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Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

4.84 from 42 votes

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Savory and delicious French-style chicken in red wine vinegar sauce. This homey dish cooks in 30 minutes.

Wine vinegar chicken is a simple French-inspired dish you can make with pantry staples like red wine vinegar, shallots and tomato paste.

You’ll be pleased that such a tasty dish uses ingredients that are easy to find and the method is really simple.

Ingredients/shopping list

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dry white wine
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic
  • Shallot
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme
  • Chicken stock or water
Pantry Ingredients for making chicken in red wine vinegar sauce in an enamel tray: Tomato paste, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, bay leaves and thyme.

Pre-salting chicken (Dry brine)

My favorite trick for making tasty chicken is to pre-season it with salt, often well in advance of cooking.

The thought of not only planning the next day’s dinner in advance but actually getting it prepared in advance can seem like one more chore.

BUT — in this case the “preparation” involves taking chicken out of the package, sprinkling it with salt and putting it back into the refrigerator.

Then forget about it for 24 hours.

Yup. Trust me, it’s totally doable. And that simple step has a big impact on the outcome.

Allowing the chicken to rest in the refrigerator uncovered dries out the skin, and that’s the secret to good, even browning and minimal pan-stickage.

If you’re short on time on a busy day and want to make this recipe, skip the overnight dry brine.

Just sprinkle the chicken with salt about 15 minutes before cooking — you’ll still end up with a delicious dish, I promise!

What does vinegar do to chicken?

Chicken tastes great with any acidic ingredient – that’s probably why dishes like Greek lemon chicken are so damn good!

After searing the chicken skin until it’s nice and brown, pour in some dry white wine and vinegar along with the other ingredients.

Pop the whole pan in the oven to finish cooking.

As the chicken roasts, the chicken thighs become tender and the liquid reduces just enough to make a delicious, savory sauce.

What to serve with red wine vinegar chicken

Serve this delicious chicken with a simple salad, roasted smashed potatoes and plenty of crusty bread to soak up sauce!

Simple tips

  • Unwrap chicken from its packaging and blot the chicken skin dry with paper towels.
  • Season the chicken with salt, then let it sit uncovered for 15 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Heat your pan to temperature before adding the cooking oil and chicken.

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Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

Karen Tedesco
A savory, oven-braised chicken in red wine vinegar sauce. This tender, crisp-skinned chicken is made with pantry ingredients and is ready to eat in 30 minutes.
Print Pin Text
4.84 from 42 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Additional Time 1 min
Total Time 46 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine French
Servings 6 servings


  • 6-8 (900 g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) kosher salt, I recommend Diamond Kosher brand
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) finely chopped garlic
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 g) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, optional


  • Put the chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish. Sprinkle the salt on both sides of chicken. Refrigerate, skin side up and uncovered up to 24 hours ahead. This will season the chicken and help the skin to crisp and brown. If you're short on time, season with the salt and let it sit at room temperature 15 minutes then proceed with the recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 (220C) degrees.
  • Heat a large (12-inch) wide pan with at least 2-inch sides over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan, and when it shimmers add the chicken, skin side down. Cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, watching that the pan doesn’t get too hot and adjusting the heat accordingly, until the skin is a rich golden brown. Turn chicken and cook the other side 2 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Pour off all but about a teaspoon of the fat in the pan, and stir in the shallot and garlic. Cook about 30 seconds, then pour in the white wine and vinegar, scraping the pan to remove the brown bits. Add the tomato paste, mustard, thyme, bay leaves and broth. Bring to a simmer then return chicken to the pan, skin side up.
  • Transfer the pan to the oven and roast 25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken is cooked through. *Note: If you notice the pan juices are reducing quickly after 10-15 minutes, add up to ½ cup more liquid to the pan.
  • Sprinkle the chili over the chicken, if using, and remove the bay leaves. Serve warm with the pan juices spooned over.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • I use Diamond Kosher salt, which has a larger grain than other brands like Morton, and isn’t as salty by volume. To season the chicken with a different brand, reduce the amount of salt to 2 teaspoons.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to a week. They taste even better!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 778mg | Potassium: 435mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. 5 stars
    Can I use something else instead of white wine to add with the red wine vinegar

  2. 5 stars
    My neighbor gave me a bottle of his homemade Cabernet vinegar. So I searched online for a recipe that requires red wine vinegar. I found this and I’m so happy that I did! My husband and I love it! I seasoned the chicken (10 thighs) with salt for about 20 minutes and used my Le Creuset large braising pan both on the stovetop and in the oven. I followed the recipe exactly as written. It came out perfect! There was plenty of sauce perfectly reduced to spoon on top of the chicken. Very yummy! I’ll be looking for more of your recipes…thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious. I’ve been seeing lots of versions of this recipe lately. Since I just bought an 8pack of thighs thought I’d give this recipe a try. LOVE!
    I didn’t have shallots so I used extra garlic and thinly sliced sweet onions instead. Also, had to use ground tyme instead of fresh. It worked perfectly and hubby said “you can make this again” – Winner.

