Easy Chicken Recipes for a Quick Dinner Tonight
We've rounded up our favorite, easy ways to prepare chicken.
Chicken is arguably the South’s favorite protein to put on the dinner table. We love it for it’s nutritional value, accessibility, low cost, and—most importantly—extreme versatility. This much-loved poultry serves as a blank slate and flavor-absorbing foundation for every type of cuisine imaginable. It can be roasted, pan-seared, grilled, and even cooked in a Southerner’s favorite fashion—hand-breaded and deep-fried. We’ve rounded up more than 100 of our favorite chicken recipes so that you’ll never have to look to far to find an easy chicken recipe that will please your crowd any night of the week. These chicken recipes include everything from Southwest Chicken Tortillas, to BBQ Chicken Pizza, to Chicken Pot Pie. For your easy weeknight chicken dinners, look no further.
Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Serve this fresh summer salad with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the flavorful tomato juices. If you can't find heirloom tomatoes near you, don't worry—this salad will be just as delicious with any ripe tomato.
Recipe: Chicken-and-Biscuit Cobbler
This family-friendly dish is sure to become a new holiday staple. Use fresh herbs in the cobbler.
Chicken and Fontina Panini
Recipe: Chicken and Fontina Panini
Crusty on the outside, gooey on the inside, this sandwich requires little effort and makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. You can make hot sandwiches with two heavy cast-iron skillets—no panini press required. While you're cooking a sandwich in one skillet, heat the second one on a separate burner. Once hot, place the second skillet on top of the sandwich for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat on the flip side, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Recipe: Chicken Stir-Fry
Fresh veggies add prep time but allow you to customize this stir-fry with summer favorites. Add any veggie you like for a meal that is sure to please the whole family. The best part? This one-dish wonder will be ready in just 10 minutes.
Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut-Ginger Sauce
Make the dressing and prep the veggies the day before, and dinner will be on the table in minutes. This is a great recipe to really make your own by adding and subtracting fresh veggies to suite your taste.
Southwest Chicken Tortillas
Recipe: Southwest Chicken Tortillas
Serve these Southwest Chicken Tortillas with sliced avocados and extra salsa on the side. We used corn tortillas, but feel free to use flour if you prefer. Feel free to add any toppings you like. You really can't go wrong with this family-favorite.
Chicken and White Bean Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
This vibrant salad is quick to toss together and travels well, which makes it ideal for summer picnics and potlucks. Don't worry, the salad won't wilt when dressed, so make it ahead of time and store it for several hours in the refrigerator.
Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Strawberry Salsa
This fresh and light dish will be your go-to supper this season. The chicken cutlets get a big boost of flavor from a marinade of pineapple juice, ground ancho chile, cumin, vinegar, and oil. Be sure to allow enough time for the chicken to chill in the marinade for 30 minutes before grilling. You'll probably want to make an extra batch of our strawberry salsa to serve alongside. We also love to drizzle Tangy Strawberry Barbecue Sauce over the chicken.
Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Recipe: Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups
Leftover chicken gets a fresh makeover with crisp lettuce leaves, toasted walnuts, and dried cherries. Freeze any extra meat in portion sizes, and use in future recipes. We love the convenience of whipping up a batch of this easy-to-make chicken salad to have on-hand throughout the week. Serve in lettuce cups, like we did here, or with crackers and fruit.
Sesame Chicken Tacos
Recipe: Sesame Chicken Tacos
Baja and Beijing collide in a healthy new way with taco night.
Simple Whole Chicken with Roasted Broccoli-Mushroom Rice
Each member of the family can enjoy his or her favorite piece of the bird with this recipe.
Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
The trick to extra-savory veggies is cooking the chicken atop the potatoes and carrots.
Perfect Chicken Kabobs
Recipe: Perfect Chicken Kabobs
Mixing vegetables and meat on the same skewer is a no-go; you'll end up overcooking something. Instead, grill vegetable-only skewers to go with the meat-only kabobs. Choose thighs, a great cut of chicken for marinating because when they are deboned, the butcher leaves lots of nooks and crannies that trap the marinade. Finally, use a wide, flat skewer to keep the food from twirling around, making cooking and eating easier.
Watch: The Best Way To Make Kabobs
Chicken with Cashews
Recipe: Chicken with Cashews
Our Test Kitchen staffers declared that this Chinese-inspired recipe from 1979 beats any take-out meal.
Korean Buttermilk Chicken Kabobs
Recipe: Korean Buttermilk Chicken Kabobs
Gochujang is a Korean condiment with tons of bright, peppery flavor. It's made with chile peppers but is sweet enough for kids. Try it on grilled meat or stirred into mayonnaise for a sandwich. If you'd like, swap pieces of pork tenderloin or sirloin steak for the chicken.
