Add this chicken to the list of recipes inspired by our volunteer work at Angel Food East. To make it, you cut up a chicken, season it, and roast it in a skillet on a bed of sliced onions and chicken stock. After the chicken is cooked, you set the skillet on the stove, reduce the cooking juices just a little bit, and then stir in mustard and sour cream to make a rich onion gravy without any flour, roux, or anything else that usually causes gravy anxiety. Serve this chicken with mashed potatoes (they’re a good place to put more sour cream) and steamed green beans. Or with cornbread and cooked greens. Or with noodles and peas. Or with rice and buttered broccoli. Or with warm rolls and roasted squash. You get the idea.–Julia Turshen

What is Gravy, Really?

Before you exclaim that this isn’t an honest-to-goodness gravy, let us gently remind you that there’s more to gravy than just what is served in your region. Ultimately, it’s not much more than a thickened sauce of meat drippings, stock, and seasonings, and that’s the base of what you’ll find here. Besides, it’s crazy delish, no matter what you call it.

A floral-patterned plate topped with a piece of roast chicken with onion gravy around it and a fork, knife, and napkin on the side.

Roast Chicken with Onion Gravy

5 from 1 vote
All the comforts of a roast chicken with onion gravy, and on the table in just an hour? You betcha.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories588 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 large or 2 small (8 oz) yellow onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts (or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs), patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  • Preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • In a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet, such as cast-iron, combine the sliced onion and chicken stock. Season the mixture with a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Place the chicken pieces, skin-side-up, on top of the onion mixture and season them generously with salt and pepper.
  • Place a butter slice on top of each piece of chicken and roast until the chicken is browned and cooked through, and registers at least 165ºF (74ºC) on a digital thermometer, 40 to 45 minutes.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If your chicken is cooked through but the skin isn’t as golden as you’d like, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp up the skin.

  • Use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter and cover them with foil to keep warm.
  • Set the skillet with the onions on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil until it thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the mustard and sour cream and season the gravy to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the gravy mixture over the chicken pieces. Serve immediately.
Simply Julia Cookbook

Adapted From

Simply Julia

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 588 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 52 gFat: 37 gSaturated Fat: 15 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 189 mgSodium: 408 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Julia Turshen. Photo © 2021 Melina Hammer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If you’re as much of a fan of roast chicken as we are, this is a nice alternative to the traditional roast with a brown gravy. This recipe really doesn’t require much hands-on time either. The chicken was very juicy and tender, the skin crispy, but softened up as I poured the gravy on top. Next time, I think I’ll slide it off the bone, then add the gravy.

The onion in the gravy has a subtle sweetness, while the sour cream and Dijon mustard provide some counterbalance. The chicken reached temp in 40 minutes, and while it rested, I finished the onion gravy, which took about 8 minutes. I served it with some smashed roasted red potatoes and haricot verts. Here’s a tip—I air-dry my chicken in the fridge overnight, which helps achieve a nice crispy skin when roasted.

This is a great recipe. Easy to pull together on a weeknight with a number of different ways to serve it and flexible leftovers (if you have any!). The cooking of the chicken is very straightforward and so flavorful, and the easy but non-traditional gravy. In fact, if you’re a brown-gravy purist, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by something new.

Simple and delicious. This is the ultimate easy weeknight one-dish dinner. I used an 8-piece pre-cut whole chicken and a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Since my skillet is more of a medium size, versus the large called for in the recipe, I made a few adjustments. First, I used one chicken breast and froze the other for another use. Second, considering my smaller skillet had less surface area, I boiled the pan juices and onions used for the gravy on the stove top for 10 minutes.

I baked the chicken for 45 minutes in order to reach 165 degrees on a digital thermometer. I served the dish with roasted Yukon gold potatoes and steamed broccoli. The leftovers stored beautifully and reheated well for an easy and filling lunch. I will try crisping the skin of the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes the next time I make this.

