chicken agrodolce with castelvetrano olives and pine nuts

Agrodolce wasn’t something I had while growing up, at least not that I remember. The moment I finally tasted it, my mind was blown. It’s tangy, sweet, and syrupy—everything I want. Paired with some grilled swordfish or chicken, it is perfection.

I would like to preface this by saying I love sweet meat, and this is a perfect example of that. The sweetness and acidity balance out the super savory protein. Think char siu (Cantonese–style bbq pork) with its sweet glaze, nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) on just about anything grilled or fried, the pineapple in al pastor (Mexican spit-grilled pork), or even honey on fried chicken. Sweet meat is my jam, and I cannot get enough of it.

This agrodolce sauce is certainly not overly sweet. There’s a good bit of sharpness from the reduced balsamic, and the sticky sweetness of the caramelized onions is divine. Plus, while not typical (at least I don’t think), the olive’s briny bite is another added layer of flavor—all things I like.

I made this agrodolce with chicken, specifically thighs, but it would be great with pork or a meaty fish like swordfish or tuna—something robust that can stand up to the flavorful sauce. And if you want to go all veg, then eggplant it is. Put this on some eggplant; you can thank me later!


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Agrodolce Recipe Agrodolce
Sweet meat is my jam, and I cannot get enough of it.
Agrodolce Sauce
Agrodolce Recipe
What is agrodolce?

Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce, characterized by its balanced combination of tangy and sweet flavors. Typically made with reduced balsamic vinegar, caramelized onions, and sometimes olives, it adds a unique and delightful twist to various dishes, enhancing both meat and vegetable-based meals.

What else can I eat this with?

My top suggestions, other than chicken, would be pork, any meaty fish like tuna or swordfish. And if you’re going all veg, it goes great with eggplant,

I’m using how much balsamic?

For this recipe, which is two servings, you are using 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. You want a good balsamic vinegar for this, since you’ll be reducing it, the flavors are going to concentrate. But, with that said, this is not the place to be using a very expensive aged balsamic vinegar. Get the best you can afford and something you would be happy to use for a vinaigrette.

Can I Make my Agrodolce sauce in Advance?

Yes, agrodolce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The flavors may even develop and improve over time. And the texture may get slightly thicker as well.

The Video
@mosthungry She’s sweet. She’s sticky. She’s sour. Chicken agrodolce. It’s Italian sweet and sour chicken. It’s been dinner on repeat over here for the last few months. Recipe is below: 2 chicken thighs 1 onion – thinly sliced handful castelvetrano olives small handful pine nuts 1/4 C balsamic vinegar 2 tsp sugar olive oil salt pepper parsley Pound chicken until it’s approximately 1/4” thick. You want it to be a uniform thickness to cook evenly. Sear over medium high heat with some olive oil until just cooked though. About 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. Add sliced onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add a touch more olive oil if needed. Cook for ~10 minutes, or until the onions are slightly golden and starting to caramelize. Add in your pitted olives and pine nuts. Cook for another 3 minutes until the pine nuts are slightly toasted. Add in balsamic vinegar and sugar. Scrape bottom of pan to remove all that good fond. Let it reduce for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken back into pan, along with any juices. Baste with sauce and cook for an additional few minutes. The sauce should reduce by about half. Check seasoning and adjust as needed. Might need more sugar, might need more salt. To plate, top chicken with lots of onions, sauce and plenty of fresh parsley. An extra drizzle of olive oil is a plus. #agrodolce #easychickenrecipes #italianfood #dinnerideas ♬ original sound – Rachel Lerro

Some Ingredients you’ll need to make agrodolce sauce:
Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, aged vinegar originating from Italy, often made from fermented grape must. Known for its complex flavor profile, it combines sweetness, acidity, and a rich, syrupy consistency, making it a versatile condiment used in salads, glazes, and marinades.

Castelvetrano Olives

Castelvetrano olives are bright green olives with a mild, fruity flavor and a firm, meaty texture. Hailing from Sicily, these olives are often enjoyed as a snack, in Mediterranean dishes, or as a topping for salads and pizzas.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are small, cream-colored seeds harvested from pine cones. With a buttery and slightly sweet taste, these nutritious nuts are used in a variety of cuisines, adding a delicate crunch to dishes like pesto, salads, and desserts.



Agrodolce Sauce
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5 from 1 vote


An Italian sweet-and-sour sauce made with reduced balsamic vinegar and lots of sweet and sticky caramelized onions. 
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: balsamic sauce, caramelized onions, castelvetrano olives, chicken recipes, healthy dinner
Servings: 2


  • 2 chicken thighs boneless, skinless and pounded thin
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • handful Castelvetrano olives pitted and torn in half
  • small handful pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh parsley


  • Pound chicken thighs to approximately 1/4” thickness for even cooking.
  • In a medium-high heat pan, sear chicken with olive oil for 5-7 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add sliced onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are slightly golden and starting to caramelize. Add a touch of olive oil if needed.
  • Stir in pitted olives and pine nuts. Cook for an additional 3 minutes until the pine nuts are slightly toasted.
  • Add balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the fond. Let it reduce for 3-5 minutes.
  • Place the seared chicken back into the pan along with any juices. Baste with the sauce and cook for an additional few minutes until the sauce reduces by about half.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Add more sugar or salt if necessary.
  • To serve, place chicken on plates, top with caramelized onions, drizzle with plenty of sauce, and garnish with fresh parsley. An extra drizzle of olive oil is a plus.
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