Chicken Paprikash, a classic Hungarian dish, is one of those meals that warms your body and comforts your soul! Made in one pot, it can be on the table in less than one hour, making it suitable for busy weeknights!
This post is sponsored by FAGE, but all opinions are my own.
Cozying up with a bowl of a creamy chicken stew is one of my favorite things to do. From this rich Chicken Paprikash to my Brazilian Paprika Chicken Stew with White Beans and Chicken Cacciatore, you will find a plethora of recipes for you to try tonight.
Chicken Paprikash, Chicken Paprikas, Paprika Chicken – you will find lots of variations of this dish, with slightly different names.
Whatever you choose to call it, I have no doubts you will love this!
If you’re a paprika lover, that is. Because paprika is the main flavor here and one has to like it to enjoy this dish!
That being said, feel free to raise or lower the amount of paprika to suit your palate.
But whatever you do, don’t skip adding FAGE Sour Cream. It is the one (not so) secret ingredient that transforms this dish from a plain chicken stew to a rich and indulgent cozy meal!
What is Chicken Paprikash?
Chicken Paprikash, or Paprikás Csirke in Hungarian, is a stew-like dish that consists of chicken pieces simmered in a rich paprika sauce and finished with sour cream.
While there are no records on this dish’s origin, it is believed to have originated in southern Hungary, several centuries ago. That is because two towns in the region – Szeged and Kalocsa – are known for growing the best peppers and producing excellent paprika, so the assumption is logical.
And although chicken is what was originally used, you will also find versions made with pork, lamb and veal. A vegetarian version can also be made with mushrooms, potatoes and/or chickpeas.
Finally, this dish can also be found in Bulgarian cuisine, with smaller amounts of paprika. A kosher and dairy-free version is popular among Ashkenazi Jews, especially those of Hungarian descent.
To make this chicken paprikash recipe, you will need:
CHICKEN – Traditionally, a whole chicken (cut into pieces) is used. I prefer using chicken thighs and drumsticks instead. Bone-in, skin-on is preferred, but I have made this with boneless, skinless thighs and it works as well!
PAPRIKA – Buy good quality paprika, as it is the main ingredient here!
SOUR CREAM – The sour cream balances the richness of this stew, while also adding a pleasant tanginess that brings more depth of flavor.
ONION – You’ll need a large yellow or Spanish onion.
GARLIC – Not traditional, but in my opinion garlic makes anything better!
TOMATOES – The subject of a lot of discussion among Chicken Paprikash snobs, who claim using tomatoes is not authentic. However, I find that a can of crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), adds a bit of sweetness which complements the paprika beautifully!
WHITE WINE – Also not authentic and therefore optional. But I like using a splash of white wine to deglaze the pot.
CHICKEN BROTH – While water is what was traditionally used, I highly recommend using chicken broth (or stock) for more flavor!
OIL – Recipes that claim to be authentic use lard instead. Since I almost never have lard on hand, I use a vegetable oil (for its high smoking point). You could also use butter if you prefer!
FLOUR – To thicken the stew.
SALT AND PEPPER – For seasoning.
PARSLEY – Optional and not traditional! But I happen to think that every brown (or, in this case, red) food can aesthetically benefit from a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Which kind of paprika should I use?
This recipe was developed using sweet paprika. If you’d like to spice things up, you can use the hot variety, but I would lower the amount to one tablespoon and work your way up from there.
If possible, I recommend buying fresh Hungarian paprika. This is the one I use. The generic paprika that you find at the supermarket doesn’t have much flavor and is often used for color only.
It is important to use fresh paprika, as it can get stale and flavorless with time. Anything that is 6+ months old will probably be no good.
A good way to know if your paprika is old is to look at it and taste it. If it’s pale orange and flavorless, toss it! Fresh paprika should be a deep red color and taste/smell slightly sweet.
Which is the best sour cream for Chicken Paprikash?
In my opinion, the best sour cream out there is FAGE Sour Cream!
It is rich, creamy, made with simple all-natural ingredients and Non-GMO Project Verified. The perfect addition to add a bit of indulgence to your recipes.
I’ve been a long time customer of FAGE because of their amazing Greek yogurt, but got embarrassingly excited when I discovered their sour cream. I’ve been using in lots of dishes, from chili to stroganoff, as well as in some of my baking recipes.
