Big Little Recipes

Winner Winner Cream of Mushroom Chicken Dinner

So good, you’ll want to eat it straight from the skillet. And honestly, why not?

March  8, 2022

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Inspired by the column, the Big Little Recipes cookbook is available now.

Since the 1930s, canned cream of mushroom soup has been a shortcut for all sorts of meals, from green bean casserole to beef stroganoff to shepherd’s pie. And while it’s hard to beat the convenience of a can—let’s be real, you can’t—this recipe comes awfully close.

The sauce needs only three ingredients. And yes, two of those are cream and mushrooms. And no, half-and-half or whole milk cannot be substituted. It is called cream of mushroom. This is what we came for.

Play around with the mushroom type if you’d like, but I’m convinced that baby bellas (aka cremini mushrooms) are the sweet spot. Their flavor digs deeper than white buttons, while their price point is less than half that of oysters.

Which comes in handy here because we are using a lot of mushrooms—a full pound. This might seem excessive coupled with a pound of chicken breast. And that’s the point. It yields a savory, earthy cream sauce that I would swim in if I could, taking a notoriously soft-spoken cut of meat and giving it a microphone.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“going to try it - and happy about the info on Mushrooms. I've fed into all the myths you just busted. And as far as your voice goes - you sound - and look a little bit- like my niece who I adore. No problem here... Don't let the trolls get you down.”
— Jeff E.

There is a lot of fear mongering when it comes to mushrooms. But it is a weeknight, and we don’t have time for all that. So here’s what you’re not going to do:

You’re not going to painstakingly wipe each cap with a damp towel. You’re not going to carefully cut them into even pieces. You’re not going to trim or even remove the stems. You’re not going to cook them in batches.

Instead, you’re going to get into pajamas, turn on your favorite podcast, and rest assured that with enough cream and mushrooms, even a cardboard box would taste good, which means crispy chicken will taste great, greater, greatest.

But you’re probably wondering about that third ingredient for the sauce, right? I have a hunch that it’s in your fridge right now.

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Put down those long grocery lists. Inspired by the award-winning column, our Big Little Recipes cookbook is minimalism at its best: few ingredients, tons of flavor.

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Whitney C Ogle
    Whitney C Ogle
  • jjgeiman
  • Pat Ray
    Pat Ray
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    robin mayer
  • hooliebob
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Whitney C. March 20, 2022
Wow! This is such a wonderful recipe….it all came together so fast and the flavors are all amazing. This definitely be made again and again at our house!
jjgeiman March 18, 2022
This is so darned good! Seriously, you must try it.
Pat R. March 14, 2022
This recipe is simply wonderful. It lives up to the hype. It is truly a BIG little recipe. So few ingredients. So few steps. So little effort and time required. But such BIG rewards. The taste, the flavours are fantastic considering how few ingredients there are. Thank you Emma! You've done it again. I never submit comments to this or any other website (even though I've tried and loved many, many of your recipes) but this recipe is such a keeper I had to weigh in with a comment. Love this and love your work! Many thanks.
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thanks, Pat R! So happy to hear that.
robin M. March 12, 2022
I think you are awesome. I love your videos and learn so much.
Thank you.
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thank you, Robin M!
hooliebob March 11, 2022
I'm more of a baker than a cook, so I was pretty shocked when my mom expressed how delicious this meal was. Simple ingredients and easy steps...thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thanks, hooliebob! (We have a Big Little dessert coming up next.)
Michele March 10, 2022
This looks soooo yummy! Love your "Big Little Recipe" videos!
And I have a question for Emma...where did you purchase that beautiful white marble Molcajete on your kitchen window sill? I didn't see it in the Food 52 shop section :( Thank you!
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thanks, Michele! I'm pretty sure I snagged it from the Food52 shop years back but I can't find it anymore—if I do, I'll let you know.
BeckandBulow March 10, 2022
Nice recipe and really tasty. Try this also
BocaCindi March 9, 2022
This sounds delicious.
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thanks, BocaCindi.
Jeff E. March 9, 2022
Thanks for this recipe. Def. going to try it - and happy about the info on Mushrooms. I've fed into all the myths you just busted.
And as far as your voice goes - you sound - and look a little bit- like my niece who I adore. No problem here...
Don't let the trolls get you down.
Emma L. March 14, 2022
Thanks, Jeff E—hope you enjoy it!
JJay March 9, 2022
Ok I literally signed up just to get a printable version of the recipe. I despise jumping through hoops. I want my personal information back. First off, you make it hard to actually figure out how print, second, you don't include a picture or any of the notes. It seems obvious that you just wanted to load ads on my device. Please don't contact me.
Bob Q. March 9, 2022
It is my understanding that:
A. You signed up for this site.
B. No one forced you to open the email.
C. You clicked on the recipe & video link.
D. You are a grown up who has free choice
E. You could have hit 'delete' at any time and ended your self imposed "suffering".

Please do us all a favor -the food52 owners/editors/contributors/ USERS - and now hit UNSUBSCRIBE if you know how to. BTW the recipe is delicious...and I added fresh thyme and white wine to the dish, a PERSONAL choice.
Jeanne C. March 13, 2022
I'm an old woman with very little tech expertise, but had no problem getting a full recipe with tips and also a nice pic of the dish to print. Without having a single hoop to jump through or piece of personal data to give up. So sorry you had to take the "scenic route" to get your recipe.
Angela S. March 8, 2022
@william d., would you say this to her face or do you save the irrelevant commentary solely for when you're safely hidden behind your keyboard? So rude and totally unnecessary.
William D. March 9, 2022
Yes, I would say it to her face. It's called production values, which her voice is a large part of. That makes the comment entirely relevant to the audience, which to your dismay I too am a part of and your "safely hidden behind your keyboard" drips with irony.
William D. March 8, 2022
Her voice is like nails across a chalk board with that whiny lilt at the end of each statement that makes it sound like a question. I hope the recipe is worth it.
Rochelle W. March 8, 2022
You think so? Interesting - I guess it is one of those ‘different strokes for different folks’ sort of thing. I absolutely was charmed by her voice from the moment I first heard it several years back. I am a big fan of her recipes too!
Lee A. March 8, 2022
Love Emma and her recipes are awesome!
Rochelle March 9, 2022
I hope you have better days ahead William.