Houdini Chicken is a revelation I wish I’d known about 30 years ago. I was a time-starved working mom with hungry kids to feed. Better late than never, though, right?
My brother passed along this straightforward recipe to me recently. He and his wife are both retired empty nesters. They are no longer rushing around to beat the clock.
But who doesn’t love a dish that’s ridiculously simple to make and tastes fabulous? I am so excited to share this recipe with you!
Houdini chicken bakes unattended in a tangy sauce, where it becomes fork-tender and succulent. Serve it to your family; it will disappear magically!
It pairs perfectly with rice. Drizzle the sauce over the rice when you serve it, and try to resist licking your plate.
Houdini Chicken Is Amazing And Takes Only 4 Ingredients
You only need some boneless, skinless chicken, apricot preserves, dry onion soup mix, and French dressing. The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but we are not fans of dark meat.
Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond (who adores chicken thighs) would be shaking her head at our choice, but we used chicken breast. The choice is yours!
I pounded the chicken breast a little to flatten it and speed up the cooking process. The second time I made it, I did not. Both times it was great, but I liked the results a little better with the flatter pieces of chicken.
I cut the chicken breast into serving-size pieces and laid them in a single layer in a baking dish I had coated lightly with non-stick spray. Here’s all you need to make the tasty sauce.
Just dump the other three ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.
Next, pour the mixture over the chicken. Distribute it evenly and spoon some of the sauce over each piece.
Pop it in a 350-degree oven and bake it for 50 to 60 minutes. It’s that simple! I served it with plain rice. Rice is foolproof when you make it in an Instant Pot. Best of all, the rice stayed warm while the chicken was baking.
When I plated the meal, I spooned some of the sauce over the rice, and it was delicious! Rice pilaf or brown rice would be great, too. A green salad for daughter #2’s family paired very well with it. Another yummy side for daughter #1 and her family was simple, fresh asparagus.
The Top 3 Reasons I’m So Excited About Houdini Chicken
I made this recipe twice in one week. Our two daughters had a rough week, and I needed some guinea pigs to try it out, so I made a batch for both families. I also shared the recipe with a friend in Arizona who made it the same night!
This recipe is so versatile! One night I used apricot preserves, and the next time I used orange marmalade. Peach preserves would be delicious, too, I’m sure! I used one of our favorite French dressings, but there are many other delicious variations like Catalina! For those of us lucky ducks in Nebraska, I’ll bet Dorothy Lynch would be amazing!
My friend used chicken thighs and added soy sauce. Next time, she plans to add garlic and red pepper flakes to kick it up a notch!
There are so many yummy things you could do with leftovers, if there are any! Cut the chicken into strips, tuck it in a wrap, layer it on top of a green salad, and add some mandarin oranges, green onion, and sliced almonds! Chop it on top of a pizza with barbecue sauce, or stuff it in a baked potato and add shredded cheese and diced tomatoes! I’m a big fan of what I call “plan-overs”!
It’s not just for chicken! I bet this would be equally fantastic using boneless pork cutlets or pork tenderloin! I’m going to try that version next!
Houdini chicken is a dish that's ridiculously simple to make, kid-friendly, and tastes fabulous. It helps you escape the kitchen fast!
- 2.5 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast. You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you wish.
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 cup French dressing
- 1 (1 ounce) envelope of dry onion soup mix
- Trim any visible fat off the chicken.
- Pound out chicken breast with the edge of a small plate or wooden mallet, optional.
- Cut the chicken breast into serving-size pieces.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
- Place in a 13 x 9 baking dish you have greased or sprayed.
- Mix preserves, dressing, and onion soup mix in a medium bowl.
- Spread the sauce evenly over the chicken.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes.
Does dinner time ever have you singing the blues? Do you have days when it’s 5:00, and you’re still scratching your head while everyone whines, “When do we eat?” Houdini Chicken to the rescue!
Need more inspiration? Check out these other quick and easy weeknight dinner recipes!
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Betty, I have made this recipe many times but mine calls for whole cranberry sauce instead of preserves. However, my sister uses different types of preserves. I use Russian or Western dressing. It doesn’t seem to matter and I’ve never served it without getting compliments. I will definitely try the different preserves next time. Thanks for posting.
Wanda! How nice to hear from you! That sounds amazing and I’ll bet it’s a little less sweet! Thanks so much for sharing and taking the time to comment!!