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This Hungarian chicken paprikash is the kind of dish that — upon first bite —reveals itself immediately and inarguably to be comfort food, even if you’ve never eaten it before in your life. The creamy, flavorful sauce envelopes tender chicken thighs in a dish that feels like a warm hug of a meal.

Traditional sides for Chicken Paprikash are dumplings or egg noodles. Mashed potatoes or rice or rice pilaf are other great options (the sauce is too good to leave any behind on your plate!). Even though there are some vegetables cooked right into the dish, you may also want to serve it with a salad or a vegetable side dish like Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, green beans, or roasted carrots. Scroll down for more side dish suggestions!

We must pause to pay homage to the best mention of the word paprikash in the history of film, in When Harry Met Sally. Please rewatch the Paprikash scene, no one says “Paprikash” better than Billy Crystal.

Chicken Paprikash with fresh parsley garnish in white serving bowl.

Chicken Paprikash: This classic Hungarian comfort food dish features tender chicken stewed with onions, broth, tomatoes, and generous amounts of paprika. Serve over egg noodles to soak up all of the delicious sauce.

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Ingredients

  • Chicken – I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this dish, which become rich and tender after being browned and stewed.
  • Onions – A generous amount of onions add a deep, sweet flavor to the paprikash sauce.
  • Garlic 
  • Flour – This helps the chicken brown and also helps thicken the sauce.
  • Sweet paprika – Authentic Hungarian Chicken Paprikash is so named because of the ample amount of paprika in the sauce, which adds flavor and rich color.
  • Smoked or hot paprika – Adding in another type of paprika is optional but provides another layer of flavor.
  • Bay leaves
  • Crushed tomatoes – Add color and a sweet tanginess.
  • Chicken broth – I prefer to use less-sodium broth, which allows you to control the amount of salt in the dish.
  • Sour cream – Adds creaminess when stirred in at the very end.
  • Egg noodles – These or dumplings are the most traditional accompaniment to this dish, but egg noodles are easier to make.
Chicken Paprikash on white plate with side salad.

Variations

FAQs

What is Chicken Paprikash?

It’s a classic Hungarian dish, which features chicken that is first browned, and then sautéed and stewed with various vegetables.

What does paprikash mean?

Paprikash is the Hungarian word for “pepper,” and paprika is a very traditional Hungarian spice made of ground, dried mild peppers.

What is in Chicken Paprikash?

Chicken stewed with a mixture of onions, broth, tomatoes (sometimes, not always), sour cream, and, of course, copious amounts of paprika.

What kind of paprika do you use in Chicken Paprikash?

In this recipe, I relied primarily on the typical sweet Hungarian paprika and then added a little bit of smoked paprika to give it another level of flavor. You could also add a bit of hot paprika to give it a different kind of kick. But don’t use too much hot or smoked paprika, or the flavor can come on too strong. You could even use a combo of all three, you crazy, crazy fun person.

How to Make Chicken Paprikash

  1. Brown the chicken: Cook the chicken in a hot skillet until the skin is crispy, and it is browned on the bottom. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Cook the onions and garlic in the same pan.
  3. Make the sauce: Stir in the flour, paprika, bay leaves, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Finish cooking the chicken: Return the chicken to the liquid and simmer for another 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Cook the egg noodles.
  6. Finish the sauce: Remove the chicken and bay leaves, and stir the sour cream into the sauce.
  7. Serve: Place the chicken over the hot noodles and spoon over the sauce.
White bowl filled with Chicken Paprikash over egg noodles.

Tips

  • You don’t want to heat the sour cream in the sauce over the stove, or it might curdle. Just stir it into the pot at the very end, and it will blend right in, and add a tangy-creamy note to the warm sauce.
  • Make sure to brown the chicken well and get the skin crispy. The skin will soften during the braising process, but it will have a much better texture than unbrowned skin.

Storage and Leftovers

You can keep leftovers for up to 4 days covered in the fridge. Heat in a pan on the stove over low heat until hot throughout. Don’t let the sauce come to a full simmer. The sauce might separate a bit when reheated, but it will still be delicious.

