Smothered chicken is a 30-minute, one-pan meal made with tender, seasoned chicken breasts and caramelized onions simmered in a homemade gravy served with mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta!
WANT TO SAVE THIS RECIPE?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox! (plus more new recipes sent weekly!)
Best Smothered Chicken Recipe
Anytime you hear the word smothered, you know the dish is going to be amazing. Whether it’s meat smothered in sauce or creamy gravy, veggies smothered in melted cheese, or a cake smothered in frosting, it all comes down to simple ingredients, bold flavors, and loads of creamy, dreamy yumminess.
For this smothered chicken, we sear the chicken breasts to lock in moisture and brown the outside then we cook the onions until tender. These get simmered in a rich, savory onion gravy and all of that gets served with a side of mashed potatoes. Or brown or white rice. Anything that will soak up every last drop of the sauce!
It’s made without dredging or breading, which means fewer dishes to wash and less effort with just as much flavor.
So much so that I don’t doubt you’ll be licking your plate clean!
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this great recipe. Scroll down to the full recipe card with amounts.
- Chicken breasts: Boneless skinless chicken breasts is what I like to use. Trim the excess fat, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Salt & black pepper: To season the meat just before searing.
- Butter & olive oil: We’re using butter to cook the breasts and olive oil (or other vegetable oil) to cook the onions. You can use one or the other for both if preferred.
- Yellow onions: Sliced thin.
- Minced garlic: An aromatic that adds a ton of flavor to the sauce. It also pairs nicely with the flavor of the onions.
- Chicken broth: Use your favorite kind of store-bought or homemade chicken stock you have on hand.
- Heavy cream: For a rich creamy consistency.
- Worcestershire sauce: For depth of flavor and to add a salty, savory, element.
- Seasoning: Dried thyme, paprika
- Cornstarch: Used to thicken the sauce if necessary. Use all purpose flour if you’d like.
1. Toss in some cooked bacon crumbles to the sauce for even more flavor.
2. If you want to add spinach or kale, go ahead and throw in a handful towards the end.
3. Swap the cream for whole milk, low-fat milk, or any non-dairy milk you’d prefer. Just remember the higher the fat, the richer the sauce will be.
4. Add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes for heat. Increase the amount depending on your desired spice level.
5. If your chicken breasts are too thick or an uneven thickness, slice them in half crosswise. If they’re still uneven, you can gently pound it until it evens out, while also tenderizing it. This helps with even cooking.
6. Swap the chicken breasts for chicken thighs or you can even use turkey cutlets or even pork chops.
7. Swap the thyme for poultry seasoning.
How to Make this Easy Chicken Recipe
This smothered chicken breast recipe comes together in one pan, making it a go-to dinner idea during the busy week. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Slice the breasts in half, pound them if necessary, and season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Step 2: In a large pan or cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add the cutlets. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it’s just barely cooked through. Remove from the skillet and set aside
We want It will barely cooked through because it will continue cooking later in the sauce. We don’t want to overcook it and dry it out.
Step 3: To the same skillet, add the olive oil and onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes until they start to caramelize to a golden brown color. Add in the minced garlic and stir for about 1 minute until fragrant. If you don’t have fresh garlic, use ¼ -½ teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
Step 4: Make the gravy: Pour in the broth, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and thyme. Stir to combine and bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir.
Step 5: Mix cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of cold water to create a slurry. Be sure to dissolve the cornstarch so that you don’t find clumps of it in your sauce. Stir it into the sauce, bring it back down to a simmer, and add the chicken back into the skillet.
Step 6: Cover the pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
Step 7: Serve with your favorite sides and spoon the sauce (aka smother it) over the chicken. Garnish with fresh herbs like fresh parsley or chives and enjoy!
- Use a digital thermometer to test the internal temperature. It should be 165 degrees F.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice, or pasta and a veggie like green beans or broccoli.
- To pound the chicken breasts, place the cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag and use a meat mallet to pound them evenly.
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Use the microwave at 60% power to reheat. Be careful not to overdo it or your overcooked chicken will dry out.
While chicken breasts are lean, and not the juiciest part of the chicken, there are ways to ensure it stays moist. The first is to tenderize it so that it is not too tough. A marinade is always a good idea, if you have the time.
In this recipe, we sear the outside which locks in the moisture, and then we continue cooking it through in the sauce, that way it doesn’t dry out from overcooking it from the start.
Last, you want to rest your meat before slicing into it, so the juices don’t run out before you get a chance to enjoy them!
Easy Smothered Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to thin them and season with salt and pepper.2 chicken breasts, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large skillet or cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted and then add the chicken filets.2 tablespoon butter
- Cook the chicken for 4 minutes then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it's just barely cooked through. Be careful not to overcooking as it will become more tough. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on a plate.
- Add the olive oil to the same skillet and add the sliced onions. Sauté the onion for 5-7 minutes or until golden the start to caramelize.2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 yellow onion
- Then, add in the minced garlic and stir to fragrant.2 garlic cloves
- Next, add the chicken broth, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and thyme and stir to combine well and bring to a boil.1 cup chicken broth, ½ cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon dried thyme
Thicken the sauce:
- Add the cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of cold water to create a slurry. Then, stir it into the sauce. This prevents lumps and creates a smooth sauce.1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Reduce the heat and add the cooked chicken breast back to the skillet.
- Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and for the chicken to be fully cooked until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
- Serve over mashed potato, egg noodles, rice or pasta. Spoon the sauce over the chicken
- Garnish with fresh herbs, such as chopped fresh parsley or chives.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
Sharing of this recipe to social media is both encouraged and appreciated. Please share the direct link back to the recipe. Copy/Pasting and/or screenshots of the recipe to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected