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Coq au Riesling

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French Coq au Riesling or tender chicken legs smothered in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms and grapes.


coq au riesling chicken leg on a plate

What is Coq au Riesling?

Coq au riesling is the Alsatian version of the traditional and very famous French Coq au Vin. Alsace is a region in eastern France, next to Germany and Switzerland.

While the traditional Coq au Vin is made with red wine, Coq au Riesling is chicken in a white wine sauce, made with the local Riesling d’Alsace.


How I came to cook this Coq au Riesling? Well, there is a story behind it.

Actually, I cooked this French chicken in white wine for the first time a long time ago, more than 10 years ago. We loved it, so I kept cooking it for a while, but as is the case with many recipes, sometimes you forget them.

A couple of months ago we went to a restaurant, which had Coq au Riesling – Chicken Legs in Riesling Sauce on the menu. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that, as this is definitely not something I have ever seen served in a German restaurant. So, I ordered it without even reading the rest of the menu.

And then came the chicken! What a disappointment!!! Instead of the chicken legs, I got a super dry and chewy chicken breast and instead of the Riesling (white wine!!) sauce, I got tomato sauce. I don’t even think there was any wine in the sauce at all, it tasted like pure tomato puree that was just heated through. Not even salted…

The meal made it on the top 3 of the worst restaurant meals I have ever had.

Three days later I cooked Coq au Riesling at home again and, let me tell you, that was a delight!

close up coq au riesling with noodles



  • Traditional recipes would call for cooking a whole chicken, which you cut into pieces. You can do that if you wish.
  • I tend to use whole chicken legs or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks (depending on how I get them), because we all prefer to eat the chicken legs when I make a chicken stew.
  • Making any kind of chicken stew using a whole chicken means that the chicken breasts would be cooked for too long compared to the chicken legs, so that they will be rather dry at the end of the cooking process.
  • You could, of course, add them to the stew later than you add the chicken legs, but most of the times I prefer not to go through all that trouble and just use chicken legs.
  • There are other good recipes which allow the chicken breasts to shine, have a look at these cast iron chicken breasts or this baked bbq chicken breasts.
ingredients for coq au riesling


  • Riesling is a white wine with German heritage, aromatic and with a high acidity.
  • It is rather on the sweet side, which tries to balance the higher acidity of the wine, but drier sorts are available.
  • To make today’s Coq au Riesling I used an off-dry Riesling, which means a white wine which is only very slightly sweet, a rather dry white with a sweet element in it.


  • I used cremini mushrooms, but white button mushrooms would be fine as well.


  • Using grapes is a slight twist on the original Coq au Riesling, some recipes call for grapes, some not.
  • I have always used grapes when making this chicken in white wine sauce, they are just wonderful. They are slightly roasted and add sweetness and freshness to the whole dish.
  • I really recommend the grapes, I would not leave them out.
coq au riesling on a white plate with grapes


  • Brown the chicken legs in 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter. This will take about 4 minutes per side, the chicken should get a nice color.
  • Place the chopped onions around the chicken legs and cook them shortly, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and stir for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the Riesling.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with some salt and pepper, bring to a boil, turn the heat down and cook with the lid on for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken legs from the sauce and keep warm.
frying chicken legs in a pan


  • Reduce the sauce in the pan by half, this should take about 8 minutes, but check, it depends on the heat and on the size of the pan.
  • Add the heavy cream, stir well and simmer on lower heat for about 2 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.


  • While the sauce cooks, halve the grapes if too large.
  • Heat the remaining butter in a pan and roast the grapes for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the grapes to the sauce, return the chicken legs to the pan and serve.
sauce for coq au riesling step by step


The dish can be served immediately but, like most stewed dishes, the Coq au Riesling is even better served the next day, the flavors will have time to meld and develop in the refrigerator.

This fact makes the white wine chicken a great dish to cook for guests. It can be made in advance and be reheated when you are ready to sit down at the table, it looks great and it tastes fantastic. It can be made in larger batches and it is not very expensive either.

close up chicken legs with riesling sauce

What to serve with Coq au Riesling?

Most of the times I serve the French chicken with spätzle. As mentioned above, this is a dish originally created in Alsace, which is close to Germany and which was part of Germany sometimes during the course of the history. I supposed this is a reason why spätzle are so popular there as well.

If you don’t have access to spätzle and don’t want to make your own, noodles are a very good alternative. I would choose tagliatelle or ribbon noodles.

Otherwise, you can consider buttered potatoes with parsley, French crusty bread or even rice.

coq au riesling with grapes ready to be served


Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters

Sweet and Sour Chicken Legs

Baked Chicken Legs in Honey Mustard Sauce

Sticky Roasted Chicken Legs with Green Onions

Peri Peri Chicken


white wine chicken coq au riesling in a skillet
coq au riesling on a white plate with grapes

Coq au Riesling

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

French Coq au Riesling or tender chicken legs smothered in a creamy white wine sauce with mushrooms and grapes.


  • 1 onion, about 60 g/ 2 oz
  • 200 g/ 7 oz cremini mushrooms (See note 1)
  • 4 chicken legs (about 250 – 300 g/ 8.8 – 10.5 oz each)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 400 ml/ 13.5 fl.oz/ 1 ¾ cup Riesling
  • 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup heavy cream
  • 150 g/ 5.3 oz white grapes
  • fine sea salt and white pepper
  • some fresh parsley


  1. Chop the onions and set them aside. Clean the mushroom with kitchen paper, slice them. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet or pan, one which has a lid. Cook the chicken legs until nicely browned on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the Riesling.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken legs with salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken legs are cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken legs from the sauce and keep warm while you finish the sauce.
  5. Let the sauce cook on medium-high heat, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add the cream, turn the heat down and let bubble gently for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Adjust the taste with salt and white pepper.
  7. While the sauce cooks, halve the grapes if very large. Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon butter in a pan. Add the grapes and roast for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
  8. Return the chicken legs to the pan with the sauce, add the grapes, stir gently around the chicken legs.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving. Serve as suggested above.


White button mushrooms would be fine as well.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 chicken leg with sauce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 765Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 379mgSodium: 794mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 65g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.


Sunday 10th of November 2019

The chicken is perfectly browned and that white wine sauce looks divine!

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