When you're trying to eat well during the week, it's always important to think about minimizing the amount of cleanup you'll have to do after making dinner: The last thing you want to have to do is wash half the dishes in your kitchen after working a full day (and cooking dinner). One-pot meals, then, are absolutely the way to go. Chicken is quick and inexpensive enough to be a weeknight staple, and it happens to be very conducive to one-pot cooking. From chicken thighs and sausage cooked with Brussels sprouts to cold sesame noodles with shredded chicken, we've rounded up 16 of our favorite chicken dinners to make with just one pot or pan.
Wondering where all the pressure cooker dishes are? We've got a whole other roundup full of fast pressure cooker recipes (some chicken-y, some not), including 30-minute chicken and lentil stew and quick pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup).
Coconut- and Ají Amarillo–Braised Chicken
The technique behind this recipe is similar to what's used in many of our one-pot chicken dishes, but a couple of unusual ingredients—canned coconut milk and ají amarillo pepper paste—make it truly special. Ají amarillo, a bright yellow pepper that's native to Peru, supplies this dish with a fruity flavor and sunny color, while the mellowness of the coconut milk softens the pepper's bite. Our tried-and-true method of searing the chicken thighs first, then finishing them in the oven, gives you the perfect combination of crispy skin and tender meat.
One-Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts
This hearty one-pan meal pairs tender chicken thighs and Italian sausage with Brussels sprouts and shallots. Positioning the meat on top of the vegetables in the oven allows its rendered fat to soak into the vegetables, giving them extra flavor. As the dish bakes, both the chicken skin on top and the Brussels sprouts on the bottom crisp up beautifully.
Chicken Scarpariello (Braised Chicken With Sausage and Peppers)
This classic Italian-American dish also pairs chicken and sausage (a winning combination), but in this case, the meat is braised with bell pepper and onion in a mix of chicken stock, white wine, and the tangy liquid from a jar of pickled cherry peppers. Two tablespoons of sugar balance out the acidic pickling liquid and wine.
Chicken Thighs With Saffron, Lemon, and Red Potatoes
Using our reliable technique of searing and then braising the chicken, this easy, colorful dish pairs chicken thighs with quartered red potatoes and aromatic saffron. You need just a pinch of saffron for this dish, but if it seems too pricey of an ingredient for a simple weeknight affair, you can also replace it with turmeric—the flavor won't be the same, but you'll get a similarly striking color, and it'll still taste delicious.
Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs With Butternut Squash and Carrots
I hope you're sensing a theme at this point: It's easy to make a tasty chicken dinner by cooking the meat on top of whatever side you'd like. In this case, that means butternut squash and carrots, which are braised in broth along with the chicken. Truthfully, cutting the squash is the hardest part of this recipe, but we've got a video and guide to help you out with that.
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Cabbage and Bacon
This filling braise is made with the classic combination of bacon and cabbage, cooked down with apple cider vinegar and whole grain mustard into something reminiscent of sauerkraut. You can use bacon strips, but thick lardons of slab bacon have a meatier texture. Be sure to let the skin on the chicken thighs fully crisp before trying to turn them, in order to prevent sticking.
Chicken Cacciatore With Red Peppers, Tomato, and Onion
There are a million ways to make chicken cacciatore, but this one hits the ingredients you're most likely to find in an Italian-American version—chicken, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and onion—which, happily, are all ingredients we tend to keep on hand most of the time. Some recipes call for dredging the chicken in flour before browning it, but we find skipping that step allows the brightness of the pepper and tomato to come through more clearly. For an earthier take on this dish, check out our chicken cacciatore with mushrooms instead of peppers.
Easy 4-Ingredient Chicken Paprikash
Our ultimate chicken paprikash is a one-pan recipe, but it's a little involved for a simple weeknight dinner. This four-ingredient version is almost as good, and way simpler—all you need to make it are chicken thighs, an onion, Hungarian sweet paprika, and sour cream, plus oil and salt.
Curried Chicken With Israeli Couscous
The first steps to this easy recipe are to season the chicken and start it poaching—you can do the rest of your prep while it cooks so that everything else is ready to go. Once the chicken is finished, remove it, shred it, then cook up chewy Israeli couscous and mildly bitter Swiss chard in the same pot. Stir in the chicken, and dinner is ready.
Creamy Garlic Chicken Spanakopita Skillet
Spanakopita is pretty labor-intensive to be served as just an appetizer. This recipe is both much easier and hearty enough to be a full meal. We start with the traditional spinach and feta, but also add chopped chicken, then cook all the ingredients in a garlicky cream sauce and top the skillet with phyllo dough. Crumpling up the phyllo sheets adds interesting texture—plus, it's easier than trying to lay them out smooth.
Chicken Massaman Curry With Wheat Beer and Potatoes
Just because a dish has the word "curry" in the name doesn't mean it has to set your mouth on fire. For a softer alternative, try massaman curry paste, which provides all the bold flavors and spicy warmth we associate with curry along with a milder heat. Here, we use it to flavor a one-pot dish of chicken thighs and potatoes simmered in coconut milk and beer—we like the citrusy notes and hint of bitterness offered by a Belgian-style wheat beer.
Easy One-Pot Chicken Tinga (Spicy Mexican Shredded Chicken)
Traditional chicken tinga is made with fresh chorizo—if you don't have a good Mexican grocery nearby, the best option is to make it yourself. That's a hassle, though—to keep this an easy meal, we recommend omitting the chorizo. The tinga will still get plenty of flavor from all the other ingredients that make up the sauce: tomato, tomatillo, garlic, onion, Mexican oregano, bay leaves, and chipotles in adobo.
Pozole Verde de Pollo (Green Mexican Hominy and Chicken Soup)
There's a reason a lot of Mexican restaurants serve pozole only once a week—making it the traditional way is an extremely involved affair that takes all day. This recipe turns the soup into something you can actually manage on a weeknight, by cooking the meat and vegetables at the same time and searing the broth to bring out a ton of flavor quickly.
Chicken in Tomato Sauce With Chickpeas and Kale
We tend to stick with chicken thighs because they're so moist and flavorful, but that's no reason to ignore lean chicken breast entirely. The key to preparing chicken breasts right is to cook them gently and serve them with flavorful accompaniments, like this well-seasoned tomato sauce fortified with earthy chickpeas and hearty kale.
Easy Cold Sesame Noodles With Shredded Chicken
A single pot of water does double duty in this recipe—we use it first to poach the chicken, then cook the noodles in the now-chicken-flavor-enhanced water. Shred the chicken, mix it with the noodles, then dress it all with a sauce made of tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, sambal, and fish sauce. Cabbage and peanuts give the dish a little crunch.
Shredded Chicken With Soba and Miso-Butter Sauce
Miso butter is just what the name implies—a mixture of miso paste and butter. It's popular in Japan as a topping for just about everything, and with good reason, because it's incredibly delicious. Here, we use it as a sauce for a dish of soba noodles, shredded chicken, scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts. We make the dish with chicken thighs, which leave behind lots of tasty drippings to cook the soba with.