Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce (20 Minute Meal)


Gluten-free Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce is an elegant yet easy 20 minute, one skillet supper!

Chicken with Cherry Wine Pan Sauce (20 minute meal!) |

As food bloggers, we tend to start writing about foodie holidays weeks in advance so our readers have time to start thinking about, and putting together, yummy menus in anticipation of the big day. That means by the time the actual holiday rolls around I’ve pretty much totally moved on.

Case in point, I saw a Valentine’s Day commercial the other day and wondered why the heck it was still airing. Oh yeah, because Valentine’s Day isn’t even until this Friday!

Mental note: start thinking about what to get the husband ASAP, as I’ve been politely asked not to get him “boxers with stuff on them” this year, aka his customary Valentine’s Day-themed shorts. Drat.

Anyway, I’m thinking you’re still clued into the fact the the holiday has not, in fact, passed us by, so let me toss one more dinner idea your way for Valentine’s Day – Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce. 

Chicken with Cherry Wine Pan Sauce (20 minute meal!) |

Simply seasoned chicken breasts are seared then smothered in a dreamy, wine-soaked cherry sauce made right in the same skillet. Is there anything more perfect than this dish for the holiday, between the wine and cherries which mimic your heart melting from your loved one?!

Umm, right. Besides all that, the marriage of frozen sweet cherries and wine with just a wee pat of butter for lusciousness make the most beautiful sauce, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end brightens the whole thing up. 20 minutes. One skillet. Elegant yet easy enough for everyday. How bad could that be?!

Chicken with Cherry Wine Pan Sauce (20 minute meal!) |

Start by searing 4 chicken breasts in a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 6/10 on the heat scale. (I obviously made a fraction of the chicken for these photos!)

Before that though, pound the chicken out to the same thickness so it cooks evenly. Place the chicken on a cutting board then cover with plastic wrap and use a mallet or other heavy flat object (I use a rolling pin) to pound the breasts out to the same thickness. This is CRUCIAL to getting delicious, evenly-cooked chicken!

Brush or mist both sides with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Next melt 1 Tablespoon butter in the same skillet then add 1 chopped shallot and saute until tender, about 2 minutes.

Once the shallots are tender, carefully pour in 1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet,) 1/2 cup chicken broth, and 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar. I know some people don’t like balsamic vinegar, but you can’t pick it out in the final dish. It just adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to the sauce!

Let the sauce bubble and reduce by about half, 3-4 minutes.

Next add ‘zee star of the Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce – sweet cherries (which do not make the final dish taste sweet – promise!)

You’ll need 12oz fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries. Make sure you don’t get the sour ones.

Since cherries aren’t in season right now, and cost an arm and a leg, I used frozen cherries. They worked perfectly, and I didn’t even have to thaw them first.

Once the cherries warm in the hot skillet, press lightly on them with a wooden spoon (or whatever you’re using to stir the sauce with,) to help break them up a bit. Next sprinkle in 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (you could use a pinch of dried thyme…in a pinch!)

BTW – I almost always hate buying fresh herbs because I use a FRACTION of the container and inevitably forget about them in the fridge until it’s way, way too late. Anyway, check out these mini clamshells I found at the grocery store. They’re the perfect size for just one or two recipes!

Continue to reduce the sauce until thickened but still syrupy, 2-3 minutes, then stir in 1 Tablespoon butter and the juice of 1/2 lemon. The lemon TOTALLY makes this dish!

You know how on Top Chef they’re always saying, especially Gail, hmmm, yes, this dish is good but it could really use more acid..? It rives me NUTS, but is totally true in this case. I made the recipe once without it, and the lemon version is sooo much better!

Plate the chicken then spoon the luscious, ruby-hued sauce over the top. YUM. I served roasted broccoli on the side, which is just fresh broccoli florets tossed with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then roasted for 10 minutes at 425 minutes. Perfection!

Chicken with Cherry Wine Pan Sauce (20 minute meal!) |

Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce

serves 4


Gluten-free Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce is an elegant yet easy 20 minute, one skillet supper!


  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1-1/2lbs)
  • extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine like Cabernet
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 12oz fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries NOT sour cherries (if frozen, do not thaw)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness then brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (6/10) then add chicken and saute until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes a side. Remove to a plate then tent with foil to keep warm.
  2. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in same skillet then add shallots and saute until tender, 2 minutes. Add wine, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and fresh cherries, if using, then simmer until sauce is reduced by nearly half, 3-4 minutes. If using frozen cherries, add now with thyme then continue to reduce sauce until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes, pressing down on cherries gently with the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove skillet from heat then stir in remaining Tablespoon butter and lemon juice. Spoon over chicken breasts then serve.


Inspired by

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Whether you make this dish on Friday or not, you’ll love it. Elegant yet easy enough for everyday. Enjoy!

Chicken with Cherry Wine Pan Sauce (20 minute meal!) |

Check out 15+ more recipes for Valentine’s Day, including appetizers, sides, desserts, and main dish ideas! >

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  1. I just recently started experimenting cooking with wine. So this came at the perfect time. I’ll have to add it to my wine cooking experiments. Plus, cherries are just delicious so it must be done. Love the deep red color against the chicken. Looks like an awesome stay at home romantic dinner for valentine’s day!

  2. This dish looks too good to be true. Will definitely be making it soon, thank you for yet another great recipe (thats quick too).

