Oven-Baked Italian Chicken

Oven-Baked Italian Chicken, Gather and Graze

This is one of our favourite family dinners – a dish that everyone finds appealing and that can easily be adapted for seasonal changes and whims. Shown in the photo above is how this meal usually finds it’s way to our table – with the olive oil, Vino Cotto, garlic and juice from tomatoes coming together to form a wonderful, light sauce to spoon over the top. I mostly serve this dish with rice in our home, though the chicken could just as easily be sliced up, then tossed back through the juices before serving over pasta. The flavours are all certainly Italian, though it’s a dish, somewhat without technique, that involves simply throwing everything into a baking dish and watching it transform. Perfect!

Oven-Baked Italian Chicken | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 4 Free-Range Chicken Thigh Fillets
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • A Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • A Good Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • A Decent Slurp of Vino Cotto (or Balsamic Vinegar)
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Large Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • Handful of Kalamata Olives
  • Italian Parsley & Basil (Roughly chopped or Torn)


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Place the chicken fillets into a large oven-proof baking dish and season both sides with a good grinding of sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter the chopped garlic, thyme leaves and cherry tomatoes over the chicken. Use hands to ensure the chicken and tomatoes are lightly coated all over. Slurp some Vino Cotto over the top and then place into the oven to bake for about 40-45 minutes (adding the olives for the final 10-15 minutes of cooking).

At about the 30 minute mark, when I add the olives, I often turn the thigh fillets over to brown a little better on both sides. 

To finish, scatter the top with parsley and basil and allow the chicken to rest for approximately 10 minutes before serving. Perfect accompanied by rice, pasta or some crusty Italian bread, with the juices spooned over the top.

For tips on cooking the perfect, gently fragrant rice for this dish, please follow this link.

Oven-Baked Italian Chicken

Notes on Cooking:

  • Free-Range Chicken breasts can be used, though I find the thigh fillets to be much more flavourful and tender. The cooking time will not be quite so long if you choose to use breasts.
  • Other vegetables also work really well added to this dish. The likes of zucchini (courgette), capsicum (red pepper), green beans, small wedges of onion to name a few. 
  • Please check the chicken pieces before serving, to ensure they are fully cooked.


37 thoughts on “Oven-Baked Italian Chicken

  1. weebluemixer

    This chicken dish looks lovely. The flavours of the chicken combined with the olives, thyme, balsamic vinegar and tomatoes must be delicious. Such as simple dish too!

  2. Pingback: Polenta-Crusted Roast Potatoes | Gather and Graze

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Oh Azita my friend, I’ve just come across this comment from you while looking back on this recipe! Better late than never to respond… even if it’s almost a year late! Thanks as always for your kind words of support. Hope you’re having a fabulous week! M.xx

    1. ohlidia

      Oh, it was delicious Margot! Not having any vino cotto and having run out of balsamic, I added a splash of white wine. My kalamata olives went bad… I don’t know how that could be, with them sitting in all that brine. Luckily I had these spicy green pitted olives from Calabria. It was just perfect! Thanks for a great recipe!

      1. Gather and Graze Post author

        That’s great to hear Lidia – thanks so much for the feedback! I think a bit of a spice-hit from the olives can be a wonderful thing… I’ve made it with kalamata olives marinated in chilli and garlic before and it was fabulous. A slosh of white wine in the dish is a lovely touch too – just might have to try that next time! 🙂

  3. Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots

    The other advantage of using chicken thighs is that they tend to taste better than breasts. I love the idea of this simple tasty dish; it’s a shame that lots of people don’t cook because they think it’s complicated and makes lots of pans dirty. If they read this, they’d soon change their minds!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Absolutely Anne – I use chicken thighs much more often than breasts, because of that exact reason! Thanks for your lovely comment… Gather and Graze was born purely from a desire to encourage more people to cook.

      1. Alistair Jenkin

        It’s delicious! I added asparagus for a seasonal twist. There is a lot around so I’m making the most of it. I love the flavour cooked olives give. I used jumbo stuffed with garlic – yum. Thanks!

        1. Gather and Graze Post author

          Great to hear Ali – so pleased that you enjoyed it! Asparagus would go wonderfully with the chicken and that extra hit of garlic from the olives would be delicious too! xx

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      The sun has thankfully come back out to shine here today Johnny! Though this dish would still be comforting and warming with your cooler autumn evenings too. No butter in this one! 😉

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thank you! I think the thighs make a big difference… I used to use chicken breasts for this dish, but I found that it was too easy to over-cook them. The thighs stay tender and it also means that everything can be placed in the oven at the same time and come out perfectly. Simple preparation can be a wonderful thing on a weeknight or if you’re busy entertaining guests… 🙂

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Suzanne! Just to let you know that the chocolate cake I made with your chocolate caramel frosting disappeared very quickly over the weekend – absolutely delicious! 🙂


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