Christmas Cranberry Chicken Recipe (2024)

By Kelly

Published: Dec 03, 2019


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Beautifully baked chicken glazed with a delicious cranberry marinade. Cranberry Chicken is a gorgeous dinner for your Christmas table! It’s an easy chicken recipe that is perfect for a weeknight dinner or for a special holiday meal. The sweet glaze makes this chicken extra juicy. This delicious Cranberry Chicken is seared in a blend of olive oil and butter to keep it tender and juicy before being baked to perfection.

Cranberry Chicken

This cranberry baked chicken includes bone-in chicken quarters but you could also use boneless chicken breast. Or you could simply roast a couple of chickens if you’re cooking for a crowd. Either way, covering your chicken in a thick glaze of cranberries totally the way to go.

Who else finds themselves in a whirlwind of cranberry everything once Thanksgiving and Christmas comes around? Pumpkin spice in the fall, then everything cranberry or peppermint by the holiday season. You won’t ever find me complaining!

Gorgeous red cranberries mixed with fresh green rosemary springs as garnish and you have yourself the PERFECT holiday meal. It smells like Christmas with the hints of cinnamon in the cranberry glaze… mmm! I am guilty of spooning extra onto my chicken from the baking dish. I can’t get enough!

The cranberry glaze includes brown sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, clove, and more. We use a tablespoon of flour to thicken it up. The cranberries are added and cook beautifully within 10 minutes.

Cranberry Chicken

We use 3 chicken quarters, which consists of a drumstick and a chicken thigh. Coated first in a dry rub that includes onion powder, garlic powder, paprika (for color), as well as flour, salt, and pepper. The flour helps brown the chicken.

In a pan over medium/high heat, gently sear the chicken for 4 minutes on each side in an olive oil and butter mixture. The olive oil prevents the butter from smoking and keeps the chicken extra tender. Here’s the trick, save that oil and butter mixture to deglaze the pan while making the cranberry sauce.

The olive oil and butter mixture from the chicken infuses into the brown sugar and cranberries for an irresistible sauce. I love watching and hearing the pretty cranberries “pop” as they gently cook. Brown sugar, butter, and cranberries… what is there not to love?

Pour the cranberry glaze over the seared chicken in a 9×13 baking dish prepared with non-stick spray. The chicken will continue to bake to perfection in the oven for an hour. During this time, the entire house begins to smell like the holidays!

More Recipes by Smart School House to Try Next:

  • Parmesan Zucchini

  • Old Fashioned Biscuits

  • Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

  • Pumpkin Spice Chili

  • Meatball Parmesan

  • Lazy Lasagna

  • Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

  • Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

You Will Need

For the Chicken:

  • 3 chicken quarters
  • A pinch of the following dry rub spices:
    • Pepper
    • Salt
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Paprika
  • Flour to lightly coat the outside of the chicken
  • 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the Cranberry Glaze:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon clove
  • 1/4 Teaspoon all spice
  • 1 Tablespoon of flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of cranberries

Other Supplies Needed:

  • 9×13 baking dish
  • Frying Pan
  • Non-Stick Spray
  • Rosemary sprigs to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Coat the chicken in the dry rub seasonings: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika
  3. Pat flour around the chicken over the dry rub
  4. Prepare your frying pan with olive oil and butter over medium to high heat
  5. Once the butter is melted, sear the chicken for 4 minutes on each side
  6. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon evenly over the top of the chicken pieces
  7. Remove the chicken from the oil and butter and place it in a baking dish prepared with non-stick spray
  8. Add cranberry glaze ingredients to the frying pan over the oil and butter mixture, stir until combined
  9. Place the cranberries in the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. This process deglazes the frying pan and adds juicy flavor back into the chicken to bake in.
  10. Once the cranberry glaze is done, pour it over the chicken in the baking dish
  11. Bake for 1 hour
  12. Remove from the oven and garnish with rosemary for the perfect holiday presentation!
Christmas Cranberry Chicken Recipe (10)

Welcome to Smart School House! I’m so glad you are here! I’m Kelly Dixon and my website is designed to inspire your creative side. I hope you visit us here often!

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