Chicken Paprikash is the Hungarian dish of your dreams - and you only need a few simple ingredients to make it at home tonight!
Even though you need a few, simple ingredients, you're going to end up with tender, flavorful chicken with its trademark creamy and luscious paprika-infused sauce!
Serve the Paprikash with mashed potatoes, spaetzle, or rice.
In this post, you will find a video guide on how to make chicken paprikash on a stovetop, as well as how to make it an instant pot! I've also included simple tips you can follow to make this a memorable dish for your loved ones!
What is chicken paprikash?
In Hungary, this dish is called Paprikas Csirke (pronounced Paprikash Cheerke) and is one of the most famous Hungarian dishes ever. It is known for its delicious sauce and the not-so-regular amounts of paprika added to it.
It's the ultimate Hungarian comfort food and one of the most delicious chicken recipes out there!
Traditionally Chicken Paprikash is served over dumplings (spaetzle) or broad egg noodles. You can have it in many different ways though (I know I have!). Serve it over these or with mashed potatoes or rice - it's going to taste delicious every single time!
What is Paprika and Which One Do I Use?
Paprika is a delicious spice that's made from grinding dried red peppers into a powder form. In your nearest grocery store, you'll find two common paprika spices:
Regular Paprika: This paprika has a slightly sweet flavor and a beautiful, vibrant red color.
Smoked Paprika: This type of paprika is made by smoking the red peppers before drying them and grinding them into a powder form. For this reason, it doesn't have as much of vibrant color when compared to regular paprika.
Interestingly, there are eight different types of paprika spices available in Hungary! This is because Hungarian cuisine uses paprika quite a bit (so delicious!). But don't worry, you only need regular paprika to make this recipe and the flavor will still turn out incredible!
Which Type of Paprika Do They Use to Make this Dish in Hungary?
Hungarians 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 the other one is sweet. You should use sweet paprika for this Chicken Paprikash recipe.
Even though it's called sweet paprika, that does not mean that it's sweet - it just means that it's not incredibly spicy like the other one.
It is hard to find Hungarian paprika in the market, but I don't want this to turn you away from trying out this recipe!
To make this delicious dish, I've used regular paprika, 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 of your life!
Where Do I Buy Authentic Hungarian Paprika Home?
Like I said, you don't really need to buy the authentic Hungarian paprika that's traditionally used in this dish. But if you want to really try that subtle change in flavor, I have all the details here for you!
This authentic Hungarian paprika has been imported straight from Hungary! It'll add an extra something to your dish and make you feel like you're eating it in Hungary, and not at your own home!
It's worth the investment if you've tried making this dish with regular paprika (like I mention in this recipe) and now want to experiment with the authentic spice! Otherwise, trust me, even regular paprika will give you a flavor that's unmistakably amazing!
What Do You Need to Make Hungarian Chicken Paprikash at Home?
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 to Make 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 cooking 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.
What Are the Different Variations of Chicken Paprikash?
The ingredients I mentioned above and the ones I've included in this recipe are the ones that are for the Authentic version of this recipe - they are the essential ingredients! But there are many different variations for Chicken Paprikash.
Like I said, there are different recipes for chicken paprikash and 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 prefer adding bell peppers when I making 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.
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 onions to the pan. Fry until the onions turn 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 of the hot sauce from the pan to it to temper 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.
- The instant pot recipe is in the post.
- You can use chicken wings and if using chicken breast cut in bit size.
- It's best to use Hungarian sweet paprika, but regular paprika will give amazing flavor too.
- Use low sodium chicken stock if possible to have more control over how much salt is in the dish.
- This post was originally posted in 2021 and is updated with more information and details.