Sheet pan chicken with apples, bacon, and Brussels sprouts is a simple weeknight dinner solution that’s full of savory veggies and juicy chicken. A tangy sauce adds flavor. Plus, the brilliance of using a sheet pan makes prep, cooking, and clean up a snap.
Adapted from Cathy Erway | Sheet Pan Chicken | Ten Speed Press, 2020
As the world’s second-biggest fan of chicken (the number one fan being my terrier mutt, Doug), I love it unconditionally, in all its forms. Trends come and go, but chicken is forever. The same can be said for the humble sheet pan, that kitchen workhorse crammed in oven drawers everywhere. The low rim and large real estate of a sheet pan make it the ideal way to serve a delicious, well-rounded dinner with minimal dishes.–Cathy Erway
CAN I MAKE A SHEET PAN DINNER WITHOUT A SHEET PAN?
If you’re thinking that you might be able to pull this off with a large cast-iron pan, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s just not enough room and nothing will get crispy–it’ll just steam.
If you’re thinking about roast your chicken separately from the rest, author Cathy Erway has something she’d like you to hear. “By roasting chicken on a sheet pan along with everything you want to eat with it, you have a family of ingredients that are individually intensifying in flavor while at the same time, by sheer proximity, leaching up the rendered juices and fats from the chicken, lifting up their flavors even more. Apples roasted without chicken on the same pan would be a much less exciting product (although a vegan one). Onions are not just onions once they’re on a sheet pan with chicken; you’re taking advantage of every droplet of the incredible flavor enhancer that is chicken fat—properly-revered in traditional Jewish cooking and named schmaltz in Yiddish.”
Sheet Pan Chicken with Apples, Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme minced
- 4 (24 oz) bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large (12 1/2 oz) sweet potato peeled and coarsely chopped into 3⁄4-inch (18-mm) pieces
- 8 to 10 (9 oz) Brussels sprouts halved
- 2 medium (12 oz) Fuji apples cored and sliced into half-moons about 3⁄4 inch (18-mm) thick, or substitute Pink Lady, Jonagold, or Braeburn
- 6 to 8 slices smoked bacon chopped crosswise into 1-inch- wide (25-mm) pieces
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
- In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Massage the chicken with your hands (both of them!), working to distribute the herbs and seasoning evenly.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, and apples. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then toss to evenly coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer, turning the Brussels sprouts cut-side down to get as much contact with the baking sheet as possible.
- Arrange the chicken thighs over the vegetable-apple mix. Scatter the chopped bacon over everything. Roast until the chicken is well browned on top and has reached an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C) at the thickest part of the thigh, about 30 minutes. Devour.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This sheet pan chicken with apples, bacon, and Brussels sprouts recipe is totally a keeper! It’s pretty ambitious with bone-in chicken and five other ingredients with varied density, but everything cooks perfectly in 30 minutes. Even better, it’s straightforward from start to finish—no tricky prep work, it’s quick to get it ready for the oven, and no checking halfway to give it a stir or rotate the pan.
Tart and garlic-y marinades are wonderful for so many things and the one in this recipe with red wine vinegar and pomegranate molasses works well here. The refreshing bites of apple balance the weight of the skin-on chicken thighs and bacon and are lovely with the vegetables. Fuji apples roasted beautifully, but in the future, I’d love to try my other go-to apples for baking: Pink Lady, Jonagold, and Braeburn. Another thing I’ll do differently next time: I’ll leave the sweet potato unpeeled.
I have an issue with using too many bowls, utensils, cutting boards, and knives to prep dinner, so I always appreciate a one-pan dinner where tool use is at a minimum. (I also appreciate incorporating my under-utilized bottle of pomegranate molasses in recipes other than ones found in my collection of Ottolenghi cookbooks!) This sheet pan chicken with apples, bacon, and Brussels sprouts fit the bill.
Ultimately, though, the molasses was not the star of this show — but that’s not a bad thing! While its notes weren’t as defined as I had imagined, my protein had a subtle sweetness that was harmonious with the herby thyme and rosemary, punchy garlic, and tangy vinegar.
Thanks to the succulent juices from the chicken and the delicious grease rendered off the bacon, the accompanying root vegetables, and sliced apples end up being the best, most flavorful part of this dish. The fruit, in particular, soaks everything up like a sponge to become a savory-sweet flavor bomb you savor with every forkful.
Now, a minor tweak I’d suggest with this recipe to make it flawless. A little extra time inside the oven—maybe five minutes tops—would’ve also given the bacon + chicken skin more time to crisp up and fully cook a few of the thicker sweet potatoes, but this was only an issue with my boyfriend.
Originally published August 24, 2021
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Great sheet pan chicken with apples, bacon, and Brussels sprouts! Easy to make, fast preparation, and delicious. We all enjoyed this dinner so much that next time I make this I’ll double the ingredients. The marinade results in an almost sweet/sour taste to the cooked chicken. We loved the combination of the Brussels sprouts with the sweet potato and apple.
The only downside was the amount of fat that was rendered down from the bacon and chicken. There was a lot of fat left in the pan and it ran the risk of being greasy. After 30 minutes the chicken was done and the vegetables were tender. I think in the future, I would remove some of the fat during cooking to keep that to a minimum and maybe trim back some of the excess skin. Overall a great addition to a weeknight dinner plan.