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Sheet Pan Chicken, Apple, Cabbage, and Croutons

Renée Robinson

Who Doesn’t Love a Great Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner?

I set out to make a quick and easy chicken thigh sheet pan dinner. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to add to the chicken. But when the time came, I had half a head of red cabbage and a couple honey crisp apples in the fridge, so that’s where I started. After all, cabbage and apples are a classic pairing for good reason.

Adding torn up pieces of rustic bread was a no brainer. Some of the pieces will be nice and crisp and others will soak up the pan juices and be almost creamy when you bite into them. There are few things I enjoy eating more than those bits of bread.

I recently made a batch of my Pickled Mustard Seeds with Chilies and thought they’d be great spooned on top of this when it came out of the oven. I wanted to keep the seasoning simple, knowing that the mustard seeds would add a big punch of flavor. There was no need for much else besides salt, pepper, and olive oil.

While running this by my son, Devin, he reminded me of something we’ve been doing for awhile now. Neither one of us can remember where we first encountered it, but pulverizing dried bay leaves in a spice grinder is a wonderful way to add their herbal and pine-like flavor to your food. Ever since I first started doing this I rarely use a whole bay leaves in my cooking because I get so much more flavor by grinding them.

But I need to warn you about the variance of dried bay leaves. If yours have been sitting in the cupboard for a year, forget it. I tried this once with less than stellar bay leaves and I got no flavor at all. This is the place to use fresh and good quality dried bay leaves. The difference is really profound. 

I sprinkled everything with salt, pepper, and the ground bay leaves, drizzled on olive oil and then also dusted the chicken with sweet paprika. Everything went in the oven and was ready in 35 minutes. I turned on the broiler for the last few minutes in order to get the chicken nicely browned. The cabbage stayed crisp tender, but got a little charred on the edges. I’ve been roasting quite a bit of cabbage lately and this is the sweet spot for me. The cabbage develops deep flavor as it softens, but maintains its structural integrity and stays a little crisp.

The apples were another story. They also maintained their structure and didn’t turn to mush, but were thoroughly tender, a little blistered, and were tart/sweet. That’s what I was hoping for. And then there’s that bread. As previously mentioned, this is the food of the Gods as far as I’m concerned. If you’ve ever added bread to a chicken sheet pan meal, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to do so.

And those Pickled Mustard Seeds with Chilies? Oh, man, they were really good with this meal. This time around I added a couple of extra chilies in order to get more heat and they were superb and were especially delicious on the cabbage. That’s a match made in heaven, folks.

So, here you have a quick chicken sheet pan dinner that is one of the best I’ve ever made. I wish I’d added a couple more chicken thighs to the pan so we’d had more leftovers. That’s what I’ll do the next time I make it. My family is still talking about this meal, so there will definitely be a next time. I couldn’t wait to share this one with all of you. It really is that good.

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Sheet Pan Chicken, Apple, Cabbage, and Croutons

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Chicken thighs, red cabbage wedges, apple slices, and bite size pieces of bread are roasted on a sheet pan and seasoned with ground dried bay leaves. Pickled Mustard Seeds with Chilies are spooned on when it comes out of the oven and it is sensational!

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  • 1/2 head large red cabbage (I used 1 1/2 pounds)sliced through the core into 1 inch wide wedges

  • 2 large honey crisp apples, cored, sliced into 1 inch thick wedges

  • 3/4 pound rustic country bread, torn into large bite size pieces

  • 6 dried bay leaves, ground fine in a spice grinder

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 4 large (2 1/2 pounds) chicken thighs

  • Sweet paprika

  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Pickled Mustard Seeds with Chilies


  • Preheat oven to 425° with a rack in the center. On a half sheet pan (13 x 18 inches), toss the wedges of cabbage, apple slices, and bread with 1/4 cup olive oil, half the ground bay leaves, and season well with salt and plenty of black pepper. Arrange evenly in the pan.
  • Dry the chicken thighs with paper towels and drizzle them with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Sprinkle the thighs with the remaining ground bay leaves and season them with paprika, salt and pepper. Arrange the thighs on top of the bread, cabbage, and apples, making sure there is bread both under and around the chicken pieces.
  • Roast the chicken for 30 - 35 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 160°. Turn off the oven and turn the broiler to high. Broil until the chicken is nicely browned and crisp, approximately 3 -4 minutes. Scatter on the chopped parsley. Spoon on as much Pickled Mustard Seeds with Chiles as you desire, serve, and Enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. This looks like a great recipe, but I have concerns about the bay leaves.
    I have tried grinding them in my spice grinder and there are always small bits that won’t go to powder. They won’t soften in liquid and it would be like swallowing a bit of razor blade.
    I have purchased powdered bay and will use that instead.

    1. Judy, I have not had this problem at all. My spice grinder pulverizes them finely so that I have no bits left which could cause any type of injury. That would be no fun at all, to say the least. I agree that powdered bay would be the way to go. I hope you enjoy the recipe. Thank you!

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