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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas)

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Creamy Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.comRich and creamy Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) is a family tradition that brightens the dinner table. 

The Best Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com
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Lt. Dan’s great-grandmother, Grandma Rosie, passed away in 2009 at the ripe old age of 96. I remember sitting in her living room eating the pirouette cookies she always served us, and sipping tall glasses of Sprite.

She would tell us of her ballroom dancing days, and her career as the executive secretary at Studebaker. We watched Notre Dame football games together, and she’d keep stats in a little notebook. I miss her.

Making Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Nowadays, the rest of the family keeps her stories alive. Several years ago Lt. Dan’s grandparents came to visit us. Mo and Papa were a lively pair with wonderful memories of family and travel. For years, Mo was my surrogate grandmother, as my last living grandma passed away when I was sixteen. It was wonderful to marry into a family with a certain fire (and the genes) required for longevity!

Time spent with Mo and Papa was filled with colorful tales… Laced with laughter and head-shaking. After 59 years of marriage, they seemed to truly hold many of life’s secrets. We were always thrilled to shower in their overflowing wisdom.

Their strong Hungarian heritage provided cultural traditions and meals that I was previously unfamiliar with. One particular dish seemed to be the family favorite, Hungarian Chicken Paprikash.

How to Make Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Melt-in-your-mouth chicken and Hungarian rice smothered in a rich, creamy paprika sauce. Traditionally it was made with rabbit meat, when families actually caught their dinner instead of picking it up at the market. Mo described Hungarian cooking as “working man’s food.” Simple, inexpensive, utilitarian meals meant to fill empty bellies.

Hungarian dishes are not glamorous… Yet I always find them comforting and flavor-packed!

Mo passed away this year. This is my last photo of her cooking.

Mo taught me to make Hungarian Chicken Paprikash on that visit. It’s always fun writing a recipe from a grandma-inspired dish, because grandmas cook by feel.

“Add enough flour until it looks right.”

“Stir it until it’s done.”

I definitely had to remake this one on my own a few times, to properly record measurements and times.

Classic Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Traditional Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

I’ve made two small adjustments to Mo’s original recipe to suit my family.

First, Mo cooked as if she was feeding the whole neighborhood. (She probably did!) So I’ve scaled the recipe back to feed 4. Also Mo used sweet paprika, but we like all things spicy around here, so I added hot smoked paprika.

Mo agreed, it really wasn’t overpowering, mixed in with the sour cream. Just a little extra kick!

Perfect Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

One more thing, Mo uses boneless skinless chicken breasts and some drum sticks or thighs in her Hungarian Chicken Paprikash recipe. The breasts end up so tender, you can cut them with your fork, while the bones and skin from the drumsticks create depth of flavor.

When I make Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, I always remember Grandma Rosie and Mo, and the marvelous meals and memories we shared. This is a dish we enjoy throughout the fall and around the holidays.

It brings a smile to my face to know my kids will carry on the tradition of Hungarian Chicken Paprikash made with love!

Amazing Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com

Amazing Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) | ASpicyPerspective.com
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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas) a classic family recipe that brightens the dinner table! It's rich, cozy and bursting with flavor.
Servings: 4



  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil, the chicken pieces, 1 chopped onion, paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown the chicken on all sides, stirring the onions as you turn it, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Then add enough water to the pot to almost cover the chicken. Cover the pot, turn the heat down, and allow the chicken to slowly simmer for about 45 minutes. The chicken should be falling off the bone.
  • Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon oil to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Add the second chopped onion to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add 2 cups of rice, and stir into the onions. Allow the rice to sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover. Allow the rice to cook according to package directions, usually 20 minutes. Once it has absorbed all the stock, stir in the parsley. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
  • Once the chicken is tender, remove it from the Dutch oven and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Dump the sour cream into a medium-sized glass bowl. Whisk ¼ cup of flour into the sour cream until well combined.
  • You should have approximately 3 cups of juices left in the Dutch oven—if it looks like much more than that, dump some out until it measures 3 cups. Now take 1 ½ cups of the reserved pan juices and slowly whisk it into the sour cream mixture. This ensures that the sour cream will not curdle when you heat it, so your sauce will be smooth.
  • Now pour the sour cream mixture back into the pot and whisk well. Keep the sauce over medium heat until it bubbles and thickens to a gravy consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot to coat. Serve the chicken and extra paprikas sauce over the rice.


