Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate Chicken)

Fesenjan is a Persian chicken stew made with chicken breasts or thighs that are slowly cooked with ground toasted walnuts and pomegranate molasses.

Fesenjan Persian Chicken Stew
Elise Bauer

Here is a stew made for fall! This chicken stew with walnut and pomegranate sauce recipe is a classic preparation in Persian cooking: Fesenjan.

Chicken pieces are first browned and then slowly cooked in a sauce with ground toasted walnuts and pomegranate molasses. You might not normally think to make a sauce with walnuts and pomegranates, but it's a perfect combination!

Video: How to Make Persian Pomegranate Chicken


Pomegranate Chicken Stew With Walnut Sauce

The toasted walnuts are rich and warm and the pomegranate molasses sharp and berry toned. Cooked slowly with the chicken, the sauce is spectacular. Bowl-licking good.

The only ingredient that might be a little hard to find at your local grocery store is the pomegranate molasses. You can make your own with pomegranate juice (see our recipe for pomegranate molasses), or look for it at Whole Foods or a store that carries Middle Eastern ingredients.

Fesenjan Persian Chicken Stew
Elise Bauer

Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate Chicken)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Make your own pomegranate molasses by simmering 1 cup of pomegranate juice until it reduces to 5 tablespoons of syrup.


  • 1 to 2 large yellow onions, chopped, (3 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

  • 8 ounces walnut halves (about 2 cups)

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into medium size pieces, patted dry and salted

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Salt

  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate arils for garnish, optional


  1. Toast and grind the walnuts:

    You can toast the walnuts in one of two ways. You can either spread them out in a single layer in a large skillet, and toast them on medium high heat, stirring frequently until lightly toasted, OR you can spread them out in a single layer in a baking rimmed baking sheet, and toast at 350°F in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

    In either case, once toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, pulse in a food processor or blender until finely ground.

    Elise Bauer
  2. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides:

    In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.

    When the butter has melted, pat the chicken pieces dry again and place the chicken pieces in the pan, working in batches if necessary to not crowd the pan, and cook until golden brown on all sides. Sprinkle the chicken with salt while they are cooking.

    Elise Bauer
  3. Sauté the onions:

    Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the chicken from the pan, set aside. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Lower the heat to medium low. Add chopped onions to the pan and sauté until translucent, stirring on occasion to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Elise Bauer
  4. Add chicken and stock:

    Return the chicken pieces to the pan with the onions. Pour 2 cups of chicken stock over the chicken and onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
  5. Add ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, sugar, spices, cover and cook:

    Stir in the ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses, sugar, and spices. Cover and cook on very low heat for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so to prevent the walnuts from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

    Remove from heat and adjust sugar/salt to taste. At this point the chicken should be fall apart tender.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  6. Serve:

    Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serve over parsi pulao or other favorite rice.


Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry

Fesenjan Persian Chicken Stew
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
568 Calories
37g Fat
31g Carbs
34g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 568
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 148mg 49%
Sodium 375mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 737mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.