Easy Chicken Paprikash Recipe

Chicken paprikash is a traditional Hungarian meal that has been enjoyed for generations, though at a glance the finished dish looks like something you'd be served at a fine restaurant, not in a cozy kitchen. In other words, it's a dish likely to scare off many an amateur cook. Don't let that happen, though!

"There are several steps, but don't be intimidated," says chef and food writer Erin Johnson of Probably in the Kitchen. "It's really just stirring things together."

When it comes to those ingredients, quality counts, especially in the spices. "I can't stress enough the importance of fresh paprika here," says Johnson. "It is what is giving the dish almost all of its flavor so now is the time to buy a new supply." And really, that's no surprise given that the spice is right there in the name. "If you would like a more intense flavor, consider substituting one tablespoon of smoked paprika in for the regular Hungarian sweet paprika," she adds.

With respect to the roots here, Johnson also adds a bit of perspective, saying that "Most traditional Hungarian versions of paprikash do not include tomatoes, but most Americanized versions do. It is up to you to decide if you want to include them [but] I prefer a more substantial sauce and like the addition."

So, it's your call on the tomatoes, but make sure you have plenty of fresh paprika on hand. And now, főzzünk! (That's "let's cook" in Hungarian, by the way.)

Gather your ingredients for chicken paprikash

This take on chicken paprikash calls for a 1/2 cup of sour cream, 3 pounds of bone-in chicken, salt and pepper, 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons of Hungarian paprika, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of chicken stock, and fresh parsley for garnish. Hungarian paprika, by the way, is typically a somewhat hotter version of the plain paprika you may find on grocery store shelves. Take a couple of minutes to dice your onion and mince the garlic. The parsley is optional but highly recommended for its herbal flavor and the pop of green color it brings to the dish.

Johnson also has a few other tips for slight tweaks to this recipe. "If you'd like a lower calorie finish, you can substitute non-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream without changing the flavor or consistency," she says. 

As far the particular kind of chicken you should procure, Johnson also adds that "You can use any kind of chicken here, but I think bone-in, skinless tends to produce the best flavors."

Pre-heat the oven and sear the chicken

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Then, remove the sour cream from the refrigerator, as it needs to come to room temperature. 

Then, in a Dutch oven or a similar oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and then sear the meat, skin side down, until the skin is crispy and golden. This will take approximately 5 minutes per side. 

Do not crowd the pan, as that will reduce the overall temperature and cause the chicken to steam, meaning you'll miss out on the glorious browning caused by the Maillard reaction. So, take your time and work in batches if you need to. Once all the pieces of chicken are seared, remove the chicken from the pan and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil and fat.

Cook the onions, garlic, and spices for chicken paprikash

Add the diced onion to the pan in which you reserved that bit of liquid and oil left after the chicken cooked. Stir and cook until the onions are translucent and fragrant, which will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook until it grows fragrant.

Now for the main event, at least in terms of flavor. Stir in the paprika and keep things moving until it coats the onions. Stir pretty vigorously and "be careful not to burn the paprika!" says Johnson. After all, that would change the flavor of this dish's signature flavor, so just keep an eye on the cooking food and remember to keep stirring. This part of the process should take no more than 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and stock to your chicken paprikash

Add the can of diced tomatoes and the chicken stock into the skillet or Dutch oven and stir everything well. Then, add the chicken pieces back into the pan as well. 

Now pop the pan (or Dutch oven or deep skillet or what have you) into the preheated oven and cook it at 375 F, until chicken is cooked through. This will take between 25 and 35 minutes. The internal temperature of the meat should be 165 F when done for proper poultry safety, as per the USDA.

Johnson says: "You can cook this [dish] entirely on the stovetop if you'd prefer. Just cover [the pan] and allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce until the chicken is cooked through instead of putting it in the oven. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more chicken broth."

Finish the chicken paprikash sauce

Once the meat is cooked, take the dish out of the oven and remove the chicken from the pan, briefly setting it aside. And add a large scoop of the sauce to the room temperature sour cream and mix them well. Then add this sauce to the pan, stirring well. Add more salt and pepper if needed as you taste test the sauce.

Now add the chicken back to the pan and top the dish with chopped parsley. "Traditionally this is served with egg noodles," says Johnson, "but it works well with any pasta. I love it with mashed potatoes too."

Easy Chicken Paprikash Recipe
4.9 from 39 ratings
Chicken paprikash is a traditional Hungarian meal that has been enjoyed for generations. With quality ingredients, you too can make this delicious dish at home!
Prep Time
Cook Time
finished dish
Total time: 55 minutes
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken with skin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
Optional Ingredients
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove sour cream from the refrigerator to warm to room temp.
  2. In a heavy, ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper then sear the meat, skin side down until skin is crispy and golden, or approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from the pan and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil/fat/liquid.
  5. Add onion to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent, then add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Stir in the paprika until it is coating the onions. Be careful not to burn the paprika.
  7. Add the tomatoes and stock and stir, then add the chicken pieces back into the pan.
  8. Put the pan in the oven until the chicken is cooked through – the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Pull the pan from the oven, then remove the chicken and add a large scoop of the sauce to the sour cream. Mix well and then add to the pan, stirring well, and adding salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Add chicken back to the pan and top with chopped parsley. Serve over buttered egg noodles, another type of pasta, or even mashed potatoes.
Calories per Serving 567
Total Fat 39.0 g
Saturated Fat 12.2 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 181.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.9 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 3.4 g
Sodium 809.3 mg
Protein 44.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe