Smothered Chicken Breasts in Onion Gravy


Gravy gets a bad rap because it's often made with fat drippings or served over fried meat, but it's not inherently unhealthy. Chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Virginia Willis says, "I love gravy; in my mind there are rivers of it in heaven! Using a minimum amount of oil to make the roux reduces calories. The result is good, country-style cooking—always welcome on my weight-loss plan."

Smothered Chicken Breasts in Onion Gravy
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3 medium sweet onions, sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Stir flour, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Pat chicken dry and dredge in the flour mixture to coat on both sides. Shake off excess. (Reserve the flour mixture for Step 4.) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add onions and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds.

  4. Tip the remaining flour mixture into the onions and stir to coat. Add broth and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Add the reserved chicken and any accumulated juices, thyme and bay leaf. Nestle the chicken into the onions and turn to coat.

  5. Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

311 Calories
11g Fat
24g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 3 oz. chicken & 1 cup onion gravy
Calories 311
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 29g 58%
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 450mg 20%
Potassium 766mg 16%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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