Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is a classic French stewed chicken recipe, with bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions.

  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1/2 lb bacon slices
  • 20 peeled pearl onions, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 whole, skin-on chicken legs (with thighs attached), about 4 pounds (excess fat trimmed)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, or zinfandel)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs
  • Several fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced or quartered
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1 Blanch the bacon to remove some of its saltiness. Drop the bacon into a saucepan of cold water, covered by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, drain. Rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into 1 inch by 1/4-inch pieces.

2 Brown the bacon: Heat a Dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken on medium high heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook them until browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked bacon and set aside.

4 Brown the chicken and onions: Keep the bacon fat in the pan. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all sides with salt and pepper.

Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken, skin side down, to the hot pan. Brown the chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic and cook a few minutes more. Spoon off any excess fat from the pot.

5 Add chicken stock, wine, herbs, bacon, then simmer: Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Add back the bacon. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. (A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165°F.)

Remove chicken and onions to a separate platter. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic, and discard.

6 Make a sauce with mushrooms: Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and increase the heat to high. Boil quickly to reduce the liquid by three fourths until it becomes thick and saucy.

Lower the heat, stir in the butter. Return the chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve.

7 Serve: Serve with potatoes or over egg noodles. Peas make a good side for this dish.

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  • Bree

    This is my first time commenting on your blog Elise, but this is certainly not the first recipe I have tried. I love your site and should comment more often. I love the new ideas I get, and I certainly appreciate the great step by step instructions when I’m trying new techniques. Your photos are also fabulous!

    I made this for the fourth? fifth? or something time tonight. It is delicious and I think this time it turned out the best. I didn’t blanch the bacon, simply because I was lazy. I didn’t find it overly salty, though I didn’t add any extra salt. I used a whole chicken that I cut into pieces (first time trying that). I served it with egg noodles. I found it relatively easy to make. Highly recommended dish.


    • Elise

      I’m so glad you liked it Bree, and thanks for commenting!

  • Rosalyn

    The definition of the word “coq” is male, i.e. the rooster is used to create the traditional coq au vin recipe, otherwise it’s just a chicken casserole and not a true coq au vin.

    • Elise

      Agreed! That said, good luck finding a rooster for sale in any regular supermarket in the U.S. I’ve never found one for sale anywhere here. We did butcher a live rooster once though, and made sausages with the meat. Because you can’t find rooster easily around here we typically make coq au vin with a regular chicken.

  • Yvonne

    This is a great recipe but how do I get the skin to be crispy again after I cook it? It is crispy when I brown it but then after cooking it in the chicken stock and wine it becomes a bit soggy. How to I get it to regain that nice crispy skin?

    You don’t. It’s sort of stew-like, which means no crispy skin. ~Elise

  • Carl

    I love your blog, I refer to it all the time. First time making this and it was great. I noticed Julia Child’s and Alton Brown’s version called for tomatoes…hmm, I might try that next time.

    I did use lardons because I can get them them here easily. I did the par boil thing and it took too much of the fat out. Guess I did it too long.

    Mine didn’t stick at all- for those of you with that problem- make sure you get a decent quality Dutch oven like Staub or Le Cruset and get it up to operating temp before frying the chicken. It’s nice stuff, lasts a lifetime, and worth the cost if cooking is really your hobby as it is for me.

    I didn’t have a problem with purple chicken either- add the stock first then the wine and use a real Burgundy. A true burgundy has a light body and won’t stain your chicken. Also- it goes great with the meal- I used a nice one from Beaune that was six euros a bottle. Very drinkable.
    Eet Smaaklijk,
    The Hague

  • Lew

    Made a half recipe using 4 thighs (there’s just my son and me). I’ve had this dish in restaurants and I must admit, this version is as good as they get. It’s probably healthier too since you get to control the amount of sodium and fats. To change things up, I used rigatoni (because it’s big and “meaty”) instead of egg noodles. Red wine was Chianti. Thanks to the many excellent recipes on this website, I always have fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley on hand so the only unique ingredient I needed was pearl onions.

