This beer-braised chicken is made from chicken thighs and root vegetables–onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery root–simmered in porter along with brown sugar, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, and thyme to create a luscious, rich, satisfying stew with some of the most flavorful chicken thighs we’ve ever experienced.
This beer-braised chicken thighs recipe is complex in taste yet simple to make. Your only work is to toss some ingredients in a pot and let them slowly burble on the back burner. What results is a sort of alchemy in which “the toastiness of the porter plus the sweetness of root vegetables and the spiciness of Dijon mustard create a stew full of contrasting, but harmonious, flavors.” In other words, magic.–Renee Schettler Rossi
What’s the best beer to cook chicken with in this recipe?
Much of how this recipe turns out depends on your beer. We really prefer you not just crack open a PBR and dump it in the pot. Our recommendation is you opt for a porter, as the slightly bitter, coffee-like overtones lend a complex richness to the stew. Although you could always opt for a slightly less bitter brown ale and your braise will still be charming.
Beer Braised Chicken Thighs
- 8 medium (3 1/2 lbs) skinless or skin-on chicken thighs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 5 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 to 3 medium yellow onions chopped
- 4 to 6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks
- 4 to 6 medium red potatoes peeled if desired, cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks
- 1 medium (14 oz) celery root peeled, trimmed, halved, and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks (or substitute potatoes)
- Two (12-ounce) bottles porter (or substitute brown ale)
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and season them with salt and pepper.
- Place a large, heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat and add the oil. Sear the chicken thighs, turning once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. (You may need to cook the chicken in batches.)
- Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off the drippings from the pot, leaving just enough to barely coat the bottom. With the heat still on medium, add 2 tablespoons butter and wait until it melts.
- Add the onions and cook until golden, about 6 minutes.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, and celery root, porter, stock or broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, and thyme and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot, submerging the thighs in the liquid, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- In a heatproof bowl using the back of a fork, mash together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the flour to form a thick paste.
- Gradually whisk about 2 cups hot cooking liquid into the flour-butter mixture until completely combined. Slowly add this mixture to the pot, stirring constantly. Once the flour mixture is incorporated, continue simmering uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken thighs are cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chicken thighs and vegetables to a platter. Skim any fat from the surface of the liquid in the pot or, if you have a fat separator, pour the contents of the pot into it and pour off the fat. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer the liquid until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and season the sauce according to personal preference with salt and pepper.
☞TESTER TIP: If the porter you selected was particularly bitter, you may need to add a smidgen more beer or sugar or both to the cooking liquid to lend the resulting sauce a more mellow flavor profile. (That's fancy talk for "make it taste better.")
- Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and vegetables and, if desired, scatter some parsley over the top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This beer-braised chicken thighs is an amazing dish! Hands-down the best chicken I’ve ever made. The list of ingredients looks daunting, but it’s so simple to prepare and the flavor is complex, rich, and dynamic.
The hardest part was finding porter. I finally found a coffee porter and used that.
Be warned this makes a LOT of sauce, but that’s okay as it’s great to soak up with a nice bread. The only complaint I have is the vegetables in the recipe weren’t really enough for 4 people. I will certainly make this again but will add more veggies to make it a truly one-pot meal.
These chicken thighs are the most tender and tasty I’ve ever had and the root veggies were perfectly cooked in the time specified. And this is super easy to put together and it produces a very satisfying and complete meal in one pot. The only addition might be some crusty bread to sop up the braising liquid and a nice green salad to start.
The flavor of the braising liquid is quite bitter. I added a little more brown sugar after tasting the finished sauce to help balance the flavors. Next time, I’ll cut back on the ale and increase the amount of broth to reduce the bitterness a bit more.
As promised, this beer-braised chicken recipe produced a hearty stew with deep flavors. The chicken was moist and the root vegetables sweet. The porter produced a lovely rich sauce that was enhanced by just the right amount of thyme. I’m not sure that the celery root added all that much to the stew, and could be omitted since it’s not an item that’s usually kept on hand. I didn’t really taste the mustard—perhaps that ingredient could be increased.
A satisfying dish for a cold, snowy January night. Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread available to soak up every bit of the sauce.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced cook, this is an easy recipe to whip up. It makes a large batch and is suitable for a crowd and/or leftovers for a weeknight meal.
The porter made it quite sweet, complementing the root vegetables. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I suggest adding 4 minced cloves of garlic. Perhaps 1 teaspoon more of thyme, a splash of lemon juice to tie it all together, and even a dash of chile flakes for that oomph.
When I read this beer-braised chicken recipe, I thought it’d be perfect for a January dinner. I was right. All the flavors worked together with a balance between sweetness and a slight tartness and the porter gave depth to the sauce. The celery root was an inspired choice.
My tasters said they’d eat this beer-braised chicken again and I’ll definitely make it again! The chicken was delicious and plentiful and we didn’t have to wait for hours before enjoying it. Everything was perfectly tender and the deeply flavored sauce was fantastic.
Bread on the side is a must to mop up the sauce! I could’ve easily fed more than 4 people. Depending on what’s available and your preferences, I think you can be flexible with the vegetables—more or less of what the recipe calls for or add other ones such as parsnips.
This beer-braised chicken is a delightful one-pot chicken dish that’s hearty and simple all at the same time. I found this recipe to be a very simple dish with lots of rustic flavor, deep nuttiness, and a generous helping of chicken. It was a hit with all the family. The ingredients are a classic combination of tomato, celery root, Dijon, and thyme, making for a heavenly gravy once it’s finished with the roux (butter and flour).
A good dark beer can be quite the addition to the dinner table, especially when combined with all the makings of a luscious stew. I served it alongside a very creamy garlic mash and broccoli.
After a day of skiing, I came home and quickly prepared this delicious beer-braised chicken for my family. What a hit! A brilliant combination of underutilized chicken thighs (I used boneless) and celery root, which marries perfectly with porter. (I used Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery, which has notes of coffee and chocolate.)
I think next time I’d add a bit more carrot and maybe another potato. In addition, a nice dose of salt and pepper at the end is certainly welcome prior to serving.
This beer-braised chicken is a delicious and hearty stew which comes together in about an hour, prep work included. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this considering I’m not a beer drinker. The porter added a nice richness to the chicken, but did overpower the sauce slightly.
I’d add some fresh chopped parsley to the final presentation for some nice brightness. I’d vote this a weeknight winner for the convenience and heartiness of this one-pot meal.
I made this recipe for beer-braised chicken thighs for a weeknight dinner. I omitted the celery root and substituted baby Yukon potatoes for red potatoes. I was a bit nervous that the flavor of the porter would overwhelm the dish, which it didn’t; rather, it added nice depth. The dish was a hit!
This recipe for beer-braised chicken thighs makes a nice, rich, and hearty stew that’s wonderful on a cold winter night. The hardest part for me was actually finding celery root or celeriac for it.
The only changes I’d make would be to add a few cloves of smashed garlic to the onions while sautéing them and to perhaps toss in a bay leaf or two into the pot while it simmers. And if you like your chicken skin on the crunchy side, pull the thighs out after they’re done, while you’re thickening the sauce, broil them for a few minutes, and then place them back in the pot.
Originally published January 05, 2021