Whenever we feel the lack of culinary creativity, we can always turn to chicken. It’s a reliable, easy-to-prepare protein that can serve as a blank canvas for any number of flavors, and it plays well with an infinitude of side dish pairings. Poultry should never be boring, so we’ve compiled our best chicken recipes to prove just how exciting this bird can be. Read on for enough chicken inspiration to keep you cooking throughout 2023.
Baked Chicken Kiev
Chances are that many of you, like us, grew up eating your way through bulk boxes of individually wrapped chicken Kievs from Costco as a weeknight dinner option. As it turns out, it’s not so difficult to make a fresh version at home, thanks to this recipe for Baked Chicken Kiev. It’s essentially just a stuffed chicken breast that’s rolled up and breaded before being either baked or fried. It does involve a number of steps, so batch-prepping more than you plan to eat in one sitting and stocking your freezer with future Kievs is highly recommended. Get the recipe for Baked Chicken Kiev here.
Air Fried Whole Chicken
Provided you have an air fryer big enough to handle it, we can say with confidence that cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer is not only possible, but also easy, delicious, and superior to many recipes involving a conventional oven. With minimal seasoning and one flip halfway through the cooking process, you’re all but guaranteed consistent, tasty results. Get the recipe for Air Fried Whole Chicken here.
Homemade Air Fryer Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Not to brag, but this Ultimate Homemade Spicy Chicken Sandwich might be better than the one you can order at the Popeyes drive-thru. Why? It uses chicken thighs, not breasts, because thighs are indisputably the tastiest part of the chicken. The thighs are marinated in a mixture of buttermilk and pickle juice, which makes them meltingly tender and flavorful and keeps them from drying out in the air fryer. The chicken is then breaded in a mixture of panko and crushed sour cream and onion potato chips, which contain just enough oil to create an ultra-crispy golden brown crust. Get the recipe for Homemade Air-Fried Spicy Chicken Sandwiches here.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken With Spiced Cashews
Chandra Ram, author of The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook (available here), understands that the Instant Pot is more than just an appliance to make cooking more convenient; her recipes play to the pressure cooker’s strengths, resulting in complex dishes a home cook might otherwise be too intimidated to take a stab at. This recipe for butter chicken adds some deeper, smoky notes with the unorthodox addition of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. From start to finish, you’ll get this to the table in half an hour. Get the recipe for Instant Pot Butter Chicken With Spiced Cashews here.
Chicken à la King
Let’s take a trip back through time, shall we? The fashionable Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia developed this dainty dish in the early 1900s, serving it to the ladies who frequented the tea room. In its edible pastry vessel, Chicken à la King is like a golden chalice of cream sauce, and it’s a showstopper at any gathering. Trust us: you’ll want to impress your friends with this one. Get the recipe for Chicken à la King here.
Skillet Chicken Thighs With Schmaltzy Matzo Crumble
One of the easiest ways to make anything taste good is to cook it in schmaltz, aka rendered chicken fat. These chicken thighs are cooked low and slow in a cast iron skillet, rendering the fat out of the chicken skins, making them so crispy they shatter like glass. Then, fat pieces of matzoh get toasted in the flavored schmaltz for a meal you won’t soon forget. Get the recipe for Skillet Chicken Thighs with Schmaltzy Matzo Crumble here.
Air Fried Chicken Wings
If you’ve got an air fryer, you have the perfect way to cook your chicken wings, no frying oil necessary. The circulating heat of the air fryer shaves 15-20 minutes off the typical cook time, and the results are just as crispy as anything you’d get at a sports bar. Sure, wings are usually served as an appetizer, but when they’re this easy to make, you might decide to make them a weeknight entree. Get the recipe for Air Fried Chicken Wings here.
We know what you’re thinking: what on earth is “Chiff Choff”? For the uninitiated, it’s a simply prepared dish that takes bone-in chicken thighs, dusts them in seasoned flour, sears them, and then cooks them with a jar of hot cherry peppers. The spicy, vinegary peppers merge with the fond from the chicken, creating an addictively toothsome sauce, and what you’re left with is a kind of Italian hot chicken adobo. Get the recipe for Chiff Choff here.