    Going off topic, I figured out how to keep parsley fresh in the refrigerator for a month or more. Purchase the freshest bunch you can find and when you get it home, cleanly trim the stems using a very sharp knife (I remove about an inch off the bottom and keep the bundle together with a rubber band). Find a plastic container about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 4 inches tall, take a paper towel and fold into quarters and stuff it flat inside the container bottom. Add clean water to moisten the towel plus 1/4 inch of standing water. (I recycled a prepared icing container.) Place the parsley into the container so the freshly cut ends are in contact with the water and paper towel. Tent the “flower pot” using a produce/fruit plastic bag (special green color keep-fresh bags featuring microscopic holes). Closed end on top and open end on bottom. Don’t seal the bag, just let the open end rest on the refrigerator shelf. As you use the parsley, pick off any yellowed leaves and stems then change the water or paper towel as needed. If you can’t find the special keep fresh bags, you can use the grocery store plastic produce bag as the tent — however leaves that touch the plastic will yellow quickly so wrap or drape the parsley bundle top with a paper towel before tenting.

  • Nick

    We made this today with a Sharaz and it turned out great!
    One of us prefers boneless skinless chicken breasts, so we used 1lb drumsticks and 2lbs breasts.

    We weren’t sure what to do with the bacon, so we left it in the sauce as it simmered down. It was delicious in the final dish!

  • Stephanie

    I made this today and it turned out wonderful! I didn’t have any problem with the sauce, it simmered down perfectly.

  • Ashley

    I would buy a hunk of Canadian bacon so that it doesn’t need to be blanched. You pare the rind and cut the remaining into thick, long strips. Brown the bacon and rind in the oil and continue normally. Its easier and tastes better than with American bacon.

  • BG

    If your chicken is sticking to the pan, you’re trying to move it too soon after starting to cook. Make sure the pan / oil is hot when you add the chicken, and don’t try to move it until it has had a minute or so to brown. It should release easily.

  • Char

    I am new to French cooking and have been invited to bring a side dish to accompany Coq au Vin. Could someone kindly suggest a selection of side dishes to acompany this recipe? It needs to be something that can be made in advance and will travel well.

  • carol k

    When I cooked the chicken the skin came off and stuck to the pan so my chicken looks “skinned”.
    What did I do wrong?

    No idea. ~Elise

    • Linda

      If your chicken stuck to the pan you didn’t brown it long enough.

  • Deb

    Okay, I read a LOT of food blogs – you were my first and still are my favorite. I have cooked many wonderful things but only have written in ONE time to comment on a recipe that was as delicious as I dreamed it would be – your Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings. Now, we just finished eating this Coq au Vin and I had to write to you again to tell you how much we appreciate you and all that you (and your mom & dad) do for us. I envy all of you food bloggers your passion, energy and talent! I am an American living in France and if you’re ever in Nancy stop by for a drink and a bite.

    Thanks Deb, so glad you liked it! ~Elise

  • Michelle

    The liquid doesnt seem to want to reduce. What could I be doing wrong?

    I suggest turning up the heat. ~Elise

  • Sathi

    If you don’t like the skin, I would suggest you dredge the skinless chicken pieces in some all purpose flour mixed with salt, pepper and some herb seasoning and then shallow fry the pieces to a golden brown before adding the wine to it. This not only gives it a skin-like texture to it, but also seals in the juices and makes it more tender and moist. Also, the flour helps thicken the sauce as it cooks. I also throw in chunks of carrot or parsnip in the dish as I cook it and they cook beautifully. It may not be traditional, but is delicious!

