with beer-braised chicken with root vegetables on a wooden surface.

This beer braised chicken recipe is complex in taste yet simple to make. Your only work is to  toss some ingredients in a pot and let them slowly burble on the back burner. What results is a sort of alchemy in which “the toastiness of the porter plus the sweetness of root vegetables and the spiciness of Dijon mustard create a stew full of contrasting, but harmonious, flavors.” In other words, magic.–Renee Schettler

What's the best beer to cook chicken with in this recipe?

Much of how this recipe turns out depends on your beer. We really prefer you not just crack open a PBR and dump it in the pot. Our recommendation is you opt for a porter, as the slightly bitter, coffee-like overtones lend a complex richness to the stew. Although you could always opt for a slightly less bitter brown ale and your braise will still be charming.

Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

  • Quick Glance
  • (12)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
4.4/5 - 12 reviews
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Pat the chicken thighs dry and season them with salt and pepper.

Place a large, heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat and add the oil. Sear the chicken thighs, turning once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. (You may need to cook the chicken in batches.)

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off the drippings from the pot, leaving just enough to barely coat the bottom. With the heat still on medium, add 2 tablespoons butter and wait until it melts.

Add the onions and cook until golden, about 6 minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes, and celery root, porter, stock or broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, and thyme and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot, submerging the thighs in the liquid, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

In a heatproof bowl using the back of a fork, mash together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the flour to form a thick paste.

Gradually whisk about 2 cups hot cooking liquid into the flour-butter mixture until completely combined. Slowly add this mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. Once the flour mixture is incorporated, continue simmering uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken thighs are cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chicken thighs and vegetables to a platter. Skim any fat from the surface of the liquid in the pot or, if you have a fat separator, pour the contents of the pot into it and pour off the fat. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer the liquid until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and season the sauce according to personal preference with salt and pepper.

Tester tip: If the porter you selected was particularly bitter, you may need to add a smidgen more beer or sugar or both to the cooking liquid to lend the resulting sauce a more mellow flavor profile. (That’s fancy talk for “make it taste better.”) 

Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and vegetables and, if desired, scatter some parsley over the top. Originally published February 26, 2013.

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Recipe Testers' Tips

This beer braised chicken thighs is an amazing dish! Hands-down the best chicken I've ever made. The list of ingredients looks daunting, but it's so simple to prepare and the flavor is complex, rich, and dynamic.

The hardest part was finding porter. I finally found a coffee porter and used that.

Be warned this makes a LOT of sauce, but that's okay as it's great to soak up with a nice bread. The only complaint I have is the vegetables in the recipe weren't really enough for 4 people. I will certainly make this again but will add more veggies to make it a truly one-pot meal.

These chicken thighs are the most tender and tasty I’ve ever had and the root veggies were perfectly cooked in the time specified. And this is super easy to put together and it produces a very satisfying and complete meal in one pot. The only addition might be some crusty bread to sop up the braising liquid and a nice green salad to start.

The flavor of the braising liquid is quite bitter. I added a little more brown sugar after tasting the finished sauce to help balance the flavors. Next time, I’ll cut back on the ale and increase the amount of broth to reduce the bitterness a bit more.

As promised, this beer braised chicken recipe produced a hearty stew with deep flavors. The chicken was moist and the root vegetables sweet. The porter produced a lovely rich sauce that was enhanced by just the right amount of thyme. I’m not sure that the celery root added all that much to the stew, and could be omitted since it’s not an item that’s usually kept on hand. I didn’t really taste the mustard—perhaps that ingredient could be increased.

A satisfying dish for a cold, snowy January night. Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread available to soak up every bit of the sauce.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced cook, this is an easy recipe to whip up. It makes a large batch and is suitable for a crowd and/or leftovers for a weeknight meal.

The porter made it quite sweet, complementing the root vegetables. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I suggest adding 4 minced cloves of garlic. Perhaps 1 teaspoon more of thyme, a splash of lemon juice to tie it all together, and even a dash of chile flakes for that oomph.

When I read this beer braised chicken recipe, I thought it’d be perfect for a January dinner. I was right. All the flavors worked together with a balance between sweetness and a slight tartness and the porter gave depth to the sauce. The celery root was an inspired choice.

My tasters said they’d eat this beer braised chicken again and I’ll definitely make it again! The chicken was delicious and plentiful and we didn’t have to wait for hours before enjoying it. Everything was perfectly tender and the deeply flavored sauce was fantastic.

Bread on the side is a must to mop up the sauce! I could’ve easily fed more than 4 people. Depending on what’s available and your preferences, I think you can be flexible with the vegetables—more or less of what the recipe calls for or add other ones such as parsnips.

