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Bottom of the Jar Chicken

11 Reviews
This Italian Dressing Chicken is the best way to use up that last bit of jam left in the jar. Mix in a little Italian dressing to make an easy chicken marinade, then bake. Seriously, that’s all there is to this recipe! 

baked chicken with italian dressing marinade

Baked Italian Dressing Chicken

Let’s chat about bottom of the jar chicken, aka Italian dressing chicken. A simple chicken breast recipe doesn’t always turn out very flavorful and that’s kind of annoying because every adult out there knows that what we really need is quick, easy AND delicious dinner ideas, which is where this Bottom of the Jar Chicken recipe comes in.

We start with a simple breast of chicken and then just three more ingredients — apricot jam, Italian dressing, and garlic powder — to add a stitch more flavor. As everything bakes in the oven, the Italian dressing chicken marinade seeps into the chicken, making it packed full of flavor and a perfect standalone dish, served over pasta or even shredded on top of salad.

A long time ago I heard someone mention that they had made Rachel Ray’s bottom of the jar chicken. I asked what it was and they responded that you use the last of your jam and fill the jar with salad dressing and herbs or something like that and then cook it over chicken.

I think that’s what she said, at least. Anyway, the other night I noticed that we still had a little of the pineapple apricot preserves from some turkey burgers we had made. I knew it wasn’t enough for more turkey burgers, but I actually don’t really like that jam for toast so I needed to think up something to do with it. I suddenly remembered that girl talking about using it for chicken, so I winged it!

From there we’ve been making versions of this Bottom of the Jar Chicken ever since, though 9/10 I just buy regular ol’ Apricot preserves.

This Italian dressing chicken was fantastic. It was light and incredibly flavorful. You can’t tell in the picture, but there was actually plenty of sauce, which is huge for me. I’m a saucy person 😉 I loved the mild and slight tang from the dressing with the fruity preserves. It was honestly so good! As I type this I’m totally craving it!

italian dressing chicken on gray plate

Italian Dressing Chicken Ingredients 

The ingredients list for this Italian dressing chicken couldn’t be any simpler! Here’s what we use to make baked chicken with Italian dressing: 

  • Chicken breasts
  • Apricot preserves
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian dressing

Can I Use Other Types of Jam in This Italian Dressing Chicken? 

For sure! It’s a fairly flexible recipe, which is why we love this baked chicken with Italian dressing. We’ve tested and tested this recipe and have found that when you’re using jam, jelly, or preserves for cooking you should stick with one of the following:

  • Apricot
  • Pineapple Apricot
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Apple

We’ve found that strawberry and raspberry are often too seedy and sweet. However, I’m not stopping you if you’d like to try!

Can I Use Homemade Italian Dressing?

Absolutely! We just used store-bought dressing in this recipe to make this baked chicken as simple possible. But here’s a recipe for a homemade version of Italian Dressing that we LOVE if you prefer. 

a dark plate with chicken breasts with an apricot italian dressing

How to Make Italian Dressing Chicken

This baked Italian chicken couldn’t be easier to make! Here are the steps for making the Italian chicken marinade and cooking the chicken: 

  1. Whisk together the preserves and Italian dressing. 
  2. Pour over the chicken in a baking dish. 
  3. Bake until done. 

How Long to Bake Chicken

You can use chicken breasts or chicken tenders to make this Italian dressing chicken, although we prefer chicken breasts. Here are the guidelines for baking chicken: 

  • Chicken breasts are generally baked at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size.
  • Chicken tenderloins are baked at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or even 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Can I Make Italian Chicken in a CrockPot? 

Yes, but note that to make bottom of the jar chicken in the slow cooker or crockpot, you need to use chicken breasts or an increased number of chicken tenders or there won’t be enough meat in the slow cooker and it will burn.

Place the CrockPot on low heat and add the chicken breasts. Pour the dressing all over the chicken and place the lid on. Cook for 8 hours on low. Or if you’re using high heat only cook the chicken for 3-4 hours.

Can I Make Italian Chicken in an Instant Pot? 

Yes! The Instant Pot is a great shortcut to making this baked Italian chicken.

To make Italian dressing chicken in an Instant Pot, place a little dressing in the bottom of the pot then add the chicken and the remaining dressing. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and close the lid, making sure the pressure gauge is set to seal.

Cook for 10-15 minutes and allow a 5 minute natural release. Remove the chicken and enjoy.

three baked italian chicken breasts on gray plate

Tips for Making Italian Dressing Chicken

I say play with the flavor of the Italian chicken marinade! Add the amounts of jam and dressing that I did, then taste test to make sure it’s to your liking.

Also note that there are actually a lot of store-bought dressings that you can use as a marinade for chicken besides Italian dressing. We mention some in our Asian Ginger Marinade for Grilled Chicken recipe. Italian dressing is a great go-to that anyone can use for chicken, but it’s especially good if you add your own fresh herbs, sun dried tomatoes or even, like in this case, jam.

Here’s the best part too. This makes a killer freezer meal. Just whisk up the marinade in a freezer bag, add chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins, seal and freeze for up to 1 month!

a dark plate with chicken breasts with an apricot italian dressing

More EASY MARINADE RECIPES: 

Looking for more marinade recipes? A good marinade is one of my favorite things, so make sure you try the following:  

More EASY CHICKEN DINNERS:

Or, if you’re just looking for another delicious chicken dinner recipe, go with one of the following: 

chicken breasts with an apricot italian dressing

Italian Dressing Chicken

4.64 from 11 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This Italian Dressing Chicken is the best way to use up that last bit of jam left in the jar. Mix in a little Italian dressing to make an easy chicken marinade, then bake. Seriously, that's all there is to this recipe! 

