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The first thing is the fat. Authentic chicken paprika is cooked with lard. Yes it tastes better with lard, but not the kind you get in North America, so forget the lard. Besides at one point even my “Pesti” mother [we lived on the Pest side of Budapest] started to use oil instead of lard, she said it was better for you. These days I use olive oil in most of my cooking and a whole lot less of it than my mother used to. The other thing is how you cook the chicken. Authentic chicken paprika is cooked on the stove entirely, but you can’t make authentic chicken paprika without freshly slaughtered free range chickens. However baking the chicken in the oven part of the way brings great improvement to supermarket chicken. One thing you can’t get around is the paprika thing. You must have Hungarian paprika; you can’t make paprikás csirke without it.

breasts and legs of 1 chicken
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3Tbsp olive oil
3Tbsp Hungarian Paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup of tomatoes, diced [fresh or canned]
2 cups yellow peppers, diced [if available Hungarian]
1 cup water
sour cream

• Wash and cut up the chicken.
• Cut the breasts in half.
• Cut the chicken legs in half.
• Chop off the bony end of the drumsticks and reserve for stock.
• Remove all the skin and fatty bits and discard.
• For lower the fat content remove the breast bones. Save the bones for stock.
• Peel and dice the onion.
• In a medium pot slowly sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent.
• Add the chicken pieces and slowly cook them for a couple minutes to seer in the juices.
• Stir in the paprika.
• Season the chicken with salt, pepper and caraway seeds. [No, you won’t even know they are in there]
• Add the tomatoes and stir in the peppers.
• Add the water and bring to boil.
• Reduce heat, cover with a lid and slowly simmer for a few minutes.
• Meanwhile turn the oven on at 350F.
• When oven is the right temperature remove the lid and place pot in the oven.
• Bake until meat is tender.
• Remove from the oven and serve with nokedli and sour cream.

Just before placing in the oven


  1. I saw this over at Sissi's and love it! Can't wait to make it! A real Hungarian Paprika Chicken - it's got to be good!

  2. It is and I am not biased. :-)

  3. Well, Zsuzsa, I finally made paprikash at home. I used pork instead of chicken ... but I took a number of ideas from this recipe. I didn't include caraway seeds cause I read somewhere that you don't add caraway to paprikash only to goulash. Maybe next time I'll do a goulash and add the caraway seeds. :)

    I used as sweet Szeged Hungarian paprika though so I'm quite proud of my authenticity.

  4. For some reason the comment I posted a short while ago didn't take, even though I saw the proper response, so I'm going to repost.

    I wanted to let you know that I took a lot of guidance from your chicken paprikash dish in making my own paprikash today though I used pork instead. At least I used the best imported sweet Szeged Hungarian paprika that I could find. :)

    I didn't use the caraway seeds cause I read somewhere that it's not used in paprikash, only in goulash. Oh well ... maybe next time I'll make beef goulash and use it then.

  5. I have been thinking about doing a post organizing the various hungarian paprika dishes, some are soups, some are stews some are cooked in a cauldron. The names are very confusing and often we interchange them. There is a difference between chicken paprikas and chicken porkolt and yet we use the names interchangeably. The caraway seed is an integral part of many Hungarian dishes, more ancient than paprika. The Hungarian sausage and salami has a fair amount of caraway seed in it, which gives them their unique flavour. I put it in my chicken dishes with paprika, but I don't use caraway seed with pork paprikas or with fish. Some people don't use it at all. I am glad you used authentic Hungarian paprika! Keep it in the fridge.

  6. RE: Use of caraway. I double checked the chicken paprikash recipe in Culinaria Hungary and they didn't use caraway seeds so that was also confusing.

    I hope this post goes through. I was unable to comment again on the white cake post in response to Eva's comment about the crocheted tablecloth. For some reason your blog randomly chooses to accept or reject my Open Id/LJ id.

  7. Maria you don't have to use caraway. You can make a perfectly good paprikas without caraway seed. It’s a regional thing and the Culinaria book includes only one version of a dish if we are lucky. If I have any complaints about that book is that there aren't enough recipes, there are pictures, but no accompanying recipes. Which is too bad. Plus it failed to consider that some of the ingredients are not readily available outside of Hungary. But other than that the recipes are probably the most authentic I have ever come across in English.

