Baked chicken with tomatoes, olives and capers recipe (variations for GF and vegan!) - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Baked chicken with tomatoes, olives and capers recipe (variations for GF and vegan!)


baked chicken with tomatoes, olives and capers | pamela salzman

I just finished teaching this recipe in my March classes and it was a huge hit!  I don’t even like chicken and I seemed to always be looking for a bite at the end of class.  I had so many requests to post this recipe that I had to oblige, even though the images aren’t totally the best.  I think this would be perfectly appropriate to prepare for Passover, with one minor adjustment.  And it’s a great recipe to adapt as cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes become available.

pepper the chicken before dredging

The recipe is basically a braise, but the chicken is cooked uncovered for most of the time, which is why I call it Baked Chicken, versus Braised Chicken.  But the formula is still very much the same — browning the meat first to create flavor and color, sauteing onions, deglazing, putting meat back in and baking in the oven until cooked through.  Once you understand the steps, you can start making up your own recipe or adapting recipes like this one with other ingredients or flavors.

dredge the chicken lightly with flour

I personally like using bone-in, skin-on pieces of chicken since I think they taste better and stay a little moister, especially breast pieces.  Unfortunately, cooking with bone-in, skin-on pieces takes longer than boneless, skinless and may not be a great option for those of you needing a really fast recipe for after work.  Fortunately, this recipe can be adapted for cutlets and even a slow cooker, so look for those options in the instructions.

olives, capers, thyme, jars of tomatoes

This dish produces very tender, flavorful chicken, as well as the accompanying onions and sauce.  In the ingredient list it offers the option of draining the juice from the jar of tomatoes or keeping it.  Here’s my thought process on that one:  if you will be serving the chicken with noodles or pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes or something that would welcome a lot of sauce, then you should keep the juice.  Otherwise, drain the juice and just use the tomato pieces.  I also love this dish during cherry tomato season, when I will use 1 1/2 pounds of  halved sweet cherry tomatoes in place of the jarred, and basil leaves instead of the thyme.  Large vine-ripened tomatoes that have been blanched and chopped are also great.  Both of these options create a much lighter, fresher dish.  But every variation is very delicious.

deglaze with wine and tomatoes

Other adaptations I discussed in class:

  • subbing fennel for half the onion
  • omitting the olives and adding chopped mushrooms with the onions
  • adding a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes with the garlic
  • in the summer, subbing sliced sweet bell pepper for some of the onion
  • searing cauliflower steaks and using those in place of the chicken for a vegetarian/vegan option

add the olives capers and thyme


nestle chicken in the tomato mixture

I always use breasts when I teach because most of my students prefer white meat, and therefore it’s just easier for me to buy all breasts.  You can certainly use any part of the chicken you want.  In fact, it’s more economical to buy a whole chicken and have the butcher cut it into pieces for you.  But I highly recommend not buying 1 breast per person.  It’s too much meat to eat in one sitting, unless you are an Olympian or a body builder!  I have never actually seen anyone at my house or at a dinner party eat an entire breast.  I have seen people cut them in half and push one piece off to the side and just each one half.  What I love to do is prepare the breasts, allowing for 1/2 per person, and removing the bones after the chicken is cooked and has rested a bit.  Then I slice the meat on an angle.  It’s much more manageable to eat it this way, as well as more elegant and attractive to serve.  See this post on the gloves I use to get down and dirty when I carve chicken!

Let me know if you have specific questions about timing or with what sides to serve this.  Hope your holiday planning is going well!