Grilled Chicken-Vegetable Kabobs
Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas
Recipe: Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas
Baking the pizzas directly on the oven rack gives you a crisp crust in less time. You can substitute shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese for fresh.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Lettuce Cups
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Lettuce Cups
These cups pair the freshness of a salad with the heartiness of a taco. Serve as an appetizer or light dinner.
Garlic-Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs
Tangy yogurt tenderizes the meat and balances the heat from the jalapeño peppers. Grill indoors on a grill pan, or rev up the outdoor grill. Steamed sugar snap peas round out the meal.
Grilled Chipotle Chicken
Recipe: Grilled Chipotle Chicken
Ditch your plain grilled chicken for a zesty, perfectly spiced dinner instead. Grilled Chipotle Chicken delivers a smoky heat flavor with a touch of sweetness. Try Mexican oregano for extra zing.
Chicken, Farro, and Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Grilling the chicken and vegetables gives this healthy and hearty salad a smoky, sweet flavor. If you prefer, substitute sliced celery for fennel and pearl barley or wheat berries for farro.
Grilled Chicken and New Potatoes
Recipe: Grilled Chicken and New Potatoes
Use a foil packet as a fuss-free cooking vessel for the leeks and potatoes (or any vegetable).
Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
This winner of a chicken dinner is our new favorite roasting-pan supper.
Buttermilk-and-Honey Chicken Kabobs
A buttermilk marinade ensures tender meat and juicy flavor.
Chicken Cutlets with Herbed Mushroom Sauce
Cleanup is easy with this one pan dinner (you'll make the sauce in the same pan you used to cook the cutlets). Serve the dish over mashed potatoes or with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the earthy sauce. To cut costs, purchase fresh herbs labeled "poultry blend." You'll get an assortment of herbs for the price of one package.
Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
Recipe: Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
You can’t go wrong with Chicken Pot Pie. You can’t go wrong with Bacon. This high-rating recipe combines both for a classic Southern dish that your family will request over and over again. Deli-roasted chicken and puff pastry shortcut time without cutting flavor; Thick, sizzling bacon slices, dry white wine, and mustard give the gravy and vegetables a savory punch. Want to know the secret for making the perfect potpie filling? Reserve the bacon drippings, and cook it in to the flour-based broth. You can make the mini version of this recipe by using ramekins instead of a baking dish.
Watch: Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
Chicken Paillard with Citrus Salad and Couscous
Israeli couscous is also sometimes labeled pearl couscous.
Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
Make the enchilada sauce up to three days ahead; the flavors will meld and only get better. We used corn tortillas in this recipe, but feel free to swap for flour tortillas if you prefer. If you're fixing and freezing this recipe, complete up to baking in step 4. For best results, wait to bake until you're ready to eat.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti
Spend 20 minutes in the kitchen prepping this gorgeous, hearty sauce. Once the sauce simmers in the cooker, all that's left to do is cook a pound of pasta, and serve.
Chicken-and-Wild Rice Skillet Casserole
This rustic meal, a company's-coming riff on the old-school chicken-and-rice number, is held together by a tangy gravy flavored with country ham and mushrooms. This dish is perfect for weekend nights when you have more time to devote to ingredient preparation – it takes some time for these ingredients to come together to form one of the most delicious casseroles we’ve ever cooked. We can attest that this dish is worth the wait. Nutty wild rice helps sop up all the good chicken gravy so you don’t miss any flavor. Jazz up the classic comfort food recipe with fresh toppings like flat-leaf parsley and crunchy sliced almonds.
Grilled Chicken and Garden Salsa
Prepare the 3-ingredient marinade using Parmesan, mayonnaise, and lemon zest for flavorful chicken breast. Toss zucchini, onion, and bell peppers with olive oil, throw them over the fire, and let the season’s veggies speak for themselves.
Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Garden Salsa
Top-Shelf Chicken Under a Brick
Recipe: Top-Shelf Chicken Under a Brick
The "top-shelf" in this recipe speaks to the crispy skin, superior flavor, and juiciness of the bird. It also refers to a novel new technique: cooking potatoes in the heavy cast-iron skillet that's used as a weight on the chicken. The weight presses the chicken flat against the grill grates, cutting the cooking time in half. Plus you'll be cooking your side dish at the same time.
Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles
Stovetop Chicken Pie
Recipe: Stovetop Chicken Pot Pie
After eating this pot pie version of the classic Southern chicken and biscuit meal, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of this chicken pot pie biscuit casserole sooner. Use frozen buttermilk biscuits for quicker cook time; for special occasions, make our best ever biscuit recipe to take this comfort food to the next level. A family-size rotisserie chicken yields the perfect amount of chopped cooked chicken for this quick twist on traditional chicken potpie. Lighten up this down home meal with low fat cream cheese and reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup, or serve it over brown rice rather than biscuits.