This beer braised chicken is a delightful one-pot chicken dish that’s hearty and simple all at the same time. I found this recipe to be a very simple dish with lots of rustic flavor, deep nuttiness, and a generous helping of chicken. It was a hit with all the family. The ingredients are a classic combination of tomato, celery root, Dijon, and thyme, making for a heavenly gravy once it’s finished with the roux (butter and flour).

A good dark beer can be quite the addition to the dinner table, especially when combined with all the makings of a luscious stew. I served it alongside a very creamy garlic mash and broccoli.

After a day of skiing, I came home and quickly prepared this delicious beer braised chicken for my family. What a hit! A brilliant combination of underutilized chicken thighs (I used boneless) and celery root, which marries perfectly with porter. (I used Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery, which has notes of coffee and chocolate.)

I think next time I’d add a bit more carrot and maybe another potato. In addition, a nice dose of salt and pepper at the end is certainly welcome prior to serving.

This beer braised chicken is a delicious and hearty stew which comes together in about an hour, prep work included. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this considering I’m not a beer drinker. The porter added a nice richness to the chicken, but did overpower the sauce slightly.

I’d add some fresh chopped parsley to the final presentation for some nice brightness. I’d vote this a weeknight winner for the convenience and heartiness of this one-pot meal.

I made this beer braised chicken for a weeknight dinner. I omitted the celery root and substituted baby Yukon potatoes for red potatoes. I was a bit nervous that the flavor of the porter would overwhelm the dish, which it didn’t; rather, it added nice depth. The dish was a hit!

This beer braised chicken recipe makes a nice, rich, and hearty stew that’s wonderful on a cold winter night. The hardest part for me was actually finding celery root or celeriac for it.

The only changes I’d make would be to add a few cloves of smashed garlic to the onions while sautéing them and to perhaps toss in a bay leaf or two into the pot while it simmers. And if you like your chicken skin on the crunchy side, pull the thighs out after they’re done, while you’re thickening the sauce, broil them for a few minutes, and then place them back in the pot.


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  1. Help! Love this recipe but I have a guest coming over for diner that is a recovering alcoholic. What can I substitute the Porter with?

    1. Rob, if you are able to substitute a non-alcoholic beer, there are now several good options on the market. However, they do tend to have small amounts of alcohol in them so that may not be an option for your guest. I’d suggest that you use additional stock, and to mimic the flavors of the porter you could add some dark unsweetened chocolate, or some coffee and a little molasses, adjusting until you feel the flavor is right.

    1. rochelle, if you would like to do this in the slow cooker, we’d suggest browning the chicken first, and then when you put everything in the slow cooker, use only 1 bottle of beer and 1 cup of chicken stock. As for cooking time, I’d guess 3 to 4 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on med/low? Do let us know how it turns out!

  2. Decent flavor. Chicken was very juicy, I use half the beer when I cook with a porter, but this one I could have used all and been fine. Unfortunately I couldn’t find celery root at my local store. Next time.

  3. Coronavirus at-home version.
    Used Heineken…all we had.
    Extra potatoes due to no celery root.
    Harissa due to no tomato paste.
    And to lower calories, I did not use butter and flour mixture, but cooked down the liquid, with about 1/6 potatoes mashed in to thicken the sauce.

  4. For an easier recipe…..I threw all of the ingredients into a instant pot, except the flour, and set it on Pressure Cook for 30 min. I added a stick of butter at the end. I personally hate parsley and garnished with cilantro instead, along with a dollop of sour cream. It was amazing!!!! Perfect dish for the perfect chilly night. Just a side note: I used boneless chicken thighs and they just fell apart. Yummmmly

    1. Thanks, Hart! We so appreciate you sharing this with us so others can see how to adapt to a pressure cooker or Instant pot.

  5. Turned out good! Use a bigger Dutch oven, would be the only thing that I would change of my experience.

  6. Great recipe. Did use the celery root and I thought it added a lot of flavor. Also used boneless chicken thighs since that’s all I had. I don’t think it matters what beer you use, I just used a blond ale. I will definitely make it again.

    1. Thanks, Teresa! We so appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us.

  7. Thinking of making this with 8 plump Bell & Evans chicken thighs over the weekend. I also have some beautiful fennel bulbs. Your thoughts on my using that instead of the celery root? I often use it with roast chicken and the flavor is very subtle.

      1. I made this as planned, using two 11.2 oz bottles of Guinness Stout, and added a chopped shallot and 2 minced garlic cloves with the onions. While the end result was delicious, I have some criticisms of the recipe. The addition of the beurre manié might have made more sense added to the sautéed vegetables before adding the liquid, allowing the dish to braise with the lid slightly ajar. That might have resulted in a less watery sauce which I had to reduce over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes to achieve desired result. The ingredients nearly filled my 6-quart LC Sitxh oven to the top, and I was tempted to transfer to the next larger size but persevered without doing that. The sauce, once reduced, was what my husband deemed “the best wet chicken dish you’ve ever made.” High praise from one who prefers his chicken crisply skinned. He asked is this was coq au vin. I said no, it’s coq au bière.

