Festive Ways To Give Your Chicken A Touch Of Fall

Ready to bring the taste of fall into your kitchen with a seasonal chicken dinner? Fortunately, you don't have to completely change your cooking habits to do so. It's amazingly easy to incorporate the flavor of autumn into all kinds of chicken dishes, from traditional favorites to modern culinary creations. It's a matter of experimenting with new combinations of ingredients, or even just adapting and enhancing a few of your favorite, tried-and-true chicken dishes to incorporate seasonal fall flavors like pumpkins, pecans, kale, apples, and more. Of course, fall is also a great time to add some brand-new-to-you recipes to your kitchen repertoire, so feel free to get creative and try new things. 

Sound awesome? Ready to get started? We're standing by with fun and flavor-filled suggestions to help you welcome a taste of fall into your kitchen. Discover how to create delicious chicken dishes rich with the festive flavor of autumn. From slow cooker selections to creamy casseroles and savory sauces, you're sure to find some new fall favorites in these 12 flavor-packed meal ideas. Each one has the potential to become your new favorite fall feast. Remember — there's no requirement to choose just one. Savor them all as often as you like throughout autumn and beyond. 

Chicken and sweet potato burrito bowl

Burrito bowls are a perfect treat for lunch or dinner. Not only do they taste great, but they're super-easy to make, and you can easily adapt them to use up whatever you have on hand. Burrito bowls typically include a starch (rice, quinoa, or potatoes), at least one protein (beans, chicken, and/or another meat), and some veggies, along with cheese and, optionally, some kind of sauce. Since there are so many ways to make burrito bowls, it's easy to dress up this type of dish for fall. 

For example, you could add a layer of flavor-filled chunks of roasted sweet potato instead of (or in addition to) a different type of starch. Then, get even more creative by layering on even more seasonal veggies, such as pre-cooked chunks of carrot, parsnip, and/or rutabaga. If you usually start off your burrito bowl with lettuce, line it with mustard greens or spinach instead. If you'd rather follow a recipe and want to try a new, fall-centric burrito bowl dish, try this chicken and sweet potato burrito bowl recipe that features quinoa. Whatever you put in your burrito bowl, top it off with a dollop (or an all-out pour) of fall-flavor-filled cranberry sauce for even more flavor.  

Fall chicken salad

Chicken salad may not be the first dish that comes to mind when you think of fall, but why not? Sure, as a cold main dish, chicken salad is uber-popular during the warmer months. But, that doesn't mean that it has to be limited to spring and summer. Chicken salad tastes terrific any time of year, especially if you incorporate seasonal ingredients! It's a perfect make-ahead dish to put in the fridge early so that it can mellow and chill. It'll sit, waiting and waiting for you to enjoy when you get home from an afternoon of apple picking, leaf-peeping, or whatever your autumn activity of choice might be. 

Plus, it's really easy to dress up chicken salad with even more festive flavor to savor in honor of autumn's arrival. How, you ask? It's autumn-azingly easy. Start with this basic chicken salad recipe (or your own favorite concoction), then stir in some diced apple, pecan or walnut pieces, and more than a few dried cranberries. Voila — you have a tasty autumn meal ready to enjoy by the scoop. Eat it on its own, spread it on crackers, or make a thick chicken salad sandwich. For an all-out autumn spread, slather some chicken salad on a slice or two of pumpkin bread

Pecan-crusted baked chicken tenders

Do you love chicken tenders but want to dress them up seasonally for fall? It's as easy as incorporating nutritious and flavor-packed pecans into the breading. That's right! Just substitute crushed pecans for half of the breadcrumbs in this breaded and baked chicken tenders recipe for a flavor-packed fall twist on everyday chicken strips. If you're feeling uber-adventurous, you could use crushed walnuts instead of pecans — or even a combination of both. (Tip: If you only have whole or halved pecans or walnuts, whiz them in your food processor first.)

Rather than serving your nutty chicken tenders with ordinary French fries, incorporate a fall tuber into your meal with a side of sweet potato fries. You can pick up some frozen ones at the store (we won't tell), or make your own using freshly harvested sweet potatoes. Not sure how? Try your hand at this recipe for grilled sweet potato wedges or make some baked Cajun sweet potato fries. This is a great way to create a chicken tender dinner that's just bursting with the flavor of fall.

