Dairy Free Chicken Paprikash

dairy free chicken paprikash in skillet
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Like any proper Hungarian, Chicken Paprikash is pure comfort food for me. If you’re unfamiliar with Hungarian food, there are a few key staples, and this dish is no exception. Paprika and sour cream are main stays for savory Hungarian dishes. With my son’s dairy allergy, however, I had to get creative…. and this diary free chicken paprikash is now a comfort food that anyone can enjoy!

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To make this an authentic chicken paprikash, you have to start with proper paprika. No offense to McCormick, but the paprika available at your local supermarket is not a proper Hungarian paprika. My family has always used szeged paprika- it will make a genuine difference in the flavor of this dish. My other advice, store it in the refrigerator. My great-grandma Kate swore that every good Hungarian, keeps their paprika in the refrigerator to preserve it’s flavor. I don’t know if there’s any validity to her argument, but I’m not going to challenge the old country rules!

The second key is the sour cream. If you don’t have a dairy allergy to worry about, then by all means use regular sour cream. Otherwise, you’ll want a dairy free option. Given my daugher’s allergies, the options were limited. I discovered Kite Hill brand and honestly, we didn’t even notice a difference in flavor. However, it is almond based, so if you have a nut allergy, you can try something like tofutti sour cream, which is soy based.

The paprikash is a simple peasant dish made in one pan (which I love as a mom of 3!). Typically you’ll serve over wide egg noodles, but any gluten-egg free noodles will do. Select what works for your needs. To start, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Warm oil in a large, heavy skillet ( I like cast iron for this) over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from heat and set aside. In the same pan, add the sliced onion and cook until they begin to caramelize, about 7 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add in the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, broth, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Return the chicken (and juices!) to the skillet. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender, stirring periodically. When done, remove bay leaves and chicken, covering with foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce to boil until very thick, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and whisk in the sour cream alternative until thick and creamy. Add back the chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley.

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Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35-45 minutes

Dairy Free Chicken Paprikash Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large, thinly sliced yellow onion (~3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup dairy free sour cream, like Kite Hill (preferred, contains almonds)
  • 8 ounces noodles (traditionally egg noodles, but any gluten/ egg free pasta will do)
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Dairy Free Chicken Paprikash Instructions

  1. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a heavy, cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. In the same skilled add the sliced onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to caramelize. Add in the wine and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the paprika, garlic, broth, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
  3. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce back to boil and cook until very thick. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the sour cream. Return chicken to the skillet, stirring to combine.
  4. Serve by either spooning the chicken and sauce over wide noodles to plate, or mix noodles into the skillet (my preference). Garnish with a dusting of paprika and chopped parsley.

Allergy Modifications

If you have multiple, conflicting, allergies in your family. there is still a way. Before we discovered a dairy free alternative that worked for us, in step 3 I would take 1/4-1/2 cup of the sauce into a small skillet and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the dairy free sour cream for my son. One small extra step, but best to keep everyone safe!

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