Sweet & Tangy Russian Apricot Chicken

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    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this Russian apricot chicken recipe! It's plate-licking good!

    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this Russian apricot chicken recipe! It's plate-licking good!

    How are we already in mid-August? It’s crazy that summer is almost over and Fall is just around the corner. The weather this week in the DC-area has been very Fall-like. I’m talking about waking up to 58 degree weather and having it only be in the mid-70’s with a light breeze. We were very lucky to not have gotten the heat and humidity that this area is used to. Haha, now I’m really scared for what winter has in store for us!

    I’m starting to see Fall recipes pop up all over my Pinterest feed and while that’s all nice and dandy, I just want to halt summer for just a little longer! I feel that it gets cooler so much faster than it gets hot and there’s not enough summer warmth to go around. I already feel the days getting shorter :( not going to be a happy camper once it hits daylight savings and leaving work at 4pm is basically like going home at 7pm! I honestly don’t mind Fall because I love brisk jean and t-shirt weather, but it just seemed like summer went by in a blink of an eye! I think I need to move to the West coast since I crave sunshine and warm weather. Now, to make that happen is a different story. My brother recently did it! I should follow suit ;)

    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this Russian apricot chicken recipe! It's plate-licking good!

    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this Russian apricot chicken recipe! It's plate-licking good!

    I’ve heard of this recipe before and it’s one of those really quick dinner options for those busy nights. I bought (the wrong) Russian dressing a while back (like, 6 months ago) intending to make this Russian apricot chicken ’cause everyone raves about it but I never got around to doing so until now obviously. What was I thinking waiting so long? I love the sweet and tangy flavor of the chicken and the sauce is plate-licking good! If you like sweet and tangy, you’ll love this chicken!

    Don’t make the same mistake as me and buy creamy Russian dressing (like the one you use in ruebens) – you need to buy the red oily type one that’s basically catalina dressing. I honestly don’t know why Wishbone calls it Russian dressing when it’s really catalina dressing and to make it more confusing, they have both the creamy and the non-creamy version. This recipe won’t work if you use the creamy one – I feel like it’d just be like a pepto bismol color and not very appetizing! Since I bought the wrong kind and I didn’t want to go back to the store, I ended up making my own catalina dressing for this recipe so that is below and I suggest you make it from scratch so you don’t get the wrong dressing :) you’ll definitely make the right dressing if you use the recipe below!

    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this Russian apricot chicken recipe! It's plate-licking good!

    5 from 1 vote

    Russian Apricot Chicken

    4 ingredients only! If you love sweet and tangy flavors, then you'll love this chicken recipe! 
    Prep Time: 5 mins
    Cook Time: 50 mins
    Total Time: 55 mins
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 4
    Calories: 1082kcal
    Author: Julie Chiou
    5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify MealtimeSign up here for all the secrets!


    For the catalina/Russian dressing

    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    For the chicken

    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I highly recommend thighs)*
    • 1 package of dry onion soup mix
    • 1 cup catalina dressing
    • 1 cup apricot preserves


    • In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the catalina/Russian dressing.
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with two layers of foil and place chicken into the pan.
    • In a measuring cup, whisk together onion soup mix, catalina dressing, and apricot preserves.
    • Pour the mixture all over the chicken.
    • Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • While baking, you'll want to baste it often with either a brush or a baster. Just so the chicken gets re-coated with the delicious sauce.
    • If you want, 5 minutes or so before the chicken is done, you can pop it under the broiler to get the sauce to caramelize a bit on the chicken but this is totally optional.
    • Serve with your favorite veggies or grains.


    I used a mixture of chicken breasts and chicken thighs in my dish just to see how it'd turn out and of course, since chicken thighs are dark meat, they turned out juicier and more tender. If I were to do it again, I'd make this dish with all chicken thighs. The chicken breasts were still good and you can definitely still use them if you don't like chicken thighs, but I just personally prefer thighs and thought the chicken turned out better with thighs. There will be a bit of leftover sauce left in the bottom of the dish so definitely use that when you serve your chicken and/or put it all over whatever else you're serving with your chicken!
    Catalina dressing makes about 2 cups so store the remaining dressing in a mason jar, or similar, in the refrigerator.
    Catalina dressing from Food.com
    Nutrition Facts
    Russian Apricot Chicken
    Amount Per Serving (1 Serving)
    Calories 1082 Calories from Fat 657
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 73g112%
    Carbohydrates 75g25%
    Fiber 1g4%
    Sugar 65g72%
    Protein 34g68%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and note guaranteed to be accurate. 
    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
    Meet The Author: Julie Chiou
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    Recipe Rating


  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    Apricot saucy goodness on chicken? YES PLEASE. This is a super interesting flavour combo lady, and it looks amazing.
    Also, I agree on the whole “seeing pumpkin recipes blowing up my Pinterest” Let’s wait till Sept 1 please! Pinned!

