Chicken paprikash is a Hungarian dish with a few simple ingredients, but those ingredients result in tender and flavorful chicken with creamy, luscious sauce. Paprikash is best served with mashed potatoes, spaetzle, or rice. In this post, you will find a video guide on how to make chicken paprikash on a stovetop, how to make it in an instant pot, and simple tips to follow to make this a memorable dish for your loved ones!
What is chicken paprikash?
In Hungary, this dish is called (Paprikas Csirke) and is one of the famous Hungarian dishes. It is known for its delicious sauce and the not-so-regular amount of paprika added to it. Hungarian use sweet Paprika when making Paprikash and here is where the confusion takes place. There are two types of Hungarian paprika, one is spicy, and one is sweet. You should use sweet paprika in the chicken paprikash recipe, but sweet paprika does not mean that it is sweet; it just means that it is not spicy.
It is hard to find Hungarian paprika in the market, but I do not want this to turn you away from the recipe, I have used regular paprika to make it, not even the smoked one, and the flavor was so out of this world. So, if you have paprika in your kitchen and cannot get your hand on some Hungarian paprika, use it to make this recipe, and I promise you will prepare one of the best chicken dishes!
What do you need to make Paprikash?
The ingredients are straightforward. If you cook regularly, you must have everything in your kitchen already, and if you don’t, the nearby store will have it.
Chicken thighs and legs with bones and skin – There are not many spices in this recipe, so we must depend on the flavor coming from the bone and the skin of the chicken. Make sure to buy a good quality chicken.
Olive oil – Use the regular cooking olive oil; it has a thick texture and is darker in color than the light olive oil used in salad dressing. However, if all you have is light olive oil, you can still use it in this recipe.
Unsalted butter – I always like to use unsalted butter in my cooking and baking because some brands add a lot of salt to their butter. However, you can use salted butter but taste the sauce before seasoning it. Our next ingredient usually has a good amount of salt.
Chicken broth – Use the chicken broth you prefer because its flavor will be noticeable in this dish. If you use a chicken broth with an ingredient you are not fond of, like anise seeds, you will taste it. You can also use one chicken bouillon dissolved in one and a half cups of hot water.
Onion – Use yellow or purple onion. It has a lot of flavors. I mainly go for purple onion when cooking, but the choice is yours. White onion won’t give much flavor.
Salt and black pepper.
Paprika – As I have mentioned earlier, if you can get your hand on Hungarian sweet paprika, use it; if not, use the paprika you have at home.
Sour cream – Do not use yogurt; it will curdle quickly, and the sauce won’t come out as smooth.
Flour – It is best to use all-purpose flour, and it is necessary to thicken the sauce. Don’t use cornstarch or potato starch in this recipe.
What parts of chicken to use in chicken paprikash?
Legs and thighs have more flavor because they are lean and have bones, which enhances the overall taste if the skin is on. You can use Chicken wings too. If you want to use chicken breast, I suggest cutting it into bite-size pieces and cook it in hot oil to sear it quickly since breasts are extra lean. You won’t have many juices coming out from the breast cut, and the cooking time will be shorter.
Different versions of chicken paprikash?
There are different recipes for chicken paprikash, they all are not so different, but the ingredients change a little depending on which part of Hungary you are in. Some started adding bell peppers to the dish; others add tomatoes. With the bell pepper, you will find that the aroma and taste of the bell pepper almost take over the authentic taste of chicken paprikash. I don’t add bell peppers when I make this dish.
I’m not sure why some add tomatoes, but I feel there is enough tang from the sour cream, which balances the dish, and no need to add the tomatoes. I think it is a personal preference, and you are welcome to add these ingredients if you wish. If you like dishes with gravy and served with pasta or mashed potato, try my Beef Stroganoff Recipe and my Old Fashioned Beef Stew.
Thickening the sauce
Mixing flour and sour cream and then adding it to the sauce thickens the sauce and turns it into silky-smooth gravy. I wouldn’t recommend using cornstarch or potato starch instead of flour. The texture of the sauce changes and is more clump-like when reheating the dish if you have used cornstarch. Some add sour cream without the flour at the end of the cooking, and it also thickens the sauce. If you want to skip the flour, add the sour cream after beating it at the last few seconds of cooking and then turn off the heat to prevent the sauce from curdling.
How to make chicken paprikash
- Add the olive oil and butter to a hot pan and sear the chicken from both sides. This step is essential, and you should not skip it; the searing of the chicken locks in the juices and prevent the chicken from becoming dry.
- Remove the chicken and add the sliced onion to the pan. Fry until the onion is translucent. Turn off the heat and add the spices. We turn off the heat since cooking the spices, especially paprika, while the heat is on, burns the spices and produces a bitter taste.
- Return the chicken to the pan and turn on the heat. Then pour in the chicken stock and let it cook while covered until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- Mix the sour cream with flour in a bowl and add two to three tablespoons from the sauce to it to tamper it. To prevent the sauce from forming clumps after adding the sour cream mixture to it, remove the chicken and add the sour cream mixture and stir. I am used to cooking and a little fast, so I had no problem adding the sour cream mixture while the chicken is still in the pot, as shown in the video.
- Cook on low heat until the sauce thickens, and then serve.
How to cook chicken paprikash in an Instant pot?
- Choose the “sauté” option on your instant pot. Add the olive oil and butter, then add the chicken and sear on both sides. Remove the chicken.
- Add the onion and sauté until translucent, season with the spices and mix quickly. Return the chicken to the instant pot and mix well.
- Pour the chicken broth over the chicken, close the lid, and set the steam release to “sealing”—pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
- Wait until the pressure is naturally released from the instant pot, then turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining steam.
- Remove the chicken. Mix the sour cream with flour and add it to the sauce while whisking or stirring to avoid forming lumps. Press “sauté” and cook the sauce until thick. Add the chicken and mix for one minute.
- Serve with your favorite side dish.
How to serve chicken paprikash
This dish is fantastic, and it tastes awesome with white rice, mashed potato, pasta, or homemade spaetzle. I have had it with bread, and I have to say that the bread tasted even better with the sauce.
Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- 778 gm Chicken thighs and legs with skin and bones
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock make it 2 ½ cups if you wish to have more sauce
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- In a hot pan, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the chicken and sear until golden from both sides.
- Remove the chicken and add the sliced onion. Cook the onion until translucent. Turn off the heat and add the salt and all the spices, stir for a minute. Add the chicken to the pan and turn on the heat.
- Pour the stock over the chicken and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes. Keep checking on it to add more stock if required.
- In a different bowl, mix the sour cream with the flour until well combined. Take two to three tablespoons from the sauce, add to the sour cream mixture, and mix to tamper.
- Add the sour cream mixture to the chicken and mix quickly to prevent forming lumps. You can also remove the chicken from the sauce, then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce. Mix well and then return the chicken.
- Cook the sauce on medium-low heat until thicker in texture.
- Serve with your favorite side dish, like mashed potato or rice.