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This quick, easy, and creamy tarragon chicken is the perfect weeknight dinner that feels fancy, without the fuss. The chicken is seared then simmered to tender perfection in a delicate French-inspired tarragon cream sauce. It's a simple yet elegant one-pot dish that's ready in under 30 minutes!
This creamy tarragon chicken makes a delicious weeknight meal.
It's a quick and easy elevated dish that works equally well for serving to friends or your hungry family at the end of a long day. The tarragon cream sauce is rich but also manages to be tangy, slightly sweet, and herbaceous.
Cooking with fresh tarragon
Tarragon is an aromatic herb often used in French cooking. It has a licorice-like taste with subtle hints of lemon. Its tender green leaves add a fresh taste to salad dressings, sauces, fish, and chicken dishes. Like other herbs with delicate leaves like parsley and chives, it's best used fresh and added towards the end of cooking.
Ingredients you'll need for creamy tarragon chicken
The wonderful tastes of garlic, white wine, fresh tarragon, and lemon juice come together beautifully in this tarragon chicken dish.
- Chicken breasts – pound these with your palm to make them even in thickness.
- Olive oil
- Red onion – red onions give a slightly sweeter taste than conventional white onions.
- Garlic – adds flavor and a little kick.
- Dry white wine – gives acidity and depth to balance out the richness from the cream.
- Chicken stock – for added flavor and saltiness.
- Whipping cream – gives the dish its delicious creaminess.
- Fresh tarragon – adds its fresh, herby, licorice-like taste.
- Lemon juice – brightens up the sauce to balance it out.
- Cornstarch – thickens the sauce.
- Salt + pepper – brings out the other flavours of the dish.
How to make creamy tarragon chicken
We like to eat well on busy weeknights, too. This creamy tarragon chicken proves that elegant food is approachable and can be made quickly and easily in just a few simple steps:
- Prepare the chicken. Pound the chicken breasts with your palm to even out their thickness (see notes in recipe card) then dry them with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper.
- Sear the chicken. Pan fry the chicken until it's golden brown on both sides.
- Start the sauce. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent then add the white wine and bring it to a boil.
- Add remaining ingredients. Next, you'll stir some chicken stock, whipping cream, and tarragon into the sauce then add the chicken back into the pan and simmer until it's fully cooked.
- Finish the sauce and serve. Mix a little lemon juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl then pour this into the pan and let it thicken the sauce. We like to sprinkle some fresh tarragon over the chicken right before serving it!
Does this freeze well?
This isn't a good recipe for freezing. Because the sauce is made with cream, it may become grainy when frozen.
How long does it last?
This dish will keep well in the fridge in an air-tight container for about 5 days.
Can I make it without the wine?
The wine really balances out the flavor of the sauce but you could substitute more chicken broth in place of it.
Could I use chicken thighs instead?
Definitely! We think this recipe would be great with the tender and flavorful dark meat from chicken thighs as well.
Can I use half and half cream?
Yes, but you may find it yields a slightly less creamy sauce.
I can't find tarragon. What can I use instead?
Tarragon is really the star of the show in this recipe. You could use thyme instead for a different but delicious result.
Ideas for serving creamy tarragon chicken
You won't want any of the delicious creamy sauce to go to waste so we recommend serving this dish with something that will soak it up like cauliflower mashed potatoes, duchess potatoes, or garlic butter rice. Pair it with your favorite vegetable side dish like roasted asparagus or roasted broccoli for a complete meal with a French feel.
It's a crowd-pleaser that feels elevated so it's a great dish for serving at dinner parties. Make a double batch and serve it family-style with a couple of cozy dishes like sage pumpkin pasta bake and roasted root vegetables with maple vanilla butter.
- 4 small chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
The Creamy Tarragon Sauce
- ½ cup finely minced red onion
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon (plus extra for serving)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
- Pound the chicken breasts lightly with the palm of your hand so that they are even in thickness. (See notes. ) Dry the chicken breasts with paper towels then season them with salt and pepper.4 small chicken breasts, 1 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and bring the pan to a boil for 1 minute.½ cup finely minced red onion, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup dry white wine
- Add the chicken stock, whipping cream, and tarragon and stir well. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan and let it simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, or until fully cooked.½ cup chicken stock, ½ cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon
- Mix the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl then pour this into the pan. Stir the sauce until it thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve with a little extra minced tarragon over the top.1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons lemon juice
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.