Enjoy this sweet and savory chicken for lunch or dinner (or both!)
These balsamic fig chicken breasts are one of our favorite recipes to meal prep for lunch or serve for family dinner. Bursting with tangy, sweet, savory flavor, they make a protein-packed and healthy main course. Plus, they’re so versatile–you can serve them with almost any side dish and for any occasion. If you’re looking for a healthy way to jazz up your usual chicken dinner, this recipe is for you. It takes simple baked chicken breast to a whole new level!
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love Balsamic Fig Chicken Breasts
Made with simple ingredients like boneless, skinless chicken breast, onion, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and fig preserves, this delicious chicken recipe is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Packed with 36 grams of lean protein and only 311 calories per serving, it’s the ultimate way to stay full and build muscle without sacrificing flavor. This chicken works with just about any side–green beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower rice, quinoa, a colorful salad, or even these garlic parmesan puffs. It’s the perfect way to elevate your meal while still satisfying the pickiest of eaters.
Figs and balsamic vinegar are the dream team–they balance each other out perfectly to create a sweet, tangy sauce that’s good for you too. Figs are rich in antioxidants and promote digestive health, while balsamic vinegar is proven to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood pressure. Combined with the classic lean protein from the chicken breast, it’s the ultimate tasty healthy meal.
Chicken Breast and Weight Loss
Chicken breast is the ultimate lean protein, and eating it regularly should help you along on your weight loss journey (as long as you prepare it in a healthy way). It’s relatively low in fat (about 5g per cup) and calories (about 231 calories per cup) and impressively high in protein (about 43 grams per cup). This sweet spot means it’ll keep you fuller longer while helping you stay in a caloric deficit. It also provides a boost for your metabolism and will help you maintain muscle mass. If you’re looking for healthy sources of protein, chicken breast and other white cuts of chicken are your best bet (stay away from darker, more caloric cuts like chicken thighs and drumsticks). This is especially true for picky eaters, as chicken breasts are pretty universally beloved.
However, it’s also crucial that you prepare your chicken breast in new and exciting ways so you don’t get bored with your new healthy diet. It’s a common stereotype that weight loss or muscle gain diets involve plain chicken breast and brown rice, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are endless healthy ways to enjoy chicken breast. Switch up the sauces, spices, preparation methods, and cuisines–try a Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican, or Italian-inspired recipe! Think of chicken breast as your blank canvas–perfect to experiment with different flavors, textures, and side dishes. It works just as well on a salad as it does on a sandwich, in tacos or burritos, in a bento box, or with any healthy side dish of your choice. As long as you commit to adding some variety, chicken breast can be a healthy lifestyle or weight loss journey superhero!
This meal uses the ultimate combination of wholesome ingredients to maximize both flavor and health benefits. Here’s a breakdown:
- Chicken Breast – This ingredient is a fantastic source of lean protein, as well as vitamin B, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and zinc. It even offers small amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Yellow Onion – This veggie fights inflammation and blood clots, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, is richer in antioxidants compared to other types of onions, and is high in vitamin C.
- Minced Garlic – Garlic boosts your immune system, is low-calorie but flavor-packed, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, and may even prevent heart disease. It also contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, and fiber.
- Balsamic Vinegar – This ingredient offers numerous health benefits. It lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood pressure, contains probiotic bacteria, works as an appetite suppressant, is high in potassium, fights inflammation, prevents cancer, and is even used to treat allergies.
- Fig Jam or Fig Preserves – Figs are rich in antioxidants, promote digestive health, and support healthy blood pressure. This ingredient also aids in weight management, helps manage blood fat and blood sugar, and supports bone health. They are also low-calorie and contain fiber, potassium, manganese, and calcium.
How to Make Balsamic Fig Chicken Breasts
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Then, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, generously season each side of your boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook them for about 5 minutes per side until golden brown in color. When the chicken is done cooking, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
Next, add half a cup of diced yellow onion to the skillet and sauté it until soft, about three minutes. Stir in a teaspoon of minced garlic and cook until fragrant. This should take about a minute. Then, pour in the balsamic vinegar and fig jam, stirring everything occasionally until it’s fully incorporated.
Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the top. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and let it bake until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes–you can check with a meat thermometer that it’s reached 165 degrees F. Let the chicken cool for about five minutes and dig in!
These balsamic fig chicken breasts are delicious on their own, with rice, or over a salad (we recommend one with goat cheese!) Serve them immediately or make them earlier in the day and stick them back in the oven just before dinner. Try them with a side of roasted veggies or mashed or roasted potatoes. Pack them for lunch or make them in batches as you meal prep for the week. They make the perfect companion for your next dinner party, potluck, holiday gathering, or as a simple family weeknight option. You can also try the sauce with other dishes (i.e. salmon or tofu) or as a salad dressing. As we’ve said before… they’re so versatile!
Leftovers and Storage
Store these chicken breasts in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them for 3 to 4 months. We recommend freezing them without the sauce and remaking the sauce when you reheat them. You can reheat them in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave if you’re in a pinch.
Spice up your leftovers by throwing them over a new salad or trying them with a new side. You can even try leftovers on a sandwich with your choice of veggies and extra sauce. We like to add Dijon mustard for extra zing! Let us know how you served your leftovers (if you had any) in the comment section!
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about our balsamic fig chicken breasts recipe? Here are the most commonly asked questions and answers! If you have additional questions, be sure to drop them below.