You can find FAGE sour cream in 8oz or 16oz containers! Check here to locate it close to you.
How to make Chicken Paprikash
Paprika Chicken is not only easy to make, but also done in one pot, so clean-up will be a breeze!
It is also easy to customize, so you can use whatever cut of chicken you prefer, more or less paprika and as much sour cream as your heart desires.
I recommend making the recipe as-is once and then adjusting as needed to make it yours. Because, believe me, you will want to make it over and over again! 😉
Recommended tools: Dutch Oven or braiser.
Here’s how I make this Chicken Paprikash recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Brown the chicken and make the sauce.
- Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil and brown the chicken on all sides. Remove and reserve.
- Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the paprika off heat.
- Return pot to the heat and add white wine to deglaze. This is optional.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Simmer.
- Return the chicken to the pot, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked.
Step 3: Thicken the sauce.
- In a bowl, combine the sour cream with a ladleful of the hot liquid from the pot. Mix until well combined. This will ensure the sour cream doesn’t curdle when you add it to the stew.
- Add the flour and mix until incorporated. Make sure to mix well to avoid any lumps.
- Remove the chicken to a serving platter or bowl.
- Pour the tempered sour cream mixture in the pot and mix to combine. Cook for a few minutes until thickened to the desired consistency.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve!
- The USDA states that the safe minimum internal temperature for chicken is 165°F. However, due to the high amount of connective tissue in thighs and drumsticks, I recommend cooking them to a higher temperature, between 175 and 180º. That will produce tender, juicier meat, as the collagen will melt and turn to gelatin.
- While traditionally the chicken is added raw to the stew, browning the pieces before simmering not only contributes to the overall flavor of the dish, but helps lock in moisture, speed up cooking time and improve the visual appearance of the finished dish.
What to serve with Chicken Paprikash?
In Hungary, Chicken Paprikash is usually served with nokedli, a small Central European dumpling, similar to the German spätzle.
Here in the U.S., you will likely find it served over buttered egg noodles. However, rice or mashed potatoes would also pair great with this rich stew!
Frequently Asked Questions
If properly stored in an airtight container, this dish will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
I like to store the chicken and sauce in separate containers, so it’s easier to reheat.
If you stored the chicken and sauce separately, place the sauce in a pot and reheat over medium-low heat, adding more broth to loosen it up, until simmering.
Then, add the chicken pieces and continue reheating until the chicken is warm! You can also add some more sour cream if desired.
While it is safe to freeze this dish, I would not recommend it. Even though the sour cream is mixed with other ingredients, I find that it still separates when frozen and thawed!
If you must freeze, skip adding the sour cream and add after you defrost and reheat.
More Hungarian and Russian Recipes:
- 4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks, (about 3.5 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup white wine, (optional)
- 1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2/3 cup FAGE Sour Cream
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnishing (optional)
- Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper.
- In a large Dutch Oven (or braiser), over medium-high heat, add the oil and, once hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove and reserve on a plate.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Briefly remove the pot from the heat and stir in the paprika. The residual heat will help toast it slightly without burning it.
- Return the pot to the heat and add the white wine, if using. Cook, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until reduced considerably, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the chicken to the pot, making sure every piece is surronded by the liquid. The liquid doesn't have to completely cover it. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken pieces are tender and a thermometer inserted in their thickest part reads at least 175º.
- In a bowl, combine the sour cream with a ladleful or two of the hot liquid from the pot. Whisk until incorporated. Then, add the flour and mix until no lumps remain.
- Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour the tempered sour cream mixture into the sauce. Cook until thickened to the desired consistency.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the chopped parsley (if using) and serve immediately, over nokedli, spätzle or egg noodles.
PaprikaFor best results, it is highly recommended you use fresh Hungarian paprika. If you prefer to use hot, use one tablespoon only (or a combination of hot and sweet) and increase as needed.
ChickenThis dish is traditionally made with a whole chicken, cut into pieces. I prefer to use a mix of chicken thighs and drumsticks, but you can certainly use one or the other. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but cooking times will vary.
LeftoversLeftover Chicken Paprikash will keep well in the fridge, stored in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 days.
ReheatingReheat on the stove, over medium-low heat.
FreezingWhile it is safe to freeze this dish, I don’t recommend it. If you must freeze, skip adding the sour cream and add once thawed and reheated.