  8. I used all the ingredients mentioned but quartered the onions rather than chop and cut the carrots in stalks rather than coin size. I had a bottle of Asahi beer at home so I used it. It came out kinda light so I went out and bought Potter’s ale and added a bottle. Left it overnight in the fridge and the color came out darker.

    1. Gorgeous, Geraldine! And yes, we find a more robust beer lends a richness to the finished braise. Thrilled that you tried this and love your adaptations. We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know and sharing your photo! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  9. I was looking forward to this recipe and, honestly, it was just too bitter. I used less beer than recommended but no matter what I did to mitigate the bitterness, it just didn’t work. Pity.

  10. Hello. I found this recipe while looking for a slow cooker beer chicken recipe. I would like to adapt this recipe for my slow cooker. Any tips? I’m thinking that I could do the braising part first then add Chicken & vegetables (step 3) to the slow cooker. When the chicken & vegetables are cooked I can make the sauce and add it in. Thoughts? Also, I would use bone-in breast & thighs. I like white meat & my husband likes dark.
    Thank you,

    Amy Crockett

    1. Amy, lovely to hear that you’ll be making it. You’re definitely on the right track. We would suggest you brown the chicken in step one, then add all ingredients to your slow cooker. The amount of liquid will need to be reduced by about half, and we suggest reducing both the stock and the porter in equal amounts so as not to not alter the flavor profile. You’re probably looking at 3 to 4 hours on high until you have beer-braised chicken awesomeness. Fine to use both breasts and thighs although if the breasts are ginormous, as some are, relative to the thighs, you may want to consider cutting them in half crosswise. Kindly let us know how it goes!

  11. Okay, so I just bought this great pot at TJ Maxx, and was trying to think of the first thing I could make in it…This dish is it! I am a 100% dark meat girl, and this recipe looks absolutely fabulous. Thank you for sharing!

  12. I have this simmering on the pot right now. I’m not sure about the rave reviews. It is good but rave??? There is quite a lot of sauce but I did have a 6lb very happy organic chicken so put in a third bottle of beer and extra stock and extra veggies as well. I used a dark Canada Ale which is bitter and the flavours are definitely rich but to me it tastes like a lot of stews – nothing extraordinary. LOL! Perhaps you’re saying – what does she expect when she doesn’t follow our recipe:). I added garlic because I cannot think of a single dish without garlic. I think I am going to get all the meat and veggies out now and reduce the sauce. That might make the difference?

    1. Sagar, I gotta say, you took the words right out of my mouth: “What does she expect when she doesn’t follow our recipe!!” You’ve created a different dish by using a different kind of meat (white and dark meat), adding more liquid, and changing the flavor profile. I think your instincts about reducing the sauce is right, but the bitter ale might overpower it. Let me know what you think.

      1. I am going to try this again with just thighs and follow the recipe exactly and see how it turns out. As I said, it was good but definitely not great as per the reviews. The dark ale worked very well – gave a richness but no bitterness. The mustard didn’t seem to add anything? I always wonder about chicken recipes that call for chicken stock as well. Isn’t that a luxury and not something that would have happened in the old days? If you are using fabulous organic chicken you should be able to use just water, no?

        1. Sagar, do let me know what you think when you follow the recipe. Also, an ingredient like mustard, in this quantity, can lend a subtle undertone to the dish, and with its acidity can enhance other flavors without being too discernible on its own. And as far as chicken stock being a luxury in the old days, it was the opposite! It was frugality at its highest. Cooks like my grandmother would make stock from the carcasses, and any leftover vegetables, to extract every last bit of flavor and extend their pantries. Nothing went to waste.

  13. I think I will roast the chicken separately until almost done, and then pour off all but a couple of Tbsp. of the grease and make a chicken gravy in the pan. Then use the gravy to thicken the casserole instead of adding the flour mixture and trying to work it into the crowded pot. And I am with Jill on the garlic; gotta have garlic with chicken.

    1. I’m actually with you on the bay, Patti. I think it’d be just dandy without it. The porter and other ingredients offer more than enough flavor. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

  14. I hate beer. But in the few things I have had that were cooked in beer—including a Guinness Lamb Stew—that bitter beery taste matched wonderfully with the meat and added an amazing complexity to the dish. This one sounds so delicious. I think the porter along with the root vegetables would give this chicken “stew” a decidedly winter edge.

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