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If you like saucy chicken recipes, then you’ll love this Hungarian-inspired paprika chicken recipe! Unlike my marry me chicken or creamy sun dried tomato chicken, the sauce skips the dairy and tomatoes but keeps all the warm, sweet, and smoky flavor. The combination of garlic, onions, and bell peppers is a little similar to chicken cacciatore, but the addition of paprika gives it a unique taste.
This chicken paprika recipe (sometimes called chicken paprikash in Hungary) has base ingredients similar to chicken fajitas or even salsa chicken, but adds a smoky and peppery bite from paprika and cayenne. With big flavor from just a few pantry staples, this one pan meal makes an exciting weeknight dinner!
Why You’ll Love This Paprika Chicken Recipe
- Tender, juicy chicken
- Rich red pepper sauce with a sweet and smoky taste
- Simple everyday ingredients
- Naturally low carb, paleo, and gluten-free
- No flour, thickeners, or cornstarch substitutes needed
- Easy enough for weeknights, special enough for guests
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for the best chicken paprika recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Bone-In Chicken Thighs – I recommend bone-in thighs for the juiciest chicken paprika, but you could also use chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. (Cook time will vary.)
- Olive Oil – For searing. Avocado oil or ghee also works.
- Veggies – You will need a red bell pepper, yellow onion, and fresh minced garlic (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of jarred minced garlic for convenience).
- Paprika – To get plenty of flavor in this paprika chicken recipe, you will need both regular paprika and smoked paprika. For a more authentic dish, substitute both with equal amounts of Hungarian paprika.
- Cayenne Pepper – Adds a subtle spice. For extra kick, add more (or consider red pepper flakes, chili peppers and/or hot paprika).
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Chicken Broth – I prefer reduced sodium chicken broth, but use your preferred type. (Adjust the amount of salt as needed.) You can also use chicken stock or bone broth if you want a richer flavor.
How To Make Paprika Chicken
This section shows how to make chicken paprika, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season the chicken. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear the chicken. Preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and chicken thighs, skin side up. Cook until lightly brown on the bottom, then flip over and cook until the skin is golden brown.
- Saute the veggies. Drain most of the chicken juices from the skillet, leaving enough behind to saute the veggies. Add the bell peppers and onions, and cook over medium-high heat until soft. Add the minced garlic and stir, until fragrant.
- Blend the sauce. Place the cooked veggies into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Finish the sauce. Pour the puree back to the skillet. Add the chicken broth, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and ground black pepper. Whisk the spice mixture into the paprika chicken sauce.
- Combine. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan. Coat with sauce, then bring to a boil and simmer to let the flavors develop. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
- Store: Keep cooked paprika chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make ahead: Slice the peppers and onions ahead, and store in the fridge until ready to cook. You could also make all of the sauce ahead of time by sauteing the veggies in olive oil instead of chicken grease.
- Reheat: You can reheat garlic paprika chicken thighs in the microwave, in the oven at 350 degrees F, or on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid as necessary to prevent burning.
- Freeze: After cooling completely, transfer the chicken and sauce to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop, or reheat from frozen in the oven at 350 degrees F.
What To Serve With Paprika Chicken
Paprika chicken makes an easy meal that pairs with a variety of sides. Here are some options:
- Rice – Chicken and rice always work together. Try cauliflower rice for a lighter option.
- Potatoes – Serve it in a bowl over roasted potatoes or creamy mashed potatoes (or lighter mashed cauliflower), or with Instant Pot baked potatoes on the side. For extra veggies, try roasted rutabaga instead. Don’t forget a dollop of sour cream!
- Veggies – Serve this easy paprika chicken recipe alongside vegetables like Instant Pot broccoli, garlic parmesan whole roasted cauliflower, or tender sauteed asparagus for a light and healthy meal.
More Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes
Chicken thighs are a delicious and budget-friendly cut of meat. Pan fried chicken thighs are my favorite, but there are so many other tasty ways to cook them. Try out these ideas for your next meal:
Paprika Chicken Recipe
Paprika Chicken (Easy & Flavorful!)
This paprika chicken recipe features juicy chicken in a zesty sauce of red pepper, paprika and garlic. It makes an easy, healthy dinner!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Use 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to season both sides (amount is the total among all 4 pieces of chicken).
Preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the olive oil and chicken thighs, skin side up. Cook chicken for 15 minutes, or until brownish on the bottom, then flip over and cook for another 10 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and cover to keep warm.
Drain most of the chicken grease, leaving about 2 tablespoons behind in the skillet. Add the bell peppers and onions. Cook for 7-9 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft.
Add minced garlic and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Place the cooked veggies into a food processor and blend until you get a smooth puree.
Transfer the puree back to the skillet. Add the chicken broth, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk to combine.
Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Coat chicken with the sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat.
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Serving size: 1 large chicken thigh with sauce
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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