Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Cabbage and Bacon Recipe

Braised chicken thighs with cabbage and bacon in a stainless steel pot.
Crispy and tender chicken with bacon and cabbage in a single skillet.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Braising the chicken with the skin exposed keeps it crispy while tenderizing the meat underneath.
  • Vinegar and sugar give the dish a built-in sweet and sour sauce that pairs perfectly with the cabbage and the bacon.
  • The whole dish is built in a single sauté pan, making for minimal cleanup.

Some people have fallback recipes. The ones that they pull out again and again when they can't think of something new to make. I've got a couple of those, but I also have fallback techniques—basic blueprints for constructing a dish that can be infinitely variable depending on the specific ingredients you use. The main elements are instantly recognizable, but they're placed in a novel and thrilling context that gives them new life, resulting in dishes that are simultaneously exciting and comforting. Braising chicken with crispy skin is one of those techniques. This time, I'm pairing it with cabbage and bacon.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 75 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 to 8 thighs; 1.15kg)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil

  • 8 ounces (225g) slab bacon or salt pork, cut into 1/2- by 1/4-inch lardons

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 6 ounces; 170g)

  • 1 pound finely shredded cabbage (about 1 medium head; 450g)

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) whole grain mustard

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cups (700mlhomemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 6 sprigs thyme

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving it until well browned and crisp, about 8 minutes total, lowering heat if it starts to smoke excessively. Flip chicken and brown lightly on second side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large plate and set aside.

    Braised chicken thighs with crispy skin

    Serious Eats

  2. Add bacon to pan and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add mustard and vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add chicken stock, sugar, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer.

    A four-picture collage showing rendering fat from salt pork, sauteeing sliced onions in the pork fat, adding sliced cabbage, and adding herbs.

    Serious Eats

  3. Nestle chicken back into sauté pan, leaving the skin above the liquid but submerging most of the meat. Transfer pan to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken is totally tender and liquid has reduced by about half, about 45 minutes.

    Placing a pot of chicken thighs with cabbage and bacon in the oven.

    Serious Eats

  4. Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a serving platter. Stir butter into sauté pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, spooning cabbage and sauce into shallow bowls and topping with chicken.

Special equipment

Straight-sided sauté pan

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1214 Calories
94g Fat
22g Carbs
74g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1214
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 94g 121%
Saturated Fat 32g 161%
Cholesterol 427mg 142%
Sodium 2746mg 119%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 74g
Vitamin C 47mg 237%
Calcium 127mg 10%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 1244mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)