Chicken, onions, butter, stock, paprika, salt, sour cream. That’s about it, and all you need for one of the best dishes on the planet, chicken paprikash. Uncomplicated. Unpretentious. So good you’ll be drinking the sauce. Cooks up quickly too. Serve it with noodles or dumplings (shown with spaetzle).
We first posted a version of this recipe in 2006 and quickly learned that many people have a family favorite way of making chicken paprikash. The dish is a tradition of Hungary (spelled there “paprikas”), though we are not claiming that our version is traditional. Some people add tomatoes and peppers, some a lot more paprika, or more or less sour cream. Feel free to experiment with amounts to find what works best for your taste. And if you have a favorite way of preparing it, please let us know in the comments.
We like cooking chicken skin-on and bone-in, but this recipe will easily work with boneless, skinless chicken pieces as well, if that's what you prefer. Paprika can go flat and tasteless if it is too old. So check your paprika first, before starting this dish.
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces, preferably thighs and legs
- 2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 pounds yellow onions, (about 2-3 large onions)
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
- 1 teaspoon (or to taste), hot paprika or cayenne
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sour cream
1 Salt the chicken pieces well and let them sit at room temperature while you cut the onions. Slice the onions lengthwise (top to root).
2 Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter. When the butter is hot, pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and place them skin-side down in the pan. Let the chicken pieces cook 4-5 minutes on one side, until well browned, then turn them over and let them cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. (Take care when turning so as not to tear the skin if any is sticking to the pan.) Remove the chicken from the pan to a bowl, set aside.
3 Add the sliced onions to the sauté pan and cook them, stirring occasionally, scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
4 Add the paprika and some black pepper to the onions and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, again scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and then nestle the chicken pieces into the pan, on top of the onions. Cover and cook on a low simmer for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken pieces). When the chicken is cooked through (at least 165° if you use a thermometer, or if the juices run clear, not pink when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a knife) remove the pan from the heat. (If you want, you can also keep cooking the chicken until it begins to fall off the bone, which may take another 30 minutes or so.)
5 When the chicken is done to your taste, remove the chicken from the pan. Allow the pan to cool for a minute and then slowly stir in the sour cream and add salt to taste. If the sour cream cools the sauce too much, turn the heat back on just enough to warm it through. Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the sauce.
Serve with dumplings, rice, egg noodles or potatoes. (If cooking gluten-free, serve with rice, potatoes or gluten-free noodles or dumplings.)