Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Mustard Sauce

Roast Chicken with Tarragon

Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Mustard Sauce is a classy, easy, and comforting everyday meal redolent with the flavors of the Mediterranean.

Roasted Chicken with Tarragon and Mustard

Chicken breasts roasted with tarragon and mustard is unexpectedly delicious

Every time I cook with tarragon I wonder why I don’t use it more often. For some reason for me it’s an every once in a while herb, and when I do use it, I usually pair it with chicken. Tarragon has a pleasantly stringent, slightly bitter anise flavor. It mellows out with cream, brightens with lemon, and sings with mustard.

Roast Chicken with Tarragon in a baking dish with lemons

ingredients for chicken with tarragon and mustard

  • chicken ~ I love to use skin-on boneless breasts for this elegant dish.
  • olive oil
  • wine ~ I always keep a fortified wine or two in my pantry, it has incredible flavor. Use masala, dry vermouth, sherry, or regular white wine.
  • onions or shallots
  • heavy cream
  • Dijon mustard
  • tarragon ~ fresh!
  • lemon
  • salt and pepper
Roasted Chicken with Tarragon and Mustard Sauce 1

How to preserve fresh tarragon

If you buy fresh tarragon for a specific dish and have extra, don’t let it go to waste

The simple flavors in this chicken recipe have a French vibe

When I eat a meal like this I can imagine I’m surrounded by the massive stone walls of a country kitchen somewhere in Provence. What’s nice is that you get a brand new flavor profile into your menu with so little effort.

Best cuts of chicken to use

I prefer boneless chicken breasts with skin on because I like to slice the chicken for presentation.

Feel free to use any cut of chicken you like for this dish, boneless thighs would work particularly well. You could also use the whole leg, with the thigh and drumstick attached.

TIP: If you don’t see boneless skin-on breasts at your supermarket, ask the butcher, they’re usually only too happy to help.

“Made this tonight and it was WONDERFUL! I used bone in chicken (leg quarters) and served it with steamed broccoli and wild rice. Makes a wonderful meal that looks like it could have been served in any 5 star restaurant.!”

~ Bob

Roast Chicken with Tarragon
3.34 from 27 votes

Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Mustard Sauce

Roast Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Mustard Sauce is a classy, easy, and comforting everyday meal redolent with the flavors of the Mediterranean.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Calories 498kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (I asked my butcher to de-bone a couple of skin-on breasts)
  • olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 baby Vidalia onions, sliced (or 1 leek, or 2 large shallots)
  • splash of Marsala, white wine, vermouth or dry sherry
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • handful of fresh chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground or Dijon mustard


  • Set the oven to 400F
  • Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season well with salt and fresh pepper. Rub the oil and spices in to the meat.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, put the chicken breasts in, skin side down. Sear for a couple of minutes until the skin has good color.
  • Remove the chicken to a baking pan that has also been drizzled with olive oil, skin side up. Cook at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. The time will depend on how large your chicken breasts are (your thermometer should read between 170 and 180.) Finish under the broiler if you want more color or crispness to the skin. Set aside to rest under foil. Reserve any juices from the cooking to add to the sauce later.
  • In the same pan you seared the chicken in, add the onions and saute over medium low heat for several minutes until they soften. Do not brown them.
  • Give the pan a splash of wine and squeeze in the lemon juice. Let reduce on medium high for a minute.
  • Add the tarragon, the cream, the mustard, and any leftover juices from the cooked chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cook for a minute or two. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Pour onto a serving platter or shallow casserole dish.
  • Slice the chicken and nestle into the sauce. Sprinkle with a little more fresh tarragon.

Cook’s notes

  • Don’t try to substitute milk for the cream, because the lemon and wine will curdle it.
  • I served the chicken with roasted parsnips and carrots.   The sauce would also be great with haddock, cod, or tilapia.


Calories: 498kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 226mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 985mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 949IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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  • Reply
    Liza in Ann Arbor
    January 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I totally agree with you about tarragon-even though I love it, I always forget about it. Since chicken breasts are on sale this week at my grocery, I think I’ll give this a try. Looks scrumptious!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann
    January 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I did a very similar dish to this last night with MahiMahi and I agree, Tarragon is lovely. I think my favorite is in Tuna Salad Sandwiches.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    This looks delicious. We have 16 coming for dinner this weekend – I think I’ll give this a try.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    How pretty! It’s been awhile since I’ve baked chicken with the skin on, so I’ll have to try this one!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    January 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Heather—I can’t understand that, I thought most stores these days at least carried that line of fresh herbs that come in the little clear plastic boxes. Whoever invented those was a genius. I’ve had some luck with the ‘customer request’ route.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    January 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Jacquelyn—That’s so funny, I can’t wait to see yours…I have a lot of tarragon left to use up! I just noticed your homemade graham crackers, they look amazing, and I have had graham flour sitting in my cupboard for a while. I’m going to try them!

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    January 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Mary—I was thinking as I was making this that the flavor of tarragon is kind of unusual, and, like cilantro, I bet people either love it or hate it. I would definitely try the fresh on your husband, I did read that it’s a lot milder than dried.

  • Reply
    Heather @
    January 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Okay. You’re killing me. I have been looking for tarragon for at least 6 months. I can’t find it in any of my local markets. It makes me sad to think that I’ll have to wait until I can both plant it and beg it to grow faster to have some again. I’ve been craving it…and a bearnaise sauce with a juicy steak. Or in a fabulous chicken dish like this one. I’m so hungry…I have to leave now. 😉

  • Reply
    January 11, 2012 at 4:46 am

    So hilarious Sue that we were both on the same cooking page again. I just cooked up some tarragon chicken tonight as well. I used Thomas Keller’s recipe. Mine was sautéed and quite the mess maker but was worth it as it was amazing and something the whole family enjoyed.

    Yours looks delicious as all your recipes do 🙂

  • Reply
    January 11, 2012 at 3:05 am

    What a gorgeous meal! If only my husband didn’t detest tarragon. I’ve never even tasted it. He hates it so much, he asked me years ago never to use it. I wonder if he’d be willing to try a fresh herb version? Hmmm… how’s that for spilling my thought process all over your page? Have a great night, Sue.

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