Creamy paprika chicken thighs are cooked until tender and doused in a rich sauce flavored with caramelized onions and lots of smoked paprika. Serve it over cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash or your favorite low-carb noodles for a seriously good meal. Even better, this flavor-packed, comfort-food dish only takes 30 minutes to make. Cook it up mid-week for a special dinner, even on a busy weeknight.
about creamy paprika chicken
Tender chicken thighs in a rich cream sauce is always a good idea! Chicken thighs are an excellent, often underrated option for a keto or low-carb diet because the darker meat is not only higher in fat, but it is more tender and flavorful (bonus: they're more economical, too).
And now creamy paprika chicken joins the list. It has the makings of everything good- tender chicken pieces, a rich cream sauce and loads of smoky paprika flavor.
why you'll love it
I adapted the recipe from Julia Child's Chicken Breasts with Paprika, Onions and Cream (so you know it's worth trying!).
The onions are softened- almost caramelized- and add a delicious richness to the simple cream sauce.
But paprika is the star of this dish, and we're using lots of it.
I prefer smoked paprika but regular paprika works well too, and in fact, that's what Julia's recipe calls for. My version is simplified to cut down on prep time and also swaps in boneless skinless chicken thighs for chicken breasts.
Creamy paprika chicken is:
- hearty comfort food that is full of flavor
- easy to make with minimal ingredients
- ready in under 30 minutes
- a one-pan meal with easy clean-up
- keto-friendly, gluten-free and dairy optional
It only takes 10 simple ingredients to create this delicious keto creamy chicken dish!
If you're dairy-free or paleo, you can certainly enjoy creamy paprika chicken thighs by making a few easy swaps (see below).
You will need:
- avocado oil
- butter (or ghee or more oil)
- yellow or white onion, sliced thin
- smoked paprika
- boneless chicken thighs
- dry white wine (or sub chicken broth)
- heavy cream (or sub half coconut cream + half almond milk)
- lemon juice
- salt and black pepper
- parsley (optional)
This one-pot meal cooks up in a single skillet or Dutch oven, which leaves you with easy cleanup, too!
how to make creamy paprika chicken
One of my favorite things about this paprika chicken recipe is that you get a healthy dinner with incredible results and there's little effort required.
Most of the cook time is spent waiting on the onions to soften and the chicken to cook through. Finish it all off by adding a little bit of white wine and cream to the onions/chicken drippings to make that yummy sauce.
Here's a quick look at the process! To view the instructions and ingredient amounts, check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Cook the onions. Heat the oil and butter in the pan, then add the sliced onions and smoked paprika. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to soften the onions.
- Add the chicken. Push the onions to the edges of the pan to make room for the chicken thighs. Place chicken in the center of the pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes per side over medium heat. When they're done, remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Turn the heat to low.
- Make the cream sauce. Pour the dry white wine (or broth) into the pan and stir with the onions. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes to reduce. Stir in the cream and heat on low for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add a splash of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve. Transfer the sauce into a serving bowl and add the chicken thighs back in. Or plate chicken thighs with extra spoonfuls of that creamy sauce and onions on top. (I like to serve it over cauliflower rice which I prepare while the chicken is cooking).
tips for the best results
- Trim excess fat off the chicken thighs before cooking. Sharp kitchen shears work great for this!
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels to remove excess water before transferring them to the skillet.
- Since the onions sweat, the chicken thighs will not brown much. If you prefer your chicken thighs extra crispy, I recommend cooking them in the skillet first. Transfer them to a plate before cooking the onions and cream sauce in the same pan. I've used this method as well (and it's great) but it does take a bit more time to prepare since the chicken and onions don't cook simultaneously.
- To make this dairy-free, whisk together ½ cup full-fat coconut cream and ½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk in a small bowl before pouring it into the skillet.
- Leftovers will keep well covered in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days. Reheat these smoked paprika chicken thighs in the microwave or in a pan over the stovetop until warm.
- The best way to tell when the chicken is done is by using a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reads 165°F, the chicken is fully cooked.
- You can easily modify the taste of the cream sauce. Add more or less lemon juice (or even a dash of lemon zest!), and make sure to pay attention to the salt level of the sauce. Paprika adds a bit of saltiness on its own which is why we're salting the sauce at the very end. For a little heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
- If you only have bone-in chicken thighs, you will need to allow for a much longer initial cook time. I also recommend cooking the thighs first, then adding in the onions,. This will ensure a crispier skin on the chicken pieces.
what to serve with paprika chicken thighs
This paprika chicken recipe is one of those main dishes that goes great with a variety of sides!
It has a strong paprika and onion flavor that infuses into the rich paprika cream sauce. It's so good you'll want to spoon that sauce over everything!
Here are a few low-carb side dish ideas to serve with creamy paprika chicken thighs:
- creamy cauliflower mash
- keto buttermilk biscuits
- cauliflower risotto
- savory almond meal bread
- crispy roasted Brussels sprouts with sriracha
Succulent chicken thighs in a rich sauce with savory onions and smoky paprika is my definition of a dream dinner, how about you?
This great recipe has lots of potential to become a family fave, and what's better is you can enjoy it on even the busiest of nights! Creamy paprika chicken thighs forever.
you might also love...
- Keto sausage gravy, a rich and creamy, sausage-packed gravy that can also be made dairy-free.
- Harissa chicken thighs with roasted vegetables is a delicious sheet pan dinner that brings all the flavor!
- Speaking of chicken thighs, this roundup of easy keto chicken thigh recipes will give you all the chicken dinner inspo you need.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons butter (or sub ghee or more oil)
- 1 large onion, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 4-5 large boneless/skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup dry white wine (or sub chicken broth)
- 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream (for dairy-free, sub ½ cup coconut cream + ½ cup plain almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
- Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it glistens, add the butter, onion slices and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Move the onions toward the outside of the pan, creating space in the center. Place the chicken pieces in the center of the skillet. Cook for 5-8 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-8 minutes on the second side. (Since the onions sweat, the chicken will not get as crisp). Move or stir the onions around occasionally, if needed.
- When the chicken is done, transfer each piece to a plate and set it aside. Keep the onions in skillet and turn down the heat to low.
- Pour in the white wine (or broth) and let it simmer and reduce for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cream. Heat on low for 5 min, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of lemon. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if desired.
- To serve, plate chicken pieces with extra spoonfuls of sauce and onions. Or transfer the sauce and chicken to a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 124mgCarbohydrates: 6gNet Carbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 17g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.