What is Chicken Paprikash?

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  • Written By: Marina Martin
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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Chicken paprikash is a traditional Hungarian dish similar to goulash. Its main ingredients are chicken, paprika, and sour cream. Variations sometimes include the addition of ginger, garlic and onions, among a variety of other ingredients. It is commonly served over spaetzle, but also can also be served as a soup. The dish takes approximately one hour to prepare.

A chicken paprikash recipe typically includes salt; paprika; flour for dredging; a pint of sour cream; two chopped onions; and one whole, raw chicken. The flour, paprika, and salt are combined in a shallow bowl or spread out on a plate. The chicken is cut into individual pieces, such as legs and breasts or small strips. Once cut, the chicken pieces are washed and dried prior to being dredged in the flour mixture.

Next, the butter is heated on the stove top until melted. The dredged chicken parts are placed in the butter for about 16 minutes. Each piece is flipped once at the halfway mark. The chicken is considered done when both sides are slightly brown.

The chopped onions are now sautéed in the heated butter until brown. At this point the chicken is added back into the pot along with the salt, paprika, and half a cup (236 mL) of water. The mixture cooks on low for approximately 40 minutes. Additional salt and paprika can be added for taste.


The selection of paprika is important because it can change the flavor of the entire chicken paprikash recipe. Hungarian paprika is typically used in traditional dishes. The intensity of the paprika can also affect the color of the finished dish. Mild paprika tends to be bright red, while spicier paprika is often brown.

Once the chicken paprikash finishes cooking, the sour cream is added. The entire mixture is stirred until creamy and then served hot. Hungarian chicken paprikash is traditionally served with spaetzle, which is a type of small egg noodle. Homemade spaetzle tends to be somewhat round, similar to garbanzo beans, while commercial spaetzle makers create short spaghetti-like strands. Plain spaetzle is generally preferred with chicken paprikash since the paprikash sauce has so much flavor already. However, spaetzle can be served with cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms, or many other ingredients.

This dish can also be served as a soup. The recipe is the same, but the dish is served on its own in a bowl. Spaetzle or other noodles may be added to the soup. Starting with smaller chicken pieces may make it easier to eat in soup form.

Chicken paprikash is not the only type of paprikash. Vegetarians may prefer mushroom paprikash or substituting the real chicken with fake meat. In lieu of chicken, pork or veal are two popular alternative protein ingredients.


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