Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs Recipe
Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs Recipe

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“I love the flavor of chicken baked with apples, and when I had a bumper crop of green beans, I wanted to include them, too. This recipe is the tasty result.” —Kathy Rairigh, Milford, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 55 min.
MAKES:5 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 55 min.
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 3 cups apple cider or juice
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium lemon, sliced
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 10 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3-3/4 pounds)
  • One 2-gallon resealable plastic bag
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 medium tart apples, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

2 chicken thighs with 3/4 cup bean mixture: 580 calories, 32g fat (8g saturated fat), 163mg cholesterol, 201mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 4g fiber), 47g protein


  1. In a Dutch oven, combine the cider, onion, lemon, rosemary sprigs, salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in water. Cool brine to room temperature.
  2. Place chicken in the 2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bag and turn to coat. Place in a roasting pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Place beans and apples in a greased roasting pan. Drain chicken; place in prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 40 minutes.
  4. Combine the minced rosemary, oil, pepper and remaining brown sugar; sprinkle over chicken. Bake 15-25 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 170°-175° and beans are tender. Yield: 5 servings.
Originally published as Apple-Brined Chicken Thighs in Taste of Home June/July 2010, p53

Light-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

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Reviewed Nov. 7, 2013

"I only used the brine for this recipe. I brined skinless chicken thighs for 6 hours. I didn't have rosemary (though I love it), so I substituted about a tablespoon of beau monde seasoning. I also use organic bay leaves. I don't typically buy organic foods, but the organic bay leaves are so fresh, and impart a wonderful flavor in anything that I cook. I put the chicken thighs in my smoker for about 3 hours. They were moist, tender, delicious...with a delicate apple flavor.

Tonight I'm going to brine some thick pork chops over night and put them in my smoker. This time I'm using fresh rosemary, a wee bit more salt, and I pricked the pork all over. Oh, and I think maybe my chicken had more apple flavor because I used frozen apple juice and only added 2/3 of the water recommended. And, for smoker enthusiasts, I used mesquite chips, though I also have some Jack Daniels chips that are wonderful, but I misplaced them in the throes of moving. :)"

Reviewed Sep. 27, 2013

"Loved this recipe. Did make a few changes tho. We don't like rosemary so we substituted with 1 tsp of thyme. Also no fresh lemons so used I 2 1/2 tbs of lemon juice and no peppercorns so I used 1 1/2 tsp of black pepper. I didn't cook it with any veggies only the apples for fear that the veggie flavor would get into the chicken and the kids would have issues. So I just served veggies on the side and my kids ate it with no complaints. :-)"

Reviewed Sep. 14, 2013

"Did the recipe neglect to remove the salt by rinsing under cold running water? I can't imagine why you would leave all of that salt in the chicken. Just a thought."

Reviewed Sep. 19, 2012

"This did not work out at all for me. I might however try the brine out again but on a rotisserie"

Reviewed Nov. 25, 2011

"I love this brine. I have used it on pork and chicken and it adds so much flavor that you don't even need anything else."

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