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16 March 2020

This Hungarian chicken paprikash recipe, aka paprika chicken, is authentic and easy to make, with seared chicken simmered and served in creamy paprika sauce. You can make it mild or spicy!

Have you ever heard of Chicken Paprikash? You are in for a treat, my friends, because I think you’re going to love this dish. If you’re looking for a quick and easy chicken dinner option that doesn’t take much effort, print or save this one for your recipe book, because it may become your next go-to weeknight meal.

We love chicken in the Chili Pepper Madness home, and we also love paprika. Paprika sometimes gets overlooked as a spice in the spicy food lover’s arsenal because it usually isn’t very “hot”, but that’s because most grocery stores only carry one or two brands.

The truth is, there are many different types of paprika ranging from sweet to hot and varying in levels of overall pungency, from sweet paprika to Spanish paprika, smoked paprika and more. With so many paprika options, you could make this dish in so many ways. Time to stock up on some paprika!

Let’s talk about this famous dish.

Chicken Paprikash in a hot pan, smothered in spicy sauce

What is Chicken Paprikash?

Chicken Paprikash is a hugely popular Hungarian dish so named because of the heavy use of paprika, which is the National Spice of Hungary. The recipe is made by simmering chicken in a thick sauce spiced with paprika, giving it its wonderful flavor. It also known as Paprika Chicken. There are many variations, of course, depending on the region and preference of the cook. 

Some versions of the recipe skip the onion and focus on bell peppers. Some use tomato paste instead of tomatoes, and some skip the tomato entirely and use only broth to thicken a light roux. Some older versions skip the sour cream addition, though most modern versions include it.

My version incorporates both bell peppers and jalapeno peppers, which add a bit more zestiness. I also include canned tomatoes for ease of cooking, and use a lot of paprika, the dish’s signature spice. I also stir in sour cream or crema at the end because it’s just so darned delicious that way.

Let’s talk about how we make chicken paprikash, shall we?

Chicken Paprikash in a hot pan, ready to serve

Chicken Paprikash Ingredients

  • Butter. Use 1 tablespoon butter (or use vegetable oil)
  • Chicken. Use 2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces. I used thighs for this recipe, skin on. You can also make paprika chicken with chicken breast.
  • Vegetables. Use 1 large onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 jalapeno pepper, (optional, for more spice factor) and 3 cloves garlic.
  • Paprika. I use 3 tablespoons sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon hot paprika. You can use cayenne powder if you can’t find hot paprika.
  • Salt and Pepper. To your personal taste.
  • Tomatoes. I use 15 ounce can tomatoes. You can also use crushed tomatoes or fire roasted tomatoes, or you can use fresh chopped tomatoes.
  • Dairy. Use 1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature – or use crema, yogurt, quark or heavy cream). This is what gives it the creamy quality we all love. 
  • FOR SERVING: Spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley, cooked egg noodles if desired

How to Make Chicken Paprikash – the Recipe Method

FOR THE CHICKEN

First, heat the butter or oil in a large pan or large pot. I like to use my Dutch oven for this usually when making a larger batch. 

Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken skin sides down. Sear the chicken 4-5 minutes per side, allowing the fat to render and the skin to turn a nice golden brown. Patting the chicken as dry as you can really helps the browning of the skin.

Browning and rendering the chicken thighs

After you brown the chicken, remove it and set it aside for now. I just it with the skin sides up onto a plate.

FOR THE CHICKEN PAPRIKASH SAUCE

Drain some of the fat from the pan, leaving about a tablespoon. Add the onion and peppers. Stir to get all those flavorful brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.

Cooking down the peppers and onions in a hot pan

Add the garlic, sweet paprika, hot paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for one minute. I like to add the paprika when I add the garlic to allow the spices to bloom a bit in the pot. You’ll be able to smell that gorgeous garlic cooking. Don’t let it burn.

Add the tomatoes to incorporate, stirring constantly. If you’re using fresh or chunkier tomatoes, break them up a bit with a wooden spoon.