  • Simon Jester

    Nice recipe. However The reasoning for “blanching” the bacon is not to reduce the salt but to break up the fat Molecules allowing you to create crunchy “lardons” rather than chewy ones, they hold up much better in the sauce. Also I recommend using salt pork not bacon as most bacon is smoked and if you get the non sliced kind you can cut it into small cubes (lardons). Also in order to blanch, just add a very small amount of water to the pan (small!) and allow it to boil around your pork until evaporated. It should take no more than a minute or two. Bacon should always be cooked in this way when frying. The Pinot noir Is the only wine I would choose for this dish, the Burgundy will send the chicken off balance and the Zin will make it taste like Kool aid.

  • Sharon

    Hi – I made this recipe and was a bit disappointed. By the time it reduced enough to be saucy, there was not enough volume to cover all the chicken pieces. Also, I’m not huge on salt, however blanching the bacon took out too much of the “umph” that makes using bacon interesting.

    Next time around I plan to try the following:
    – blanch the bacon for a shorter window of time
    – douse the chicken in flour before browning
    – increase the amt of wine by 1 cup to increase both volume of sauce and strength of taste
    – add baby carrots along with the mushrooms

  • Anne

    I’ve made this recipe before and LOVE it. Instead of the traditional american christmas dinner of turkey and sides, I’m making this for christmas dinner this year. Any suggestions on side dishes that accompany this dish? Any ideas would be appreciated! My mom also had the idea of making some sort of salmon, but every recipe i can find doesn’t seem to go with the spices in coq au vin. I dont have to make the salmon- that’s just a thought. Thanks from a college student cooking for the entire family by herself because they are coming from a different state. :)

  • Kathy

    Thank you for the easy recipe! I made this for a Sunday dinner for 8 people. I added carrots and celery, and used pancetta for bacon. Served over roasted young potatoes. This turned out wonderful.

  • ajfabb

    If you’re actually using a free-range rooster–even a younger one–you probably need to cook more than 20 minutes.

    My former back yard rooster’s legs were still chewy at even 30 minutes. For a real rooster, an hour would be a good starting point.

  • Docsam

    This is a totally terrific recipe. As I’m a French guy, I’m absolutly fond of “Coq au vin”. I personally use to prepare it with carrots and serve it with pasta (tagliatelles in French) but that’s a detail :)

  • Gorette

    Love this also with white wine. The first time I ever had coq au vin was at a friend’s home in NY 25 years ago. They served it with a grapefruit/avacado salad with a light vinegrette which was an exquisite flavor match.

    But I’ve never made it with 6 cloves of garlic. Doesn’t that overwhelm the flavors?

  • Alexa

    Loved your coq au vin recipe! I made it last night and it was delicious. I used the Pinot Noir (someone had given us a bottle over the holidays). I used reduced-salt bacon and skipped the blanching step — result was fine. I halved the recipe but kept all the mushrooms. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • Jeroen

    Thanks for this great recipe. I used it yesterday as a basic recipe for my own Coq au Vin. I used 2 chickens and a bottle of South African Shiraz. I added a couple of carrots, 2 red peppers and I used dried mushrooms that I soaked in some of the wine for an hour before I added them. Served with small boiled in the skin potatoes and a big spicy salad. We had an excellent Christmas Eve diner.

  • Chris

    Craig Elliot – Obviously since this is from Dijon you must pair with the best red Burgundy you can afford – a Nuit St. Georges or a Pommard! Bon appetit!

  • Chris

    Forrget the bacon – you need to use slab ham or lardon in French and dice into cubes. My wife lived in Dijon where this recipe orginates from and we currently live south of Paris in Montlhery. The slab bacon is the key and don’t ever use carrots – that is not traditional! Best of luck.

  • Sarah

    Thanks for this great recipe!! I added carrots & celery because FH loves them and he’s going to be the one eating it (I’m vegetarian lol). Smelled incredible!!

  • Kyle

    Great recipe, reminds me the Coq au Vin a nanny I had growing up would make. She was from England. Did it a bit different, no pearl onions, and it was basically just the chicken and bacon mixed together with white rice. She would let it slow cook with the rice and it was just a nice twist on the traditional.

