Tarragon chicken. A French classic for a reason. Simple. Sophisticated. And unspeakably satisfying, not just in terms of its creamy sauce but its ease of tossing it together and its practically cleaning up afterwards by itself thanks to everything coming together in a single pan.–Renee Schettler Rossi

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Two white plates with tarragon chicken leg and thigh on each, sliced onion and tarragon on top

Tarragon Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Tarragon chicken is a French classic. Chicken legs are seared in butter and then roasted with tarragon and onions until golden brown. A sauce made from the pan drippings and crème fraîche captures every last lingering nuance of flavor. Easy and elegant.
David Leite
Servings2 servings
Calories777 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 (about 1 1/2 lbs) chicken legs with thighs and drumsticks attached
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • 3/4 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc
  • 5 sprigs tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • Heat the butter in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat until melted and foaming, about 2 minutes.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and then season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. Crank the heat to medium or medium-high and add the chicken to the skillet, skin-side down. Cook until the skin is golden and crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Flip and cook until the other side is golden, 4 minutes more.
  • Strew the onion slices in a roasting pan and then pour in the wine. Finely chop 3 sprigs of tarragon, sprinkle it over the chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the chicken on top of the onions and pour any leftover butter from the pan on top. Roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Spoon the onions and juices into a skillet, bring to a simmer, and let it reduce a little. Then whisk in the crème fraîche and cook for 1 minute. Spoon some of the onions and sauce onto each plate and top with a chicken leg and the remaining tarragon leaves.
Little Library Cookbook

Adapted From

The Little Library Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 777 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 35 gFat: 57 gSaturated Fat: 24 gMonounsaturated Fat: 19 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 250 mgSodium: 203 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2018 Kate Young. Photo © 2018 Lean Timms. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Winner winner, chicken dinner! This tarragon chicken is what we all love— a scrumptious meal that is super wallet-friendly. (A “family pack” of 4 chicken legs was about $3.50; I used 2 legs for this recipe and froze the other 2 legs.) Not only is it delicious, it looks romantic and fine china-worthy with the gorgeously browned and crisp skin.

Tarragon, which deserves more opportunities to shine in home cooking, is wonderful with chicken—I often put it in my chicken salad—and finishing the sauce with crème fraîche adds a rich body to the unassuming onions and simply flavored chicken. To counter, I served it with the refreshing Fennel, Orange, and Watercress Salad, another beauty on the dinner table.

Two things to note: do season the chicken legs with salt and pepper before browning in the pan, and don’t wash that pan—use it to reduce the sauce to capture the flavor of the chicken-y brown bits.

This tarragon chicken is absolutely amazing! I have to admit that when I first read the recipe it seemed like a lot of onions. I was so wrong! It was the perfect amount of onions plus it’s a pretty simple dish to put together. Definitely a dish I will be making again.

I served it with noodles (I think some sort of plain pasta is perfect with this dish) and sautéed green beans.

I absolutely loved this tarragon chicken. The flavors were delightful and made me slow down my eating to better enjoy this wonderful mix of tarragon, crème fraîche, and cooked onions. Truly delicious. And the chicken was perfectly cooked until crisp and juicy.

The recipe produced 2 servings, both of which were gleefully eaten. I served it with a side of spring salad and a glass of Chardonnay.

This tarragon chicken recipe was very tasty and very easy!

I removed the chicken from the pan, along with a few spoonfuls of the butter and juices, then I added the onions straight to the pan rather than to a roasting dish as suggested. I think my method was better—dirtied fewer dishes! I then added the wine and tarragon to the pan, and then put the chicken legs on top, along with a drizzle of the saved butter and juices. I omitted the crème fraîche due to a dairy allergy. I don’t think it affected the dish—it wasn’t lacking anything. It was delicious.

I served this with crusty bread and the balsamic Brussels sprouts and it was a great meal!

I was attracted to this tarragon chicken because of its simplicity and I love anything with tarragon. It was indeed very easy to prepare.

