Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

This Hungarian chicken paprikash is a chicken dish served with a rich and creamy paprika sauce. I have also included a vegetarian version at the bottom of this recipe. Let’s get cookin’!

Hungarian chicken paprikash, also known as chicken paprikás, is perhaps one of the most well-known dishes from Hungarian cuisine. It is made up of a few very simple, real-food ingredients — chicken thighs, onions, peppers, garlic, paprika, and sour cream. I first learned of this dish from my friend Maggie, whose family comes from Hungary. These paprika chicken thighs do not disappoint!

Types of paprika

Hungarians take pride in their paprika. Did you know there are over 8 different kinds?! You can order online and try the different grades, or if you are in Hungary be sure to bring some home. Below I’ve listed the types you are likely to find in stores in the United States.

  • Sweet paprika – this is what you think of as traditional paprika from the supermarket. Although it is not “sweet” per se, it’s made from red bell peppers and, well, it isn’t spicy.
  • Hungarian “hot” paprika – Bright red paprika with a little kick. 
  • Smoked paprika – smoked paprika hails from the land of Spain, however, feel free to substitute a little bit of smoked paprika in. Not traditional but I think it would taste great.

Overview of how to make chicken paprikash

This Hungarian dish is made up of three steps that come together pretty easily & quickly. The main steps of this recipe are: 

  • Season and sear the chicken thighs
  • Sauté the veggies and spices
  • Add in the cream sauce and combine all the components and simmer

For more details, scroll down to the recipe card near the bottom of the page!

Chicken thighs vs. chicken breasts

I used bone-in skin-on chicken thighs because they have tons of flavor and higher fat content. If you don’t like bone-in chicken like my fellow eating partner Blake, you can easily swap out for boneless, skin-on chicken or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Chicken breasts will also turn out in this recipe, however, they will cook much faster than the thighs. Reduce the simmering time to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees so you don’t end up with a dry, overcooked chicken.

What to serve with this dish

Because this dish has a creamy sauce, you’ll want to pair it with some sort of carb to help you soak up all the creamy goodness. Traditionally, Hungarians will serve this dish with nokedli, which is a small egg noodle similar to spaetzle. Alternatively, you can serve it with

  • egg noodle (or any type of noodle)
  • rice
  • quinoa
  • roasted potatoes

All are great options. In this recipe, I opted for some crispy roasted potatoes.

Vegetarian paprikash 

Although this dish is traditionally made with chicken, I think the sauce would complement a vegetable medley well. Try sautéing some cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms and add into the sauce in place of the chicken. Substitute veggie broth for chicken broth and you have yourself a vegetarian paprikash! It’s that simple folks!

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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

This Hungarian chicken paprikash is a chicken dish served with a rich and creamy paprika sauce.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hungarian
Keyword: chicken paprikash
Servings: 4


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 chicken thighs about 2.5 pounds
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped


  • Crack some salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken thighs. Over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of butter to a pot and add the chicken skin side down for 3-4 minutes until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Then add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add red pepper, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, salt, and pepper. Continuously mix for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add 1 cup of chicken stock and mix, then turn down the heat to medium. Add back the chicken skin-side down to the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. When the chicken has cooked through, remove the chicken from the pot, and set aside. If you are unsure if your chicken is cooked, use a meat thermometer and check for it to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix the flour and sour cream. Then take ½ cup of the onion and pepper liquid from the pot and add it to the sour cream until combined. Then add the sour cream mixture back to the pot and stir. This step ensures that the flour and cream don’t clump together from the heat of the stock.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot and coat with the sauce.
  • Garnish the chicken with parsley, and serve with spaetzle, noodles, or roasted potatoes!

Let me know how you liked this recipe in the comments below!

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