Chicken Paprikash

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Chicken Paprikash Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

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
  • Salt
  • 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 Brown the chicken pieces: 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.

chicken-paprikash-1a.jpg chicken-paprikash-2a.jpg

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 Sauté the onions: 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.

chicken-paprikash-3a.jpg chicken-paprikash-4a.jpg

4 Add the paprika and some black pepper to the onions and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute.


5 Add the chicken broth, place chicken on onions, cover and cook: 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.)

6 Remove chicken, stir in sour cream: 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.)

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Chicken Paprikash with Traditional Hungarian Dumplings - from No Recipes

Pork Paprikash - from Meats, Roots and Leaves

Homemade spaetzle - from Deb of Smitten Kitchen


Showing 4 of 103 Comments

  • Lynda

    We had to cancel our family dinner because the cook wasn’t feeling well, but the paprikas sauce was already made. Can we successfully freeze the sauce for a future dinner?

  • jeanne

    I don’t know what I did wrong but mine was terrible. It was so greasy that I finally had to pour the sauce out and let it separate and skim it off. I think it was all those butter and then the grease from the chicken itself. My family liked it but it didn’t taste like any paprikash I’ve had in the past. I will keep looking for a better recipe.

  • Nicki

    My version (actually it came from my mom) is definitely not traditional. However, I will post it anyway, this is what I grew up thinking Chicken Paprikash was, and LOVE it, my kids love it so much they renamed it “MommyOhMyGosh!” We use 8 to 10 skinless chicken legs, cook them in approx. 2 Tbs oil on both sides until browned (both sides also get sprinkled with salt and paprika), after both sides are browned we pour on 3-4 large tomatoes that have been cut into small chunks, add more paprika to cover the top of the tomatoes. Cover and simmer on low for half an hour. After half an hour turn the chicken legs over, sprinkle more paprika over the chicken and tomatoes (which by now is becoming a watery consistency), cover and simmer on low for another half an hour. When time is up, remove the chicken legs, add 8 ounces of sour cream, sprinkle on a bit more paprika and stir over low heat until it all blends nicely. We pour the sauce over the chicken legs and white rice, and serve it with bread. My boys love to dip the bread in the sauce, it is truly so good you could drink the sauce!! I have used regular Paprika and Hungarian Paprika, and both taste delicious in this dish.

  • Penny

    I grew up with my first generation Hungarian mom making this dish frequently. The one difference in hers from many of these recipes is that she used half and half rather than sour cream to make the sweet creamy sauce. We children loved dipping bread into it to soak up the delicious juices; the sweet oniony, chicken, paprika combination with sweet creamy half and half is delicious, almost like a dessert at the end of the meal.

  • Carol Miller

    I LOVE this recipe & so does my family!! I’ve made it 5-6 times so far & it is delicious everytime! It’s an easy recipe & I usually have the ingredients to make it without having to run to the store. THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE!!

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