The Best Chicken Paprikash Recipe

The best chicken paprikash. . J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why This Recipe Works

  • Searing is not a traditional step in paprikash, but it adds lots of flavor.
  • Adding gelatin to store-bought chicken broth lets you develop a rich, flavorful sauce without muddying its flavor with flour or cornstarch.
  • Fish sauce and lemon juice bring out the flavor of the paprika and the chicken.

This version of chicken paprikash takes a few extra steps to ensure the best possible flavor. Searing the chicken produces a more complex sauce while adding gelatin to chicken broth gives it a richer mouthfeel. The recipe is a little more complicated than your average chicken paprikash, but the results are well worth the effort.

Recipe Details

The Best Chicken Paprikash Recipe

Active 40 mins
Total 70 mins
Serves 4 servings


  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 (0.25 ounce) packet powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 4 whole chicken legs, split into thighs and drumsticks (about 2 pounds)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional, see notes)

  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) high quality Hungarian sweet paprika (see notes)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon

  • Minced fresh parsley leaves or dill (optional)

  • Egg noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle for serving


  1. Pour chicken stock into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.

  2. Season chicken pieces generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large straight-sided sauté pan or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add chicken pieces skin-side-down in a single layer and cook without moving until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. As the chicken pieces finish browning, flip them over and cook until the second side is light golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a large plate and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan.

  3. Add onions and bell peppers (if using) to the pan and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until the onions are tender and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant and nutty, about 1 minute.

  4. Add stock/gelatin mixture and scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf. Nestle seared chicken pieces back into the sauce, leaving them skin-side up. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover pan, and cook until chicken is completely tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. Remove chicken pieces and set aside on a large plate. Whisk sour cream, fish sauce, lemon juice, and half of minced parsley or dill into sauce. Season to taste with salt and more paprika if desired. Return chicken to pan and turn to coat in sauce.

  6. Serve immediately over noodles, boiled potatoes, or spaetzle, tossing the noodles or potatoes with the sauce and placing the chicken on top. Garnish with more sour cream, paprika, and minced fresh parsley or dill (if using)

Special equipment

4 1/2-quart straight-sided sauté pan or large Dutch oven


Bell pepper is not a traditional ingredient for chicken paprikash, but it is such a common addition in the American version of the dish that I decided to include it as an optional ingredient (I almost always use it). It is important to use fresh, high-quality paprika for this recipe. I recommend sweet Hungarian-style paprika from Penzeys, available at local outlets or online.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
418 Calories
20g Fat
19g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 418
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 219mg 73%
Sodium 965mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 3mg 14%
Calcium 80mg 6%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 739mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)