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Smothered Chicken Recipe

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Jam-packed with flavor, my Best Smothered Chicken recipe is food to warm the soul. Chicken thighs are first coated in seasoned flour and then sauteed, before being cooked in a rich and creamy onion gravy.

Dutch oven with smothered chicken thighs and 2 plates with steamed white rice and sauteed greens set alongside


 

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Southern Smothered Chicken with gravy, is comfort food at its best, a filling dinner guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face. This easy-smothered chicken is super tasty as everything is cooked in one pot, meaning you keep all the flavor in the dish.

This dish impressed my mom, who is Caribbean and gets her exposure to Southern food through me. She couldn’t stop talking about this gravy and the tender chicken. The hands-on prep time for this dish is minimal, with only 15 minutes to pull the dish together. Then you simply leave the sauce to bubble away gently until the chicken is cooked through.

I’ve served my smothered chicken with rice, but that gravy works just as well with a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes. In fact, as this recipe makes a good bit of gravy, I like to save the leftovers and serve it over rice and mashed potatoes.

If you like this technique be sure to try my Smothered Turkey Wings, Smothered Pork Chops, Creamy Champagne Chicken, or my Smothered Green Beans.

Ingredients

Smothered chicken recipe ingredients

Here’s what you will need to make this smothered chicken recipe:

  • Flour – all-purpose flour is used to make seasoned flour to coat the chicken.
  • Seasoning – onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, seasoned salt, and black pepper season the flour.
  • Olive oil – or any oil made for high-heat cooking will do. I usually use light-tasting olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil.
  • Chicken – I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs as they add great flavor to the finished dish. Feel free to use other chicken cuts or boneless skinless chicken.
  • Butter – unsalted butter, if using salted butter cut back a little on the seasoned salt.
  • Aromatics – onion and garlic for flavor. Red onion or shallots will also work.
  • Broth – chicken broth, but vegetable broth can work too.
  • Cream – heavy cream results in a rich and creamy sauce. You can use a lighter cream, but it won’t give you the same velvety texture as heavy cream.
  • Fresh herbs – add some freshly chopped parsley to garnish the dish before serving (optional)

How to make the Best Smothered Chicken recipe

Combine the all-purpose flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish or plate. Mix until well combined.

Place the chicken in the mixture and coat it evenly on both sides. Set the chicken aside and save the seasoned flour for later.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil.

Once heated, add the chicken thighs and cook each side for 4-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.

Add in the butter and onions and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute.

Now add the seasoned flour to the pan, stir, and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the chicken broth.

Place the chicken back into the pan along with any juices from resting on the plate earlier.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer, covered, for about 25-28 minutes or until cooked through and tender.

Remove the lid and add heavy cream to the pan and stir the cream into the gravy.

Remove from heat and serve. Top with parsley if desired.

Dutch oven filled with smothered chicken thighs

Expert Tips

These tips will help you make the best smothered chicken recipe you’ve ever tried. 

  • Take your time to cook out the onions, and almost caramelize them as this will make the sweetest gravy.
  • If using boneless and skinless chicken breast, reduce the amount of cooking time to avoid the chicken from drying out. 
  • The easiest way to check the chicken is done is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh.
  • This is a great make-ahead dish and can be made a day ahead of time. Allowing the chicken to sit in the gravy, only intensifies the flavor, making it taste even better the next day!

Flavor variations

  • Add some extra aromatics like finely chopped celery and carrot to the onions and garlic.
  • Try adding some fresh herbs to the sauce, while the chicken is cooking, like thyme, rosemary, or parsley.
  • If you like a little extra kick to your food, try adding some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the seasoned flour.
  • Add a splash of white wine to the sauce, once the onions have cooked, and before you add the chicken broth. Cook the wine out for a couple of minutes to reduce it a little first.
White plate with smothered chicken served with steamed white rice and sauteed greens

What to serve with Smothered Chicken

This is a great comfort food dish, packed full of flavor, so I like to keep the side dishes simple. Serve it with some steamed rice, or try my Oven Baked Rice.

If you prefer a potato side, mash would be my go-to as it’s perfect with the creamy gravy. Try my Creamy Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes or my Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

One or two extra vegetable sides never go amiss, my Oven Roasted Cauliflower, Oven Roasted Broccoli, Turnip Greens, or Collard Greens would all work a treat.

How to store 

Make ahead: This is a great make-ahead dish. Cook the smothered chicken earlier in the day, or the day before, then cool it completely, before covering and storing it in the refrigerator.

To refrigerate: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to enjoy, reheat the chicken and sauce on the stovetop until piping hot.

To freeze: Once cooked and cooled, place the smothered chicken into an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating to piping hot.

Close up image of white plate with smothered chicken served with steamed white rice and sauteed greens

FAQs

Where did smothered chicken come from?

The technique of smothering meat is a Cajun and Creole style of cooking that originated in Louisiana. It is used to smother meat, most commonly chicken and pork; but also seafood or vegetables in a sauce.

What is the difference between stewed chicken and smothered chicken?

The main difference is that stewed chicken is boiled/braised in the gravy, whilst with smothered chicken, the chicken is dredged in flour, then fried first, before being smothered in the sauce.

If you have tried this Smothered Chicken recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!

Smothered Chicken

Best Smothered Chicken recipe where chicken thighs are coated in seasoned flour and sauteed, then cooked in a rich and creamy onion gravy.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword best smothered chicken, easy smothered chicken, smothered chicken recipe, smothered chicken with gravy
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 946kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • freshly chopped parsley optional garnish

Instructions

  • Combine the all-purpose flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish or plate. Mix until well combined. Place the chicken in the mixture and coat it evenly on both sides. Set the chicken aside and save the seasoned flour for later.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add in the olive oil. Once heated, add the chicken thighs and cook each side for 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
  • Add in the butter and onions and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute.
  • Add the seasoned flour to the pan, stir, and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly stir in the chicken broth.
  • Place the chicken back into the pan along with any juices from resting on the plate earlier. Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer, covered, for about 25-28 minutes or until cooked through and tender.
  • Remove the lid and add heavy cream to the pan and stir the cream into the gravy.
  • Remove from heat and serve. Top with parsley if desired.

Notes

  • I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe. Feel free to use other chicken cuts or boneless skinless chicken. If using boneless and skinless chicken breast, reduce the amount of cooking time to avoid the chicken from drying out. 
  • This recipe makes a good bit of gravy. I like to save the leftovers and serve it over rice and mashed potatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 946kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 75g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 334mg | Sodium: 1434mg | Potassium: 750mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1336IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating




Scott

Sunday 8th of October 2023

I google searched for a recipe for chicken thighs (tired of the ole Shake & Bake thing) and came across this recipe, Sounded good so I gave it a try .. WOW !!!!!!!!! Best chicken thighs I have ever had .. Like she said "Full of flavor" ... I did add chopped mushrooms but other than that I followed her directions to the T and added her "expert Tips". If you're looking for an awesome Chicken thigh recipe you won't be disappointed here.

Tanya

Monday 9th of October 2023

Thank you, Scott! So happy you liked the recipe :)

Marty

Sunday 18th of June 2023

Made this for dinner and it was a hit!!! Would not change a thing!

Tanya

Monday 19th of June 2023

Thank you Marty! So happy you liked the smothered chicken recipe.