Chicken paprikash sauce, ready to simmer

THE SIMMER & FINISH

Add the chicken back to the pan. You can scoop some of the sauce over the pieces of chicken if you’d like for more of that paprika sauce flavor to work its way into the chicken.

Adding the chicken back into the sauce

Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, cooking until the chicken is cooked completely through. It should measure 165 degrees F (74 C) internally when measured with a meat thermometer.

NOTE: I like to use my ThermoPop meat thermometer from ThermoWorks (I’m an affiliate). Works great! 

Remove from heat. Remove the chicken and swirl in the sour cream a bit at a time until it is fully incorporated. Adjust with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Swirling sour cream into the paprika sauce

Add the chicken back to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken pieces. Heat a bit more if needed.

Serving chicken paprikash

Garnish and serve!

Boom! Done! Chicken Paprikash in the house! It’s definitely one of our favorite recipes here, so incredibly easy to make. I love a good easy recipe. Perfect for weeknight dinners.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Chicken. Bone-in chicken parts are more traditionally used in Hungarian chicken paprikash, though you can use any cut of chicken you’d like. Try it with skinless, boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast for a healthier version. You’ll save a lot of calories that way and the flavor is still delicious.
  • Tomato Alternative. I’ve made paprika chicken with chicken broth instead of tomatoes based on other recipes I’ve seen, and I do enjoy it. The results are still nice and creamy from the sour cream and from the overall thickening as it simmers, but I prefer the added flavor of the tomatoes.
  • The Paprika. The liberal use of the popular Hungarian spice, paprika, is what gives this dish its name. There are many varieties produced in Hungary with 8 different types, ranging in heat level and pungency. Some are smoked, some sweet and some hot. You can use any of them for this recipe. I like to use a sweeter smoked Hungarian paprika as well as hot paprika. Learn all about the spice, paprika.
  • Paprika Recommendation. I love Szeged Paprika. They offer great flavor and many varieties and options. Buy Szeged Paprika from Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!). Great stuff.

Chicken Paprikash in a hot pan

What to Serve with Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash is traditionally served with “nokedli”, which are boiled egg noodles similar in thickness to German spätzle, like tiny dumplings. However, you can serve it up with other pasta noodles, or serve it over rice, couscous or other grains, and even creamy grits. Try it over cauliflower rice for a lower calorie meal.

That’s it, my friends! Home cooks rejoice in your new favorite easy chicken dish! I hope you enjoy my chicken paprikash recipe. It’s so good! Paprika chicken! Let me know if you make it, and if you enjoy it.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Spooning extra sauce onto my chicken paprikash

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Chicken Paprikash Recipe
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5 from 4 votes

Chicken Paprikash Recipe (Hungarian Paprika Chicken)

This Hungarian chicken paprikash recipe is authentic and easy to make, with seared chicken simmered and served in creamy paprika sauce. Mild or spicy!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, chicken thighs, one pot, paprika
Servings: 4
Calories: 652kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter or use vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces I used thighs for this recipe, skin on
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional, for more spice factor)
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika or use cayenne powder
  • 15 ounce can tomatoes use crushed tomatoes or fire roasted tomatoes, or you can use fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature - or use crema, yogurt, quark or heavy cream
  • FOR SERVING: Spicy chili flakes fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Heat the butter or oil in a large pan.
  • Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken 4-5 minutes per side, allowing the fat to render and the skin to brown. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.
  • Drain some of the fat from the pan, leaving about a tablespoon. Add the onion and peppers. Stir to get all those flavorful brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, hot paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for one minute.
  • Add the tomato and stir to incorporate.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. It should measure 165 degrees F (74 C) internally when measured with a meat thermometer.
  • Remove from heat. Remove the chicken and swirl in the sour cream a bit at a time until it is fully incorporated. Adjust with salt and pepper.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken pieces. Heat a bit more if needed.
  • Garnish and serve!

Notes

Heat Factor: Mild, though you can heat things up with hot paprika or cayenne, and with spicy chili peppers.
Calories are calculated with bone-in, skin on chicken thighs. You can reduce the calories by using skinless, boneless chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 245mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 1071mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4469IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 4mg
Chicken Paprikash Recipe
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