Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears


Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears! A one-skillet dinner you can serve right from the pan. A little mustard in the glaze gives the chicken some zing.

Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

In New England, where I live, there are so many grand maple trees that the syrup goes into everything.

You often find it in pots of baked beans instead of molasses, as well as in all kinds of cakes, pies, and other sweet desserts.

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Maple syrup also makes its way into simple weeknight dishes like this skillet chicken recipe, where it turns into a glaze.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and PearsStart by searing the chicken by itself, then brown some onions until they start to turn golden. Add a few cut pears to the skillet so they brown, too.

Spread the seared chicken breasts with a maple-mustard glaze, then set them on top of the onions and pears. The juices from the chicken baste the fruit and onions as it cooks, making them especially succulent, while the glaze turns the chicken a beautiful golden color. The onions also finish caramelizing in the oven.

This is a one-skillet dish, and you can serve it right from the pan. I like to use a cast iron skillet, but any oven-safe pan will do. (If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can transfer the onions, pears, and chicken to a baking dish before sending it to the oven.)

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and PearsHere’s something to watch for when buying maple syrup: Check the label and make sure the bottle contains only maple syrup and no fillers. Many syrups sold for serving with pancakes aren’t pure maple (they’re often diluted with corn syrup).

When you taste what real maple syrup adds to the dish, you’ll know why New Englanders reach for it not only for pancakes, but for just about everything else as well.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the cooked onions and pears to a baking dish in Step 4, place the chicken on top, and bake.


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large Spanish or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large ripe firm-fleshed pears (like Bartlett), or 3 smaller pears
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Special equipment:


1 Brown the chicken: Heat the oven at 450°F. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the chicken and cook without disturbing for 3 to 5 minutes, until the underside is golden. Turn and cook the other sides for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the other side is golden. Transfer chicken to a large plate.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

2 Cook the onion: Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

3 Prep and cook the pears: While the onions cook, peel and core the pears. Cut into quarters (large pears can be cut into 6 pieces.)

Move the onions to the center of the pan. Add the pears, cut sides down, around the edge. Cook for 4 minutes or until the pears brown on the bottom. Stir the onions occasionally.

Turn the pears and cook the other cut sides for 3 minutes more. Stir the onions occasionally.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

4 Return the chicken to the skillet and glaze: Gently stir the pears and onions together and flatten them slightly to create a bed for the chicken. Place the chicken on top of the pears and onions. Tip in any pan juices from the plate into the skillet.

In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup and mustard. Spread the glaze over the chicken breasts with a spoon.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

5 Bake the chicken: Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the glaze is browned, the pears are tender when pierced, and the chicken is cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts should register 165°F.

6 Serve the chicken: Divide the pears and onions between plates, add a chicken breast, and sprinkle with parsley.

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Maple-Glazed Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pears

Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

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21 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kristen

    I forgot to mention in the other half of my review- A few changes I made. When I took the chicken out of the pan to cook the onions and pears I, tented it with foil to trap the steam so that the chicken wouldn’t dry out. I also covered the skillet in foil when i placed it in the oven for the same reason, this made my chicken SO juicy and tender. I also opted to put the oven at 400 degrees instead of 450, since the chicken was pretty much cooked already after browning it on the stovetop, i feel 450 would have overcooked it.


  2. Kristen

    Made this last night and it was INCREDIBLE! so so tasty and my boyfriend loved it as well. I’ll definitely be adding this in to my regular dinner rotation. In fact, i”m going to go buy more pears so i can make it again next week! I followed the recipe to a T, the only difference was that unfortunately i didn’t have pure maple syrup on hand, and didn’t want to spend $20 for a bottle just for 2 TBS. I substituted it for the imitation stuff (which i know is a big no no! lol) but it came out delicious all the same. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.


  3. Mary from NJ

    I made this last night; great flavors on a cold winter night! I did make a few modifications based on personal preferences. Used bone in chicken thighs, three large pears, doubled the amounts for sauce and used 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard to give it some texture. Before putting it in the oven, I added one cup chicken broth. Baked it at 350 for 45 minutes (convection oven). It came out with a little saucy gravy to it. Served over mashed potatoes with side of peas. Will definitely make this again, easy and delicious!

  4. Arlene B Heed

    450 Degree Oven may be too hot; I made this dish last night and the chicken was a bit dried out. I wonder if it would be better in a 400 degree oven or even 350 degree oven.

  5. Nathaniel

    This turned out pretty good but some of the glaze burned onto my glass baking dish. If my oven is at the temperature specified in the recipe why would this happen?

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