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Smothered Chicken

Smothered Chicken – Succulent pan-fried chicken bathed in rich, creamy gravy equals all-out deliciousness! Smothered chicken is truly the MVP of comfort food! And this luxurious, soul food meal is incredibly simple to create.

Drool-worthy smothered chicken is classic soul food

I grew up on comfort food, and chicken with gravy was always one of my favorites! Something about drizzling rich, savory gravy over a bed of mashed potatoes still makes me think of home. 

So, this smothered chicken recipe is my go-to when I treat myself and my loved ones to a bit of soul food! It’s a straightforward dish that comes together in a flash and is always a crowd-pleaser. Who doesn’t love chicken with gravy, right?

A delicious plateful of smothered chicken over rice

What Does Smothered Mean?

Smothering is a popular technique in Southern and soul food cooking. You brown your chicken on the stovetop, deglaze the pan with broth, season it, and simmer until it’s tender and the gravy thickens. Turkey, beef, and pork also enjoy this treatment.

Smothered Chicken Ingredients

What you need for this recipe

Chicken

  • Chicken Thighs – Chicken thighs are my favorite because they’re so flavorful. But you can substitute them with chicken breasts. Just have to adjust your cooking time to keep them from getting dry.
  • Flour – The perfect ingredient to dredge the chicken and thicken the gravy.
  • Seasonings –Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder will have your tastebuds dancing!
  • Vegetable Oil – You want to sear the chicken before making the gravy. Peanut oil, lard, and refined coconut oil can take the heat if you don’t want to use vegetable oil.
What you need for the gravy

Gravy

  • Chicken Broth – Chicken broth gives an extra depth of flavor, but you can substitute beef or vegetable broth.
  • Cream – Heavy cream makes decadently smooth gravy, but you can use half-and-half for a lower-calorie dish.
  • Garlic and Onion – Talk about phenomenal flavor, but you can leave them out if you prefer.
  • Butter – Any gravy needs fat to be rich and creamy. And butter adds so much more flavor than the others.
  • Thyme – This minty, savory herb adds the perfect touch.
  • Chicken Bouillon – Intensify the flavor without adding more liquid for a thick gravy.

How to Make Smothered Chicken

Season and sear
  1. Chicken Thighs – Chicken thighs are my favorite because they’re so flavorful. But you can substitute them with chicken breasts. Just have to adjust your cooking time to keep them from getting dry.
  2. Flour – The perfect ingredient to dredge the chicken and thicken the gravy.
  3. Seasonings –Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder will have your tastebuds dancing!
  4. Vegetable Oil – You want to sear the chicken before making the gravy. Peanut oil, lard, and refined coconut oil can take the heat if you don’t want to use vegetable oil.
Making the gravy and the finishing up

The Gravy

  1. Saute the Veggies – Add butter, onion, garlic, and thyme in the same skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning.
  2. The Roux – Sprinkle your reserved seasoned flour over the onions and continue stirring with a wooden spoon for another two minutes to remove the raw flour taste and form a paste (roux).
  3. Make the Gravy – Slowly pour the chicken broth, followed by the heavy cream, while continuously whisking to ensure no lumps form. Cook for a couple more minutes until it comes to a simmer. Then have a taste test and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  4. Put it all Together – Return the partially cooked chicken to the pan, cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer. Stir occasionally, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 30-45 minutes, depending on big your chicken thighs are. 
  5. Serve – Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes or rice.
Spooning up rich smothered chicken

Recipe Tips

  • Always pat the chicken dry before dredging it in the flour mixture to remove excess moisture. That will give the chicken that super crispy, golden skin!
  • If you’re making smothered chicken breasts, use a meat tenderizer to create texture on the surface of the chicken. It will help coat the chicken in the breading and give it that fried chicken look and taste!
  • If you like a darker gravy, cook the flour a tad longer over low heat. Or, if you prefer lighter gravy, cook it for less time over high heat, whisking continuously.
  • You can add about 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk to achieve the desired consistency if it’s too thick.

Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions

Smothered chicken is best served hot and fresh from the pan! But if I need to save time, I season and bread the chicken the day before and store it in the fridge overnight. Then I take it out when I’m ready to start cooking.

You can store leftovers (if any 😉) in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days or in the freezer for three months.

What to Serve With Smothered Chicken

For a real Southern feast, I love serving it with sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and Southern cornbread. Or I’ll kick things up a notch and serve Jiffy jalapeno cheddar cornbread.

Mashed potatoes are also a great accompaniment. There’s nothing better than a fluffy pile of garlic roasted mashed potatoes smothered in gravy with green beans and bacon.

More Incredible Chicken Recipes

Conclusion

Smothered chicken is a purely satisfying soul food perfect for any occasion. Would you like more awesome recipes? Please sign up for our newsletter.

Drool-worthy smothered chicken is classic soul food
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Smothered Chicken

Succulent pan-fried chicken bathed in rich, creamy gravy equals all-out deliciousness! Smothered chicken is truly the MVP of comfort food! And this luxurious, soul food meal is incredibly simple to create.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 650kcal

Ingredients

The Chicken

  • 2½-3 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in (skinless optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

The Gravy

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

The Chicken

  • Prep chicken thighs by removing the extra fat, then pat them dry with paper towels.
  • Thoroughly mix the Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, onion and garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Generously season your chicken with some of the spice rub. Set aside.
  • Add the remaining spice rub to the flour and mix well. Transfer two tablespoons of the seasoned flour to a smaller bowl and set aside. Dredge the seasoned chicken thighs through the flour mixture, ensuring they are fully coated. Shake off any excess flour. Place the thighs on a rack and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
  • Heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron). Put the chicken thighs in (skin-side down) and fry until golden brown (about 5 minutes per side). The chicken will be partially cooked at this point. Transfer it back to the rack.

The Gravy

  • Add butter, onion, garlic, and thyme in the same skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. Sprinkle your reserved seasoned flour over the onions and continue stirring with a wooden spoon for another two minutes to remove the raw flour taste and form a paste (roux).
  • Slowly pour the chicken broth, followed by the heavy cream, while continuously whisking to ensure no lumps form. Cook for a few more minutes until it comes to a simmer. Do a taste test, then adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Put the partially cooked chicken back in the pan, cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking. Cook for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken thighs.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Notes

  • Always pat the chicken dry before dredging it in the flour mixture to remove excess moisture. That will give the chicken that super crispy, golden skin!
  • If you’re making smothered chicken breasts, use a meat tenderizer to create texture on the surface of the chicken. It will help coat the chicken in the breading and give it that fried chicken look and taste!
  • If you like a darker gravy, cook the flour a tad longer over low heat. If you prefer lighter gravy, cook it for less time over high heat, whisking continuously.
    If the gravy seems too thick, add about 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 250g | Calories: 650kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 45g | Cholesterol: 325mg | Sodium: 225mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g
Recipe Rating