If you love tender chicken, this braised chicken is a must make! Serve this Lemon Garlic Braised Chicken with kale and rice or mashed potatoes for a healthy and delicious dinner! The perfect recipe for cooking a whole chicken or chicken pieces. 

Wooden plate with Lemony Braised Chicken with Kale and the cast iron skillet with the rest of the chicken and kale. Napkins and forks around for serving.

Have you ever tried braising chicken?

Braising is a cooking method that uses both dry heat and wet heat. We star by pan-searing the chicken for crispy skin, then add cooking liquid (in this case, wine) and other goodies to add moisture and flavor to the dish.

Braised chicken is often started on the stove top then finished in the oven. However, the whole process can be done on the stove top as well.

This simple cooking method results in tender meat for a delicious and nutritious dinner any night of the week.

To prepare this easy braised chicken recipe, you’ll need a large thick-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven (this is what I use) or a large skillet with a deep lip and a lid. 

Chicken pieces in a cast iron skillet with braised kale. Ready to eat.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for braised chicken!

Ingredients for Braised Chicken with Kale:

Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Pieces: The first time I made braised chicken, I bought a whole chicken and butchered it into pieces. I love going this route but I also find buying pre-butchered pieces to be quicker and easier.

For this reason, I recommend picking up a few pounds of your favorite bone-in pieces. Bone in chicken breasts, bone-in chicken thighs, or drumsticks all work great and any combination therein. You’re guaranteed great flavors with bone-in pieces due to the added richness.

While boneless chicken breasts and boneless skinless thighs work, I recommend sticking with bone-in pieces for the best results because they hold lots of flavor, making the whole dish taste extravagant.

If you do go with boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, just be sure to keep an eye on the internal temperature so that the pieces don’t become overcooked.

Avocado Oil: We need a quality high-temperature cooking oil to brown the chicken and sauté the onion.

I like using avocado oil because it has neutral flavor and withstands high temperatures.

I don’t recommend using olive oil because we need to sear the chicken over high heat and the olive oil will surely burn.

Yellow Onion and Garlic: Fresh onion and garlic cloves boost the flavor of the chicken.

White Wine: We need some form of braising liquid, and I like going with white wine because it exudes enticing flavor.

One cup chicken stock works great too. Red wine also works; however, I prefer white wine with chicken.

Lemon (lemon zest and lemon juice): Lemon zest and lemon juice give the chicken lovely vibrant flavor. For less lemon flavor, stick with just the zest and omit the juice.

Head of Kale: A lovely low-carb one-pot meal, we add kale to ensure we’re getting some fresh veggies and greens with our meal. Feel free to swap it out for Swiss chard if you prefer.

Sea Salt and Pepper: Add kosher salt and black pepper to your personal taste. Add red pepper flakes for a little heat if you’d like.

If you want to add fresh herbs or dried herbs, feel free to do so!

What to Serve with Braised Chicken:

Mashed Potatoes: Whip up your favorite mashed potatoes or prepare my Caramelized Onion Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Rice: Serve it with regular steamed rice or brown rice, or make my Lemon Garlic Rosemary Rice

Roasted Vegetables: While there is already kale involved in this recipe, you can add more vegetables to the meal by making my Garlic Herb Roasted Vegetables

Side Salad: Prepare your favorite green salad, or make my Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Braised chicken leg on a plate with kale

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s make this healthy braised chicken recipe!

How to Make Lemon Braised Chicken with Kale:

Remove the chicken from its packaging and place it on a large plate or cutting board. Pat chicken with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large thick bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat on the stove top. Wait a few minutes for the pot to become sizzling hot.

Sprinkle both sides of the raw chicken pieces with salt and black pepper and place them skin-side down on the hot surface in a single layer. 

Cast iron skillet with chicken searing in it, being sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Cook until the chicken becomes crispy and golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Flip chicken to the other side, and cook another 2-3 minutes. There is no need to cook the chicken all the way through just yet. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Skin on chicken legs being seared in a cast iron skillet with golden brown skin.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reduce the heat to medium and transfer the chopped onion to the bottom of the pan. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another couple of minutes, until fragrant.

Onions sautéing in a cast iron skillet.

Arrange the pieces of browned chicken in the pot so that they are skin-side up.

Pour the chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest over the chicken.

Pouring broth into a skillet with the golden brown chicken

Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.

Chicken in a skillet with juices all around for braising.

Remove the pot from the oven, add the kale leaves, stir them into the chicken and broth, replace the cover, and place pot back in the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until kale has softened and the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the thigh pieces reach 180 degrees F.