Baked chicken with pumpkin curry sauce

Want to go from nut-crusted, baked chicken tenders to a fancy (and spicy!) autumn dining experience? Serve a creamy, warm chicken curry dish featuring pumpkin as a primary ingredient. You can take your chicken dinner to the next level when you pair it with a batch of homemade pumpkin curry sauce. You can follow the curry sauce recipe as is, or use acorn squash or butternut squash instead of the pumpkin. You could even use a mixture of winter squash and pumpkin. You can use just about any winter squash (other than spaghetti squash) instead of (or in addition to) pumpkin in this dish. Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce is ready, you can either spoon the sauce over pieces of chicken or stir chunks of the cooked chicken into the sauce. Either way, serve with rice for an amazingly satisfying autumn supper. 

Slow-cooker pumpkin butter chicken

Prefer butter chicken to curry and love the convenience of slow-cooker suppers? If that sounds like you, then you're sure to fall hard (pun intended) for this seasonal slow cooker version of butter chicken made with pumpkin. That's right, pumpkin. Not only does this way of prepping butter chicken taste great, but the fact that it's made entirely in a slow cooker frees you up to enjoy fall weather all day and come home to a warm, delicious dinner just waiting for you to devour it. 

To create this autumn delight, you'll just need to make one tiny tweak to this simple slow cooker butter chicken recipe. That's all it takes to adapt it for autumn. Simply omit the cup of heavy cream called for in the recipe and replace it with a cup of pumpkin puree (canned or homemade — whichever you prefer). It's as easy as that. You're just one tiny recipe hack away from an incredibly delicious autumn dinner. Bonus: The dish is now a dairy-free delight.

Slow-cooker pumpkin chicken chili

Chili just may be the ultimate fall meal, but you don't have to stick with ordinary, white chicken chili to enjoy a poultry-based version. Instead, elevate your cool season chili game by whipping up a batch of homemade pumpkin chicken chili in your slow cooker. You'll be so glad to find this festive, easy-to-make dish waiting for you after an afternoon outing in autumn. Whether you've been hiking or otherwise exploring all day, you'll be thrilled to come home to this aromatic and great-tasting dish. And, it's oh so easy to create. You'll just need to make a few seasonal adjustments to this slow cooker white chicken chili recipe to turn it into a fall feast. Simply leave out the corn and stir in two cups of pumpkin puree instead. If you're in search of even more fall flavor, sprinkle in a touch of nutmeg, as well. As with the pumpkin curry recipe above, feel free to substitute your favorite winter squash variety in this dish in lieu of pumpkin if you prefer. 

When you serve this tasty dish, don't top it with cilantro or green onions as you would with ordinary white chicken chili. Instead, embellish this pumped-up-for-fall version by sprinkling some fresh chopped kale or spinach on top. Yum yum! 

Roasted chicken with cranberry pecan cornbread stuffing

Prepping a fancy fall chicken supper is as simple as starting with a roasted chicken. You can use this great recipe for roast chicken from Ina Garten or take it a bit easy and buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. No one will mind (and it'll be our little secret). After all, a lot of folks think store-bought rotisserie chicken tastes better than homemade

Whether you cook your own chicken or opt for one from the supermarket, it'll become the focal point of a meal when you serve it with a side of homemade cornbread stuffing enhanced with dried cranberries and pecans. Homemade stuffing is surprisingly simple to make and can easily be adapted to incorporate autumn ingredients. Just follow this recipe for southern cornbread stuffing, but stir in a half cup of chopped pecans and ¼ cup of dried cranberries when you mix the sausage into the cornbread mixture. Sound great? We think so! It's practical enough for any fall meal and festive enough to earn a place at the table at even the fanciest seasonal celebrations. 

Creamy chicken casserole with root vegetable mash

Slow-cooker meals are great, but casseroles just may be the ultimate autumn comfort food. There's just something about chilly fall evenings that cry out for a hearty, oven-baked chicken casserole that's comforting, hot, and delicious. When temperatures start to dip and the days grow shorter, stay warm and cozy at dinnertime with a hearty supper featuring a chicken casserole served alongside a special preparation of seasonal root vegetables. This creamy casserole recipe features chicken, pasta, and a mushroom sauce, so it's a rich and delicious seasonal supper option as is. 

