A Mega-Flavorful 5-Ingredient Chicken Skillet, Weeknight Dinner Magic!
There are plenty of reasons to love the convenience of a skillet dinner (minimal dishes FTW!), but here at PWWB, our obsession with one-pan meals is all about flavor. Cooking a recipe all in the same pan means that the layers of flavor created along the way all build upon each other – minimum effort for maximum flavor! That’s why we all love our French Onion Chicken & Skillet Red Curry Meatballs, but this Olive Chicken recipe is on a whole other level. It’s seriously delicious & it comes together with surprisingly few ingredients.
You need just 5-ish staple ingredients: juicy chicken thighs, meaty Castelvetrano olives, aromatic shallots, zesty lemons, good EVOO, & a little bit of chicken stock to bring it all together. Browning the chicken first makes the skin super golden & crispy, all while building the base of a simple pan sauce. As the rest of the ingredients roast with the chicken, everything melds together until perfectly savory, bright, & briny. & I’m telling you, when you taste 👏🏼all👏🏼that👏🏼flavor👏🏼 in the final bite, you’d never guess how simple it was to make.
Plus, this roasted chicken and olives pretty much pairs with anything – fresh herbs, crusty bread, rice, pasta, you name it. It’s simple & versatile enough to quickly whip up on a weeknight but also impressive for a dinner party with friends. Even if you don’t love olives, we’re pretty sure this skillet will win you over!
Olive Chicken Recipe Highlights
I’m telling you right now, you’re going to come back to this skillet chicken with olives recipe again & again! It’s…
WEEKNIGHT FRIENDLY. A 5-ingredient recipe with minimal prep & assembled in one skillet. Totally low-effort & ready in 40 minutes!
BRIGHT & FLAVORFUL. Aromatic shallots, 2 whole lemons, & meaty Castelvetrano olives roast with juicy & tender bone-in chicken thighs until all the flavors meld together. Rich & savory, with the BEST lemon pan sauce!
EASY BUT IMPRESSIVE. Quickly whip up skillet chicken with olives on any weeknight, or make it for dinner with friends to impress. The perfect treat for just you or a crowd!
Guarantee you’ll eat olive it! 😏 ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make this Olive Chicken Skillet with Lemon & Shallots, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
The amount of flavor in this olive chicken skillet is seriously impressive, especially considering it comes together with only 5 key ingredients. It’s the perfect example of how simple flavors can work together to create something spectacular!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Chicken thighs – Browned chicken is the base of flavor for the entire skillet so we recommend choosing bone-in, skin-on thighs for extra richness. If you prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, go ahead, just know the resulting pan sauce may not have the same depth of flavor.
- Olives – We love Castelvetrano olives here at the PWWB house! If you haven’t tried them yet, we’re pretty sure you will too – even if you don’t love olives! 😋 Castelvetranos are mild, meaty, briny, & beautifully green olives, aka, the perfect gateway olive. Be sure to drain the olive brine & pit the olives, then tear them into large pieces for the skillet. Learn more in the Ingredient Spotlight, below!
- Shallots – A member of the allium family (like onions & garlic), shallots bring a delicate aromatic flavor that complements both chicken and olives. They’ll roast in the chicken drippings until they’re slice-with-a-fork tender. If you don’t have shallots on hand, feel free to swap them out with thinly sliced onion or a few cloves of garlic.
- Lemon – 2 juicy lemons add a welcomed brightness to this olive chicken recipe. Zest them before juicing if you’d like to add a bit more of a lemony finish!
- Chicken stock – Broth works too. If you have some homemade stock, use it!
Castelvetrano olives are a type of green olive that grows in the Valle del Belice region of Sicily, where hot days & cool evenings create the perfect growing conditions. A Protected Designation of Origin seal guarantees they come from this region (similar to other Italian treasures like Parmigiano Reggiano & San Marzano tomatoes). Castelvetrano olives are harvested in the fall when the fruits are young & fully green in color. Their beautiful bright green hue really makes them stand out!
Even if you don’t love olives, they’re an awesome gateway option. Castelvetrano olives have a mild, briny, almost buttery flavor & meaty texture that nearly melts in your mouth – so easy to love! Since they’re pretty mild they’re also very versatile. We love them with everything from baked feta to pasta salad to Italian sausages, but chicken and olives also make the perfect pair!
- Where can I buy Castelvetrano olives? ⇢ These days, you can find Castelvetrano olives in most grocery stores. Our preferred brand is Divina. If you don’t see them near the other jarred olives, be sure to check for them in the olive bar!
- What is a good substitute for Castelvetrano olives? ⇢ Most green olives will do! Greek Frescatrano olives or the almond-shaped Picholine olives create similar results in this recipe.
How to Pit Olives
Be sure to remove the Castelvetrano pits before making your olive chicken skillet. It’s the most time-consuming part of meal prep, but it’s super easy! Simply use the side of a chef’s knife to smash & pit olives. Just a little bit of pressure should split the olive open so the pit can pop right out. Work one olive at a time for best results & if it doesn’t open right away just try again.
How to Make One-Skillet Lemon Olive Chicken
With minimal prep required & most cooking time happening in the oven, making this olive chicken skillet couldn’t be easier. Low effort & high reward, FTW!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Brown the chicken. Before cooking, be sure to pat the chicken thighs as dry as possible. Why? ⇢ This simple step helps promote browning since moisture is the enemy of a good hard sear. Heat an oven-safe skillet & let the chicken cook, untouched, for a few minutes until each side is beautifully golden. Be sure to start with the skin side first for extra-crispy results!