baked chicken with tomatoes, olives and capers | pamela salzman



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5.0 from 4 reviews
Baked Chicken with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers
Serves: 6
  • 3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, sprinkled with 2 teaspoons kosher salt when you get home from the market unless you are using kosher chicken which you should not salt (read this post on how and why to season your chicken in advance)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging (all-purpose, spelt, GF flour, etc.) -- use matzoh cake meal for Passover
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ medium onions, cut through the root into sixths or eighths (or sliced thinly, but I like wedges better in this recipe)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 18-ounce jar diced tomatoes with the juice (or drain juice for less sauce) (I like Jovial in glass jars. Read this post why.)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or more white wine
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs or large basil leaves in the summer/fall
  • ½ cup pitted olives, such as kalamata or Bella di Cerignola
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • chopped parsley for garnish, if desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and season with black pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces in one layer and brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
  3. If the pan looks dry, add a little oil. If it looks like there’s more than 2 Tablespoons oil, drain a bit off. Add the onions, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and sea salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, white wine, stock and cook, scraping any brown bits on bottom of the pan.
  5. Arrange the thyme, olives and capers over the onion mixture. Place the browned chicken pieces side by side on top. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven.
  6. After 15 minutes, baste the chicken with the juices in the pot. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 30-40 minutes (depending on thickness), basting every 10 minutes if you have time. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. (You can also cook covered on the stove over low heat for 30 minutes.)
For a boneless, skinless version, check out my recipe for Lemon –Thyme Chicken Cutlets and follow the same directions.

For a slow cooker version, use skinless chicken and  3 Tablespoons each of stock and wine instead of 4.  Follow same directions, but after deglazing, pour everything into the slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours on HIGH or 6-8 on LOW.



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  1. I made this for my wife once and she loved it. I’m making it again for Mother’s Day this weekend. I think I’m gonna go with the mushrooms this time.

    • Mushrooms here would be fabulous!

  2. I was going to make this in the slow cooker until I saw your comment about the flavor being better in the oven. My main concern is that I want to make it for guests, and that’s why I thought a slow cooker would work well since it would keep it warm until I was ready to serve it. Can I make it in the oven, then put in the slow cooker and keep it on warm for awhile so I can do all the cooking ahead of time? Also, you said for a slow cooker to use skinless chicken. Does that also mean boneless? I haven’t been able to fin any skinless that wasn’t also boneless. What happens if you cook it in the slow cooker with skin on? Thank you!

    • Yes, you can make it ahead and keep it on the warm setting in the slow cooker, but I would only leave it in there for an hour or so. I wouldn’t want to risk drying it out. I prefer skinless chicken in the slow cooker (bone-in or boneless, depending on the recipe) because a lot of fat is rendered from the skin and makes the sauce very oily. This is not applicable for a whole chicken though since you aren’t necessarily consuming a sauce. I hope that makes sense. Just my personal experience and preference. 🙂

  3. What is the brand of the rimmed pan with handles you use in this video?

    • Staub 🙂

      • I was referring to the metal pan that your prepping the chicken on, the rimmed sheet pan with handles?

        • Ah. Unfortunately, that is an old, no longer made, All-Clad stainless steel rimmed baking sheet. All-Clad still makes rimless stainless baking sheets though.

          • thanks Pamela

  4. I made this last night for company and it was such a hit! Your recipes never disappoint and they are always my go-to when I want to impress ;). Thank you!

  5. In your version with fresh cherry tomatoes – what is the quantity of tomatoes?

    • Same amount as jarred — about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds.

  6. If I do this with chicken breast how does step #6 change?

    • Do you mean if you substituted boneless, skinless chicken breast? I used chicken breast in these images, but they had bones and skin.

  7. I made this tonight…. i used fennel and onion .. no garlic and no broth… extra white wine and fresh tomatoes…
    this was unbelievable Thank you for your inspiration always!

    • Yesssss — fennel and fresh tomatoes! Such a delightful combo. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Monique O??

  8. The link to the gloves you wear while working with the chicken is no longer available.
    I’d love to know which one’s you recommend getting.
    thank you

    • Thank you for letting me know. The link is fixed!

  9. What are your favorite sides to serve with this? 🙂

    • Great question! Personally, I love this dish with cauliflower mashed potatoes and a sautéed green leafy like chard or spinach. Polenta is also nice, roasted mushrooms, sautéed garlic broccoli. you can even put the whole dish on top of egg noodles!

  10. Thank you for this recipe and the idea to use cauliflower steaks too! I’m going to make this on Thursday evening in my slow-cooker when my in-laws arrive. I’m signed up for your April cooking class; my husband Kent would definitely tell you I am excited to go. He’s taking the day off to watch our baby :).

    • Yay! Just so you know, the slow cooker doesn’t concentrate the flavor as much as the oven, but it’s obviously more convenient. Can’t wait to see you this month!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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