    And here’s a little tip for the pearl onions: blanch them and they will just pop right out of the skin! Well, not in the water, but when you take them out. Great time saver so you don’t have to peel all those little guys.

  • Stewart Follows (Australia)

    Always wanted to try “Coq au Vin”, picked this version off the Internet because it looked simple. Was a raging success with the wife. She insists I make it a regular. Used an Australian Hunter Valley Shiraz (of course), and added some carrots to the mix. Yummy. Thanks a lot.

  • Elise

    Hi Jeroen-

    If you are not cooking with bone-in and skin on, you are missing out on a lot. The marrow in the bones that dissolve into the stew while cooking is filled with important nutrients. Also there is so much flavor in the browned skins! As children we used to fight for the skins. So my advice is to use bone-in and skin on whenever a recipe calls for it, and most of mine do.

  • Jeroen

    I love Coq au Vin as well! I made it for last Christmas’ diner, along with a few additional French dishes. Again it tasted great!

    However, I have a general question about chicken. I really don’t like bones and skin. So I usually use boneless and skinless chicken breasts as a substitute. However, the bones and skin do give the sauce additional flavor and makes it a bit thicker. I just add corn starch and/or some chicken broth to make the sauce richer and thicker.

    Again, this is not specific to Coq au Vin. I do the same thing for Asian curries, Mexican dishes, and such. What do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the good work with this fantastic blog!


  • Craig Elliott

    What wine do you serve with the meal? I am interested in serving this to friends that are all wine perfectionist.

  • Amber

    This is one of several recipes that I’ve tried from this site. I’ve actually started coming here more than Epicurious! This got rave reviews. I used a beaujolais neuveau (sp?). Not my first choice, but my fiance can’t handle the histamines in red wine (according to an allergist — most folks are not allergic to tannins, but to the histamines in red wines) … they make him red in the face immediately, so I have to use the very young “first press” kind of wines rather than ones with more body (my favorites). Any thoughts on if these would cook out of wine?

  • Yinghong

    Been there done that! Thanks for an easy to follow recipe. My picky Swedish boyfriend said it was tasty! He asked if I really loved cooking… ye, I am starting to. I wonder if this dish can be better e.g. add some Italian chili pickles… to spice up the dish. Any ideas? I used a fruity wine, cotes du rhone. Not very good I must say. So don’t try that! Follow the recipe.
    Lots of love in food, don’t you agree?

  • Julian

    Great recipe…If you guys like, other vegetables like celery and carrot go great in this. I served mine over a bed of rice cooked in chicken stock (you’ll probably have enough left over) and saffron. Awesome dish.

  • chas

    Can anyone tell me what the best Dutch oven size and shape is for coq au vin and similiar dishes?

    • Linda

      I use a 6 quart Dutch oven…basic round.

  • John

    Great recipe, and it scales down quite easily as well. I tried it with just one boneless chicken breast and Merlot for the wine.

    Only one problem. I ate half the bacon while going through the remainder of step 2!

  • Sheeijan

    I made this tonight using a lovely zinfandel from Edmeades. The chicken turned out very dark (almost purplish), which made my husband suspicious, but it tasted just fine. Blanching the bacon made a difference, I think, and wasn’t too hard a step all things considered. I think it took me about 1 1/2 hours all told to make this, for those who might be wondering. The boiling at the end to a saucy consistency took longer than I thought it would. One of the better coq au vin recipes I’ve tried, and one I will be doing again.

  • Nina

    My mother coming from the french-speaking part of Belgium, she sometimes cooked coq au vin for the family. But until recently, I had never tried to cook it myself. When I found this recipe here, I decided to give it a try. And I must admit that I liked it even better than my mother’s version of this classic dish!

    Blanching the bacon worked out fine, and the sauce was way better and the taste more intense than I remembered it (I used a Bordeaux, by the way). Very good!

    Thanks, Nina (from northern Germany)