This creamy garlic chicken recipe has one rule: Go hard on the garlic. We use whole cloves from 2 to 3 heads of garlic, which amounts to about 24 to 36 cloves total. Cook until browned, then simmer in chicken fat, cream, and butter to infuse their flavor. The cloves transform into soft, jammy morsels bursting with garlicky sweetness.
- 500–600g chicken thigh or leg quarter
- salt and pepper
- neutral oil, for searing
- cloves from 2–3 garlic heads, peeled
- thyme, optional
- 1 ½ to 2 cups chicken stock or water
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼–⅓ cup all purpose cream
- 1 ½ tbsp butter
Prepare chicken: Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Sear chicken: Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken skin-side down, working in batches if necessary, and sear until a golden brown crust forms. Flip and cook the other side briefly, 1–2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Cook garlic: Add peeled garlic cloves to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add thyme sprigs, if using, stirring quickly to cook. Pour stock or water and rice vinegar into the pan to deglaze. Once liquid is boiling, reduce heat to low and bring it to a simmer. Cook garlic until softened.
Finish sauce: Add cream and butter, stirring until well combined.
Finish chicken: Add chicken back to the pan, skin-side up. Cook in sauce for 15–20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and garlic is mushy. Season to taste. Serve with lots of sauce.