Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

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.

A red Dutch oven filled with beer-braised chicken with root vegetables on a wooden surface.

This beer braised chicken 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

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

  • Quick Glance
  • (13)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
4.5/5 - 13 reviews
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Ingredients


Directions

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. Originally published February 26, 2013.

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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.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS! I modified it for a 3-qt. Instant Pot and thought I would share the measurements (they’re approximate).

    5 skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs)
    2 parsnips
    2 carrots
    1/2 onion
    bunch of tiny potatoes (whole)
    1 1/14 cup oatmeal stout
    1 1/14 cup chicken broth
    1 T dijon
    1 T light brown sugar
    1 T apple cider vinegar
    1 t tomato paste
    2 small sprigs fresh thyme
    1 t cornstarch mixed in 1 T cold water
    1/2 t salt
    pepper

    I also coated the chicken thighs in flour before browning.

  2. Help! Love this recipe but I have a guest coming over for diner that is a recovering alcoholic. What can I substitute the Porter with?

    1. Rob, if you are able to substitute a non-alcoholic beer, there are now several good options on the market. However, they do tend to have small amounts of alcohol in them so that may not be an option for your guest. I’d suggest that you use additional stock, and to mimic the flavors of the porter you could add some dark unsweetened chocolate, or some coffee and a little molasses, adjusting until you feel the flavor is right.

    1. rochelle, if you would like to do this in the slow cooker, we’d suggest browning the chicken first, and then when you put everything in the slow cooker, use only 1 bottle of beer and 1 cup of chicken stock. As for cooking time, I’d guess 3 to 4 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on med/low? Do let us know how it turns out!

  3. Decent flavor. Chicken was very juicy, I use half the beer when I cook with a porter, but this one I could have used all and been fine. Unfortunately I couldn’t find celery root at my local store. Next time.

  4. Coronavirus at-home version.
    Used Heineken…all we had.
    Extra potatoes due to no celery root.
    Harissa due to no tomato paste.
    And to lower calories, I did not use butter and flour mixture, but cooked down the liquid, with about 1/6 potatoes mashed in to thicken the sauce.
    Excellent.

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