Fried Chicken Tacos with Buttermilk-Jalapeño Sauce
Use this creamy sauce to dress up store-bought fried chicken or as a salad dressing or dip for wings. Adjust the heat by adding more or less jalapeño. We like to double up on the tortillas, taco-truck style, for any of these tacos.
Grilled Salt-and-Pepper Chicken Wings
Broiler option: Broil on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan 8 inches from heat 20 minutes or until done, turning halfway through. Amp up the flavor with one of our tasty drizzle recipes.Honey Drizzle Recipes Recipe: Cider Vinegar-Brown Butter Honey Drizzle Recipe: Horseradish-Honey Mustard Drizzle Recipe: Cracked Pepper-Rosemary Honey Drizzle Recipe: Chili-Lemon Honey Drizzle
Soak chicken in a citrus-and-tequila-spiked brine to infuse Latin flavors and keep the chicken moist as it cooks. Pat the skin dry before grilling, and start skin-side down to ensure it gets good and crispy. Feel free to sub orange juice for tequila and lemons or oranges for limes, and be sure to grill extra citrus for a pretty and functional garnish.
Recipe: Margarita-Brined Chicken
King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
All the flavors of a favorite casserole come together in the comfort of mac and cheese. Freeze this hearty, cheesy favorite in lidded bakeware for easy transport between oven, freezer, and fridge.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Pasta and Pesto
This stovetop-to-oven method yields crisp, dark-golden skin and juicy, tender meat.
Recipe: Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake
Cheese-filled tortellini and a chopped pecan topping add extra flavor to this kid-friendly Pasta-Chicken-Broccoli Bake, while broccoli and red bell pepper contribute pops of color throughout this one-dish meal. Add even more fun color by using colored tortellini. The unlikely pairing of ingredients like white wine and pecans will impress guests, while the delicious buttery crackers and grated Parmesan cheese will please even the pickiest eaters. Make this casserole dish for a potluck group or your family and receive rave reviews from all. One reviewer said that she enjoyed it so much, that she immediately emailed the recipe to her girlfriends.
Sesame Chicken Garden Salad
Recipe: Sesame Chicken Garden Salad
Dress a double batch of this light but satisfying dinner with the sesame dressing. The flavors get even better overnight in the fridge, and leftovers make a gourmet on-the-go lunch.
Curried Chicken Chowder
Recipe: Curried Chicken Chowder
To preserve the textures of meat and vegetables in soup, it's important to cool hot soups completely before freezing. To quickly reduce the temperature, transfer to large, shallow containers (13- × 9-inch baking dishes). Refrigerate uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cool.
Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad
Recipe: Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad
Reinvent the Caesar by roasting the lettuce to caramelize it, and jazz up store-bought dressing to make it taste like homemade.
Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry
Recipe: Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry
This colorful chicken and vegetable stir fry is a delight for the eyes as well as the taste buds with its colorful array of yellow squash, red bell pepper, broccolini, and green onions.
Grilled Chicken-Asparagus Salad
Recipe: Grilled Chicken-Asparagus Salad
This hearty salad is brightened up with mint, lemon juice, and fresh dill.
Pan-Grilled Chicken with Fresh Plum Salsa
A mix of sweet and heat on these chicken cutlets is sure to get your family's taste buds ready for dinner. Add a side of steamed vegetables for a complete meal.
Peanut Chicken Scaloppine
One-Dish Chicken Pasta
Recipe: One-Dish Chicken Pasta
If you're craving a cheesy casserole but don't have the time to assemble and bake one, make a quick cooktop casserole with all your favorite casserole ingredients.
"Man Catching” Fried Chicken with Honey-Pecan Glaze
From the Kitchen of Leah Stacey, Montgomery, AL–"I borrowed the recipe name from a former First Lady of Alabama who claimed her fried chicken had such powers."
Greek Chicken Tacos
Recipe: Greek Chicken Tacos
Crisp lettuce cups offer a light, refreshing spin to this Greek salad-inspired taco, but feel free to use warm flour tortillas or pitas instead.
Recipe: Tomato-Chicken Salad
Main-dish salads are a refreshing change for your easy weeknight meals. Try this salad full of tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil, and serve it with seasoned ciabatta bread.
White Lightning Chicken Chili
Recipe: White Lightning Chicken Chili
White Lightning Chicken Chili gets its name because it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish to get this one-dish meal to the table. Don't drain the chopped green chiles or navy beans. Serve chili with cornbread.
