Apricot jam chicken with lemon and Dijon mustard is a wonderful blend of sweet, tart and savory flavors. And it’s so easy to prepare for a simple weeknight meal or a special holiday dinner such as Hanukkah.
Another great recipe to try is my breaded lemon chicken with garlic-infused olive oil.
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I discovered this sweet, savory, tangy, and easy Jewish apricot chicken recipe years ago in a cookbook called: The Great Hadassah Wizo Cookbook, which my mother gave me almost 35 years ago. The original recipe, called Lemon Glazed Chicken, uses bone-in chicken pieces. We eat this chicken on an ordinary weeknight but it has also become a favorite for Hanukkah. Be sure to check out all of my Chanukah recipes for other main course, side dish and dessert ideas.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Quite simply -- flexibility and flavor.
You can make this apricot jam chicken with boneless or bone-in pieces. I adapted it to boneless cuts to reduce the cooking time and make it easy to serve in a buffet, especially for family and holiday gatherings.
You can also prepare the sauce ahead of time or get the whole pan of chicken ready to go and cook it later or the next day. Or you can cook it ahead and reheat.
No matter how you time it, the flavors will always wow your eaters. I promise.
Check out my apricot jam chicken web story for a visual tour through this delectable recipe!
Ingredients for this recipe
If, like me, you always have some Dijon mustard in the house and you keep various jams in your pantry, you will likely always have what you need to make this apricot lemon chicken.
- Chicken: Use boneless breasts or thighs – whichever you prefer. Prefer bone-in? No problem, I give alternate baking instructions for that and it comes out fantastic.
- Apricot jam: The original recipe calls for apricot-pineapple jam. If you have that, use it. But I’ve gravitated over the years to just apricot jam. I love the flavor and usually can find a lower sugar version of it, which I prefer. Or make your own apricot preserves!
- Dijon mustard: Any brand of dijon mustard is fine or in a pinch, use a coarse grain mustard or spicy brown mustard.
- Lemons: You’ll need the zest, the juice and then enough to slice and lay on top of the chicken. Since you will be using the lemon and not just the juice, best to start with unwaxed or organic lemons. I am lucky that I have a meyer lemon tree in my backyard that produces year round. But any kind of lemon will work.
- Dried or fresh thyme: Adds a little extra layer of flavor but if you don’t have any, it will still be great!
How to prepare this recipe
1. Combine preserves, mustard, lemon rind, lemon juice, thyme, kosher salt and pepper in a medium size bowl.
2. Arrange your boneless skinless breasts or thighs (or bone-in) in the baking dish. If you are baking the chicken right away, pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish. Then lay a lemon slice on each piece of chicken.
3. Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- You can prepare the sauce mixture for the apricot jam chicken ahead of time.
- You can prepare the pans of chicken and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them, even a day ahead of time.
- Or bake the chicken ahead and refrigerate and reheat for serving.
Yes, it works quite nicely. Bone-in allows the flavors to develop more as it cooks longer. You also get the color of the crispy skin. If you are serving bone-in breasts, ask your butcher to cut each one in two pieces for better portion sizes.
When you prepare this with bone-in chicken pieces, double the cooking time and add the lemon slices halfway through the cooking process. If you like your lemons slices really toasty (like me) add them at the beginning of the cooking process.
What makes this dish a Jewish chicken recipe?
While this apricot chicken comes from a Jewish-based community cookbook, it really is not “Jewish” chicken, other than that it is non-dairy which makes it ideal for those keeping kosher. And it makes a lovely main course for a Rosh Hashanah meal or Hanukkah meal, marrying with the latkes or kugel very nicely. It could even work for Passover!
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P.S. If you try this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or a review in the comment section below. I so appreciate your feedback! AND find more inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Signup for my email list, too!
Apricot Jam ChickenBeth Lee
- 1 cup apricot-pineapple preserves or use apricot jam
- ⅓ cup dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon sliced or 2 if they are small
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (optional - mustard may be enough salt)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 - 10 boneless skinless chicken breasts halves or an equivalent amt. of thighs or use bone-in chicken
- Cut your boneless skinless breasts or thighs into appropriate individual serving size pieces and arrange in the baking dish.
