Buttery Balsamic Chicken

July 19, 2021
16 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Olivia Bloch. Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne.
Author Notes

This vinegary, buttery chicken recipe uses balsamic not one, not two, but three different ways. First, balsamic in a saltwater marinade, which boosts the chicken’s humble flavor and encourages it to stay juicy, even if you forget to set a timer and leave it on the stove a little too long. Second, more balsamic deglazes all those tasty bits stuck at the bottom of the pan, and sizzles with so much butter to yield a glossy, finger-licking-great sauce. And third, finally, a splash of balsamic at the end for brightness. I know what you’re thinking: Whoa, baby, this is too much balsamic! It’s not. Each addition works its own magic, making the chicken feel all the more special, all the more tended to. Pair with a simple salad and warm loaf of bread. Or serve on top of buttered egg noodles or couscous. The beauty of this dish is its minimalism—it’ll get along with just about anything. Don’t bother with the priciest, syrupiest balsamic in this case. Any store brand that you like the taste of will do the trick. —Emma Laperruque

Watch This Recipe
Buttery Balsamic Chicken
  • Prep time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • Balsamic-Marinated Chicken
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total), halved horizontally
  • Balsamic Butter
  • 1/4 cup (½ stick) butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher or flaky salt, for sprinkling
In This Recipe
  1. Combine the balsamic and salt with ¼ cup of cold water. Add the chicken to an airtight container or bag, then pour the balsamic brine on top, making sure all the chicken pieces are coated. Marinate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and use paper towels to pat them dry.
  3. Set a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of butter. When that’s melted, add the chicken. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottom of the chicken is golden, with some char around the edges, rotating the pan and lowering the heat if needed to avoid any burning.
  4. Flip the chicken and keep cooking until almost done, another 2 to 3 minutes. When you’re about 1 to 1½ minutes out from the chicken being done, add the remaining butter and balsamic to the pan. (You can transfer any thinner pieces to a plate if they’re finished before the thicker ones.) Cook until the sauce has thickened, flipping and basting the chicken as the sauce reduces.
  5. Transfer all the chicken to a plate, then pour the balsamic butter on top. Drizzle with more balsamic and finish with a big pinch of salt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Laina Reynolds Levy
    Laina Reynolds Levy
  • Elayne Greenberg
    Elayne Greenberg
  • Bonnie
  • FrugalCat
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

15 Reviews

Sinamen78 July 31, 2021
Our sauce separated at the end. Why ?
Author Comment
Emma L. August 2, 2021
This can happen if sauces are heated too fast or cooked too long. Next time you can try whisking in a little more butter to encourage emulsification. But I've founded even a separated sauce this simple (just fat and vinegar) still tastes great.
Laina R. July 28, 2021
Made this last night for the family with some roasted sweet potatoes and it was a big hit. The sweet potatoes were great for soaking up the buttery, tangy sauce. 12 y.o. immediately requested that we make it again soon, which I am happy to do since it's so easy.
LT July 24, 2021
This was soooooo delicious and very easy. The chicken came out tender, moist, full of flavor. Definitely adding it to my repertoire. Hubby loved it as well. Excellent recipe.
Elaine C. July 24, 2021
This is absolutely's going right into my Favorite Recipes binder.
Elayne G. July 23, 2021
It really ticks me off that a picture is not included in the print out of the recipe. This is 2021 GET WITH IT. AND WHERE ARE THE NUTRITIONAL VALUES. We diabetics live by them. I will not be viewing any of your recipes any more.
Christyvhs July 27, 2021
Really all CAPS @ a free recipe!?
Bonnie July 22, 2021
So excited to try this recipe! And am pumped abut the cookbook. Keep these great recipes coming. I just love them!
Author Comment
Emma L. July 22, 2021
Thank you so much, Bonnie
FrugalCat July 21, 2021
I always use white balsamic vinegar (it's not completely clear, like white vinegar, actually more beige, like white wine). This was great last night with boneless, skinless thighs.
Author Comment
Emma L. July 21, 2021
Yum, thanks for making and sharing this idea!
Eric K. July 21, 2021
So smart. This sounds amazing, Emma!
Author Comment
Emma L. July 21, 2021
Thank you! <3
JG July 20, 2021
We just tried this with pressed tofu cubes and used olive oil in place of the butter. Wow, it's fabulous, the acid plus the sweetness in the balsamic that comes out when cooked (the water starts to evaporate concentrating the sweetness) is awesome. I know, too many changes but the sauce is what makes this recipe so special in my opinion and seems like it would be good with so many things, even huge florets of cauliflower and eggplant and then grilled comes to mind!
Author Comment
Emma L. July 21, 2021
Tofu! Olive oil! Sounds so good.