  4. 5 stars
    This tastes very good, and was easy. But after 20 mins roasting on 425 degrees, there were no pan juices left, only dry paste. I reconstituted, but maybe 425 is too high or maybe this should have been covered? I have a relatively new oven and have checked the temp more than once, it is accurate.

    1. Great to hear that you added more liquid – the sauce should reduce down slightly but not totally disappear. Your oven may run hotter than mine or the pan’s depth was less than 3-inches.

  5. 5 stars
    When cooking in the oven leave a lid on otherwise at 425 degrees most of your sauce will evaporate. I didn’t do that the second time at made this recipe and had very little sauce. It’s a really good recipe but instructions should say leave a lid on.

    1. Thanks for the tip – the sauce does get more reduced in the oven. If you prefer a more liquid sauce, a lid is a good idea!

  6. Mindy Fountain says:

    5 stars
    I saw this on a Jacques Pepin video and never saved it. So glad I found this here as it’s an amazing dish. I only had the chicken in the refrigerator for about 6 hours (all the time I had) and it still crisped up perfectly. The sauce is to die for and everyone loved it! Thank you

  7. Nancy Molstad says:

    Hi! Am I correct in assuming that one would remove the bay leaves before serving?

  8. Can you just use a cup of red wine vinegar instead of white wine and red wine vinegar?

    1. Hi Ashley – yes, I think that would work just fine!

  9. Hi, this looks like a nice dish. I’m definitely going to make it. Thanks for sharing your great recipes!

    I have a general question about chicken or any kind of meat. Do you wash the chicken before cooking? I do that and it’s a pain. I wash all the kitchen sink thoroughly after I wash the chicken. I’ve heard that it’s recommended not to wash the chicken. Do you wash the chicken and the red meat? Thanks!

    1. I don’t wash meat or chicken. I think it was recommended in the past, but I’ve realized that washing raw chicken just makes more of a mess, plus the skin is then too wet to crisp properly. Yes, and then the sink is dirty! I drain off any water that might be in the packaging and inside the chicken, then dry it well with paper towels. Then wash my hands 🙂

      1. Hi Karen,

        Thanks for your reply! It seems not washing the chicken is the way to go. I will try it next time.

        P.S. I assumed I would get an email notification if someone writes to this thread, but I didn’t. Apparently it’s not done on all platforms. Sorry for the delay in responding to you!

  10. This chicken looks delicious. I’ve alway left my Thanksgiving turkey overnight in the fridge uncovered, but it never occurred to me to do this with my regular weeknight chicken. The idea seems so obvious to me now! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks Liz – I know, I’ve done the same with turkey too, and finally got around to trying it out with chicken. Hope you like it!

  11. Just made this! I love the simplicity of preparing this dish for family during the holidays and perfect for a snowy Sunday afternoon.

    1. Kristy! I’m so happy to see your comment, and to know that you spent a snowy day cooking the chicken. All the best…

  12. Can’t wait to prepare this dish….recipe came just in time for a potluck we’ve been invited to !!!

  13. Christine Curtis says:

    This recipe sounds great. Does it also work for boneless/skinless chicken thighs as that is all I have now.

    1. Hi Christine, to make this with boneless skinless chicken thighs, skip the overnight salting. Reduce the amount of salt by half and season the chicken about 20 minutes before cooking, letting it sit at room temp. Cook the chicken on both sides (about 5 minutes per side), then proceed with the recipe. You won’t need to drain fat before adding the wine and vinegar. Hope you enjoy!

  14. That book is one of my absolute favorites too–I am constantly learning from it!

    1. Absolutely, it’s a classic for sure. Nice to hear from you Lorrie!

  15. I finally bought a copy of the Zuni Cafe cookbook and I’ve been so busy I haven’t even been able to cook anything out of it! I agree this is a good and simple method. I did something similar with my Thanksgiving turkey this year (the pre-seasoning/salting) and it was really good. My mom often made chicken cooked with vinegar. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Looks delicious!

    1. Yes, sigh. I often find myself reading it more like a novel, one that never ends (the best kind), and wondering when I’ll fit in all the cooking it inspires in me! I tried a dry salt rub on our turkey this year, too. It turned out great! Ciao Domenica!

  16. I’m all for meals I can forget about and then remember when I’ve had a crazy day and am craving pure comfort. This chicken dish would be just perfect on those days!