Mixed Fruit Chicken Salad
Fried Chicken Wings
Recipe: Chicken-and-Collards Pilau
Chicken, rice, and greens fill one soulful pot in our family-friendly take on a Lowcountry staple. Quick-cooking basmati rice helps turn this recipe into dinner in no time and stays fluffy throughout the entire cooking process.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Layers of corn tortillas give this ultra-creamy casserole some texture. Structured like a lasagna but flavored like the classic Tex-Mex enchilada dish, this chicken casserole is bursting with smoky, spicy flavor and sure to impress. We seasoned it with poblano peppers, green chiles, taco mix, and two creamy cheeses so that your Mexican-food cravings are satisfied without leaving the house. We also love it because of its versatility - try it with smoky shredded BBQ brisket or pulled pork in place of the chicken, or small cooked, peeled shrimp. Set out the finished dish with sour cream and fresh chopped cilantro for toppings.
Chicken-and-Three-Bean Chili Verde
For true Tex Mex flavor, serve with a side of tortilla chips and top with fresh avocado slices.
Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches
Chicken Risotto with Spring Vegetables
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts rule the roost in this fast weeknight meal, topped with savory Parmesan cheese slivers.
Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
For a fast flourish, char one side of the tortillas directly over gas flames for a few seconds using tongs. These enchiladas are served with our super quick and easy (and oh-so-delicious) Tomatillo Salsa. If you aren't a fan of tomatillos or can't find them in your grocery store, swap in your favorite tomato variety or whip up one of our other salsa recipes to use as a topper.
Recipe: Chicken-and-Squash Casserole
Get all the satisfaction of a hearty casserole with none of the messy cleanup. Preparing it in a slow cooker will ensure an even more tender bite.
Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts
Recipe: Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts
Starting the chicken on the stovetop and finishing in the oven helps prevent dry, overcooked chicken. The flavorful juices make a fresh and clean sauce–much lighter than a flour-thickened gravy. Serve with steamed rice, couscous, or quinoa for a simple summer meal.
Tex-Mex Chicken Chili with Lime
Recipe: Tex-Mex Chicken Chili with Lime
Store-bought rotisserie chicken shortcuts the cook time, while white ale adds spice, body, and flavor.
Baked Chicken Roulade
Recipe: Baked Chicken Roulade
Baked Chicken Roulade is fancy enough for a special occasion.
Peanut Chicken Stew
Recipe: Peanut Chicken Stew
A lot of times, when people say a soup is thick enough to be a meal, they're playing you. But this soup sustains. This recipe takes its cues from West Africa, particularly Senegal and The Gambia, known for peanut, or groundnut, stews.
Chicken and Gnocchi
Recipe: Chicken and Gnocchi
This fast became a Test Kitchen favorite and our new go-to chicken and dumplings because it's the easiest gnocchi we've ever made. Simply use a zip-top bag to pipe the pillowy mounds straight into the simmering water.
Smoky Chicken Panini with Basil Mayo
Smoky Gouda cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby spinach join grilled chicken breasts in this panini that's slathered with fresh Basil Mayo.
Easy Chicken Fried Rice
Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice
Have dinner on the table in less time than this take-out favorite could be delivered to your door. A great catch-all dish, fried rice can be made with any vegetables and proteins left over in the fridge at the end of the week. Quickly chop up your ingredients and sauté them in a mixture of Asian chili-garlic sauce and soy sauce for bold flavor.
Real Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a go-to lunch after church on Sundays. Keeping the shortening hot enough is the key to crisp chicken. Use a thermometer the first few times. After that, judging the heat becomes second nature.
Recipe: Real Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Chicken & Honey Sandwiches
Recipe: Chicken & Honey Sandwiches
No chopping, slicing, or frying required. Assemble these hearty sandwiches for a winner everytime.
Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole
Recipe: Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole
Save time (and dirty dishes) with lidded bakeware that goes from oven to freezer to fridge with ease.
Sliced almonds, water chestnuts, cream of mushroom soup, and Cheddar cheese add a depth of flavor and texture to this satisfying casserole.
Lemon-Basil Chicken Salad
Recipe: Lemon-Basil Chicken Salad
Baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes add flavor and color to this tasty chicken salad. Serve on whole grain flatbread.
Recipe: Chicken Biscuit
These taste similar to the chicken from a certain closed-on-Sundays fast-food chain that folks love. The secret? Dill pickle juice! If your cutlets are thick, put between sheets of plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick using a rolling pin.
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken with Basil Lima Beans
A basil puree makes a quick sauce for chicken and lima beans.