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Creamy Tarragon Chicken

This chicken recipe is dressed to impress! Fresh tarragon lends a warming fragrance to a rich and creamy sauce for perfectly browned chicken breasts. Add mashed potatoes or pasta and call it a meal!

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creamy chicken in a large skillet topped with tarragon and black pepper being scooped out with a wooden spoon.
Photography by Gayle McLeod

An Easy Tarragon Chicken Recipe? Mais Oui!

This cozy meal calls for a few of those pantry staples that you likely have on hand, plus a few extra goodies that are fun to have around for other projects–like heavy cream, for a future baking project, and white wine to drink with your gorgeous homemade tarragon chicken. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend selecting a white wine that you’ll enjoy drinking because chicken with tarragon and white wine calls for less than half a cup. Or use your left overs in our Chicken Dijon or Chicken Provençal. What wine goes best with tarragon chicken? A pinot grigio would be perfect for the recipe itself, and a light to full-bodied red would be ideal for serving.

ingredients for tarragon chicken including chicken breasts, dijon, white wine, cream tarragon, salt, shallots, chicken stock

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What Is Tarragon Chicken?

Tarragon chicken is a classic French recipe that features a creamy white wine sauce that highlights the flavors of fresh tarragon, Dijon mustard, and lemon zest. Since fresh tarragon is an herb favored in French cuisine, we’re more familiar with the dried version here in the U.S. What does tarragon chicken taste like? We’re happy to use fresh tarragon whenever we get the chance because it’s super fragrant and has a beautiful and subtle anise-like taste.

It also has a little black pepper to it, which lends itself to a natural and pleasant warming spiciness (but completely different to the spiciness of a hot pepper). Tarragon is great to add to salad dressings, and if you have excess after making this tarragon chicken recipe you can add it to a batch of Green Goddess Dressing or chopped and sprinkled over a French Omelette.

four boneless skinless chicken breasts browned in a large skillet
sliced shallots and minced garlic in a large white skillet on green tiled background
heavy cream and chicken stock being poured into a white skillet with tarragon and shallots.
Four browned boneless skinless chicken breasts simmering in a cream sauce with tarragon and shallots

How To Make Tarragon Chicken

  1. Chicken Time: Pat the chicken dry. This step seems like one you can skip, but it’s important to remove excess moisture in order to get a crispy brown exterior when you cook chicken. Season all over with salt and cook the chicken until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Sauce Time: Next, cook the shallots and the garlic until fragrant. Stir in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Now is the time to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. This is the fond, the tasty remains of everything you’ve cooked so far. Stir in the heavy cream, chicken stock, bouillon, fresh tarragon, mustard, lemon zest, and salt.
  3. Simmer Time: Return the chicken to the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low. We’re simmering until the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes more.
  4. The Sauce Thickens: In a small bowl make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Remove the chicken and pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and continue to simmer until thickened. Nestle the chicken back into the sauce.
  5. Top chicken with pepper and fresh chopped tarragon and serve over pasta (here’s our tips for making the best pasta) or Crispy Shallot Mashed Potatoes or Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, if desired.
Creamy tarragon chicken in white skillet surrounded by small bowls of black pepper and fresh tarragon leaves

What To Serve With Tarragon Chicken

Like our Chicken Fricassee, this creamy chicken with tarragon is the perfect recipe to serve to family and friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or any day that calls for a classic (and classy!) meal. We suggest pairing it with our Easy Fennel Salad, Simple Butter Lettuce Salad, or Green Beans Almondine for a light and fresh side. A loaf of crusty bread to soak up all the tasty creamy tarragon sauce is not imperative, but highly recommended! These sides also pair wonderfully with our Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Skillet or Chicken Florentine if you're looking for more chicken skillet dinners to have up your sleeve.

Tools You’ll Need

Four browned chicken breasts in a creamy tarragon sauce topped with black pepper and fresh tarragon leaves.

More Chicken Recipes To Make, And Make Again, And Again…

Chicken recipes are often on high rotation in our kitchens. Once you’ve made this creamy tarragon chicken recipe, we’ve got more for you to try:

Did You Make Our Best Creamy Tarragon Recipe?

If you find a moment to snap a photo of your homemade tarragon chicken before it turns into empty plates and full bellies, tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 670

Ingredients

  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ¾ pound)
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chicken Better than Bouillon (or 1 chicken bouillon cube)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Cooked pasta or mashed potatoes, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. Pat the chicken dry. Season all over with 1½ teaspoons of the salt.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium. Once the oil is glistening, add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  3. Add the remaining oil and shallots to the same skillet and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the heavy cream, chicken stock, bouillon, 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, mustard, lemon zest, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.

  4. Return the chicken to the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes more.

  5. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch together with 2 tablespoons cool water. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and continue to simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Nestle the chicken back into the sauce.

  6. Top chicken with pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon and serve over pasta or mashed potatoes, if desired.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories670
  • Protein65 g
  • Carbohydrates9 g
  • Total Fat36 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol236 mg
  • sodium1262 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Kaitlyn

    Could I substitute whole milk for the heavy cream?

    You could but it might not get as thick as intended.

  • Janelle

    Can I make this the day ahead for a dinner party and re-warm?

    Should work ok. Hope you enjoy Janelle!

  • Heather

    I do a little variance where I sauté sliced mushrooms in another pan with butter and lemon until browned and then incorporating those into the sauce just before the final step of adding back the chicken and serving.

    Nice!

  • David

    Can't wait to make it

    It's such a good one! Let us know how you like it!

  • Katie

    Would chicken broth be an OK substitute for the wine?

    Sure!

  • Karin

    I made this yesterday night to rave reviews by two teenagers.

    The kids were eagerly sopping up sauce with some fresh sourdough.
    Served this with roasted purple potatoes and sweet potatoes for colour with steamed broccoli, yellow beans and carrots.

    The only thing I recommend is to cook the chicken less as this was too long for chicken breast. A lesser cook time would have made for more tender chicken. That said, still bravo!

    Thanks Karin! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Kaley

    SO GOOD! Couldn’t find fresh tarragon so had to used dried, followed everything else as written and it was delicious. Definitely will make again.

    Thanks Kaley, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Btissam

    Sooo good! I once tried it with half a teaspoon of confit lemon, soooo good too!

    So happy you loved it!

  • Brittany

    Tarragon is so underrated. It was a hit in this home. Simple, decadent, delicious!

    Thanks Brittany, we are so happy everyone loved it!

  • Mandy

    This looks delicious 😋 will be making this in the next few days

    Can't wait to hear how it goes Mandy!