Oui Oui to French Onion Sheet Pan Chicken

Chicken thighs smothered in caramelized onions and Gruyere just like classic French onion soup.
Chicken thighs smothered in caramelized onions and Gruyere just like classic French onion soup.

Who doesn’t love the rustic and robust taste of French onion soup, loaded with caramelized onions and finished with a crisp crouton smothered in gooey melted cheese?

That’s all dandy in the chill of winter. But in the torrid days of summer? Not so much.

But now, you can have your French onion soup — and eat it then, too.

All it takes is this recipe for “French Onion Sheet Pan Chicken.”

It’s from the new cookbook, “Everyday Grand” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. It was written by Texas-based Jocelyn Delk Adams, the founder of the popular blog, Grandbaby Cakes, along with Olga Massov, a Washington Post food editor.

Adams calls it a collection of recipes designed to celebrate life’s good times, be they major victories or small everyday momentary wins. They include “Cornmeal Butter Biscuits with Big Mama’s Fig Preserves,” “Hawaiian Loco Moco Tatchos” (sheet pan tater tots smothered in ground beef), “Shrimp Etouffee Potpie,” “Oxtail and Cornmeal Dumplings,” and “Brownie-Stuffed Birthday Cookies.”

I’m not going to lie: “French Onion Sheet Pan Chicken” doesn’t taste exactly like its namesake classic soup. However, it is boldly seasoned and thoroughly delicious in its own right.

You’re not using any packaged soup mix here to get the job done. Nope, everything is from scratch. A rub of salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika gets rubbed generously both underneath and on top of the skin of bone-in chicken thighs that get arranged on a sheet pan.

A splash of beef stock stirred up with a little Worcestershire sauce gets poured around the chicken before going into a very hot oven. After roasting 20 minutes, a mix of sherry, minced garlic, and parsley gets poured over the chicken before getting topped with caramelized onions and grated Gruyere. The chicken goes back into the oven just until the cheese melts. Then, it gets garnished with parsley just before serving.

Putting the finishing touches on the chicken before it gets a final blast in the oven.
Putting the finishing touches on the chicken before it gets a final blast in the oven.

You may get a few scorched spots on the pan as everything roasts, so you definitely want to line your baking pan with foil beforehand to make cleanup easier. I added that to the recipe.

The rub has a tablespoon of salt. It makes for highly seasoned chicken, but not overly salty meat. You can always cut back on the salt a smidge or not use all the rub if you prefer less sodium. The recipe also calls for Vidalia onions, but I used yellow onions, which turned out plenty sweet. So, feel free to substitute them, too, since they’re easier to find.

The chicken thighs end up very moist and juicy with wonderful sweetness from the caramelized onions, a touch of added umami from the beef stock-Worcestershire sauce, loads of garlic flavor, and the crowd-pleasing top of melted, nutty tasting cheese.

The stock will have pretty much evaporated during the roasting, so you don’t really end up with much sauce except for a spoonful or two of chicken juices mingled with everything at the bottom of the pan.

It makes me wonder about perhaps doubling or more the stock-Worcestershire sauce the next time to see if I end up with just a tad more sauce in the end to drizzle over the finished dish.

Because when it comes to French onion soup — or its iterations — I simply can’t get enough.

Garnish with parsley leaves -- and in my case -- thyme flowers, too.
Garnish with parsley leaves — and in my case — thyme flowers, too.

French Onion Sheet Pan Chicken

(Serves 6)

1/3 cup beef stock

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large Vidalia onions or yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Leaves from 3 sprigs thyme

1/3 cup dry sherry, dry vermouth, or white wine

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

4 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated

6 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the stock and Worcestershire. In another small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, and paprika.

Thoroughly pat the chicken dry. Separate the skin from the thigh meat by inserting your index finger between the two and lifting up gently.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then lightly brush it with oil. Place the chicken on it skin-side up and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with the seasoning mixture, both on top and beneath the skin.

Pour the stock mixture around the chicken (not on top), being careful not to rinse off any of the seasoning. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the butter over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions and sugar, season with a couple of generous pinches of salt, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the onions from burning. Remove the lid and cook until the onions turn a beautiful light caramel color, another 5 minutes or so. Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sherry, parsley, and garlic. Remove the chicken from the oven and evenly pour the sherry mixture over the thighs. Evenly divide the caramelized onions over each thigh, followed by the Gruyere.

Return the chicken to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese has fully melted. Let rest for about 5 minutes, garnish with the parsley, then serve.

Adapted from “Everyday Grand” by Jocelyn Delk Adams

More Sheet Pan Recipes to Enjoy: Sheet Pan Soy Sauce Chicken with Pineapple and Bok Choy

And: Hasselback Kielbasa by Ina Garten

And: Stuffed Portobellos with Creamy, Lemony Chickpeas by Melissa Clark

And: Toad-In-A-Whole Sheet Pan Kimchi Hash Browns

And: Chicken (or Turkey)-Zucchini Meatballs

And: Sheet Pan Honey-Chipotle Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

And: Sheet-Pan Pancakes

And: Oven-Steamed Fish

And: Peachy Pork or Veal with Pomegranate Molasses and Charred Onions by Melissa Clark

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  • This recipe looks great and I have all of the ingredients on hand to cook it tonight. Thanks!

  • Hi Lili: You’ll have to let me know what you think of it. Enjoy! 😉

  • It was delicious!

    As we all do, I made an adjustment or two. The thighs that I had were boneless skinless which worked out fine. I doubled the sauce recipe as you suggested which was a good one and gave me a lot more sauce. Sadly, the broth I used had too much salt so I’ve made a note to make sure I use low or no sodium next time. On the onions, I added half the sugar (I’m a new diabetic) so trying to reduce where I can.

    Both my husband and I really enjoyed this dish and will make it again.

    Thank you! I love your posts and suggestions. I really appreciate them and you.


  • Hi Liii: Yay, I’m so glad the suggestion for doubling the sauce worked so well. I am definitely doing it that way next time, too. Your tips are so great. Thank you for adding them. I couldn’t be more thrilled that you enjoyed the chicken dish so much.

  • Jocelyn was on the Today show this morning (1/30/24) featuring this recipe. I was so happy to find it here on your blog!! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you, Carolyn.

  • Hi Leesie: You’re very welcome. Enjoy! It’s such a clever and delicious dish.

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