Having lost my mom just after my tenth birthday, my memories of her are spotty and faded.  Some are still clear, but I fear even those are fading with each passing year.  If there is one thing I wish I could remember more about her, it would be every possible detail about what she cooked.  I do remember a few of my own favorites, but I’d like to know what hers were.  I remember her going on health kicks from time to time.  Was that food really as gross as I remember?  The one thing I do know is that she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and cooking for our family, just as I do now.

This dish is the result of much wondering and searching inspired by a very vague memory of something Mom made.  It was one fall, I think, and I was home sick with some sort of flu or other stomach bug.  As always, she had quarantined me to my parents’ room and gave me as much Gatorade as I wanted.  After a couple of days, when I was able to keep food down again, she brought up a plate of dinner.  I’m not sure she ever told me what it was called but I vividly remember that meal.  Egg noodles in a orange-colored sauce with little flecks of red in it, and something else that gave it a creamy quality.  It tasted wonderful, and I cleaned my plate.  I don’t recall her making it again, and after she died I searched her recipe boxes and cookbooks trying to guess what exactly it might have been.  I’m not sure Dad would have known, but now he’s not around to ask either.  I happened upon it by chance while browsing recipe sites one day, and I had a hunch that this was it.  After trying a few more authentic versions of a traditionally Hungarian dish, I stumbled upon this surely Americanized version and finally, this was it.  It is comforting to have found it, comforting to taste it again, and comforting to feed it to my own children.  Andrew especially loved this dinner.  I hope he remembers it someday and makes it for his own family.


3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and/or thighs*
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt, plus more to taste
Cooked egg noodles, for serving


  • 01

    Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the pan, skin side down, and cook until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes.  Flip and cook until the second side is browned, about 6 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate.

  • 02

    Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot and lower the heat to medium.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes more.  Stir in the paprika and flour, season with salt and pepper, and stir constantly until the mixture is fragrant and begins to stick, about 1 minute.  Stir in the broth a bit at a time, whisking until smooth.  Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through (160˚ F internal temperature on an instant read thermometer), about 20 minutes.

  • 03

    Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board.  Remove the skin and bones; discard or save for another use.  Shred the chicken and stir back into the pot.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Serve the mixture warm over egg noodles.

  • 04

    *Though I almost always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in recipes that call for chicken, this is one recipe where I think the dark meat of legs and thighs really is best.


  • Zsu

    That is actually very close to how we do it in Hungary (or at least how my mom does it anyways!) We use less tomatoes (usually just a single tomato, cut in half, which gets removed before serving), but the rest seems roughly the same.
    Chicken paprikash is probably the only food I miss since I stopped eating meat… Instead I like to do same the recipe, just with mushrooms, also delicious. ;)

  • Lucy

    I always try and recreate meals I remember my Grandma making for me too – and when you get one right it feels like you hit the jackpot! Glad you enjoyed this :)

  • Rawan

    This looks super yummy. I live on Hungary but i’ve never seen or heard of this recipe, then again Hungarians love experimenting as long as they include their famous paprika. Thank you for the recipe, will try it tomorrow night

  • This sounds delicious!

  • Laura

    I’ve wondered how old you were when you lost your mom, so glad that you’re able to connect to her in spirit through food. Was just thinking I’d like to try my hand at paprikash, since it’s finally cooled off here.

    It reminds me of “When Harry Met Sally” – Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.

  • Kristin

    It looks delicious! I know my husband will love it, and suspect at least one of my kids will. I’m glad you were able to recreate this memory of a time with your mom.

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    What a special memory and special dish. I’m so happy you were able to find it.

  • leslie

    Oh, I am sooooo sorry you lost your Mom at such a young age. That must have been extremely difficult for you growing up. At least you can hold on to this memory of her in her delicious chicken dish.

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Looks delicious. My mom is alive and well (though she lives several states away) but I know as long as I live, whenever I smell onions and garlic cooking in olive oil I will think of her. My entire childhood, and probably to this day, she always made a pot of marinara sauce early on Friday mornings and we always had spagetti with marinara for dinner on Friday night. I remember waking up to that smell.

  • ML Spell

    I’m glad you found your memory. It looks delicious.

  • Willa

    This was my late Hungarian friend’s very favorite. I don’t remember the tomatoes in it but do know that he insisted ONLY Hungarian paprika was suitable. Also homemade noodles! I watched his daughter make it a time or two but that was a decade ago. When he went to Hungary, paprika was in his luggage upon his return.

