Chicken thighs with spicy peach sauce is truly one of those weeknight lifesaver meals. It’s quick to prepare with little prep—no marinating, no chopping for hours. And the ingredients? Chicken thighs, peaches, peach preserves, basil. Maybe some chile heat and white wine, if that’s how you roll. Simple!
Sweet and spicy could be my middle name. In fact, I prefer this recipe with a little more heat, but I adhere to the lowest common denominator in my house (my son) with respect to spiciness. No-sugar fruit preserves are a great flavor booster, so I keep at least one in the fridge at all times. The peach preserves can be replaced with fig, apricot, or orange. Sriracha can be used to taste instead of red pepper flakes. Other fresh herbs that are delicious in this recipe are chives and tarragon. — Pamela Salzman
CAN I USE FROZEN FRUIT INSTEAD?
If using frozen peaches, stir in the wine, vinegar, and frozen peaches, and bring to a simmer, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the preserves and soy sauce. Nestle the chicken in the onion and peaches and bring to a simmer. Ta-da! Now, you can make this delish dish all year round.
Chicken Thighs with Spicy Peach Sauce
- 6 to 8 (2 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/2 medium (5 1/2 ounces) red or yellow onion sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick wedges
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 large ripe yellow peaches peeled and quartered, or 1 1/2 cups of frozen peaches
- 3/4 cup no-sugar added peach preserves or substitute fig, apricot, or orange preserves
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil mint leaves, chives, or tarragon
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Arrange the chicken in one layer in the skillet and sear until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook until golden on the other side, 4 to 5 minutes more. Move to a large plate.
- Add the onion to the skillet and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
☞TESTER TIP: If your peaches are under ripe, add them with the onion to allow them to soften.
- If using frozen peaches, stir in the wine, vinegar, and frozen peaches, and bring to a simmer, use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the preserves and soy sauce. Nestle the chicken in the onion and peaches and bring to a simmer.If using fresh peaches, stir in the wine and vinegar, and bring to a simmer, use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the preserves and soy sauce. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the fresh peaches and bring to a simmer.
- Turn once to coat the top side of the chicken. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), and the peaches are softened, 3 to 5 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and top with fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is something a bit different for a skillet chicken that cooks up quickly with not too much prep work. I used half the red pepper flakes and that provided a nice amount of heat that paired nicely with the natural sweetness of the peaches and preserves. My better half gave these chicken thighs with spicy peach sauce a solid 8 out of 10 and asked for this to be added to the dinner repertoire! I think this could be easily adapted for some other fruits you may have on hand, like apples or pears.
My fresh peaches were a bit underripe and required more cooking, so I would suggest adding them at the same time as the onion if you have a similar issue. Next time I think I’ll use a larger onion and cut it into wedges to provide a more similar size for the peaches. We served it with some wild rice and roasted vegetables.
This recipe for chicken thighs with spicy peach sauce provided a nice combo of salty, sweet, and sour flavors. That balance is not for all palettes but I really like the addition of the sweet peaches paired with that salty chicken and robust flavor from the soy sauce. The recipe worked as written and was fairly simple to make. We got 4 servings from this recipe and served it with a green salad with dried cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese.
Chicken and peaches pair really well together. Every year, I look forward to cooking with the two during peach season. This recipe for chicken thighs with spicy peach sauce featuring the two is a surefire winner. It hits a number of beautiful and complementary flavor notes.
While this is another recipe to add to my seasonal file, with the option of using frozen peaches, I’ll have to bring this recipe out again during the colder months to summon back a burst of warmth.
The jar in the refrigerator I thought was peach preserves turned out to be fig, but that worked great. I might just go straight to fig next time.
There are only a couple of things I’d do a little differently next time and that’s mostly based on the size of my ingredients here. Unless using large peaches, I’d add a third. My peaches were on the small side and this could have used a little more of the fresh fruit. It could have also used some more onion. My half of a yellow onion was not all that big. We thought the sweetness of the dish could stand up to a little more hot pepper flakes, but that’s a ‘your mileage may vary’ kind of data point.
This was served with a sourdough baguette; mixed green salad with strawberries, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette; and roasted portobello mushrooms stuffed with buttermilk mashed potatoes.
This slightly spicy, tangy, peachy sauce transforms chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in skin-on) and I’m already imagining it with breast cutlets (my kids’ favorite) to keep them moist, and pork. I tried the chicken thighs with spicy peach sauce with both frozen and fresh peaches, and the frozen ones worked better. Yellow peaches had better flavor and more zing than white. A good amount of thinly sliced basil and chives made for a super fragrant dinner with garlic rice, asparagus, and we opened a Washington pinot grigio (Daisy) for both cooking and drinking.
Originally published June 30, 2021