Spatchcocked Hawaiian Grilled Chicken
This recipe is the perfect reason to commit to using your grill more this summer. Grilled chicken is much less likely to dry out if it’s brined or marinated, so this recipe calls for the poultry to sit overnight in a mixture of coconut milk, sour cream, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a few other delicious ingredients, ensuring a juicy bird that’s oh-my-god good. Get the recipe for Spatchcocked Hawaiian Grilled Chicken here.
Orange soda chicken, à la mall food court
Sounds gross, doesn’t it? We get it. But the orange soda involved in this recipe plays sort of like teriyaki, bending ever so slightly toward a notion of orange candy. Garlic, ginger, and a spoonful of honey come together to make the finished product taste more naturally (as opposed to artificially) sweet. In the end, the sweet and savory flavor in a tender protein like chicken thighs will stoke your nostalgia for mall food court bourbon chicken. Get the recipe for Orange Soda Chicken here.
Brie Spinach-Stuffed Chicken
This is a great dish to serve a crowd. Why? Because guests hear “Brie-stuffed” and see the juicy, mustard-brushed chicken and think it’s fancy. Never mind that you just defrosted the chicken breasts an hour ago, or that two of the main ingredients are fridge-staple condiments. Brie is fancy, ipso facto this dish is fancy: easy but impressive, simple but not boring, and containing only six ingredients (seven, if you count the toothpicks). Get the recipe for Brie Spinach-Stuffed Chicken here.
Easy Chicken Paprika
There are a whole lot of recipes you can build off of a basic grocery store rotisserie chicken. You probably knew that already—but was chicken paprikash in your mental rolodex? This super-comforting, stick-to-your-ribs dish has seven ingredients, comes together quickly, and can be served over rice or noodles with a side of whatever veggie you want. Get the recipe for Easy Chicken Paprika here.
Chicken Parm Pot Pie
This one will feed a crowd, make no mistake: it starts with a breadcrumb crust that’s then layered with shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, four chicken breasts’ worth of meat, and garlicky marinara sauce. The top crust, meanwhile, is formed by a thin layer of pizza dough brushed generously with garlic butter. It’s a bit time-consuming, but it’s worth it just to make your kitchen smell like a Brooklyn slice joint. Get the recipe for Chicken Parm Pot Pie here.
Spicy Panang Curry
Here’s the base of panang curry: Thai red curry paste and coconut milk. That’s it, and it’s amazing. You should be able to find these two items in most grocery stores. From there, it’s just chicken (or the protein of your choice), bell pepper, and ginger—additional vegetables such as mushrooms and peas can be added, though only if you feel like it, because it’ll feel complete without them, too. It’s a dish that dances along the dividing line between hot and sweet, coming together in perfect harmony. Get the recipe for Spicy Panang Curry here.
Springfield Cashew Chicken
Springfield-style cashew chicken was invented in Missouri and is one of the Midwest’s greatest contributions to Chinese-American food. It starts with fried chicken, not the more common stir-fried version. The crunchy chunks of chicken are then smothered in a rich gravy of oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, and ginger stirred into a chicken stock thickened with cornstarch. The final touch is a sprinkle of chopped green onions and cashew halves. Our version tweaks the breading and the sauce to create a new interpretation of a classic, one that you have to try at least once. Get the recipe for Springfield Cashew Chicken here.
Chicken “Not” Pie
Chicken Pie is a simple pleasure: the smoothness of the soft chicken and creamy rice in broth, paired with powdery, crunchy brown biscuits is divine in its simplicity. It nearly defies categorization, sitting somewhere between a pot pie, a casserole, and chicken and biscuits. Call it whatever you want, as long as you give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. Get the recipe for Chicken “Not” Pie here.
Brick Roast Chicken
Don’t you dare scroll past this recipe thinking, “I can’t make that—I don’t have a brick.” You don’t need a brick! You can achieve the same results by pressing down on the spatchcocked chicken with a heavy Dutch oven. Other than one small whole chicken, this recipe calls for only the simplest ingredients so that the superbly golden, utterly crispy chicken skin has a chance to shine through. Get the recipe for Brick Roast Chicken here.