Oma's Chicken Paprikash



Author Notes: When my mom married into my dad’s Eastern European family with their slivovitz (plum brandy), goulash, and strudel, she tried to get my dad’s favorite recipes from my Oma (dad’s mom), but nothing was written in English, and Oma was tight-lipped with her secret ingredients. So my mom watched Oma make this dish -- chicken paprikash -- time and time again to get it right.

This version has the tweaks my mom made along the way, and was one of the most requested recipes in my house when I was growing up. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods: chicken and plump, chewy dumplings, floating in a deep red, creamy gravy spotted with little shiny pockets of oil. It's tangy and sweet, with a slight peppery bitterness when the paprika hits the back of your throat.

One of the best things about making chicken paprikash for dinner? Setting aside extra dumplings for cinnamon sugar dumplings the next morning!

The second photo I've uploaded is of Oma & Opa in the 50s or 60s on their egg farm; the third photo is me cooking with Oma last summer.
Loves Food Loves to Eat

Food52 Review: Here's a warm and inviting dish of comfort food that's ideal for my 4-person family. The prep was deceptively simple, and I worried there would be little flavor -- but I was wrong. The final product was very tasty and was enjoyed by my 38-year-old husband as well as my 4-year-old daughter. I served it with steamed broccoli, which was a nice side.Molly Fellin Spence

Serves: 4
Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 15 min

Ingredients

Paprikash

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika, heaping
  • 2 chicken breasts, quartered (or 4 bone-in thighs)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Dumplings

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups flour
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil, and add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent. Add paprika -- it will seem like a lot, but trust me, the more the better -- and stir to combine. Heat through for several more minutes -- adding the paprika at the beginning of the cooking process intensifies the smoky-sweet, robust flavor -- and cook until the onions are cooked through, stirring almost continuously.
  2. Add chicken and stir to coat with paprika, let it brown slightly, and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Add more water if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Combine all dumpling ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with bread hook until combined -- the dough will be thick and sticky. In a pot of boiling, salted water, drop in 5 tablespoon-sized dollops at a time, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until cooked through. The dumplings should be slippery on the outside, and bready on the inside. Set aside a bowl-full for the next day's breakfast, and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. Before serving, add the remaining dumplings to paprikash.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, a spoonful of flour, and a splash of water, and stir into the paprikash. Add salt and pepper to taste. Give the chicken a rough shred with your fork, and serve in a bowl, as you would a stew.
  6. The next morning, slice the dumplings you set aside, and heat with a healthy-sized pat of butter. Top with a good shower of cinnamon and sugar.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Chicken|Paprika|Sour Cream|One-Pot Wonders|Fall|Winter|Dinner

Reviews (60) Questions (1)

60 Reviews

Randi H. April 23, 2018
Darn it was hard to get the Sweet Paprika but I finally found it. is it Hungarian NO idea but it was about $7 so I would think so. <br />This is very good and about as close to what I have had in Chicago, my home town, as you can get. I tried to get the noodles more like a Spaetzel but couldn't so when it was done I cut them up with a scissor. It does need a lot of salt after it is done to give it enough pizazzzaaazaz but is absolutely delicious. I would like a suggestion for a lighter dumpling for this although I know this is the REAL rustic thing. You rock Girl.
 
Arrxx March 11, 2018
What about those of us who don't have a stand mixer? How did oma make those dumplings in the old country?
 
phzs March 12, 2018
You don't need a stand mixer. Better if you don't have any. Grandma and me do it in the simplest way, just mix flour, salt, eggs and lukewarm water. It needs only a slight mixing. In that way it will be easy to form the dumplings and they will be soft. If you use a stand mixer or kitchen machine the gluten net develops in the dough and it makes more difficult to form and and the dumpling will be hard. It is easier than you imagine.
 
Arrxx March 12, 2018
Thanks for that information!
 
