With Hungarian traditions running deep in our family (and this being one of our favourite meals), I cook paprika chicken, or chicken paprikash, A LOT. I’ve adapted the traditional recipe to be more accessible, friendly, and straightforward, something that can be done in under an hour so you can enjoy the warmth and richness of this dish any night of the week!
In This Post:
- ℹ️ Recipe Overview
- 🛒 Ingredients
- 📷 How To Make
- 📹 Watch The Video
- 🍝 Serving Suggestions
- 👩🍳 Recipe Tips
- 📝 Go To Full Recipe
Easy Paprika Chicken
Paprika chicken is a dish that’s close to my heart. My partner’s grandparents were Hungarian and their family tradition of making paprikás csirke (or chicken paprikash, as we refer to it) for Christmas dinner has been passed and is something we do every year.
The traditional version is slow-cooked and is often made with whole chicken or large pieces of chicken with the bone in, requiring a bit of cooking time. We love paprika chicken so much that I make it every couple of months and I’ve adapted the recipe to create a speedy, weeknight version.
Chicken paprikash is usually served with little flour dumplings called nokedli, but we only make those for Christmas. For our regular paprika chicken dinner meal, I cook some small-shaped pasta or gnocchi, rice or quinoa instead. You can also serve it with some potatoes, or cauliflower rice or green veggies for a low-carb version. Paprika chicken is gluten-free.
You Will Need
- Chicken thighs: I use boneless, skinless thighs cut into pieces for quicker cooking. You can substitute with breast if you prefer, but thighs remain juicier and more tender. In the traditional recipe, you’d use chicken on the bone or even the whole chicken, so my version is the speedy alternative.
- Sweet paprika: The star of the show. Hungarian-style for authenticity, but feel free to use what you have on hand. Opt for the sweet paprika, not mild or smoked.
- Vegetables: A colourful mix of onions and bell peppers adds sweetness and texture. Sometimes I will only use red peppers, but green and red together are more authentic. I also add a little garlic but it’s optional.
- Tomatoes & chicken stock: For the rich, saucy base. Tomato paste (in addition to tomato sauce) intensifies the flavour, while the stock adds depth.
- Sour cream & fresh herbs: To finish, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill or parsley bring freshness and a slight tang.
How To Make Paprika Chicken
- Season and sear chicken pieces in olive oil until golden.
- Soften onions and peppers in the same pan, seasoned with salt, then stir in the garlic.
- Return chicken to the pan, paprika, tomato paste, and black pepper. Add tomato sauce or canned tomatoes and stock, and simmer until cooked through (about 30 minutes). Stir once or twice.
- Finish with sour cream and fresh herbs for a creamy, flavourful sauce.
Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikash
For an even easier version, throw everything into a slow cooker after searing the chicken and onions. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the sour cream and herbs just before serving. This method is perfect for those extra busy days.
Watch The Video
- Paprika quality: The flavour of this dish heavily relies on the paprika. Use the best you can find, sweet kind, Hungarian-style if you can.
- Make-ahead: This is a great dish for meal prep and freezes well. You can leave out the sour cream and add it in when reheating.
- Thickening the sauce: If you like a thicker sauce, make a little slurry of flour and water (1 tbsp flour + 3-4 tbsp water or broth) and mix it into the finished stew. This will do the trick! This is especially useful if you want to leave out the sour cream.
What To Serve With Paprika Chicken
Traditionally, chicken paprikash is served with nokedli, which are small flour dumplings, similar to German spetzle. They can be a little time-consuming to make so I only do it for special occasions.
Cucumber Salad With Dill
In our family, we ALWAYS serve chicken paprikash with creamy cucumber dill salad. It’s made with sour cream, which mixed with cucumber juice, salt, pepper and herbs, turns into a dreamy sauce that goes OH-SO-WELL with the paprika chicken. 10/10 recommend!
To make the salad, slice the cucumbers and sprinkle with salt, transfer to a bowl. Add sour cream, salt and pepper and mix to combine until well coated throughout.
More Chicken Recipes
- 2 lb chicken thighs 900 grams, skin off, no bone, cut into 2-3 pieces each
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion diced finely
- 1 red bell pepper medium, diced into cubes
- 1 green bell pepper medium, diced into cubes
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 5 tsp paprika sweet, Hungarian-style
- 250 ml chicken stock about 1 cup
- 1 tomatoes can diced chopped, about 400 grams/ 14 oz
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
- 3 tbsp sour cream to finish the sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped, to garnish, or parsley
Cucumber Dill Salad
- 3 cucumbers (Lebanese) sliced into thin circles
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp pepper
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup dill chopped
- Cut the chicken thighs into 2-3 pieces each and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Rub all over the chicken and set aside.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large, deep pan or pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces and cook 2 minutes on each side, until slightly golden brown. Repeat with the second batch, adding a little more olive oil in between.
- Set pre-cooked chicken aside. Now add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the onions and all diced bell peppers. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened, then add the garlic and stir through one more time.
- Return the chicken and sprinkle paprika all over. Stir through, then add tomato paste, black pepper, canned tomatoes and stock. Stir and cover with a lid. Cook over low-medium heat for about 25-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the sides. Cook the pasta or another side dish to go with paprika chicken. For pasta, I simply drain and mix it with a little butter, then set aside. Cucumber dill salad: slice the cucumbers and sprinkle with salt, transfer to a bowl; add sour cream, salt and pepper and mix to combine until well coated throughout.
- Uncover, add the sour cream and stir. Serve with nokedli, cooked pasta, rice, quinoa or potatoes and your favourite veggies. We serve it with cucumber dill salad