The sauce was absolutely delicious, especially for dipping French bread. The chicken was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The onions made a nice little side dish. We served this with steamed broccoli and French bread. There were 2 of us and we ate it all! This would be a great dish to prepare for company. I used fresh tarragon from my garden and Sauvignon Blanc.

Easy to make and great flavor. My only complaint is that there is not enough for leftovers! My advice—make extra. Leftovers will be easy to reheat in the microwave.

The distinctive licorice flavor of the tarragon is a perfect complement to the onions and the chicken. The little bit of sour cream or crème fraîche added at the end makes a perfect finishing sauce. I served this with parslied potatoes and steamed haricot verts.

This tarragon chicken was easy, delicious, straightforward, and lovely to present. I love dark meat and this preparation brought out its best self.

The only tweaks I would suggest are topping the final dish with a little coarsely ground sea salt before serving and, to minimize cleanup, make this in a French oven, if you have one, so you can use the same vessel for browning the chicken, roasting it in the oven, and later for the reduction of the onions and sauce.

Make-ahead tip: In the morning I browned the chicken and assembled with the onions, wine, and tarragon in the roasting pan and then covered and refrigerated it. After work I roasted the chicken while making sides and sipping wine. Final sauce reduction required very little hands-on and practically cooked itself while we ate our salads. How relaxing is that?!

When I was younger (much, much younger), I had 3 go-to recipes, one of which would be trotted out whenever I had company. One was beef, one chicken, and one pork. The chicken one just happened to feature a tarragon cream sauce. That old standard has remained the standard by which other recipes are judged. This is a worthy recipe for those who need a good chicken in tarragon cream sauce recipe. I served it with mashed potatoes and honey butter carrots.

This recipe is so simple and delicious. Perfect for a Sunday supper and fancy enough to serve guests. The tarragon adds such a fresh herbaceousness to the sauce. The sauce was so good that I ate it with a spoon at the end of the meal like it was a soup. I served this with a broccoli orzo but next time I will definitely serve the chicken with egg noodles in a shallow bowl so that I can enjoy all of the yummy sauce!

This is a simple recipe that features the classic combination of chicken and tarragon. With only a handful of ingredients, this recipe really lets the flavors of this combination shine through. It is quick to put together with an easy and delicious sauce to make at the end.

I chose this recipe because tarragon is my favorite herb, I always love anything made with tarragon, and I happen to be growing some on our deck. It did not disappoint. It’s a simple and elegant dish to serve my family.

The sauce is so delicious. Next time I would double this recipe for my family of 4. I served the chicken with steamed potatoes and brussels sprouts salad, a perfect pairing with the creamy tarragon sauce.

A simple preparation that produced a crisp-skinned chicken perfect for orzo or roasted potatoes! Everything went together quickly and then I just left it in the oven for 45 minutes to finish the cooking. The chicken turned out crisp on top and the onions melted into the pan sauce. I added sour cream to finish. I think basil and thyme would work well here, too.

Simple preparation, simple ingredients, extraordinary results. Absolutely divine.

Browning the chicken took just minutes and ensured a lovely, crisp skin and the combination of wine, onion, and tarragon filled the house with an amazing aroma, leaving us impatiently waiting for dinner. The chicken was moist and tender and perfectly done.

We served it with a green salad and crispy smashed potatoes—perfect for soaking up all those lovely pan juices. A crusty bread would also be wonderful to serve alongside.

Simple and flavorful. Those words capture the essence of this recipe and why it merits a Taster’s Choice. The chicken is moist, the onions soft and sweet, and a hint of tarragon permeates the dish without being overwhelming.

The instructions are simple to follow, although I would consider using only 1 onion and increasing the cook time. All in all this turned out to be a perfect weeknight dinner for 2 or 3. I finished the sauce with crème fraiche and served it with a lentil cauliflower salad. The cauliflower was processed into rice so it was a nice substitute for the carbs and absorbed some of the sauce to create a flavorful side dish.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Tasty recipe, but I only used 1 onion and it was plenty. My other recommendation is to use an oven proof pan to brown the chicken, so it can be used for the onions, roasting and sauce without losing any of the goodness that comes from browning and roasting (plus one less thing to wash…always a win).