Tarragon Chicken

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.

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

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

Tarragon Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 2 servings
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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. Originally published July 8, 2018.

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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.


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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).

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