Oma's Chicken Paprikash Recipe on Food52

One-Pot Wonders

Oma's Chicken Paprikash

December 10, 2013
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • abbyarnold
    abbyarnold
  • Eileen Dirner
    Eileen Dirner
  • Gerda LaGrasse
    Gerda LaGrasse
  • Kathrin Lancelle
    Kathrin Lancelle
  • Randi Hofmann
    Randi Hofmann

    75 Reviews

    Therese October 4, 2020
    Delicious. Next time I’ll use Boneless and skinless thighs but really good. My first time making this And will definitely make again.
     
    abbyarnold September 22, 2020
    I was craving paprikash but needed to use up a cauliflower so I subbed cauliflower for the chicken and added chicken broth instead of water. It was fantastic!
     
    Eileen D. September 16, 2020
    Are the chicken breasts supposed to be boneless?
     
    Kathy September 16, 2020
    I don't think so...I think bone-in breasts or thighs (my preference) would give more flavor and not dry out.
     
    Author Comment
    Loves F. September 16, 2020
    You can use bone-in or boneless, or even thighs. It's very forgiving. And with the long low simmer, it doesn't dry out, but rather gets tender and shreds.
     
    Messi'sMom September 13, 2020
    These are boneless chicken breasts? And they don't dry out being cooked so long?
     
    Author Comment
    Loves F. September 16, 2020
    You can use bone-in or boneless, or even thighs. It's very forgiving. And with the long low simmer, it doesn't dry out, but rather gets tender and shreds.
     
    Gerda L. January 17, 2020
    So good. Reminds me of the dish MY Oma used to make. Definitely lard or chicken fat if you have it. A splash of wine in place of some of the broth is good too.
     
    Kathrin L. April 29, 2019
    This was really flavorful. I made it exactly as instructed except cutting down the amount of dumpling dough to 1/3. The chicken and sauce were amazing. I think next time I will add some fresh parsley for color. The dumplings I did not care for very much. Maybe I did something wrong, but they were really dense, almost hard. I will definitely make this again, but maybe substitute gnocchi, egg noodles or potatoes for the dumplings.
     
    Randi H. April 29, 2019
    You are correct. The dumplings were way to dense. The rest was good. I will make it again but use some other lighter dumpling recipe.
     
    Author Comment
    Loves F. September 16, 2020
    They're definitely a denser dumpling! I love them, as I grew up with them so they hold a special place in my heart and tastebuds, but I think gnocchi or egg noodles would be great in here (or, even serving it over rice would be nice!)
     
    Danielle1975 October 6, 2020
    I agree regarding the dumplings!
     
    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.
    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.
     
    Kathrin L. May 3, 2019
    Randi, Don't know where you live, but I bought a container of Szeged Sweet Paprika at my local grocery store this week. They always stock it. You can also order it online.
    https://www.worldmarket.com/product/szeged-sweet-paprika.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search

    Even Walmart supposedly has it.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Szed-Szeged-Hung-Paprika/29893548
     
    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.
     
    Author Comment
    Loves F. September 16, 2020
    Love to hear you enjoyed the leftover cinn-sugar dumplings, that's the best part! :D
     
    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.

    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.
     
    Katie C. December 16, 2018
    ? Um, that is how you make a roux, one of the basis of most cream sauces. Extremely common.
     
    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.