Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast

Chicken breast and raisins with an orange tarragon sauce and asparagus side

Picture:  Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast and Asparagus with toasted pecans

I always keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer for those nights when I don’t want to put too much effort or time into the meal.  I just season the breasts with salt and pepper, fry them in a skillet with a little olive oil, then use a little liquid (preferably vermouth or bourbon) to deglaze the pan.  Add a touch of butter and you have a nice sauce to pour over the chicken.  Here is one of my favorite chicken breasts recipes.


Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast with Raisins Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Serves:  2
Prep and Cook time:  30 minutes


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ cup vermouth or white wine
1 ½ Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
½  cup water
¼ cup raisins
½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
½ Tbsp. butter


  1. Salt and pepper the breasts on both sides.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, place the breasts in the skillet.  Cook 8 – 10 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the breasts.  To test for doneness, press on the thickest part of the breast with your finger.  If it feels soft, cook another minute or two.  If it feels firm, it’s done.
  4. When done, remove the breasts from the skillet, cover and keep warm.  Pour half of the vermouth in the skillet and deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom.
  5. Add the orange juice concentrate, remaining vermouth, water, raisins and tarragon.  Cook on medium-high, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until the raisins are soft and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir the butter into the sauce.  Return the chicken breasts to the skillet with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Coat the chicken with the sauce.
  7. Place each breast on a plate.  Pour the sauce and raisins over the chicken breasts and serve.  You may choose to slice the breasts before topping with the sauce.


Kitchen Notes

Chicken Breast – The thicker the breast, the longer it will need to cook in order for the thickest part to cook through.  This could cause the thinner section to overcook.  Therefore, to provide for a more even cooking, you could pound the breast with the flat side of a meat tenderizer.  Just don’t go overboard.  You don’t want a cutlet.

Vermouth – The deglazing and sauce liquids can be just about anything – vermouth, a little wine, bourbon, stock, juice, water or a combination of two or three.  I’ve used them all.  Sometimes when I get a salt craving I’ll use a little of the brine from a jar of capers or olives.  Use the breasts seasoning and the other components of the meal to decide which liquids to use.

Orange Juice Concentrate – I always keep a can of orange juice concentrate in the freezer that I use strictly for cooking or salad dressings.  That way I don’t have to keep a carton of orange juice in the fridge.  (Bobby and I both prefer an orange to a glass of orange juice.)  If you don’t have the concentrate you can substitute it and the water with a generous ½ cup of orange juice.

Recipe Variations

Below are some variations for skillet fried chicken breasts. The prep and seasonings differ, but the method of cooking is the same.

Bourbon and Cranberry Sauce – Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook.  Make a sauce of minced onion, cranberries, crumbled sage, bourbon and apple juice (or water).

Garlic stuffed Chicken Breasts – Make four slots in the side of each breast with a paring knife.  Insert ½ of a roasted garlic clove into each slot.  Season the breasts with Creole seasoning and cook.  Deglaze the pan with your liquid of choice and add a little butter to finish off the sauce.

The Easiest of all – Salt and pepper each breast, cook, deglaze with your liquid of choice.

Suggested sides

Asparagus with toasted pecans (shown in the picture)
Asparagus, green beans, or yellow squash fixed your favorite way
Couscous, grilled polenta or rice
A green salad with a few fixings and a simple dressing

Blog Hops

This orange chicken with raisins recipe has been linked up to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday, Slightly Indulgent TuesdayFood Corner’s Midweek Fiesta, Whole Food Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Made With Love Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday.  Be sure to click on the links for a variety of fabulous recipes!

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9 Responses to “Orange Tarragon Chicken Breast”

  1. Javelin Warrior May 28, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    MJ, I love the idea of using different alcohols or acids to deglaze the pan to create a sauce. I don’t often cook chicken in a pan (normally I end up roasting), but your tips and suggestions are quite useful and have me thinking about ways to use them… Thanks so much for sharing and love that this includes raisins 🙂

  2. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food April 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    This looks fantastic! I’ve never used tarragon but I keep meaning to try it, so this is the perfect dish for my tarragon intro!

  3. Amy January 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    wow!! inviting!! Thanks a lot for sharing this delicious dish with Midweek fiesta…

  4. Miz Helen December 31, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Hi MJ,
    I just love the combination of flavor that your have in this great recipe for Tarragon Chicken. I looks delicious and we would really enjoy it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Happy New Year to you and your family and Abundant Blessings in 2012!
    Miz Helen

  5. claire December 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Would love you to join us on creative Thursday (which is ing this week to creative mondays ?

  6. Janet May 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Simple but elegant. The step-by-step directions were great. When I get vermouth and tarragon in the house, I’ll try the recipe as given. Meanwhile, my version used rum and fresh thyme, because that’s what I had on hand… it was delicious! Thanks!

    • mj June 29, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

      Janet, You are most welcome. I love the substitution of rum and thyme. That’s the nice thing about recipes like this – it’s so flexible that you can use whatever you have in the pantry or the garden.

  7. Janet May 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Excellent! And thanks for the substitution info. I never have OJ concentrate on hand, but I always have orange juice.


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