Unique Chicken Recipes You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Chicken is a common dinnertime star, but without a bit of jazzing up, it quickly becomes ho-hum. On their own, after all, those boneless, skinless chicken breasts you're stocking in the freezer don't boast much flavor, and while the skin of a whole roasting chicken certainly adds some zest to the party, when you're always making the same recipes, it's easy to get bored of this inexpensive staple.

With these unique recipes, however, boredom couldn't be further from your mind. Spices and aromatics join relatively mild chicken, making it a party any night of the week. Whether stewed or sautéed, marinated or deep-fried, these chicken recipes hailing from across the globe are sure to blast you out of your dinnertime doldrums. And since chicken is relatively inexpensive meat, it's easy to taste and try each and every one.

As always when working with chicken, it's essential to practice good kitchen hygiene. Be sure to wash your hands and any tools after handling raw chicken and to always cook it through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure you have tender, juicy chicken that's totally safe for the whole family to enjoy.

Chicken vindaloo boasts a major kick

Vindaloo is a classic Indian recipe from Goa, often prepared with lamb, pork, or, as in the case of this recipe, chicken. Derived from a Portuguese dish with garlic and vinegar, vindaloo boasts loads flavor, thanks in large part to the added punch from the subcontinent: chiles, and loads of them. 

Vindaloo is admittedly not for those who can't take the heat. Indeed, it's often the spiciest dish on any Indian takeout menu. But if you love hot food, there's no curry better than this vinegar-infused delight. Serve it with rice and raita to temper the flames somewhat.

Karaage is the new fried chicken

When you think of Japanese cuisine, your mind might immediately jump to sushi or chicken teriyaki. But these are far from the only delicious specialties hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, as this recipe well shows.

Karaage is a light fried chicken recipe made with tender chicken breasts marinated in garlic, ginger, and soy. The bite-sized chicken pieces are fried in a rice flour coating until crisp and almost impossibly light. Served with an easy-to-make jazzed up mayo dipping sauce, these fried chicken bites may well give your favorite popcorn chicken a run for its money.

Layered biryani is an explosion of flavor

Chicken biryani is a classic mixed rice dish enjoyed across the Indian subcontinent, chiefly by its Muslim communities. In this biryani recipe, chicken is marinated in loads of aromatic spices with both sweet and savory notes. It is then layered with saffron-scented rice and caramelized onions. The resulting dish is rich and redolent with the flavors of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and cumin. The yogurt in the marinade makes the chicken extra tender and juicy.

Top this dish with fresh cilantro, sweet raisins, and slivered almonds for crunch. Your family won't be able to get enough of it!

Chicken shawarma easy enough to make at home

If you've ever had chicken shawarma from a restaurant or shawarma shop, you may be confused as to how it's even possible to make the slow-roasted Middle Eastern staple at home. Usually made with chicken stacked in a cone shape and then slowly cooked on a spit, classic shawarma is best left to the pros. But with this chicken shawarma recipe, you can bring all of those delightful flavors into your kitchen, albeit on a far smaller scale. 

To make this chicken shawarma recipe, chicken is first marinated in aromatics and spices before taking a trip through the Instant Pot. It emerges tender, juicy, and ready to enjoy with pita and your choice of toppings and sauces.

Chicken paprikash is rich and luxurious

Hungarian paprika is renowned the world over for its quality and flavor. So it's no wonder that it's a staple ingredient in local cuisine, and in no dish is it highlighted more than chicken paprikash

This chicken dish begins by searing bone-in chicken to build a lovely base of flavor upon which a sauce of onions, garlic, and spices join the party, with Hungarian paprika as the surefire star. Simmered in a rich, sour cream sauce, the chicken in this recipe becomes tender and oh-so flavorful, with a luscious gravy perfect for drizzling over rice or noodles.

A bright and flavorful chicken stew

Stew is a comfort food par excellence, and in this green chicken stew recipe, it's rich and bright in equal measure. Easy to make and deeply flavorful, it's everything we want in a weeknight comfort food main.

To make this dish, chicken is slowly simmered in a spiced broth made with a base of salsa verde and canned green chiles. Seasoned with coriander, cumin, and smoked paprika, it takes on a truly aromatic depth, and with a squeeze of lime to finish, it has a brightness that stands out from other similar dishes. Top with crushed tortilla chips for crunch or chopped cilantro for a touch more brightness.

