How to make Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings, one of the best traditional Hungarian or Romanian chicken dishes.
This chicken paprikash with dumplings or paprika chicken is one of the best traditional Hungarian meals. I mean, Hungarian cuisine is generally pretty awesome, but the chicken paprikash is even better than awesome.
This is also a typical Romanian recipe; I have been eating it all my life, and – at least in Transylvania – everybody cooks paprikash.
So, if you are in the mood for an authentic Eastern European treat, give this chicken paprikash with dumplings a try; you will love it!!!
Table of contents
- Bone-in chicken thighs and legs. I prefer them to be skinned, but that’s a personal choice.
- If using quarters, divide the thighs and the drumsticks at the joint (See Expert Tips).
- If using a whole chicken, cut it into pieces: thighs, drumsticks, breasts. I never use the wings for this dish; I save them together with the backbone and any other scraps for making chicken stock.
- Homemade or your favorite brand, ensure it’s excellent quality; bad stock can ruin any dish.
- We like this chicken broth (Amazon affiliate link).
- Buy the best sweet Hungarian paprika powder you can get your hands on, it is really worth it, and it will really make a difference. The cheap paprika powder tastes only of dust (Amazon affiliate link).
Other ingredients: Sunflower, vegetable or olive oil, onion, and cornstarch.
- Eggs, sour cream or Greek yogurt, all-purpose flour, and fine sea salt (or Kosher).
How to make chicken paprikash?
- The right pot: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or another heavy-bottomed pot, large enough to hold all the chicken pieces in a single layer and to fit the dumplings at the end.
- Cook onion: Chop it finely and cook it in the large skillet with a small pinch of salt for a few minutes or until golden (1). Add the sweet paprika powder and stir well to coat the onions (2).
- Place the meat in the pot and add the stock, only 300 ml/ 10 fl. oz/ 1 1/3 cups at the beginning (3).
- Simmer: Cover the pot, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Check and stir carefully from time to time and add the remaining stock if you think it is necessary. I usually add it; I love the sauce (4).
In the meantime, make the Hungarian Nokedli.
- To thicken the sauce, stir the cornstarch with a bit of cold water to form a paste in a separate bowl. Make a little room in the middle of the pot and stir this paste into the cooking sauce while whisking all the time to avoid clumping.
- Stir the sauce carefully and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until it thickens slightly.
How to make the dumplings?
For detailed instructions on making this dumpling recipe, check out The Best Nokedli Recipe (Hungarian Dumplings). You can also serve nokedli with Hungarian Beef Goulash or with the Pörkölt Recipe (Pork Stew).
- Whisk the eggs and sour cream (or yogurt/smetana) with a fork in a medium bowl.
- Add salt and flour gradually while beating with the fork to mix the flour into the eggs. Depending on the size of your eggs, you might need one extra tablespoon of flour. Or 1/2 – 1 tablespoon less if your eggs are small. The batter should be pretty thick and slowly fall off the fork.
- Cook dumplings: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about ½ tablespoon salt to the boiling water. Turn the heat down. When the water only simmers, add the nokedli to the water using a teaspoon, which should only be half full with batter. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes (5).
- Drain well and add them to the chicken paprikash. Stir carefully to coat them with the sauce (6).
If using chicken quarters, you will have to cut them at the joint. Here’s how to do it:
- Take the thigh in one hand. Hold onto the drumstick with the other hand. Bend the leg against the joint so that it dislocates.
- Use a good large knife and make sure to find the right spot where to cut. If you get the right spot, going through the joint will be very easy. If you encounter resistance, then you are not at the right place. Move the knife a few millimeters more to the right or the left, and try again.
- Remove the skin.
Sour cream: Traditionally, you would add one tablespoon of sour cream (the Eastern European smetana, to be precise) to the finished dish. I never do because my grandma never did. You can if you like, the slightly sour note cuts a little through the richness of the dish. However, I stick to my original; I like it so much that nothing could improve it for me.
The skin: I recommend removing the skin from the chicken because I wouldn’t say I like eating the skin when it’s cooked in much sauce – it becomes floppy and unappetizing. However, that’s a personal choice; you can leave it on if you like.
One of the best-known, most delicious Hungarian dishes. A chicken stew made with the best Hungarian paprika and served with nokedli – Hungarian flour dumplings. Today’s recipe is the Romanian paprikash version cooked by the Hungarians living in Transylvania, Romania.
I strongly recommend using imported Hungarian sweet paprika, the best you can afford. The quality of the paprika really makes a difference. And make sure it’s sweet paprika, not hot, and not smoked.
Theoretically, yes, but I don’t recommend it. The dish is traditionally made with chicken thighs and legs; they will remain juicy and have more flavor. Chicken breast tends to be dry in this kind of dish.
If you use chicken breast, reduce the cooking time.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Reheat on the stovetop.
How to serve?
I always serve chicken paprikash with dumplings and pickled vegetables on the side; I grew up eating it this way, childhood, comfort food at its best. I can’t even bear thinking about any other side dishes.
BUT! That doesn’t mean that other side dishes won’t be excellent. Enjoy the Hungarian paprikash with spätzle or other egg noodles, with other homemade dumplings, pasta, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
Make a side dish of roasted vegetables or a salad. Our favorite pickles to serve with the chicken paprikash and dumplings are Pickled Green Tomatoes or sour cucumbers.
More Hungarian recipes
Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings
- Large Dutch oven or another heavy-bottomed pot
- Large pot for cooking the dumplings
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons sour cream Note 5
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 180 g all-purpose flour + or - 1 tablespoon 6.5 oz/ 1 ½ cups Note 6
- ½ tablespoon fine sea salt for the boiling water
- Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and legs (Note 6). Chop the onion finely.
- Cook onions: Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, large enough to hold all the chicken parts. Cook the chopped onion for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Add the sweet paprika powder and stir well to coat the onions.
- Simmer: Place the chicken parts in the pot and add the chicken stock, only 1 1/3 cup/ 300 ml at the beginning. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Check and stir carefully from time to time. Add the remaining stock if you think it is necessary. I usually do add it; I love the sauce.
- In the meantime, prepare the dumplings (See below).
- Thicken paprikash: Stir the cornstarch with a bit of water to form a smooth paste. Make a little room in the middle of the pot and stir the paste into the sauce while whisking all the time to avoid clumping. Stir carefully and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Drain the nokedli well and add them to the chicken paprikash. Stir carefully to coat them with the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ½ tablespoon salt to the boiling water. Turn the heat down and let it come to a simmer. In the meantime, make the nokedli.
- Beat the eggs and the sour cream with a fork in a medium bowl.
- Add the salt and slowly start adding the flour while beating with the fork until the mixture is smooth.Depending on the size of your eggs, you might need one extra tablespoon of flour. Or 1/2 - 1 tablespoon less if your eggs are small. The batter should be pretty thick and slowly fall off the fork.
- Simmer: Add the dumplings to the water using a teaspoon, which should only be half full of batter. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain well before adding them to the chicken paprikash.
- You can use chicken quarters which you will have to cut in two parts at the joint (See Expert Tips). Or you can make the paprikash with a whole medium chicken divided into 8 parts (save the wings and the backbone for making chicken stock).
- Traditionally, sunflower oil, but the choice of oil is not crucial. Use whatever you have.
- Use the best quality authentic Hungarian sweet paprika.
- Homemade or a good quality brand.
- Traditionally, you would use smetana, but sour cream or Greek yogurt is fine.
I recommend weighing the flour with a digital kitchen scale; it’s about balancing the dry and wet ingredients.
- Removing the skin is optional, but I prefer it.