Serving: 8ounces, Calories: 1099kcal, Carbohydrates: 90g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 62g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 181mg, Sodium: 1075mg, Potassium: 903mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2115IU, Vitamin C: 29.1mg, Calcium: 205mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hungarian
Author: Sommer Collier

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29 comments on “Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas)”

  1. I have made a similar recipe, but use thickened cream instead of sour cream, I make soft noodles instead of rice, family favorite.

  2. First off I’m gonna say. I’m making this tonight it looks delicious… usually when I find a recipe online it comes with some long boring story about exploring Tuscany or a french history lesson and I’m like damn just get to the recipe please!!! But yours was different! I actually read the whole beautiful story with a smile on my face before getting to the delicious recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe and a family story with us. I cant wait to try it ❤

  3. I bought all the ingredients thinking it was for the chicken dish. As I wanted to make this with home made noodles and not rice, those ingredients were superfluous, perhaps you can split the ingredients into two lists? one for the rice and one for the chicken dish. 

  4. I am the son of a Hungarian family as well, and have a good deal of experience.I suggest using Israeli couscous and milk instead. And rather than directly add salt, brine the chicken overnight.

  5. I suspect that there are as many recipes as there are hungarian grandmothers so each to their own of course, but if I may, I find smoked paprika changes the flavour profile significantly. Using spicy is fine, but I still prefer the traditional flavour that comes from unsmoked sweet paprika. If you want heat, start with 3:1 sweet:spicy. Paprikás should be aromatic but not spicy. I’m also surprised there is no garlic in the recipe. I’ve never known a hungarian recipe to go without lol. Anyone wanting to experiment, I recommend at least a couple of cloves. I also have never added flour, relying simply on the mass of sauce to thicken as it reduced. The only change I make to my mum’s recipe is that I forgo the sour cream so the dish is lighter and serve with pasta instead of rice. Soured cream is definitely in the recipe but going without still results in a fantastic dish. So my summary recipe would be fry onions and garlic in large saute pan, once clear take off heat and add paprika, stir in, add chicken thighs, brown, add chicken stock and a teaspoon of tomato paste, cook until chicken is ready and sauce is thickened, usually half an hour, add soured cream if you wish at the end. Too easy but so damned tasty.

    • Should probably add lazy measurements, half a fist sized onion, half a clove of garlic and a level teaspoon of sweet spice paprika per full chicken thigh (I don’t use breast). I usually cook three full thighs and add a couple of teaspoons of chicken stock and a teaspoon of tomato paste, not too much, you shouldn’t taste tomato. Really important to use as fresh paprika as you can find,  ot the stuff that’s been sitting on the shelf for two years. This is the key flavour component, you won’t regret it. Also, don’t add the paprika directly into the hot oil or it will burn and taste bitter. Take the onions and garlic off the heat for a minute first, then add the paprika, and the meat (i halve the thighs) after, keeping mobile during browning.

  6. I plan to use just one onion and add Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and then I can also skip the flour. I think I will try a mix of 1 tablespoon each of Smoked El Rey and Hungarian for the Paprika. The rest seems OK. You can also do this in an Instant pot for probably 7-9 minutes for easier cooking so long as you sear the meat (4-5 minutes per side) first and not have to use as much liquid only to dump it out and decrease the flavor.