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/3 Cup Apricot Preserves
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Up to 2/3 Bottle Italian Dressing

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix the salad dressing and preserves together. Then, pour over the chicken in a small baking dish.
  • Bake for 25 -30 min.
  • Serve chicken and sauce over pasta!
Nutrition Facts
Italian Dressing Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 268 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 102mg34%
Sodium 124mg5%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 37g74%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Italian Dressing Chicken is made with store-bought dressing and that last bit of jam you've got left in a jar. Mix it together, then bake. That's it!

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

48 comments

  • Can not wait to try it out! It looks so good to try..Thanks
    temple run 2

    • Reply
    • Thanks! Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • Do you know if orange marmalade would work? It’s pretty bitter but maybe the dressing would sweeten it?

    • Reply
    • Yes, it works great! I love the combination of orange and chicken!! Enjoy!

      • Reply
  • Any idea on weight of chicken? Some chicken breasts are quite large….

    • Reply
    • I would say about 20 ounces of chicken or about a pound and a half.

      • Reply
  • I am cooking this now. I only had strawberry jam (besides
    grape). Lol. I also added a few crushed pepper flakes. So I’ll see how this turns out.

    • Reply
    • Yum! We love it with strawberry! We would love to hear how it went!

      • Reply
  • Can you share the burgers that you made that caused you to have the leftover pineapple apricot preserves in the first place? 😀

    • Reply
  • The chicken looks wonderful! Honestly, I’ve never heard of this ‘strange’ recipe before 😂 but I can see this is amazing with all your experiments 😍Apricot absolutely will bring to the chicken a great taste! I cannot wait to try this!!
    – Natalie Ellis

    • Reply
    • Thanks Natalie! You are going to love it! I am sure of it!

      • Reply
  • Orange marmalade works wonderously on chicken as well. Little but of soy sauce and garlic.. oh man it’s yummy.

    • Reply
    • I love the sound of that! I’ll have to try that ASAP!

      • Reply
  • I love the name of this recipe and it’s so versatile too… I can use any jam or preserves I like!

    • Reply
    • Thanks Abeer! It really is so good!

      • Reply
  • My family loves trying new chicken recipes! This looks amazing!

    • Reply
    • You are going to love this one!!

      • Reply
  • Is that calorie count correct?

    • Reply
    • No, we are working on getting it corrected. Thank you, Shawna!

      • Reply
  • I have never heard of this! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
    • It is so dang good! You’re going to love it!

      • Reply
  • With school starting, I’ve been looking for more freezer meals. This one is perfect!

    • Reply
    • You’re going to love it!

      • Reply
  • Such a good idea and it looks so good!!

    • Reply
    • Thanks Jaide!!

      • Reply
  • What a great way to use up last little ends of things! 

    • Reply
    • Right?! I always feel extra awesome when I clean something out of the fridge that has been in there a while! Ha!

      • Reply
  • What do you think about using  fig jam?

    • Reply
    • I bet it would be delicious!! If you make it, let us know how it turns out! thanks for asking!

      • Reply
  • Sounds delicious!  I was shocked at the nutrition info then realized it was for the whole recipe!  Eek!

    • Reply
    • Phew, right?!

      • Reply
  • I’m curious about the calorie count. I know it is approximate but 3278 seams like a lot. Is that correct? Love the blog and your recipes!

    • Reply
    • I just posted similar. It says it’s for the whole recipe. Still seems like. Lot for 2 chicken breasts. 

      • Reply
    • That is way too high! I will check on it. Thank you for leaving a comment!

      • Reply
  • I love this idea Carrian! All too often I find those dribs and drabs of preserves or jam-if I use it on a sandwich then there won’t be enough for another one but too much for this sandwich…this recipe solves that problem lickety split1 I love that you can do it it a slow cooker or pressure cooker too. In the hot summer weather, those last 2 appliances have been my friend for sure.

    Now off to the refrigerator to see what I can find! 🙂

    • Reply
    • We just love this chicken and it’s an extra bonus that it uses that extra jam!! If you make it, we would love to hear what you think!

      • Reply
  • You say up to 2/3 bottle of Italian Salad dressing, but not what size the bottle is? Not sure whether to buy an 8 oz bottle or 16 oz. I’m anxious to try this. Thank you! 

    • Reply
    • Grandma Honey, I was wondering the same thing 🙂 Possibly it means 2/3 Cup of the Italian Dressing?

      • Reply
      • 2/3 of a 16oz bottle

    • 16 oz bottle! Great question!

      • Reply
      • How kind of you to get back to me. You too Elizabeth!!

  • I’m in your camp on RR too. She has good ideas but you always have to improvise on it.

    • Reply
    • Exactly

      • Reply
  • This looks so great to me. I love your blog.

    • Reply
  • Great idea! Thanks for posting!

    • Reply
  • haha i sure do! plus i love that you said “valuable real estate”. i've never heard that but i'll for sure be stealing it!!!!!!

    • Reply
  • Don't you just love it when a recipe comes together like this and you get to use something that's been taking up valuable real estate in your fridge? Yumm!

    • Reply

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