Chicken paprikash (Csirkepaprikás)

For a long time, paprikash and goulash meant the same thing and were used interchangeably. Today, there’s a slight difference between these centuries-old Hungarian classics: the paprikash is usually made with chicken or veal and always finished with sour cream. Because of its lush, creamy sauce, many people favor the paprikash of the two.


Yield: 4-5 servings; Total time: 1 hour

For the paprikash

  • 800 grams (1 ¾ pounds) boneless, skinless, chicken thighs cut into 1.5 cm (½ inch) pieces. You can also use chicken legs (4 pieces) or bone-in chicken thighs (8 pieces).

  • 1 tablespoon lard (if you don’t have any, you can render pork belly or bacon fat or use vegetable oil)

  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 pinches freshly ground pepper

  • 1 onion, minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 ripe medium tomato, peeled and cut into very small pieces (or puréed into smooth paste using an immersion blender)

  • 1 Hungarian wax pepper or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into very small pieces (or puréed into smooth paste using an immersion blender)

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 tablespoon flour

For the egg dumplings / galuska

  • 3 eggs

  • 400 grams (3 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 100 ml (½ cup) water

  • 3 pinches of salt


  • Step 1: Heat lard or oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high, then add minced onion and sauté until translucent, about 6-8 minutes.

  • Step 2: Add chicken and sear until it’s lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.

  • Step 3: Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in paprika, minced garlic, the small bits of tomato and yellow pepper, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add 150 ml (½ cup) water, place lid on pot, and let it steam-cook for about 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender.

  • Step 4: While chicken is cooking, prepare the egg dumplings by mixing egg, flour, oil, water, and salt. Knead them into a runny dough, then using a strainer board, shave coarse bits of dough into a large pot filled with 3 liters (3.2 quarts) of simmering salted water. Scoop out the galuska with a strainer when they appear on the surface a few minutes later. Drizzle with a generous amount of oil and mix well so they don’t stick together, then put aside.

  • Step 5: In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream and flour (reserve 2 tablespoons of sour cream). Ladle a few spoons of the hot cooking juices from the pot into the sour cream mixture and stir to combine.

  • Step 6: Turn off the heat and add sour cream mixture to the pot and stir well (if you’re using whole chicken legs or bone-in thighs, first remove them from the pot). Turn heat to medium-high and let the sauce thicken into a creamy consistency at a low simmer for 2-3 minutes. (Then add back chicken pieces if they were removed.)

  • Step 7: Taste the sauce for salt and add more if needed. Serve the chicken paprikash and the dumplings side by side on a dinner plate and drizzle the leftover sour cream on top for an added visual effect. You can prepare a simple cucumber salad for the side.

Words of advice

Be mindful that the cooking time will increase somewhat if you’re using whole chicken legs or bone-in chicken thighs instead of morsels of meat.

I created these recipes with the help of nearly a dozen historical Hungarian cookbooks, adjusting ingredients, cooking times, and methods to reflect my own preferences and tastes of the current day.