Skillet with chicken surrounded by raw kale leaves.

The exact cooking time depends on many factors, including the temperature of the chicken going into the pot, the type of sauté pan you’re using, and the elevation at which you cook. For exact results, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to get an accurate read.

Completed braised chicken in a cast iron skillet with slices of lemon on top.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Serve kale and chicken with mashed potatoes, crusty bread, brown rice, or any other side dishes you’d like. Drizzle the braising liquid over everything. 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

The chicken becomes even more flavorful the next day so feel free to make the recipe well in advance. 

Large skillet with braised chicken and kale inside with a plate and lemons to the side, ready to serve.

And that’s it! A great chicken dish for weeknight meals that you’ll want to keep on constant rotation.

If you love chicken recipes like this, you may also love these reader favorites.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes:

This may just be your new favorite way of preparing chicken! Enjoy!

Wooden plate with Lemony Braised Chicken with Kale and the cast iron skillet with the rest of the chicken and kale. Napkins and forks around for serving.

Lemon Garlic Braised Chicken with Kale

5 from 1 vote
A rustic, delicious chicken recipe that results in tender meat every time! Recipe reprinted from Julia Mueller's cookbook, Let Them Eat Kale! Lemony Braised Chicken and Kale is a nutritious, mouth-watering dinner!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 3 to 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces *
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc
  • 1 whole lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 head curly kale leaves chopped, stems discarded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional for Serving:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked brown or white rice

Instructions

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large thick bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat on the stove top. Wait a few minutes for the pot to become sizzling hot.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the raw chicken pieces with salt and black pepper and place them skin-side down on the hot surface.
  • Cook until the chicken becomes crispy and browned, about 6-8 minutes. Flip chicken to the other side, and cook another 4 to 5 minutes. There is no need to cook the chicken all the way through just yet. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and transfer the chopped onion to the Dutch oven. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another couple of minutes, until fragrant
  • Arrange the pieces of browned chicken in the pot so that they are skin-side up.
  • Pour the chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest over the chicken.
  • Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven, add the kale leaves, stir them into the chicken and broth, replace the cover, and place pot back in the oven for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until kale has softened and the chicken breasts reach 165 degrees F and the thigh pieces reach 180 degrees F.
  • Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Serve kale and chicken with spoonfuls of the broth. You can also serve the meal with mashed potatoes or cooked brown rice!

Video

Notes

* You can use thighs, drumsticks, breasts, etc. You can also use a whole butchered chicken if you are familiar with butchering a whole body chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 4) · Calories: 586kcal · Carbohydrates: 12g · Protein: 29g · Fat: 37g · Saturated Fat: 6g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g · Monounsaturated Fat: 18g · Cholesterol: 94mg · Sodium: 401mg · Fiber: 3g · Sugar: 2g
Author: Julia
Course: Chicken Main Dishes, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free recipes, easy healthy recipes, gluten free recipes, gut healthy recipes, healthy recipe
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. This looks perfect! I don’t usually eat braised kale, but this looks like it would be really good!

  2. Now you’ve gone and made me crave chicken. Thanks a lot. 😉

    Seriously though. Lemon, white wine, and garlic are what my foodie dreams are made of. NOM.

  3. Our favorite meal from Let Them Eat Kale! <3 At least a few times a month this is a request for the dinner menu. So much flavor, and makes our bellies feel happy! The Kale Burrito Bowl is a very close second from your cookbook… and the list goes on and on…

  4. This recipe sounds wonderful, but I notice that there is no information on how many this should serve? I’m guessing 4 people?

    1. Yup, you guessed correctly! Although I have to admit, the first time I made the recipe it served two, because I (and the person I was with) are big volume eaters, haha! I went ahead and added the serving size to the recipe card. Thanks for the catch!!

  5. So simple yet so delicious – these braised chicken and kale dish looks wonderful and so nourishing.

    1. I did not know that, lol! Gaaaah I miss music from that era. I wish the Vengaboys would do a concert in Reno…slash make all the new albums 😉

  6. I am always trying to discover new ways to use kale and for some reason never thought to braise it. I love the dark meat of chicken. It is so moist and flavorful. I love the flavors you used in this. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Aaaaand now that song will be stuck in my head all day! Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks for this beauty of a dinner. I am on a huge kale kick, I blame and thank you at the same time.

  8. I love hitting myself over the head with ALL THE KALE. You know it’s my favorite, yet I rarely just go the simply sauteed route. I think I need to uncomplicate my life (and dinner) by keeping it simple from now on!