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Clay Pot Chicken Recipe

Clay Pot Chicken

Follow our easy, step-by-step, instructions to learn how to make this Clay Pot Chicken. It’s super moist and tender, and cooking it with vegetables in one pot makes it a winner.

Whether you call it Clay Pot Chicken, or Clay Baker Chicken, this is another one pot meal that you’re going to love. Add a few vegetables and season to taste.

This recipe dates back to the days of Noah, Moses, and even before them.

Okay, maybe I’m stretching and exaggerating things a bit, but I’m sure cooking in earthenware goes back a very long time. You get the idea, right? Smile.

Yes Virginia, there was a time before Instant Pots, Crock Pots and Teflon coated cookware. Even before the cast iron skillet. I’m not sure when it began, but I’m pretty sure it was used in “days of old” as they call it.

I purchased my clay pot, pictured below, at an auction a couple of years back. Actually, no one else was interested in it, so I picked it up for $2.00 as I recall. Then, it just got put away and stayed here until I rediscovered it a week or two back while sorting through some boxes.

Some folks call it a clay baker, others call it a clay pot. Both are the same it seems, and I enjoyed trying out something different in the way of cooking.

The clay pot creates steam inside as the chicken and vegetables bake resulting in very moist and tender meat. It created so much juice in fact, that it spilled out into my oven. I hadn’t prepared for that. Smile.

You can buy larger clay bakers, big enough to hold an entire chicken, but this was a smaller one basically used to bake bread in. Still, it gave me a chance to try out the concept of earthenware cookery.

You may not own, or ever intend to buy a clay pot or clay baker, but I hope you’ll follow along and see what is involved in the process. It’s pretty simple actually, and I was surprised at just how much even this smaller pot would hold.

So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Clay Baker Chicken Recipe, you’ll need these ingredients.

I’m using boneless and skinless chicken thighs for this particular recipe. You could use breast meat, or a combination, just whatever you have or desire.

And of course, you’ll also need a clay pot to bake in. You can find a new one online, or perhaps a used one from a local flea market or yard sale.

I purchased this one at a local auction a year or two back and had never used it. It’s made by “Littonware” which shows up as Vintage now on several website listings. Best I can tell, it was produced around 1977 or so. They’re also sometimes referred to as a simmer-pot.

I think this one is a two quart size. You can buy one larger that will hold a whole chicken.

You MUST soak it before using it.

Oddly enough, you have to totally submerge the pots top and bottom parts under water, then let it soak for about 30 minutes before you use it. And, you MUST start it out in a COLD oven so it doesn’t break shortly after it goes in the oven.

The idea is, the pot is porous and when you soak it, it absorbs water which is slowly released as steam in the oven, thus producing naturally juicy meats as they cook. You also do not have to add any fat to the dish, which might be a big enough reason in itself to use such. Smile.

These pots are also used to bake bread in, but that’s another story for another time. The bottom half of my pot is glazed which supposedly makes it easier to clean. We’ll see.

While the clay pot is soaking, go ahead and prepare your vegetables.

Prepare the vegetables. I’m using potatoes, carrots, and onions in this dish. I sliced the carrots in about one inch long pieces and split those in half. Then, I cut my onion into quarters, then cut those in half. Yes, I know that makes them eighths. Just trying to keep it simple.

I did wait until just before I was ready to start assembling the dish to cut my potatoes into quarters. I didn’t want them to start turning brown on me. And finally, I prepared several cloves of garlic as well.

After the clay pot has soaked for at least 30 minutes, drain the sink and start adding the vegetables. Don’t worry about trying to dry the pot, just go ahead and add the carrots.

Add the potatoes next.

Add the onion.

Add the cloves of garlic. I just tossed them in whole.

Layer on the chicken thighs. Again, these are boneless and skinless, but as you can see, I managed to get six of them in on top of the vegetables. Or did I?

Sprinkle the chicken with salt. You’ll need about 1/2 teaspoon.

Then, sprinkle on some black pepper. I also used about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Adding butter is optional, but as we know, butter makes everything better. Right?

Clay pot baking doesn’t need any fats or liquids in order to cook, but it should help add some good flavor to the dish.

I was surprised at how much this little pot could hold. I still had two pieces of thigh meat left, so after I snapped this photo, I went ahead and placed those two pieces on top of the others. That was a total of eight boneless, skinless, chicken thighs PLUS the vegetables. The dome top allowed enough room to add the other two pieces. How cool is that?

Once everything is in the pot, place the lid on top.

You MUST start in a COLD oven.

Just place the entire pot in your cold oven to begin with, close the door, then set the heat to 425F degrees.

Let the chicken bake for ONE HOUR at 425F degrees.

Now, let me tell you this part. You can thank me later for this bit of wisdom.

My oven has five shelf positions. I placed one shelf two notches up from the bottom so it’s just below the center of the oven. Knowing what I know now, I would have placed a DRIP PAN under the clay pot while everything was baking.

This dish produced enough liquid on its own, that it started running out the bottom half of the pot and into my oven. It might have made a slight mess. Just saying. Don’t let that happen with you. Smile.

Let the chicken bake until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F degrees.

This is boneless chicken, so it cooked much faster than it would have if it had bones. After one hour, it was showing temperatures up around 200F degrees which was way past where it needed to be.

Once the chicken is nearly done, remove the top from the clay pot, place the chicken back in the oven,  and let the chicken brown a bit on top for about 10-15 more minutes. I did that, but since it’s also skinless, I didn’t see much of a change in color.


I took the chicken out of the bottom of the pot and placed it in the top of the pot in order to take this photo. I wanted to show the vegetables as well. Remember, I didn’t put any liquid in the dish and just a few pats of butter. There was about half an inch of liquid in the bottom of the dish and that doesn’t include what ended up on the bottom of my oven.

The chicken was amazingly moist and tender, and all the vegetables were completely cooked. I’ll most certainly be doing this again… real soon. Smile

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