  • Kevin @ Closet Cooking says:

    This chicken looks and sounds so good!

  • Joe says:

    I would love to make tonight, but don’t have the onion soup mix – and really don’t keep dried parsley flakes on hand (I do have fresh parsley) – so could the onion soup mix be eliminated or even just the dried parsley flakes? Thanks for your help

    • Julie says:

      It’ll probably turn out fine but the onion soup mix does give it more flavor so I can’t guarantee what the flavor will be since I haven’t made it without it. Maybe just go for it and see what happens! :)

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    I’d love early Fall weather with Summer sunshine ;) Oh and of course Fall food. The best! This chicken dish sounds amaaaazing and I’m always looking for fun new chicken dishes as that’s my meat of choice!

  • amanda @ fake ginger says:

    Part of me is so ready for fall and then part of me cries every time I see a pumpkin post out in the blog world. Summer really did go too fast. I’ve made this chicken so I can say that it is awesome! My kids always gobble it up!

  • Ali | Gimme Some Oven says:

    WOW, this is some gorgeous chicken. And I’m with you on wishing for just a little more summer!

  • DessertForTwo says:

    I’m kinda obsessed with this homemade dressing. I think I would dip carrots in it!

  • Jenny Flake says:

    That is some gorgeous chicken! Totally making this :)

  • Maria says:

    Love that sauce!

  • Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more about summer! I’m not ready to say goodbye to the light! Now, pass me a piece of this chicken!

  • Heather Christo says:

    this looks awesome Julie- and yes, even in Seattle it is still hot and sunny :)

  • Gaby says:

    This looks so amazing! And really, where has this summer gone?

  • Mary Lynne says:

    Julie, I used to make this recipe a loooong time ago! It was a “go to” recipe when I wanted to impress a guy I was going out with or just hanging out with friends! I think I used to use French dressing sometimes too. I haven’t made it in a long time though, but I’m
    glad to see it is making a comeback!

    • Julie says:

      Aww what a fun story! Thanks for sharing! I’m glad it’s making a comeback too since I get to enjoy it hehe :)

    • Goldnrod says:

      Yes, we made this long ago also. We called it Chicken with Duck Sauce! Don’t ask me where that name came from!
      Julie, thanks for sharing the recipe for Russian Dressing, I’m going to try that, only make it with honey. You only have to use about half the amount of honey in place of sugar.

      • Stefanie says:

        Goldnrod, I recently tried Duck Sauce at a local Japanese place for the first time. I really liked it, flipped over the little packet to read the ingredients and, low and behold, apricot preserves are a main ingredient! So, I’m guessing, that’s where your name for this dish came from. :)

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough says:

    Winner winner, chicken dinner-that-needs-to-get-in-mah-belly-ASAP.

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites says:

    Looks so perfect for fall. And I’m SO not impressed with summer this year. :(

  • Megan {Country Cleaver} says:

    I’m ready for fall time – I know, but it’s true I am! And this is going on top of the list of must makes. Oh my gosh, it looks good!

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife says:

    Someone tell me why there are 36 types of Russian dressing, lol. YES to holding onto summer (also, does your brother need a few roomies? I’ll bake for rent!)

  • Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen says:

    This looks amazing Julie! I am loving chicken right now and I needed a fresh new idea!

  • Katya @ Little Broken says:

    Hey Julie! Love this idea. I’ve never had Russian dressing (don’t think?) but love the idea of chicken smothered in it.

  • Crystal | Apples & Sparkle says:

    Delicious! I really like that you made the catalina/Russian dressing base from scratch. Yummy! : )

  • Ally says:

    Has anyone tried freezing this??? I’m working full time and heading back to school all with a soon to be 1 yo (the whole 9 yards I know!) Trying to find *different* freezer to oven meal!

    • Julie says:

      I personally haven’t frozen this before but I imagine if you did and put it in the oven to cook, it would be fine. I’m just not positive how the sauce will react in the freezer. It’s worth a shot though!

  • Mary Frances says:

    Yum! Love the apricot sauce, this dish looks great!