- Combine preserves, mustard, lemon rind, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl and whisk together. If you are baking the chicken right away, pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish. Then lay a lemon slice on each piece of chicken or evenly cover the whole baking dish with the slices.
- Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered. Or 325 convection for 40 minutes or 350 convection for 30 minutes.
- You can prepare the sauce mixture for the chicken ahead of time.
- If you are not cooking the chicken immediately after preparing the sauce, you can refrigerate the sauce or you can pour it over the chicken and then refrigerate the whole baking dish until you are ready to cook. Be sure to let it sit out of the fridge for 15 - 30 minutes before you put it in the oven, if you can.
- If you prepare this with bone-in chicken pieces instead, double the cooking time and add the lemon slices halfway through the cooking process. I love when the lemons slices get really toasty but if you prefer them less "burnt" add them halfway through the cooking.
Hello from Australia thank you for a lovely recipe I added an onion as I put them in everything!!! and used tarragon instead of thyme as my partner said no more thyme as I grow it in abundance and use it in abundance!!!
Haha - I am the same with thyme - so much growing and I try to find sweet and savory uses for it. I love the addition of the onion and the tarragon. I'm going to try that! Cheers and thanks for the lovely note!
Hi what would you recommend to accompany this dish as a side please? Looks delicious!
Hi Chloe - great question. If just eating it as a main on a normal day - rice would be a nice side because it will love the juices from the chicken. And a nice steamed or roasted vegetable - I always like to use what's seasonal and looks good at the market. When we eat this for a Jewish Holiday, then the side might be a potato kugel purely because of tradition. Definitely want something savory since there is sweetness in the chicken dish itself. Another fun idea if you want to explore spices, is that I've discovered that za'atar tastes lovely with apricot. So za'atar roasted veggies or potatoes or sprinkled on the rice could be really nice. Or a fresh chopped or leafy green salad would be a great choice. Does that help? Write back again if you have more questions! And let me know how it turns out.
I might make this for the holiday, but don't understand how 8-10 pieces can serve 12 people. I've never had anyone (except perhaps a child)not eat 1 thigh or a breast. Should I use 12 pieces but keep the other ingredients the same? Thank you.
That a great question Marcia. Servings are hard to predict - since it depends on the sides and other main you might or might not be serving. Definitely the amount of sauce will work just fine for a bit more chicken. Absolutely bake more chicken - you know your eaters and what they like. Easy to add a few more lemon slices if needed. I hope you enjoy this dish - my family/friends always love it. An early shanah tova.
It was easy and a beautiful addition to our Passover seder meal. It even made the vegetarian's mouths water.
Thank you for this!
I am so glad. We truly love this dish - in fact this comment has motivated me to make it for tomorrow's seder! Chag Sameach.
Little Cooking Tips
We are amazed on how quick and easy this recipe is! The combination of the ingredients is genius! Apricot jam with lemons and Dijon mustard...quite unique, perfect for any special occasion! Thank you dear Beth for sharing another delicious dish with us 🙂
So glad you enjoyed it! My brothers just love this recipe and can't wait for Hannukah every year to eat it! Never a drop left. Even if I bring brisket too! Hope all is well in your little piece of Greece paradise!
Thank you for this recipe! It reminds me of a dish I used to love, but with better ingredients!
Oh I bet I can guess that dish cuz my mom used to make it and it had a packet of onion soup mix in it!!!
Quick, delicious and uses all the things that I typically have in my pantry! Perfect weeknight dish.
Yay - exactly! I serve it for a holiday meal but just as much for a quick weeknight dish!
Such a fantastic recipe! It comes together quickly and has incredible flavor. I think the apricot jam alone wouldn't be enough, but the apricot plus lemon really sings. Thank you!
Yes exactly, the sweet of the jam needs the complement of the lemon and mustard. So glad you enjoyed!
Can you make this and freeze
I don't see why not! Should freeze just fine. And I would defrost and reheat covered with foil.