15 Chicken Recipes for Busy Weeknights

Chicken Stir fries, sheet pan dinners, pastas, and one-pot meals solve the dinner dilemma on busy weeknights.

Three images of chicken dinners side by side.

Simply Recipes

For busy weeknights, chicken is my go-to. It’s incredibly versatile, cooks quickly, and reduces our red meat consumption. Win!

Plus, it comes in a variety of convenient forms: boneless skinless, bone-in, rotisserie, and ground chicken, to name a few. When it comes to chicken there are so many options, I don’t tire of cooking it, or more importantly, eating it for dinner.

I need weeknight recipes ready in less than an hour that have big kid appeal. Bonus points for including vegetables and using pantry staples.

Also, I’m not above looking for comfort at the bottom of a bowl of curry, so recipes that delight the senses and provide a slice of comfort are always high on my list.

What type of recipes make the list? I lean heavily on quick stir fries, such as Moo Goo Gai Pan (Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry), sheet pan dinners, pasta, and one-pot meals, such as Easy Chicken Skillet Enchiladas. Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole are satisfying ways to end a long day as well.

I picked out my favorite weeknight recipes and hope you find inspiration and new favorite ways to serve chicken on busy weeknights.

  • Moo Goo Gai Pan (Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry)

    Moo Goo Gai Pan Chicken
    Marta Rivera

    The key to stress-free stir fry is organization! Though this recipe doesn’t call for much prep work, it is best to have each ingredient ready to add to the hot pan. Boneless skinless chicken thighs can be substituted for the breasts, if preferred. From start to finish this recipe will be on the table in 35 minutes.

  • Chicken Tikka Masala

    Chicken Tikka Masala
    Lisa Lin

    We’re big fans of Chicken Tikka Masala and this is exactly what I want in a weeknight pantry meal. I always feel good when I can make full use of the spice drawer but it’s also flexible enough to be able to leave out one or two and still come away with a flavorful dinner. If possible, marinate the chicken the night before or in the morning for the full impact.

  • Thai Green Curry with Chicken

    Thai Green Curry
    Elizabeth Stark

    Ready in 35 minutes, this creamy curry is exactly what you want simmering on the stove on a cool evening. For a more spoonable curry, chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces.

  • Greek Chicken Skewers with Yogurt Sauce (Chicken Souvlaki)

    Greek Chicken Skewers with Flatbread
    Sally Vargas

    A simple marinade brings a brightness to these Mediterranean skewers and they especially hit the spot if you are looking for a reason to break out the grill. If pitas are hard to find, then wrap in a tortilla or serve as a salad with pita chips.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • Chicken Piccata Pasta

    Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe
    Nick Evans

    Pan fry boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets and serve over a bed of penne in lemon butter sauce. Perfect for an easy spring weeknight dinner. The chicken is cut into bite sized pieces for simple serving but you could also serve chicken whole and the pasta on the side.

  • Easy Chicken Mac and Cheese

    Creamy Chicken Mac and Cheese
    Nick Evans

    Adding toasted breadcrumbs and shredded chicken to a bowl of mac and cheese, elevates it to a dish everyone will crave. This is a great way to use up any leftover chicken. I love adding roasted cherry tomatoes or roasted broccoli to my bowl of cheesy pasta.

  • Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

    Pressure cooker chicken tacos
    Coco Morante

    The Instant Pot is my favorite method for making chicken tacos. Use your favorite boneless skinless chicken and make enough shredded chicken for a meal or two. Leftovers can be frozen for up to three months. Serve in corn tortillas with your favorite taco fixings.

  • BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Pizza

    California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza
    Aaron Hutcherson

    Take a break from the pepperoni and use shredded chicken to make this easy sheet pan pizza. All you need is seven ingredients and 30 minutes before you’re diving in. If your family is anything like mine, I’d suggest making two.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • Sheet-Pan Harissa Chicken with Carrots and Cauliflower

    Sheet Pan Meal with Chicken
    Sheryl Julian

    We all loved this easy weeknight dinner! I keep a jar of harissa paste in my refrigerator and love it. I used boneless chicken thighs, skipped the steaming, and baked it all at the same time for about 40 minutes. Delicious!

  • Baked Chicken Marinara

    Baked Chicken Marinara
    Elise Bauer

    Who can say no to pan fried chicken thighs topped with marinara sauce and cheese? No one in this family for sure! Though it sounds like a recipe best saved for a weekend, this actually only takes 40 min from start to finish. You could substitute store-bought marinara sauce if preferred. Serve over pasta.

  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Casserole
    Elise Bauer

    End the workday with a steaming plate of classic chicken and rice. It’s always a good idea to take a peek halfway through the cooking time with any slow cooker recipe and ensure that the liquid is reducing and the chicken is cooking. You may need to add more (or less!) time depending on your specific slow cooker.

  • Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps
    Lisa Lin

    Ground chicken and vegetables are sautéed in an easy teriyaki sauce before being piled onto butter lettuce leaves. I would also serve with a pot of Instant Pot rice and extra sauce on the side.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • Easy Chicken Skillet Enchiladas

    Easy chicken enchilada recipe
    Alison Bickle

    We love enchiladas but it’s not a meal I usually make for a weeknight. This easy skillet recipe makes it totally doable! Plus, easy to freeze for later. The sauce is assembled in the same skillet used to cook them in. I love cojita cheese but find shredded cheddar cheese a perfectly acceptable option.

  • Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich

    Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich
    Elise Bauer

    I love a good chicken sandwich and this one fits the bill. Chipotle gives the pounded chicken breast some heat without making it fiery. I don’t own a meat tenderizer but use the end of my rolling pin to do the job instead.

  • Pasta Skillet with Chicken Sausage, Cheese & Spinach

    Skillet Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Cheese & Spinach
    Lisa Lin

    Chicken sausage is a great way to eat chicken for dinner. They pack a lot of flavor without needing a marinade. This recipe is a one-pot meal that includes everything I’m looking for in a well-rounded meal: protein, carbs, cheese, and vegetables. Ready in 30 minutes!