Chicken Paprikash prepared in the true Hungarian manner

chicken paprikash

 🍴  Servings: 4

🥣 Category: Stew

💪 Difficulty Level: 3/5 

Share this recipe

Chicken paprikash is a Hungarian national dish that belongs to the paprikash family. It should not be confused with a simple chicken stew, as it is prepared without sour cream. It is one of the most popular Hungarian dishes and contains everything that makes up Hungarian cuisine: paprika, pepper, red onions, garlic, green paprika, tomatoes, sour cream and meat.

Another chicken paprikash recipe?

As a Hungarian, it is sometimes painful for me to be confronted with the kind of weak recipes that pop up on the Internet. In the case of one of the most famous Hungarian dishes, chicken paprikash, there is no excuse for me: the authentic recipe must be followed when preparing it. At the end of the article you will find perhaps the most traditional recipe and our video, according to which this dish is prepared in most Hungarian households and restaurants.

The history of the Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

In the 19th century, stew became a common dish among the Hungarian farmers of the lowlands. In addition to beef and mutton stew, which were eaten by the shepherds, poultry stew also became popular. In line with the conditions among the shepherds, this dish initially also played a role in the everyday lives of the farmers. In the 1840s, the most common form of meat in the families of the serfs in Hungary was “roasted meat” and “paprikash meat”, which was made from beef as well as sheep and poultry.

Pierre Guillaume Frédéric Le Play, a French traveler and sociologist, describes the meat dishes of a Hungarian serf in his description of Les ouviers européens (1855):

“Meat is mainly eaten in the form of a national dish called “paprikás hus”; it consists of various kinds of meat or poultry prepared with smoked or unsmoked bacon fat and seasoned with onions, salt and paprika, from which the dish takes its name; the whole is heavily roasted to thicken the juices. Among the other meat dishes, mention should be made of “goulah meat”, with whose thin juice the bread is seasoned; the roasted meat, which is processed into a thick juice and eaten cold and thickened.”

The Hungarian reform era brings forth the chicken paprikash

The Hungarian nobility, who feared for their privileges, believed that in addition to protecting the Hungarian language, the food of the simple shepherds of the lowlands emphasized the unity and individuality of the Hungarian people. In the work of Archduke Josef‘s palace chef István Czifray in the “Hungarian National Cookbook”, written for “Hungarian housewives” in 1830, we can read for the first time the recipe for paprika chicken:

“Chicken with paprika. Take two or more chickens and cut them into pieces. Heat a knob of butter or fat in a saucepan, add paprika, allspice and red onions and fry until golden brown – add the chicken cut into pieces and continue frying until it becomes soft – sprinkle a spoonful of flour over it, add some meat juice, add sour cream to taste to make the sauce thick – season with pepper and serve.”

Becoming a national dish

 As early as the 19th century, several foreign travelers recommended chicken paprikash in their descriptions of Hungarian cuisine. The development of chicken paprikash was dizzying, as garlic can be added alongside many spices, albeit in a different way. Mushrooms, especially porcini mushrooms, can be used to significantly enhance the flavor and the paprika sauce enriched with sour cream in particular takes on new dimensions. This dish deservedly became one of Hungary’s national dishes. One of the must-try things when visiting Budapest! I wish you good cooking and a good appetite!

Ingredients of chicken paprikash:

  • 1,5 kg chicken pieces
  • 300 g brown onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 yellow wax pepper or a bell pepper
  • chili to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp quality sweet paprika
  • 300 ml full fat sour cream
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp pork lard or duck fat
  • salt, pepper, ground caraway
  • broth or water


  1. Salt the chicken pieces. Heat the lard in a deep pan and fry the chicken pieces on all sides until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Fry the salted, finely chopped onion in the remaining fat until light brown and translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika powder. Immediately add 50 ml water and return to the heat.
  3. Add the crushed garlic, the chopped yellow pepper and tomato (plus chili to taste). Season with ground caraway and black pepper and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add the pre-fried chicken and pour in water or stock until the meat is almost covered. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 1 hour until the chicken pieces are tender. Stir occasionally during cooking.
  5. Remove all the meat from the pot. Remove skins if you wish.
  6. Mix the sour cream with the cream and about 2 cups of hot paprikash broth, then pour back and mix with the chicken sauce. If necessary, adjust the consistency of the sauce with water. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then drain and pass the sauce until smooth. Add the chicken and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Serve with noodle dumplings and enjoy your chicken paprikash!

Watch our video about this recipe: