Cherry & Bourbon Chicken

Photos and Recipe By Brianne Dela Cruz, Gather & Grow

Cherry & Bourbon Chicken

· · ·

It’s peak cherry season, and I’m filling my belly with as many freshly picked cherries as possible. They are such a treat during summertime. One of my favorite ways to enjoy cherries is this cherry and bourbon chicken recipe. This cast iron skillet entree is almost too easy to put together, but is sure to wow the taste buds. These flavor combinations taste like summer in a skillet. Bourbon whiskey adds warm notes of vanilla, giving the dish a depth of flavor, while the bed of fresh rosemary provides a citrusy lift. The sweet and tangy cherries ooze into the balsamic vinegar, tenderizing the meat in a sweet glaze. The end result is golden, fall-off-the-bone, juicy chicken in a boozy sauce that makes you want to lick your plate.


Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 4 large drumsticks (with skin)
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ounce bourbon whiskey (substitute brandy)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 10-12” Cast Iron Skillet
  • Cowboy Grill Tongs
  • Enamel Mixing Bowl
  • No 8. Paring Knife


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. If cooking over coals, heat 20-30 coals. (Depending on the weather, you may need to add more coals to keep the heat high.)
  2. Pat chicken dry, then lightly salt.
  3. Lay chicken into a seasoned cast iron skillet, then weave rosemary sprigs between the drumsticks.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cherries, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, whiskey, plus a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Pour cherry mixture over the chicken.
  6. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and golden brown.

*If cooking outside, cover with a skillet lid. Place 12 coals in a circle on the bottom, then seven on the lid. Cook chicken for 40 minutes or until cooked through completely. If the skillet lid is on, the skin will likely not be as golden brown.

Brianne Dela Cruz is a master gardener, wild forager, campfire foodie, and acclaimed writer and photographer. From her home in Salt Lake City, she teaches online gardening and foraging courses for modern folks and budding naturalists as well as hosts seasonal community gatherings. Brianne's blog and online school, Gather & Grow, is a community of folks exploring the intersection between nature and personal growth by discovering ways to slow down and nourish themselves with nature.

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