This delicious chicken sheet pan dinner is a super easy meal that's perfect for busy weeknights but delicious and pretty enough to serve for a dinner party!
I can't decide if I'm getting lazier or smarter as I'm aging, especially in a culinary sense. More and more, I'm loving coming up with easy dinners, desserts, appetizers and snacks that come together easily and don't require a lot of hands-on time. This Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner recipe is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. It takes minimal effort yet produces spectacularly delicious results.
It will take around 15 minutes to put this dinner together. How does it work? So easy, simply combine olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika, dry oregano, cumin, coriander and finely chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, chicken and bread cubes and give everything a good stir. Turn the whole works out onto a sheet pan and you're good to go!
Ready for the oven.
Next comes the magic. Place the pan in a hot (450˚F) oven and a wonderful transformation takes place, again in about 15 minutes. When you open the oven door you'll be greeted by a beautiful, delicious dinner with tender, perfectly spiced chicken, golden brown, crispy chickpeas, vibrant tomatoes, bursting with sweet juice and shiny, warm Kalamata olives that add a wonderful explosion of saltiness with each bite.
Ready for your dining pleasure!
There's more, I actually saved the best for last. Bite-size squares of sourdough bread are toss with the chicken mixture before baking and crisp up in the oven to produce the crispest, most flavorful croutons you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. Top everything off with a shower of Feta cheese, fresh cilantro leaves and a handful of sunny lemon slices. Voila! A complete meal in a bowl!
Sometimes I add a simple green salad but that's the most you need with this fabulous Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken. It's unique, delicious and never fails to bring rave reviews.
What kind of chicken should I use for this recipe?
This recipe calls for chicken thighs. After favoring chicken breasts for many years, I have recently come to really appreciate and love chicken thighs. Why? First and foremost, they don't dry out or get tough like chicken breasts often do. With chicken thighs, you don't have to worry about overcooking the meat. In recipes like this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken, that's a great benefit as you can let the bread get crispy and golden without concern that the chicken will dry out.
Chicken thighs are less expensive than chicken breasts so if you're on a budget, that's another benefit. And lastly, they have fantastic flavor, tasting very similar to the breasts but juicier. I served this sheet pan chicken dinner to a friend and she asked if it was a gourmet cut of chicken breast. All the way around, chicken thighs are a win!
That being said, I did test this recipe with chicken breasts knowing that some of you may not be ready to take the leap to thighs. It works but I found it best to cut the chicken fairly thin and to bury it underneath the tomatoes and chickpeas to ensure tenderness rather than exposing it to the heat.
If this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken seems slightly familiar to you, you're very astute! I actually adapted it from an old Café recipe, this Mediterranean Roasted Chicken Breasts (which was adapted from Epicurious). I had forgotten about it until a reader wrote sharing how much she loved the recipe and served it frequently for dinner parties.
I hadn't made it for years (as I'm always onto something new) but re-visited thr post after receiving the email. After reading through the recipe I decided it could be simplified without losing flavor and/or presentation appeal. My sister, Annie was visiting and suggested the addition of sourdough bread. I love the new rendition and so has everyone who's tasted it! I think you will too!
Oh, and after you make it, let me know what you think. Lazier or smarter? I'm still trying to decide!
Café Tips for making this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner
- This recipe calls for a 450˚F oven which is very hot. You'll want a nice sturdy sheet pan. A thin or flimsy pan will tend to warp in the high heat. I really like this OXO Good Grips non-stick sheet pan. All of the OXO Good Grips bakeware pans are made of heavy-gauge aluminized steel which helps with even baking. If you need an idea for a wonderful Mother's Day or birthday gift for someone who enjoys baking, this would be the gift that keeps on giving (Who knows? You might even be the recipient of some of that delicious giving...)
- Don't like chickpeas? This dish is also delicious with cannellini beans. Or you could skip the beans all together and just use more tomatoes.
- An important part of the flavor profile in this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken is smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is very different from regular paprika. It's a Spanish specialty made from pimento peppers that are smoked over an oak fire then ground into a fine powder. Smoked paprika has a smoky, complex flavor that adds amazing flavor to this dish. I really like this Chiquilin Smoked Paprika. I discovered it years ago while traveling in France and was thrilled to find it on Amazon (cheaper than France!). This one is smokey but also slightly sweet. Some smoked paprikas have a little more heat.
- Sometimes I add the lemon slices before baking so they get roasted and slightly caramelized and sometimes I add them right before serving from a fresh layer of flavor. Either way is delicious!
- This recipe calls for 3 cups of cubed sourdough bread. Look for a nice rustic loaf. You'll use about ⅓-½ of it and can use the rest for sandwiches or toast but it can be popped in the freezer for the next time you make this Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken.
- If you can't find sourdough or just don't like it, any rustic bread will work in this recipe. I've used my Ridiculously Easy Focaccia Bread with delicious results.
- Don't like cilantro? I know there are some that have an aversion to cilantro. I'd suggest you try it in this dish. When cilantro is cooked it has a totally different flavor profile. You could just skip the fresh cilantro garnish. Another idea is to use basil in place of the cilantro. It will also be delicious!
- This recipe will feed 4-6. If using it for 6, I would use 2 pounds of the chicken thighs.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
This delicious Mediterranean Sheet Pan Chicken dinner is a super easy meal that's perfect for busy weeknights; but delicious and pretty enough to serve for a dinner party!
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 finely minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 ½-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans chickpeas, well drained
- ½ cup Kalamata olives drained
- 1- pint cherry tomatoes I like to use yellow and red
- 3 cups sourdough bread cut into ½-1 inch cubes
- ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
- cilantro leaves or chopped cilantro for garnish
- 1 medium size lemon washed, halved and thinly sliced - optional
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a sheet pan with foil for easy cleanup.
Mix first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Add chicken, garbanzo beans, olives, tomatoes, sourdough cubes and ⅓ cup cilantro. Toss to coat.
Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread out to an even layer, exposing the chicken thighs. Sprinkle the thighs with freshly ground black pepper. (At this point, you can cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, then proceed as directed below.)
Bake in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through and bread is crisp about 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with Feta and tent with foil for 5 minutes. Transfer chicken mixture to bowls. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and more Feta if desired. Garnish lemon slices if desired. Serve and enjoy!
See Café Tips above for further instructions and more detailed tips.
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