Randi H. April 23, 2018
I used by hand but still did not have a soft fluffy dumpling. Kinda heavy but still good
 
Nancy March 6, 2018
Absolutely delicious! I do love my spaetzel maker. Very inexpensive to buy on Amazon, and those dumplings are so easy to make. I also recently made dumplings like these with Beef Goulash, another Hungarian specialty made with paprika!
 
Kaite January 9, 2017
This was my first time eating paprikash. I had just watched a show about Hungary and they were making paprikash. It looked so good so I just had to try it. This recipe was easy to put together, and ended up being really tasty. I think the next time I make it I would try to find a Hungarian pepper to throw in there and sautee with the onions. As far as the dumplings they were tasty but I think I would make them smaller. I do have to say though that the leftover dumplings sliced, pan fried with butter (until browned and slightly crisp), and topped with cinnamon and sugar is like a revelation for me. I would make the dumplings on their own just to make that sweet treat.
 
SophieCatt November 16, 2016
This was a FANTASTIC recipe, my family loved it very much! The kids devoured it and my in-laws complimented me on such a lovely supper. <br /><br />VERY nice, thank you!
 
David C. April 12, 2015
Wait - you add raw flour to the bowl just before serving? That doesn't sound right.
 
Author Comment
Loves F. April 12, 2015
David I'm not sure I understand your question? Just before serving, add the dumplings (which were prepared in the previous step) to the bowl. Good luck!
 
David C. April 13, 2015
I was looking at step 5 where you add cream and a spoonful of flour to the soup just before serving. I've never put raw flour in a dish before - are you sure that will work?
 
Author Comment
Loves F. April 13, 2015
Oh! :) Yep.. That's how I've always made it! You whisk it with the sour cream first, then stir it right into the pot! It helps thicken it up just a bit, but is such a small amount (just a little spoonful in a large pot of Paprikash) that it doesn't have that raw flour taste!
 
lastnightsdinner April 13, 2015
It's kind of like using a slurry to thicken a soup or sauce - at any rate, it works and I've not noticed any raw flour taste at all.
 
lastnightsdinner March 25, 2015
I've made this three times now and it is SO, SO GOOD. Seriously brilliant recipe, and thank you so much for sharing it with us!
 
Marie F. March 2, 2015
A friend gave me a recipe for chicken paprikash, and his family was Hungarian, and this was exactly how they made it! No green peppers or tomatoes like other recipes I have seen. This is delicious!!!
 
Randi H. April 23, 2018
I would so NOT like it with peppers and tomatoes does not need it. Great this way
 
Phyllis February 23, 2015
We had this for dinner today, thoroughly enjoyed by all! Just like Mom's except called for chicken stock and a whole stick of butter (!). I stuck with the chicken stock rather than water, but gladly gave up the butter and it wasn't missed at all. Mom would also freeze portions for a quick lunch. If we had left overs but no ingredients for dumplings or spaetzle, Mom would serve over white rice. Thanks for the perfect comfort food dinner that I'll make on a regular basis! FYI I found on Livestrong.com ..."At 19 calories per tablespoon, paprika adds only a negligible amount to your daily calorie intake, but it comes packed with nutrients. Just a single 1-tablespoon serving provides ample amounts of several beneficial nutrients, especially carotenoids -- a nutrient family that includes vitamin A."
 
Yvonne V. December 17, 2014
This is a family recipe that's been passed down in our family. It's my pride and joy that I can make it perfectly. It's a special occassion meal because I trash the kithcen every time! So happy to see it being shared. It's a recipe more people need to make. Such an easy comfort meal! Thanks for sharing.
 
linda H. December 13, 2014
this is awesomely easy and delicious
 
molly Y. December 12, 2014
i made this last night and it was deeeeeelicious!! i didn't have any sour cream, so i subbed unsweetened whipped cream that i had made earlier in the day, added a bit more flour, and it was perfect :)
 
Author Comment
Loves F. December 12, 2014
whoa thanks Molly! (having a fangirl moment!)
 
