Chicken Baked in Beer and Herbs

This recipe is adapted from Laura Calder’s Beer Bird. In her recipe she uses whole cornish game hens but I use chicken drumsticks. Chicken thighs would work fine as well. The chicken is cooked in herbs, garlic, chopped carrots and beer. I used a dark doublebock beer which is a strong German lager. I thought it would only be fitting because it’s Oktoberfest season!

This is a wonderful way to roast chicken because the addition of beer serves two purposes: it keeps the chicken meat moist and also creates a beautiful rich sauce. Serve the chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and a bottle of beer. Prost!

After all the ingredients are in the pan, pour a bottle of beer into the mix.

This is what it should look like after the second turn. The sauce has reduced a little and the chicken has browned.

Chicken Baked in Beer Recipe

  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 whole head of garlic, break into cloves and peel
  • 4 ounces cubed pancetta or sliced bacon strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de provence (or use any kind of dried herb like rosemary, thyme, or basil)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz. bottle) dark beer

    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    Season chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish. Add the garlic, pancetta, carrots and herbs. Pour beer in the dish.

    Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the drumsticks over and bake another 15 minutes. Turn over again two more times keeping every turn 15 minutes. After the fourth turn, the chicken should be cooked with a caramelized beer sauce. If the chicken is done but the sauce isn’t caramelized, just keep the chicken warm while you boil the sauce down to your liking.

    Total time: 80 minutes

    Yield: Makes 4 servings
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  • [and for you wine lovers out there, here’s a similar roast chicken recipe: Roast Chicken Thighs with White Wine, Pancetta, and Olives]

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    16 Responses to “Chicken Baked in Beer and Herbs”

    1. lauren @ the talking kitchen September 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      Beautiful pictures. This looks so appetizing, thanks for sharing!

      • Barb September 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

        Thanks Lauren! Let me know if you end up making the dish.

    2. Mao Mao Kitty September 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      Thanks for the “in progress” shot. Sometimes in the middle of a recipe I wonder if it’s looking right. No questions on this one.

      and… Hooray for more one pot meals!!!

      • Barb September 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

        Hooray indeed! And thanks for the input! It’s much appreciated 🙂

    3. Meghan January 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Hi Barbie,

      I wanted to see if it would be possible to feature this recipe on One of the main goals of this site, created by the Brewers Association, is to bring craft beer to the dinner table through pairings and as an ingredient in food.

      I would create a post similar to this one: and include your bio/photo/link to your blog.

      Please let me know if this would be possible. Cheers!

      • Barb January 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

        Hi Meghan,

        Of course you can include the post. Anything to support the craft beer movement 🙂

        Enjoy and thanks for reaching out!


    4. Chileya April 10, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Combining beer and chicken is pure genius!! thanks

      • Barb April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

        Yes, beer flavors the chicken beautifully and creates a delicious sauce to spoon on top. Thanks for stopping by, Chileya!

    5. Rebekah August 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Hi, I was going to make this tonight but then realized, I had planned on using frozen chicken. Think I can still follow the recipe exactly? Otherwise, I guess I’ll save it for next week or defrost the chicken.

      • Barb August 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

        Hi Rebekah – I actually made this recipe last night! You can use frozen but wait to defrost the chicken before baking this dish. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

    6. Rebekah August 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm #


      Alright, I made it tonight! 🙂 I thawed the chicken over night and was prepared to make this for dinner. I used two chicken breasts and a Guinness beer. I did not use the berries or the bay leaves.
      At first, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t reduce down because it seemed like a lot of liquid but as time went on, it did reduce and then I was worried about it becoming dried out! lol. I only flipped the chicken once, at about an hour in.
      In the end, I was worried for nothing because it turned out wonderful! I served it over mashed potatoes and the beer made a nice sauce/gravy to put over everything. My husband loved it and I plan on making this again!

      • Barb August 22, 2013 at 7:42 am #

        That’s great, Rebekah! Thanks for writing back. I’m so happy you and your husband both loved it. This dish is definitely a keeper because it’s so versatile, you can’t go wrong. Thanks again for trying my recipe out and hope to see you again soon 🙂

    7. Kwiyoung August 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Would this taste ok without the bacon?

      • Barb August 26, 2013 at 9:28 am #

        Hello! Yes, I have made this recipe a few times without bacon (if I don’t have it) and it still tasted delicious 🙂 Let me know if you ever try it.

    8. Timo November 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      Love this recipe! Was wondering if it would work well with pork chops too?

      • Barb November 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

        Thanks Timo 🙂 I never tried using pork chops but I’m sure this recipe would work fine!

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