  7. Thank you for this recipe………..It was delicious. I served it with Spaetzle instead of rice. My husband loved it.

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  9. I was looking for a Chicken Paprikash recipe with “more flavor” and seasoning. This is a good one, but I used Gnochi instead of rice. Just had some Chicken Paprikash at a local Slovak Fest, and it just didn’t have enough depth of flavor.

  10. Excellent! I never knew what to use paprika for, but now I’ll be reaching for it all the time. It’s going down in our family cookbook.

  11. Wow Sommer! This was DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing! My husband and I devoured this!

  12. Instruction number 2:  “the chicken should be falling off the bone.”  

    Ingredient list:  “boneless chicken breasts.”

    This is why I am deleting this recipe.  It looks tasty, but whoever wrote the instructions forgot to check with whoever wrote the ingredient list, so who knows if whoever took the picture was even photographing these ingredients or this recipe?

    • Marcia, I’m sure if you will re-read the instructions, and one always should read them more than once before beginning a recipe or making comments, you’ll notice that the ingredient list includes “3 pounds chicken, a combination of boneless breasts and drumsticks/thighs” Maybe you should undelete the recipe and give it a try! it looks delicious… I know I can’t wait to try it! I’m not a fan of Smoked Paprika, so I’m going to go with (Grandma) Mo’s original straight up paprika for this. Thanks so much for sharing her and your recipe with us Sommer! I also can’t wait to try the Haluski recipe!

  13. Delicious. I can almost smell dinner cooking. I love family stories and memories like this; they always make the best meal.

  14. This looks absolutely wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  15. I don’t like to cook, though I do it every night. I also don’t like dishes that take more than 20 minutes, require multiple pans, and require watching. And I never comment on recipe blogs. HOWEVER. This dish was so good, I will forget all I previously said and make it again. I literally ate the sauce with a spoon. And dipped freshly made crusty bread in it.

  16. Thank you for sharing. Just seeing a grandma making Chicken Paprikas brings back memories. Interesting though, we never ever had this served over rice as I was growing up. Grandma always made it with dumplings. The dumplings are my favorite part! I wonder if different regions made the recipe in various ways? I am saving this recipe to try because I think having it over rice makes it easier for a weeknight meal.

  17. Looks and sounds delicious! I am so happy to find your blog with Hungarian recipes. My husband lived in Hungary for two years and loves the people, language and culture. He makes us a dish we call Hungarian chicken, but he tells me it’s really pronounced paprika csirke. I have the recipe on my blog. It’s not a professional blog, just a collection of my favorite recipes, so if you look at it, please excuse the crummy pictures and poor writing! :) Here’s a link if your interested. It’s an amazing dish!


  18. This looks delicious! I’m saving this page so I can make this later!

  19. Mo sounds like she KNOW paprikas. Thanks so much for sharing! And Happy SITS day to ya!

  20. Oh that just looks YUM delux! Love chicken and love it spicy.

    Lovely post. Memories and traditions are so precious.

  21. Lovely post! It's sooo good to keep culinary traditions as much as you can…

  22. I'm an eighth Hungarian (the story is that my mom's g-pa made it to America by hiding out on a boat coming into Ellis Island) and I did not know of this dish! I'm excited to give it a try – this looks like just the kind of dish my in-laws would love and would be perfect for serving multiple people. I especially love the cooking shot of "Mo!"

  23. Kawanna Rice Ridout-

    I'm glad to spark your memory–thanks for sharing your story. I KNOW you'll love this Paprikas; it's as authentic as they come!


  24. hi, i'm a lot older than you are, but i have been searching for an "authentic" recipe for this for years. My polish aunt married my hungarian uncle, and back in the 60's i used to
    stay overnite with my cousin. 7am sunday mass at st.anthony's no matter what, the hungarian radio show on wsbt, and chicken paprikash for sunday dinner. thanks for the memory and the recipe.

  25. Wonderful chicken dish packed with flavor. Great vibrant photography as well.