NoONE October 11, 2014
I love the way everyone adds their own comments! I was barred from Allrecipes for posting comments like the ones I read here all the time! Glad I'm in good company!
 
Anita February 6, 2014
Lard was a staple. It was rendered and kept in a crock. Used for everything from cooking to baking. When the cupboards were bare, so to speak, a smear of lard on a slice of crusty french/italian or german rye bread with a sprinkle of salt and paprika. In reading the commentary, I would like to encourage NOT using any liquid of any kind. If done correctly-slow and low-you will be amazed as to the amount of natural juices that will accumulate and that is the essence of this delicious dish. At a well known national cookware store they have a "Chicken Paprikash Starter". It's absurd.
 
Michele H. January 27, 2014
Just wonderful...made it with chicken thighs. This I'll definitely make again!!
 
paula K. January 26, 2014
Tasty recipe and even better in the days that followed as the chicken and dumplings soaked in the sauce. I would make the dumplings much smaller next time. Considering a technique for pulling up the dough and cutting it with sharp scissors so that dumplings are gnocchi size. Otherwise, delish, even as I ended up supplementing my sour cream with Greek yogurt. Thank you.
 
Deanna J. January 13, 2015
I know this may be late to comment but had you considered putting the dough into a pastry bag and cutting off the desired length from that?
 
Meghan January 26, 2014
Delicious. Made last weekend with chicken thighs; tried it this weekend with chicken breast and added mushrooms. Prefer the thighs--but delicious either way. I served my over a vat of mashed potatoes--perfect in the cold, dark depths of winter. Thanks for the great recipe.
 
Anita January 22, 2014
I am Hungarian and immigrated with my family. Our Paprikás Csirke is made in a heavy Dutch oven (LeCreuset) with Hungarian paprika, the best coming from Szeged. We add a whole Hungarian banana pepper, cored and seeded for heat (spiciness) to the onions. Then add the chicken pieces. Cover and turn down the heat - slow and low, checking every few minutes to make sure the natural juices are developing. Add a splash of water, if needed, to prevent scorching. Simmer until chicken is fork tender, Dumplings or spaetzle are made with eggs, flour, a pinch of salt and a small grate of nutmeg. Combined by hand in a bowl or wooden cutting board. They can be formed with the tip of a heated spoon out of the bowl or scraped and cut with a knife off the board or placed in a spaetzle maker. A large holed colander can work as well.
 
phzs January 22, 2014
This seems the authentic version but you haven't mentioned the fat.<br />I'm still campaigning for duck fat or lard. :)
 
Author Comment
Loves F. January 22, 2014
Anita, I love the idea of adding a whole pepper to the onions, and nutmeg to the dumplings. Great tips. phzs, re: the comment about "the authentic version," this recipe is my family's version of authentic (and also... I replied below too....duck fat for the win!)
 
jmspdx January 19, 2014
RE: chicken broth. I used homemade stock rather than water, and the flavor was excellent. We really loved the chicken and sauce, but the dumplings were very different from what we're used to. The flavor was good with the dish, but we're accustomed to a leavened dumpling, and this was a bit gluey for us. I've made versions of paprikash that didn't have dumplings, so I will probably skip those next time, and just make the chicken, which, again, was wonderful.
 
vlucky January 20, 2014
thank you!
 
Author Comment
Loves F. January 20, 2014
So glad you liked the flavor of the chicken and sauce! I've also seen version that use egg noodles instead of dumplings... that could be an option if you didn't care for my dumplings (though I love them!!) :)
 
peggy January 19, 2014
My mother was a Hungarian and a fantastic cook. Regarding the dumplings: Mix them first and then make the chicken. Your dumplings must rest after they are mixed. Try it. You'll find they are must lighter and fluffier.
 
phzs January 19, 2014
My experience is the sooner you cook the dumpling after mixing the better. If you wait the batter will be rubber-like and hard to cut.
 
Author Comment
Loves F. January 22, 2014
Oh man... conflicting advice on the dumpling wait time... I'll try both next time, and report back :)