18 Lightning-Quick Chicken Recipes for Conquering Any Weeknight

Dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.

February  1, 2021
Photo by Ty Mecham

While I’m a fan of slow, quiet Sundays babysitting a simmering pot, Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday, well, you get it) nights are another story. Between work and life in general, I'm often not thinking about dinner until 7 p.m., and there’s no time to waste—it’s a Chopped-style countdown until food is in my belly.

Enter chicken: It’s affordable, versatile, a speedy supper ready to 'wing' anything. Nearly ten times out of ten, I turn to a quick chicken cutlet or a hands-free sheet-pan number for a last-minute dinner. In short, chicken is a weeknight winner. And to prove it, I’ve gathered 18 lightning-quick chicken recipes from our site to prep and cook in 30 minutes (or less!). Check them out below:

Speedy Chicken Dinners

Thanks to a handy-dandy broiler, this 25-minute masterpiece has all the charm of your standard parm—crispy crust, jammy sauce, bubbly cheese.

In her latest cookbook, Solo, Anita Lo’s chicken dinner for one makes use of day-old bread and celebrates broccoli—all in less than 30 minutes.

Add a pop of brightness to your week with a lemony, buttery sauced chicken. And if you want to eat it all week long, here’s a helpful guide.

This simple Szechuan chicken already stole 2000 hearts. Pro tip: Pair with a cold cucumber salad and steamed rice (of course).

This 20-minute chicken cutlet can stand up to even the best schnitzel. We promise.


In her book Favorite Recipes from Melissa Clark's Kitchen, Clark (with the aid of a sheet pan) transforms kitchen staples of chicken, apples, and coriander into a satisfying dinner in just 20 (yep!) minutes.

A fast crowd-pleaser for any night of the week. Bonus: It reheats beautifully for lunch.

While braving a whole new world of Whole30, Food Writer & Recipe Developer Ella Quittner discovered this saucy, flavorful, and fresh way to make a chicken dinner.

Inspired by the Chinese takeout staple, this recipe come together even faster than ordering on Seamless.

Of course, frying fingers is the fastest way to make this recipe—but Merrill Stubbs has a smartypants (and speedy!) way to bake them in just 20 minutes, too.

Ok, so this might take a little longer than 30 minutes—but just barely! The secret to a fully roasted chicken in such a short time? Spatchcocking and a screaming hot sheet pan.

A fast and flavorful chicken curry that comes together in less time than it would take for your favorite Indian takeout to be delivered.

Another homemade version of a takeout favorite—orange chicken. Chicken breasts take a quick dip in an enticing marinade, then get shallow-fried and tossed in sweet, sticky citrus-infused sauce. Panda Express, who?

The “cheat” here is swapping a mustardy-mayo marinade that allows you to skip the usual dredging process. While it technically marinates for more than 30 minutes, the actual cooking takes just 15, and with fewer dirty dishes to wash after.

This mash-up of potato latkes and chicken cutlets is quick, comforting, and ideal on a cold winter night served alongside applesauce and sour cream.

The magic in this dish is getting deeply flavorful chicken in just half an hour, no marinade needed. Make a big container of this spice blend and sprinkle it on proteins throughout the week for a shortcut to delicious dinners.

Crispy chicken thighs are paired with marinated artichoke hearts and pearl couscous to soak up all their juices. The whole dish gets finished with a crispy panko topping for a symphony of flavors and textures.

An Instant Pot instant classic. The ideal appliance for weeknights, the pressure cooker setting does double-duty steaming rice and cooking chicken thighs in an intensely-spiced curry. Finish with heavy cream, butter, and cilantro, mix it all together, and feast in under thirty minutes.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Dinner is served - chicken, potatoes and sauce all in one pan. No clean up. Just serve greens or a green salad on the side.”
— Jayne P.

What's your favorite, fastest way to eat chicken? Dish in the comments section below!
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The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • cathy
  • Jayne Pearson
    Jayne Pearson
  • Lesa Carroll
    Lesa Carroll
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


cathy February 17, 2019
Thank you for all the great idea on the above recipes, you cannot go wrong in serving chicken even to guests, it can be prepared in so many ways. Love your recipes and ideas you provide. Thank you again
Jayne P. February 17, 2019
Can't wait to try some of those - completely agree that chicken (and salmon fillets) are perfect for weeknight quick suppers. Here's another easy one - pre-heat oven to 375F (180C). Line a small roasting tin with baking paper (saves clean up and stops sauce burning), cut some waxy potatoes into approx 1" chunks and pile at one end of the tin. Put four skinless, boneless chicken thighs at the other end (everything should fit fairly neatly with not too much spare space). Whisk together 2 tablespoons runny honey, zest and juice of a lemon, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, a pinch each of chilli flakes and oregano, 1 clove of minced or finely grated garlic and salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the chicken and potatoes and bake for approx 45 minutes (check after 35 and turn tin around if necessary). Dinner is served - chicken, potatoes and sauce all in one pan. No clean up. Just serve greens or a green salad on the side.
Jayne P. February 17, 2019
That serves 2 people by the way.
Lesa C. February 18, 2019
Thanks Jane. I tried this recipe tonight with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It was easy & delicious. My potatoes weren't quite done when the chicken was so I'll cute them smaller next time. Big hit with the family!
Lesa C. February 18, 2019
Jayne P. February 19, 2019
I think it depends on the variety of the potatoes - I've occasionally had that too - I have tried giving them a five-minute boil before putting them on the baking tray. That does make it foolproof, but also makes it slightly more of a faff if you are in a hurry. If I do the same recipe with salmon, I put the potatoes in the oven with about a third of the sauce for 20 minutes, then add the salmon fillets for another 20 minutes with the rest of the sauce, so I would think we could do the same thing with the chicken and get the spuds going for a few minutes before we add the chicken fillets.
Lesa C. February 19, 2019
Great idea using salmon. I think the sauce would be phenomenal on fish.