Skillet chicken with white beans and kale: a love story for an easy weeknight chicken recipe that is quick and easy, incredibly filling, and healthy to boot!
We love to make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but of course you can use boneless. Grab some of your favorite canned white beans, a few fresh herbs, chicken stock, and of course some leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, whatever you like!).
It’s so good that we make this at least once a month. You’re going to love it!
Ingredients For Chicken with White Beans and Kale
- chicken thighs (instructions included for both boneless thighs, as well as bone-in skin-on thighs!): the star of the show and main flavor profile in this recipe
- lacinato kale: highly nutritious and wilts beautifully in the sauce; can substitute with other leafy greens
- 2 cans white beans (navy, cannelini, northern, etc.): creamy beans help absorb the sauce created from the chicken and stock
- garlic: adds immense flavor (because we use 10 cloves!)
- low-sodium chicken stock: to help create a sauce for the dish
- lemon: for brightness and acidity
- oregano: a lemony herb that adds additional flavor
- capers: adds brightness and acidity, which helps contrast the creaminess of the dish
- kosher salt: to season each ingredient
- freshly ground black pepper: to season the entire dish
- schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), optional: I like to add schmaltz when making this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken; it adds the flavor you’d get from cooking chicken with skin, without adding the skin!
Note: I realize that most people do not have schmaltz lying around. That’s totally fine! I keep a little container in my fridge and refill it any time I cook chicken with the skin on and don’t need to use the rendered fat immediately. You could substitute this with bacon fat or leave it out entirely. It adds a lovely depth of flavor that you might not get with the boneless, skinless thighs, but I assure you the recipe is still delicious if you leave it out!
Boneless Chicken Thighs vs. Bone-In Skin On Thighs
I have tested this recipe with both boneless chicken thighs as well as bone-in skin on thighs, and the results were a bit surprising.
First, they’re both delicious options. If you’re using bone-in skin on thighs, the cook time will be significantly longer. You do, however, get rewarded with super crispy chicken skin at the end! While I am usually an advocate for cooking animal proteins on the bone whenever possible (nothing in the world beats a perfectly medium-rare bone-in ribeye steak, am I right?!), the end result was not significantly more flavorful than when I made the dish with boneless chicken thighs.
For that reason, I’d choose the quicker cook time. Also, it’s easier to eat without the bone! Chalk it up to personal preference. Either way, both work well, and I’ve included instructions below for each.
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
Can This Be Made With Chicken Breasts?
Boneless chicken breasts will have a comparable cook time to the bone-in skin on thighs. You can absolutely substitute them here — the braising liquid will help keep them moist — but, in general, I prefer the texture and flavor of chicken thighs.
What To Serve With Chicken, White Beans, and Kale
NOTHING ELSE NEEDED! This is a one pot dream meal, so no need to serve anything on the side unless you’re craving something like a light green salad! You’ve got your protein, your veggie, and a hearty starch.
This is the type of feel good, healthy meal I crave. It also happens to be special occasion-worthy as far as weeknight chicken dinners go, making it the perfect addition to my Date Night In series! Which brings me to…
As part of my Date Night In series, I’m offering up a few wine suggestions to serve alongside. I have found that wines with an abundant acidity hold up well. When you eat a dish like this — full of lemons, capers, and garlic — the wine you pair with it will end up tasting sweeter. So avoid overly sweet wines from the get go!
Red wine: Pinot Noir (Oregon or Burgundy will have more pronounced acidity than those from California, so stick with the former), Zinfandel, which generally has a high acidity, or Gamay.
Rosé: Pinot Noir rosé (delicate and fruit forward) or, more generally, Provence rosés (I love AIX!), which tend to be crisp, dry, and a bit fruity. Again, nothing too sweet!
White wine: I’d pair this with something light, crisp, and effervescent, such as a steel Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner (I always think to pair this with chicken picatta — lots of similar notes in this recipe!), or a full-bodied Riesling from Austria or France, with mineral notes. German Riesling I find to be more fruit forward, which is not what I want here.
Tips For The Best Skillet Chicken
Skillet chicken with white beans and kale has no business tasting as delicious at it does, and yet here we are! Tips to make this a super successful dinner:
- don’t skimp on the garlic!!!!
- serve the completed dish with a healthy sprinkling of capers — they add the perfect salty, briny bite!
- while it’s not necessary, a few flakes of sea salt on the chicken just before serving adds the best finishing touch!
If you’re crazy about crispy chicken, make sure to check out our chicken and waffles recipe — out of this world crunchy, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
If you make Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale, let me know by leaving a review and rating below!
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For more recipes in my Date Night In series, check out the following:
- Salmon piccata
- Creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms
- Summer tomato gazpacho with mozzarella
- Simple roasted rack of lamb
- Better than takeout ramen noodles (spicy!)
Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale Recipe
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about ~2 lbs) (instructions for bone-in skin-on thighs below)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed, torn into small pieces
- 2 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained cannelini, navy, or northern beans
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock or 1 cup stock + 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano plus more for garnish
- 2 Tbsp capers drained
- flaky sea salt for serving, optional
- 2 Tbsp schmaltz optional (see note!)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Heat oil (and schmaltz, if using) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Trim any excess fat from chicken thighs, then season on all sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Carefully place chicken in the hot skillet (it will splatter!) and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Flip and cook chicken an additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate. ((Instructions for cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and chicken breasts in the notes below.))
- Add smashed garlic cloves, torn kale leaves, and white beans, then toss. Pour in chicken stock (and wine, if using) then give another stir. Nestle chicken thighs (skin side up, if using skin-on) on top of kale and beans, then add lemon slices and oregano. Bake for 10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165F is reached.
- Top with capers, then sprinkle chicken thighs with a pinch each of flaky sea salt, if using. Serve immediately.
- Schmaltz: rendered chicken fat! If you’re cooking skin-on thighs, this is definitely not necessary. It’s a nice addition with the boneless thighs, but a scoop of bacon fat would be equally delicious! Feel free to omit entirely.
- Kale: if you don’t have kale, you can use any other hearty leafy green, such as swiss chard, mustard greens, or collard greens. Spinach works too, but it will not hold up nearly as well in the braising liquid.
- Stock vs. white wine: you can use 1 ½ cups of chicken stock, 1 ½ cups of white wine, or any combination of the two. Vegetable stock works great too!
- Boneless vs. bone-in chicken: cook time for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will be significantly longer than boneless thighs. On the stove top, cook skin side down for 8-10 minutes or until chicken skin pulls away easily from the pan. Flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes on the second side before continuing with the recipe as written. Braising liquid should not touch crispy chicken skin, so use less liquid if needed. Bone-in thighs will cook 8-10 minutes at 375F. Chicken is safe to eat at a temperature of 165F. You can substitute boneless or bone-in chicken breasts; cook time will be similar to bone-in, skin-on thighs.