What could be more Hungarian than paprikás csirke? With tender chicken and a rich, flavourful, creamy sauce, chock-full of paprika, chicken paprikash is sure to get your mouth watering just thinking about it. Every traditional restaurant menu in Budapest is sure to feature this staple, but you can make it just as quickly in your own kitchen.

The key to a good chicken paprikash is the paprika, of course. You want to buy the sweet paprika, and use a lot of it – at least four tablespoons. Traders around the city are now doing home delivery for ingredients and groceries, so you don't even have to leave your home to prepare. 

The rest of the necessary ingredients include bone-in chicken pieces, garlic, onion and sour cream, as well as some salt, pepper and flour. Some modern cooks will use chicken broth in lieu of water when cooking the chicken for extra flavour, and others still might add the likes of bell pepper or tomatoes into the broth. These are not strictly traditional, however, and might not be advised if entertaining your Hungarian neighbours! But in the privacy of your own kitchen, you can cook as you like – we won’t tell.


  • Butter, lard or oil for frying the chicken
  • 1.4kg bone-in and skin-on chicken pieces
  • 2-3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¾-1 cup (240 g) sour cream


  • Brown the chicken on all sides in a heavy pot, then transfer to a plate. In the same oil, fry the onions until golden brown. Add the garlic for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from heat and stir in the paprika, salt and pepper. It’s important to note that paprika will develop an unpleasant flavour if it is scorched! Return the chicken to the pot and pour over water until the chicken is mostly covered.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 40 minutes. When this is finished, remove the chicken and transfer it to a plate.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour and sour cream into a smooth paste.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the liquid from pot and mix together. This step is important, as adding the full sour cream to the hot soup will cause it to form lumps.
  • Add the sour cream into the pot and stir until smooth. Let the mixture come to a simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce is thickened, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce and simmer to heat through.

Chicken paprikash is traditionally served with csipetke, sort of like Italian gnocchi. It’s a simple recipe which only involves three ingredients: flour, egg and salt. All three are kneaded together into a ball, left to rest for 20 minutes and then pinched into small pieces the shape of a grain. Less authentic kitchens may simply prefer noodles. Whatever your preference, serve hot and enjoy!