  • Chrissy says:

    This looks delicious! And yes, it’s definitely too early for the pumpkin spice posts. We still have two more months of pool weather in Georgia!

  • jerrilynn says:

    thinking this may work in crock pot..has anyone tried it

  • Kim says:

    Julie- I am making this tonight and was wondering if can I use any baking pan? Like a jelly roll pan or should I crowd the chicken In an 8×8?

    • Julie says:

      I definitely would not put it on a baking sheet/jelly roll pan – there’s a lot of liquid. Definitely crowd the chicken in an 8×8 or something a little bigger if your chicken seems larger than the 8×8 can hold.

      • Kim says:

        I ended up using a 9×13 which worked great. Served it with a quinoa/kale dish that I got from Costco along with a salad. I never would’ve thought of put these flavors together. So easy and delicious!! Thank you!

  • Kay Lynn Rose-Dye says:

    Under the directions for the dressing, in #2, it ends mid-sentence: “into the…” what? pan? or is there more to it?

    • Julie says:

      Good catch, Kay! Thanks! Yup, into the pan :) I’ve made the edit!

  • Sharon says:

    Hi Julie – This is the second recipe I’ve made from your blog, I made the honey soy chicken last week and it was DELISH. Question – The chicken just finished baking and it seems the sauce has separated a bit and is very greasy. Have you had to de-grease before serving? Any thoughts?

    • Julie says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! I haven’t de-greased before serving, but the reason why the sauce is greasy is partially cause the dressing is an oil-based sauce. You could probably just spoon off some of the layer of oil before serving if you don’t like how greasy it is. Hope this helps!

  • Angela says:

    I grew up on this recipe, only we used bottled dressing (and it was delicious!) I can’t wait to try with homemade dressing.

  • PETRA says:

    Turned out too soupy for me. Next time I dry-broiled the chicken well on both sides, drained off the juices and then added the sauce and baked about 20 -30 more minutes. Turned off oven and let sit another 10-15 min. Was not soupy this way.

  • Nancy Wiswell says:

    I have been making this dish for over 20 years. When I first found it, it was called Sweet & Sour Chicken. My son ate it for a couple years, and then decided he didn’t like “sweet & sour” (he was about 15 at the time, which tells you a lot). So I changed the name to Russian Chicken, served it again, and he has loved it ever since!

  • Vanessa Golembewski says:

    Am I supposed to mix the russian dressing stuff that we made in a large bowl with the onion mix etc. from the measuring cup, then pour it over the chicken?

    • Julie says:

      Yes, exactly! :) if you don’t have a large enough measuring cup, feel free to pour into the large bowl with the dressing and mix altogether. I had you mix in the measuring cup because it’s easier to pour over the chicken because of the spout.

  • Mary Mohler says:

    I have been making this recipe for well over 20 years. Much easier to just buy Kraft Catalina Dressing. And, instead of adding all the salt from the soup, I just add dehydrated onion. Also, this works well with no matter what kind of jam or jelly you use. It is delicious.

    Thank you for sharing your homemade Russian dressing.

  • Sheryl bronson says:

    I have been making this for years but always use the crockpot. Just put the chicken in and cover with the sauce!

  • San says:

    if i use chicken thight, what suitable temperature i can use

    • Julie says:

      You would use the same temperature

  • Ron Savage says:

    I absolutely love this recipe and plan to make it for my New Year’s dinner!!! I serve it with Knorr Sides rice medley and King’s Hawaiian rolls!!! Absolutely delicious!!! For a tasty twist, add an 8oz. can of pineapple tidbits, drained, to the sauce!!! Serve on a bed of Knorr Sides teriyaki rice!!! A perfect meal for Chinese New Year!!! (February 16)

  • Bobbi says:


    • Julie says:

      Okay first, this recipe has nothing to do with cauliflower. And second, there is no matzoh meal in this chicken recipe. Not exactly sure where you are seeing this…

  • Julie says:

    I was simply looking for an apricot chicken recipe and stumbled upon this . Whats not to like, it had all ingredients that call for easy assembley then baked in the oven. I used bottled Catalina because I read the recipe incorrectly. So in my case, three ingredients plus chicken. SIMPLE . This is a delicious chicken recipe!

  • Bancy says:

    I’ve made this twice. Both times the sauce burned So I’d say 400 is way too hot. Also 1000 cal per serving?? Pretty hefty

  • Tania says:

    This was so good! I took your advice and used chicken thighs. Wow! And that sauce was extra yummy over some white rice. Served with a salad.

  • 5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify Mealtime