A roast chicken in 40 minutes! The ease of this recipe on a weeknight drew me to it instantly. Although I haven’t butchered a whole chicken in a little while, I received a new knife for Christmas that I wanted to test out. I cut it into two thighs, two wings, two breasts, and two legs. Post cooking, I sliced the breast to make it easier to serve.

The timing on roasting the chicken was accurate, it took 40 minutes to reach 165°F, but the skin wasn’t brown enough for me. I moved the chicken to a baking pan and let it broil for two minutes until golden brown. The timing on the sauce also took longer—about double. It took nearly 10 minutes to reduce enough to feel like actual gravy. Maybe I had the heat closer to medium high than actual high, though.

I felt the mustard wasn’t acidic enough, and added a squirt of lemon at the end. I served this with sautéed spinach and baked potatoes with the gravy over everything.

This chicken and onion gravy is an ideal weeknight meal. With just five ingredients, easy prep, and short roasting time, the recipe is quintessential comfort that’s easily adapted to what you have on-hand. Thanks to having homemade chicken stock and bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in my freezer, dinner prep consisted solely of slicing onions.

The chicken still had deep flavor without the sear and its skin browned nicely thanks to a dollop of butter on each thigh. While the colors of the meal are muted, the flavor was not. The mustard and sour cream added some zip and creaminess. Next time I would add some fresh herbs like dill, thyme, and parsley to brighten it up even more because the recipe is so flexible.

My thighs ended up being slightly overcooked but since they were braised in the onion broth, you’d never know it. Next time, I’ll start checking for doneness around 30 minutes if using chicken breasts that might be a little less forgiving. You definitely need a starch to soak up all the onion and chicken goodness. I chose orzo but I could see how potatoes, egg noodles, or rice would serve the same purpose.

I think next time, I’d prepare and serve large sourdough croutons or thickly sliced sourdough toast crisped in olive oil. To add more contrasting color and flavor to the plate, I roasted broccoli rabe with a red pepper flake oil and sliced carnival squash. All in all, a delicious meal.

Following the recipe precisely, I cooked the chicken in the oven for 40 minutes. After this duration the meat was cooked but the skin was, well, lackluster. It wasn’t crisp or evenly browned. I removed the chicken and placed it on a roasting pan and threw it back in the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. This did the trick as the skin turned a gorgeous tawny color and was very crisp.

While the chicken was in its second roast, I reduced the onion gravy and completed the rest of the recipe. We served this over a cauliflower “rice” medley. Considering the ease of this recipe, it’s incredibly rich and delicious.

I stowed away the leftover gravy and I’m already defrosting some chicken breasts for it. I’m pretty sure it would make linoleum taste delicious. Even my kid, who considers himself quite the gravy connoisseur, raved. Definitely a winning recipe in this house!

I have so many praises for this chicken I am struggling with where to start. First of all, it was delicious. I used bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs and they were full of flavor and juicy with a nice, crisp skin. The chicken all by itself was fantastic but then you add the sauce and you have just taken it over the top. In a little less than an hour, you have a chicken dish that’s company worthy and ready to serve.

The preparation took less time than it took for the oven to preheat. The only thing you have to do is slice your onions. How easy is that? I added the chicken broth and onions into a cast-iron skillet and nestled the chicken thighs on top. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes and you’re almost done.

While the chicken was baking, I made my side dishes. When the chicken was done, I moved it from the pan to a plate while I made the gravy. I brought the broth and onions to a boil for 5 minutes to thicken a little bit, dropped the heat to low and added in the sour cream and Dijon mustard. All you need to do is stir it in until it is warm and you have a creamy, delightful gravy.

The onions cook down and add just the right flavor. I liked the gravy as is with the sour cream and mustard, but it would also be very easy to serve the broth and onions as is or thicken it a little more for a classic chicken gravy. Since we are a household of two, there were leftovers. The leftovers were just as good as the original dish. If you’re looking for an easy, delicious, and quick chicken dinner, this recipe is calling your name. Enjoy!

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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