  8. Maria, I noticed some of your entries require moderation, so your comments don't show up right of way. I have to OK them first. I check on the comments periodically, but sometimes a few day go by before I check them. Eventually everything appears, unless its a duplicate post which I delete. I am not sure how to fix this. I had my blog open to the public for a while, but I was getting more and more spam and advertizing. I really hate advertizing. Elisabeth had problems too but then it was OK. Obviously there is a glich somewhere.

  9. Hi Zsuzsa! Love your recipes!!! In your recipe above for paprikás csirke you have 2 garlic cloves, minced in the ingredients list but I have read the preparation over and over, I cannot find them anywhere. Do you fry the garlic with the onions??? Please advise where you add them. Thank you!!

    1. I am grateful to people who write and ask these types of questions. This allows me to edit and fine tune my recipes. There was a time when I would not have known what to do when something was left off an instruction. But it is easy to overlook a step or two when you have been doing it for a long time. I add the garlic after I sautéed the onions. Garlic cooks much faster than onions. In some dishes I delay adding the garlic until the last minute to enhance the garlic flavour. When garlic is cooked along with the onions it becomes almost undetectable. If that is what you want, by all means sauté the garlic with the onions. It is a matter of taste. But my recipe should have included the garlic in the write up as well as in the ingredient list. I will correct this. Thank you again for writing.

  10. What would one eat this with? Rice? Bread?

    1. serve with nokedli and sour cream.

  11. Zsuzsa, I'm so excited to try this recipe. My great grandparents used to make Hungarian food all the time, and I cannot wait to see how it turns out! Keep the recipes coming!

  12. Hi,
    I have a polish website about cooking. I think you have a great and inspirational blog.
    I would be grateful if I could use your recipe for Paprika Chicken.
    Of course I would give you as the author and put a link to your article.
    Kind Regards,
    Tom Janik

  13. I am getting ready to make this for a group of people and was wondering how many pieces of chicken is it for ? I am figuring 4 cause you only mention the breast and legs of the chicken.

  14. My recipe for this is totally different from what's here. I used a whole chicken, no tomatoes, yellow peppers, garlic or caraway. One large onion, the same amount of paprika, sometimes 4Tbsp. 16 oz of chicken broth, and simmered slowly on the stove. Mixed 2Tbsp.of flour into 16oz of sour cream, tempered it with the hot liquid from the pot then poured it in to thicken. We always used wide egg noodles, and it was even better the next day. :)

    1. I addressed these differences under the "Authentic Ways Of The Paprika Cuisine". The title here is incorrect. In actuality this is a pörkölt and not a paprikas. This is one of the things I have been meaning to correct and of course when I do that your post will disappear along with the title.

  15. I am so glad to have ran into this recipe!!! My father was born in Hungary back in 65 however, recently forgot many delicious Hungarian meals as he developed several mental illnesses. I plan on surprising him with chicken paprika tonight, his favorite dish! Thank you! :)

    1. Letters like yours make it worth my while that I write down the recipes. :-)

  16. Kedves Zsuzsa! Remek a blogod, mindig megnezem ha valami uj dolgot akarok kesziteni. En is kulfoldon elo magyar vagyok es mindig vagyok az igazi otthoni izekre. Mar tobb mint 10 eve csinalok csirkeporkoltet, de valahogy meg sosem volt az "igazi". Sosem gondoltam volna arra, hogy a sutobe tegyem de a tanacsodra kiprobaltam es igy lett a legjobb. Meg a ferjem is azt mondta, hogy ilyen jo meg nem volt. Csak annyiban csinalom mashogy, hogy eloszor porkolt alapot keszitek es azt leturmixolom (hogy a kisgyerekeim ne turkaljak ki belole a zoldsegeket es a hagyma darabokat). Ezt a szoszt ontom ra a besozott csirke darabokra amiket egy alacsony falu jenai talba teszek. Utana alufoliaval takarom le es igy sutom a sutoben. Nagyon koszonom ezt a szuper otletet!

    1. Agnes you just gave me an idea! I will salt the chicken first and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so before cooking. I have a feeling that might help authenticate the flavor. I am eager to try if that makes a difference, thank you!



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