How Can I Make Plain Chicken Breast Taste Better?
Chicken breast is universally beloved and an excellent source of lean protein, but its simple savory flavor can sometimes get boring. This is why it’s important to properly season or marinate your chicken breast before cooking it. This recipe calls for a salt and pepper rub, but feel free to add seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, or whatever else you have on hand. You can even use herbs like fresh thyme and/or dried rosemary. We love seasonings and herbs because they can add a lot of flavor without the calories! The zingy sauce in this recipe certainly helps too– you can even try using it as a marinade!
What is Fig Balsamic Vinegar?
Fig balsamic vinegar is a healthy, flavor-packed sauce that’s exploded in popularity in recent years. All it takes is good old balsamic vinegar mixed with fig jam or fig preserves. The result is a healthy, tasty, low-calorie sauce that’s delicious on just about anything. It’s tangy, sweet, and has the perfect balance of acidity to keep you wanting more. Plus, you’ll get all the health benefits of two “superfoods”–balsamic vinegar (a probiotic, cancer-preventing, anti-inflammatory appetite suppressant) and figs (an antioxidant-rich, nutrient-packed, digestion-aiding fruit).
Is Balsamic Fig Glaze Gluten-Free?
Yes! Balsamic fig glaze or sauce only contains balsamic vinegar and fig preserves, both of which are gluten-free. If you have Celiac disease or another health condition that makes you gluten-sensitive or intolerant, you should always check the label to ensure there are no cross-contaminants, but you should generally be in the clear!
Is Balsamic Fig Glaze Vegan?
Yes! Balsamic fig glaze or sauce contains no animal products. However, there’s some debate amongst devotees of the vegan community that suggests eating figs doesn’t align with vegan ideology, since the process by which figs grow (from enclosed, inverted flowers) involves the death of a pollinator wasp. In general, however, most vegans consider figs okay to eat.
What Does Fig Vinegar Taste Like?
Fig vinegar tastes like the perfect blend of balsamic vinegar with figs. It’s rich, tart, slightly sweet, and acidic with potential hints of smokiness (from the balsamic vinegar). The fig offers more honey-like sweet notes (almost like a cookie) with subtle hints of berry. The texture is slightly thick and smooth–like a glaze or vinaigrette.
How Do I Keep Chicken Breast Moist?
Keeping chicken breast moist and juicy throughout the cooking process can sometimes be a challenge. One tip is to wrap the chicken with foil when it’s almost done baking (in order to keep the juices locked in). Another is basting the chicken with oil or butter prior to cooking. Try using a spoon or spatula to lift olive oil or butter from the pan and drizzle it over the chicken as it cooks. You can even brine your chicken in salt water for 20 or 30 minutes before cooking it. Marinades and sauces are also a great way to prevent dryness.
Where Do Figs Grow?
In the U.S., most figs are grown in California. They’re also native to most Mediterranean countries (between Turkey and northern India). They’re technically not a fruit or vegetable, but an “inflorescence”– a cluster of flowers and seeds encased by a bulbous stem. They grow on fig trees in dry, sunny conditions, and require a pollinator wasp to transform them from a simple flower into the fruit-like inflorescence we eat. Sweet enough to be served with dessert, but nutrient-packed enough to be added to salads, the fig is a versatile food that’s often overlooked in American diets. There’s a reason Fig Newtons are a classic!
Is Balsamic Glaze the Same Thing as Balsamic Vinegar?
No! Balsamic glaze is technically a reduction of balsamic vinegar. To make balsamic glaze, simmer balsamic vinegar in a saucepan for about 15 minutes until it reaches the consistency of honey or maple syrup. Bonus: Mixing balsamic vinegar with fig jam makes a delightful salad dressing or pizza topping on its own!
What is Balsamic Vinaigrette Made Of?
Balsamic vinaigrette contains balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It might also contain ingredients like Dijon mustard, honey, or maple syrup for added flavor, as well as salt, pepper, and garlic.
What Else Can You Use Balsamic Fig Spread For?
Balsamic fig sauce, glaze, or spread is delicious with just about anything. Try it as a salad dressing, drizzled over pizza, or spread on toast with goat cheese or ricotta for breakfast. It’s even delicious with pasta or roasted veggies. Don’t limit yourself to this recipe–make a big batch of the sauce and try it on everything! It’s guaranteed to be your next healthy sauce obsession.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Balsamic Fig Sauce?
Yes–balsamic fig sauce does need to be refrigerated. The sauce alone should keep in an airtight container in your fridge for about a week. Balsamic vinegar can be chilled if you like it that way on salads or toast, but doesn’t have to be refrigerated to stay fresh–you can keep it in your pantry or cupboard. And fig preserves/jam/spread should be refrigerated after opening. They should last in the fridge in a sealed container for 2 to 3 months.
Similar Chicken Recipes
Hungry for more lean and yummy chicken breast recipes? We’ve got you covered! Try these:
- Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Skillet Lemon Chicken Breast
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Breast
- Skinny Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
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Balsamic Fig Chicken Breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 24 ounces chicken breast 4 (6-ounce) breasts, boneless, skinless
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fig jam or preserves
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
- Generously season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in skillet and cook for 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add onion to the skillet and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Pour in balsamic vinegar and fig jam, stirring occasionally until combined.
- Return chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the top.
- Place skillet in preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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