An Italian chicken dish you'll go hunting for

Chicken cacciatore translates to "hunter's chicken," so named for its historic link to Italian country hunters, who would prepare the rustic dish while enjoying a day of romping through the woods. This version is a spin on the recipe from celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis, and it's far easier than it may appear at first glance.

To make this recipe, chicken is simmered with tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and capers. A touch of white wine brings everything together nicely. And unlike in Giada's recipe, our version uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are easier to prepare and eat. Any leftovers are delicious when stirred into hot noodles the next day.

Chicken soup with a kick

Chicken soup may evoke memories of simple, nostalgic, brothy bowlfuls, but this chicken soup is a horse of a different color. Boasting the delightful kick of jalapeño that gives it its name, this recipe is also chock-a-block with healthy beans and veggies as well as rich enchilada sauce — and it's just as good, if not better, for the common cold than the common soup. 

This recipe has a decidedly Mexican spin, which helps it to stand out from other chicken soup recipes. Dress it with your favorite toppings like avocado, cilantro, or sour cream to make it extra special (and extra delicious).

A roast chicken with a twist

We promised you unique recipes, so we totally get why you're surprised to see a roasted chicken on this list. But trust us: This is a roast the likes of which you've never seen before. 

In this play on the classic from everyone's favorite homemaker Ina Garten, the chicken is stuffed with rosemary and orange quarters, which bring a sweet and savory aroma that marries wonderfully with the poultry. And before taking a trip through the oven, the chicken's skin is rubbed with mayonnaise, which helps it emerge crispy and oh-so-flavorful. You'll never look at roasted chicken the same way again.

A retro classic ready to come back into the spotlight

Chicken Kiev is nothing new, and that's part of its charm! This retro dish was ultra-popular in the '60s, and it's well overdue for a return to the spotlight. This rich, indulgent dish sees chicken breasts stuffed with herb-and-garlic-infused butter before being breaded and fried. A quick trip through the oven ensures they're cooked all the way through and perfectly tender. 

This chicken is, of course, delightful on its own, but choosing the right side truly kicks it up a notch. We love mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles to soak up all that heavenly sauce within.

Chicken souvlaki for lunch or dinner

If you want a quick and easy dinner or a slightly special lunch for when you're working from home, this chicken souvlaki is a great, reliable recipe with loads of flavor. And it relies on a shortcut that makes it a real no-brainer on busy weeknights: store-bought tzatziki sauce.

To make the chicken, first you'll marinate it in part of the tzatziki sauce for at least two hours. When you're ready to cook it, just thread it on skewers and cook in a skillet (or fire up the grill!) until nicely golden brown. Serve the souvlaki with a simple Greek salad, and you'll be in Heaven — err, Elysium.

Sweet meets savory in this copycat chicken croissant-wich

Wendy's knew what they were doing when they combined fried chicken, smoky bacon, honey-maple butter, and flaky croissants. And now you can do the exact same thing at home! 

This copycat croissant sandwich ticks all of the boxes for a sweet/savory mashup. The chicken is dredged in a touch of pickle juice and a spiced cornstarch coating before being shallow-fried. Piled on the croissants with crispy bacon and sweet maple-honey butter, it perfectly unites a combination of flavors and textures. The resulting sandwich is the weekend brunch you'll go to bed dreaming of on Saturday night.

A restaurant-quality risotto perfect for date night

If you want a special occasion dish you can easily make at home, this chicken risotto recipe is your new best friend. Infused with dried porcini mushrooms for depth of flavor in place of the wine more traditionally used, this risotto is earthier than most — and that's a good thing! Rendered rich and creamy with a generous quantity of nutty grated parmesan and a touch of butter stirred in right at the end, the risotto is moreish and decadent. Chicken adds protein and bulk to the finished dish, making it as filling as it is delicious.

A new play on cassoulet

Traditional French cassoulet pairs local white Tarbais beans with sausage and duck, but in this version, great northern beans join chicken thighs, pork shoulder, and two kinds of sausage for an equally hearty but far more accessible recipe. 

Accessible is, of course, a relative term: Cassoulet does take several days to make. This recipe calls first for dry-brining and then for slow-cooking the chicken thighs in bacon fat, to emulate the flavor and texture of the duck confit usually used. But trust us: the tender, rich results will be well worth the extra time and effort.