  3. I love this idea. I love fruit in chicken dishes and cherries is not something I would have thought to use. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Chicago Jogger 02.12.2014

    I’m pinning this right away! Looks divine. I have frozen tart cherries right now picked fresh in Door County {Wisconsin}, so I will definitely be using a few for this.

  5. Caitlin Restivo 02.12.2014

    My husband gets Valentines Boxers every year too, ha!

  6. Pinning! Just reading about this made my mouth water! Can’t wait to try it out!

  7. Becky 02.12.2014

    Wait. There are people who don’t like balsamic vinegar? Hm.

    Anyway, this looks amazing!

  8. This looks so yummy and it looks a lot more labor intensive than it is because of the sophisticated flavors!

    I’m thinking a card and macaroons for Vday this year!

  9. Dena 02.12.2014

    I don’t know much about wine, except that my favorite red is Pinot Noir…would that work? Or no way? Because I know there are rules with wine. Anyone know? Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Brigitt 02.12.2014

    Looks delish! I recently made a similar dish with dried cherries and pork. Was so tasty!

  11. Adrian 02.12.2014

    I am totally adding this to my menu next week! Plus it looks pretty Weight Watchers friendly. Just have to add in the points for the butter and chicken broth. (I won’t count the wine!) :) Thank you so much for the great post!

  12. I was just needing a good recipe to use some cherries I have – this looks perfect!

  13. This looks so yum – I love the addition of cherries!! PS, sweet shout out in Fitness magazine. :)

  14. PB&Jess 02.12.2014

    The quicker I can make a meal the better!

  15. stacy 02.12.2014

    this looks amazing- I’m all over it. Thanks!

  16. Anne [A Squared] 02.12.2014

    This looks amazing! It reminds me of my favorite steak with blueberry sauce, but a lot easier to make!

  17. Yum, cherries instead of cranberries on chicken! I have some frozen cherries right now that I’d been using in smoothies – maybe I’ll make a batch of this sauce :)

  18. haha… I can so relate. I made all my Vday stuff last week and now I’m like. Lets just go out and get sushi.. haha.. :) I’m sure whatever you end up getting the hubs will be awesome and he will love it, because its from you! :)

    Loving this dish Kristin, especially because it looks super fancy but only takes 20 minutes! Ummmm… WIN! Pinned!

  19. Done – making this for Valentine’s Dinner! Thank you!

  20. Jennifer 02.13.2014

    Cherries! Such a great idea! I’m imagining this sauce with a pork tenderloin… for dinner tonight :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. If only my boyfriend would eat cherries! Love my picky eater. Looks like I’ll get this one all to myself on his next business trip.

  22. Mary Claire 02.13.2014

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it with the cherry balsamic I got for Christmas :)

  23. So mouthwatering! Love this sweet-salty twist on traditional weeknight meals. I can’t wait to try it!

  24. Jeri Wendzel 02.13.2014

    Did you get the mini clamshells at Hy-Vee???

  25. estherjulee 02.13.2014

    hey kristen! not sure if you remember me, but we went to school together back in the day. I randomly stumbled onto your blog today through another blog that I follow. :) hope all is well with you!

  26. Mary 02.18.2014

    WOW! I made this for dinner tonight. We ran out of chicken to put sauce on, so we were eating the cherries and sopping up the sauce with bread. I served it with roasted asparagus and the rest of the bottle of red wine.

  27. Adrian 02.20.2014

    I made this the other night for my family. We devoured it! SOOO good! Even my 7-year old loved it! Can’t wait to make it again, only next time I think I am going to put it over braised short ribs. DELISH!!

  28. Chris 02.22.2014

    This chicken looks really Yummy!! I am going to have to try making this for our homeschool family. My mouth is watering.

  29. Amy 02.23.2014

    Thanks for all of your A-M-A-Z-I-N-G recipes that are both tasty and easy to pull off after work with two little ones running around. I made this last night and it was fabulous. My husband and I sprinkled some blue cheese crumbles and toasted pistachios on ours (the toddler had his plain) and it was pretty with some extra texture and taste. Your herb skillet chicken has won “5 stars” from my husband. And I love reading your Friday Favorites while I drink coffee, before everyone else wakes up :D

  30. Stephanie 02.23.2014

    We made this recipe last night and since we only had 2 pieces of chicken we saved half of the sauce and used it for our steaks tonight. The sauce was wonderful with the chicken, but it was out of this world with the steak! Thanks for the awesome recipe :)

  31. […] Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce | Iowa Girl Eats […]

  32. […]  tuesday: Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce via Iowa Girl Eats.   […]

  33. This recipe had me intrigued from day one, whipped it up for the family tonight,

    Loved all of the fresh combinations, especially the cherries (duh), thyme and lemon juice.

    Only thing I’d do differently next time, is not squish the cherries until closer to the end of the cookie process, they were pretty well mashed because I squishes them too early.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  34. trish west 08.12.2014

    This Iowa girl (from small farming town of Danville) liked your recipe.

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  36. […] Photo and recipe credit to iowagirleats […]

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  38. […] the full recipe and instructions here. And added bonus, it is gluten free (because be honest, you or someone you know is gluten free). […]

  39. Amanda 03.31.2015

    We had this for dinner last night. It felt like fine dining on a school night! Tasty and super easy! I used dried thyme because I didn’t have fresh and it was fine.

  40. […] a 20-minute meal that is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party, try this Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce from Iowa Girl Eats. The cherries really make this dish stand […]

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