Side Dishes for Chicken Paprikash

If you are the kind of person to make your own dumplings or noodles, this is a great moment to whip out that skill set. These are excellent traditional accompaniments to authentic Chicken Paprikash. For the rest of us, and for a weeknight dinner, a bag of egg noodles fits the bill perfectly.

Other great side dishes for Chicken Paprikash are Endive, Radicchio, and Citrus Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Light Green Crunchy Salad, and Mixed Greens with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

Also, try these with Chicken Paprikash

Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

Romaine, Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad

Honey Mustard Green Beans

White plate with Chicken Paprikash and green leafy salad.

More Braised Chicken Recipes

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Chicken Paprikash

4.93 from 13 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 People
This classic Hungarian comfort food dish features tender chicken stewed with onions, broth, tomatoes, and generous amounts of paprika. Serve over egg noodles to soak up all of the delicious sauce.

Ingredients 

  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 large pieces)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large onions (quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika (preferably Hungarian)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 12-ounce bag egg noodles

Instructions 

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large, deep heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for about 8 minutes, until the skin is nicely crispy. Flip the chicken and cook for another 8 minutes or so until the bottom of the chicken is nicely browned (it will not be cooked through). Remove the chicken to a plate.
  • Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Return the pan to medium heat, and add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and moderately browned. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the flour and the sweet paprika, as well as the additional smoked or hot paprika if using, until is all well incorporated into the oil, one more minute. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Return the chicken to the liquid, skin side up, and cook for another 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Remove the chicken to a clean plate. Remove the bay leaves, and stir the sour cream into the sauce. Place the chicken over the hot noodles, either on a serving platter or on individual serving plates, and spoon over the sauce.

Notes

  • You don’t want to heat the sour cream in the sauce over the stove, or it might curdle. Just stir it into the pot at the very end, and it will blend right in, and add a tangy-creamy note to the warm sauce.
  • Make sure to brown the chicken well, and get the skin crispy. The skin will soften during the braising process, but it will have a much better texture than unbrowned skin.
  • You can use chicken breasts if you prefer. The cooking time should be about the same.
  • If there is a gluten allergy or intolerance in your house, you can use gluten-free flour to make this a gluten-free dish.
  • Try dumplings instead of egg noodles.
  • You can also make Chicken Paprikash in an Instant Pot!

Nutrition

Calories: 693kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 236mg, Sodium: 260mg, Potassium: 811mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1403IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Comments

  1. I loved this, and my very picky husband did too, I will definitely be making it again !

  2. This was delicious! Husband loved it also and he is alway hesitant to try anything new – but he really liked it! Will definitely make again!

  3. I made this tonight with chicken drumsticks and it is delicious! My family loved the sauce and asked for me to have bread to soak up the extra sauce.

  4. Can the chicken and sauce be made ahead and reheated within 1 – 3 days? I’d like to make it ahead of time and then reheat it in the oven or stovetop on the day I want to serve it. Any recommendations?

    1. make sure when you heat the sauce you do it over low heat so it doesn’t separate!

  5. has anyone rated this recipe. I wondered how it came out. I don’t cook that often and I want to make sure it is good lol

    1. I make this often, its really good! The only thing I changed is I use boneless skinless chicken thighs and add extra paprika. I recommend trying out this recipe

  6. Trying this out!

    When you put the chicken back in the sauce for 20mins, covered or uncovered?

    Thanks!

  7. Made this last evening. I loved the sauce so delicious. Next time I will use skinless chicken thighs. Very good!!

  8. Made it this evening! I tweaked the amount of garlic for personal preference, but it was super good! Definitely comfort food.

  9. My Hungarian husband introduced me to this dish. No tomatoes and his own home-made galuska though. You’ve made my mouth water – I’m trying your recipe this weekend with wide egg noodles!

  10. I’m curious. Explain the chicken skin. You crisp it up in pan but once you pour sauce over it has to become “un-crisp”. I just can’t imagine eating that. Why not remove it before hand. It isn’t good for you anyway wth all the fat that’s under it.

    1. The skin does retain some of the crisped texture, even though it is sauced. You could definitely do this with skinless chicken, if you prefer, and you’re right — it would have less fat!

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