Deglaze the skillet. Add the shallots & coat them in chicken drippings, then pour in the lemon juice & chicken broth. As it hits the hot pan, the liquid creates steam that releases the browned bits on the bottom of the pan – be sure to scrape those up! Why? ⇢ These browned bits, also called fond, are full of rich flavor. We want to make sure they end up in the pan sauce!
Assemble & roast. Add the chicken thighs back into the skillet with the torn olives, then toss it all in the oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes as all the savory flavors meld together. Tip! ⇢ You’ll know the chicken is cooked through when an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F.
This super simple olive chicken recipe is exactly the kind of meal I love on weeknights. It’s mostly hands-off, with minimal prep & cleanup involved. That being said, it also has a super special feeling that’s grander than a Tuesday, making it great for date night or dinner parties. You can serve this olive chicken over & over for many occasions!
Once the skillet comes out of the oven, I suggest finishing the chicken and olives with…
- A big drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Use the good stuff here, it reinforces the rich flavor of the pan sauce!
- Tons of leafy herbs like fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, or basil. Pretty much anything you have on hand will do!
- Extra lemon juice or zest to double down on the lemony flavor in the pan sauce, or red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.
- A sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese really leans into the Mediterranean vibe. Crispy breadcrumbs also provide great texture, which is especially great if you used skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
What to Pair with Your Chicken and Olives Skillet
This olive chicken recipe is best served with something to soak up the delicious pan juice in the skillet! Try it with…
- Brown or wild rice, or even cauliflower rice for extra veggies.
- Couscous. Fluffy & pearl couscous both work great here!
- Short pasta like orzo or long pasta like linguini. (This dish was actually inspired by Bon Appetit’s olive pasta recipe – a weeknight staple in the PWWB house!).
- We also love how a simple side salad adds a bit of freshness to the meal. Try some greens with our tangy All-Purpose Vinaigrette, a classic Caesar, or this lemony Spring Vegetable Salad.
- My personal favorite – a slice of crusty bread. Dip it right into the skillet for the best bite! 🤤
I can’t wait for you to try this Olive Chicken Skillet with Lemon & Shallots! It’s insanely simple to prepare & results in so much bright & briny flavor. A definite weeknight staple here at the PWWB House, & we think you’ll love it just as much as we do.
If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
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One-Skillet Chicken Dinners
As a recipe developer dedicated to making weeknight cooking both easy and flavorful, I’m more or less obsessed with the idea of “back pocket” recipes, i.e. the type of dinner recipes that come together quickly using ingredients you probably have on hand. This Castelvetrano Olive Chicken Skillet with Lemon & Shallots completely fits the bill.
Made with 5-ish staple ingredients, this one-skillet dinner comes together by simply roasting extra-flavorful chicken thighs with meaty Castelvetrano olives, shallots, & lemon. Each component melds together in a rich, briny, & bright pan sauce, creating a final dish that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts.
If you’re olive-obsessed like me, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled that this recipe gives you another use for the jar of Castelvetrano olives that you undoubtedly keep in your pantry – but even if you don’t typically love olives, I think you’ll still love this recipe as written. Castelvetrano olives are a variety of Sicilian green olives that are known for their mild, buttery flavor & meaty texture – they’re not nearly as harsh & briny as Kalamata olives, which makes them a great “gateway” variety to try.
As far as serving goes, feel free to pair with whatever side dishes you love most. For me, I think this chicken and olives skillet is pretty much perfect all on its own, but finishing it off with a generous amount of leafy fresh herbs & dragging a crusty piece of bread through the skillet to soak up all the pan sauce is never a bad idea, either. *Wink!*
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2.5–3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
- 4 large shallots, quartered lengthwise
- 2 lemons, juiced (approx. ⅓ cup lemon juice)
- ½ cup chicken stock or broth
- one 10-ounce jar pitted Frescatrano or Castelvetrano olives, drained & torn into large pieces
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: extra virgin olive oil, leafy parsley, lemon zest, lemon wedges, crusty bread, etc.
- Brown the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron or stainless steel) over medium-high heat. Use paper towels to pat the chicken thighs as dry as possible, then season well with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the oil is hot & simmering, brown the chicken. Work in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pan. Carefully place the chicken thighs skin side down. Cook 5-6 minutes, until golden brown & rendered. Flip the chicken & cook 3-4 minutes more, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate & set aside.
- Assemble the olive chicken skillet: Add the shallots to the skillet. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to coat in the chicken drippings. Deglaze the skillet with lemon juice & chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the skillet, along with the crushed olives.
- Roast: Transfer the olive chicken skillet to the oven. Roast 15-20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh without hitting bone registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Serve: Finish the skillet with EVOO, leafy herbs like parsley, & a good squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Ingredient Notes:
- Can I use boneless, skinless chicken instead? Sure! While we love bone-in, skin-on chicken for its richness, juiciness, & crispy skin, boneless chicken breasts or thighs will also work for this olive chicken skillet. Since the schmaltzy juices of bone-in, skin-on chicken really help to create a delicious pan sauce, you’ll likely need to compensate with extra chicken stock or broth & adjust cooking times as needed to ensure the chicken cooks through without drying out.
- Castelvetrano olives are Sicilian green olives with a mild, briny, almost buttery flavor & meaty texture. They’re absolutely delicious – even if you don’t typically love olives! You can find them near other jarred olives in most conventional grocery stores, & they’re also typically included in an olive bar, too. If you cannot find castelvetrano olives, the best substitutes for this recipe are Frescantrano or Picholine olives.
- Storage & Reheating: While the chicken is crispiest & best enjoyed immediately after it’s cooked, leftover chicken and olives will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
Keywords: chicken skillet dinner, skillet recipe, chicken and olives skillet, Castelvetrano olives recipe, chicken thighs recipe
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.