Want to make it even more fall-focused? It pairs perfectly with a fall-centric root vegetable mash. Sound delish? Sure it does! Fortunately, it's super-easy to make. Simply chop up two to three pounds of your favorite root veggies (carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, etc.) into one-inch chunks and boil them for 15 minutes or until they're soft. Drain, then stir in 1/4 cup of milk, half-and-half, or cream. Use a fork, potato masher, or immersion blender to mash. Season with salt and pepper, along with any other spices you prefer. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and, if desired, sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese on top. Any type will do. 

Sheet-pan chicken with sweet, sweet kale

Sheet pan dinners are oh so easy to make and adjust based on season and food preference. There's no easier option when you're in search of a quick and easy way to incorporate fresh fall produce into an easy-to-assemble, fresh-from-the-oven chicken dinner. Look no further than this super-simple sheet-pan chicken and kale recipe for guidelines on how to get started. You can make this any time of year, but it's super-special when prepared and served in the fall. 

Why? Because kale tastes best when it matures in the cool fall air. If you think kale has a bitter flavor, you've probably only eaten kale that was harvested in the summer. Kale takes on a delightfully sweet (but not too sweet — it is a green vegetable after all) flavor profile when it's grown and harvested in cool weather. That's what makes this particular sheet pan recipe such a terrific autumn meal. Plus, it's gorgeous — a fact that makes it a truly festive addition to your fall table. You could make it even more fall-fancy by using sweet potato cubes instead of baby potatoes or by adding chunks of seasonal root crops. Carrots, anyone? Like kale, carrots also become sweeter when they grow and mature in cool temps. 

Festive fall chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie makes a terrific comfort food meal any time of year, and it's super-easy to dress it up for fall. Just add some fall harvest veggies to this easy chicken pot pie recipe. Make it uniquely your own — and very fall-centric — by adding in some diced turnip root or rutabaga, along with a generous portion of chopped kale, collard greens, mustard greens, or spinach. You could even mix in some cauliflower or broccoli florets to elevate the seasonal favorite even more. Whatever you do, this dish might remind you of grandma's pot pie with a modern flair that's all your own. For even more fall flavor, leave out the Italian seasoning and stir in a teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of paprika, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger. Serve this dish hot from the oven with a slab of crusty French bread slathered in butter for the ultimate cool weather comfort food feast. 

Broccoli and chicken stir-fry with nuts

Stir-fry dishes are a quick and easy meal to enjoy any time of year, and it's not hard to adapt them to the fall season with a minor tweak or two. Nuts are a popular stir fry stir-in, though peanuts and cashews are the most common crunchy additions to this type of dish. But, that doesn't mean you can't tweak your favorite chicken and broccoli stir-fry recipe a bit in honor of autumn's arrival. After all, broccoli just may be the ultimate cool-season vegetable, so it only stands to reason that it'll taste even more fabulous when paired with traditional cool-season crunchies. 

So, go ahead — hack this tasty broccoli and chicken stir fry recipe for autumn by substituting pecan slices for the cashews. If you want to really give it a bit of seasonal bite, stir in some candied pecans instead of plain ones. Or, for a bit of a different flair, use walnuts instead. Feeling feistily festive? Add both pecans and walnuts. Stil not quite fall-centric enough for you? Add another cool season cruciferous veggie by swapping out half of the broccoli for cauliflower florets. Yum! 

Sweet and spicy chicken soup

When there's a brisk feeling in the air and temperatures start to drop, that's a sure sign that chicken soup season has arrived. Chicken noodle soup may have earned the honor of being the ultimate comfort food, but it's certainly not the only option. When you're looking for festive food ideas to dress up your fall lunches and dinners, think beyond the ordinary and opt for this sweet and spicy chicken mulligatawny recipe instead. You — and anyone lucky enough to break bread with you — will be swept off your feet by the fabulous flavor of this fall fare. 

Featuring the classic fall flavors of green apple and carrots in a rich base flavored by ginger, smoked paprika, curry powder, and more, this unexpected soup will tantalize your tastebuds in amazing, autumnal ways. Chicken noodle soup is great for those days that you have the winter doldrums or simply crave a traditional meal, but this dish is ideal when you're in the mood to celebrate fall in all of her glory with a fabulous meal. If you truly can't let go of the notion that chicken soup has to have noodles, stir in 1/2 a cup or so of pre-cooked pasta.