  • Gillian @ No Bite Left Behind

    This looks amazing! I had chicken paprikash for the first (and only, so far) time last year and it was served over spaetzle. Definitely a dish worth recreating!

  • annieseats

    I was thinking of trying a veggie version with mushrooms. Glad to know it works well!

  • Hey Annie,
    Thanks for sharing this touching story and wonderful recipe. I went through a similar search for my dad’s pancake recipe, and it is still one of my most treasured dishes to make (though I can never seem to make mine quite as thick, yet fluffy as I remember his!)
    I’ve book marked this recipe for a cool fall night ahead. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks again!

  • Caroline L.

    This seems like the most comforting meal… Glad you have that memory with your mother!

  • Liz N.

    Annie, I share your nostalgia for Chicken Paprikash. This dish reminds me of my “sister from another mister” in Ohio who first introduced this to me. It’s an Easter staple in her household and I was fortunate enough to eat it with her family. Instead of egg noodles, she served it with homemade dumplings. Your comment about your mom and memories of her cooking has created an urgency in me to document my mom’s own recipes. I don’t want to wait until she passes before I lose the opportunity to ask her what ingredients she added or what she served us when we were sick. I will make that call to Mom today and start scrapbooking those heirloom recipes before they are just a memory!

  • Mmmm! Looks delicious :)

  • Alison Salcedo

    This is one of our family favorites because it reminds us of our grandma’s home cooking. For special occasions, she replaced the egg noodles with homemade spaetzle dumplings. Such a treat!

  • Coby

    What a wonderful way to honor your mom. Food and recipes really do have a way of tying together the generations and, of course, bringing back memories of loved ones. I’m compiling a notebook of our family’s favorite recipes (many of your are in there!), and many “heirloom” recipes (and little anecdotes that go with them), in the hopes of passing it down to my children someday. My great-grandma’s pumpkin cookies, my mother in-law’s amazing cornbread dressing…I treasure it.

  • Kim @ Just Baked

    I haven’t had this in years. My mom used to make this for me when I was a kid. I’ll have to ask her for the recipe because you just reminded me how much I loved this dish. It’s wonderful how food can bring back memories.

  • Heidi

    I have never had paprikash ever. I saw this and had to try it for dinner tonight. Although my kids said “it wasn’t their favorite”, I will definitely be making it again. My husband and I LOVED it! Ranks right up there with chicken and dumplings in the comfort food dept! :)

  • Julia

    I was SO excited to see this! My grandmother and mom are 100% Hungarian and they make this recipe all the time! They have passed down this recipe to me not too long ago! It is beyond delicious, next time we make it I want to try your version of it!

  • katieskitchenblog

    Thank you for sharing, I have similar stories, having lost my mother at 7.

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    What a beautiful memory of your mom. It makes this such a special dish for you, I’m sure! Looks delicious

  • Chelsy Mae

    I made this meal last night and it was a big hit with our family! It did take a while to shred all of the chicken (I think I used more then 3lbs) but it was worth it. And you are right about using legs or thighs in this dish. The white meat would have been too dry. Thaks so much for sharing this with us!

  • I loved cooking/baking with my Hungarian grandmother. Can’t wait to try your version of chicken paprikash.

  • Nikki

    Annie! So touching… I’m glad you found the dish that completes this particular memory of your mother.

  • Becky

    Annie, I love this post. Food connects me to the people I love, as well, both those still around and those who are gone. I’m so glad you have found a point of connection to your mother and to a precious memory. XOXO

  • Melissa

    I’m so glad you were able to find the recipe that is like what your mom made for you. I hope to make it for my family, too! It looks like a delicious meal.

    PS, on a totally unrelated note, I am having trouble linking to recipes in my blog so I have to post the entire link rather than just a word that can be clicked on. I tried to find this through google, and am still having problems. Do you know what the html code is to link to something?

  • Josie

    I’ve seen various versions of chicken paprikash over the years too, but it’s never really appealed to me for whatever reason. your description, story, and pictures definitely make me want to try this version tough!

  • annieseats

    I don’t use html to do my links but it should be pretty simple code. I’m sure you’ll figure it out!

  • Kelsey

    Annie, I’m so glad you found the recipe you remembered. Knowing Andrew loved it so much must’ve been the very best part.

  • morgan

    it is word (I hope that shows up)

  • Zsuzsi

    Hello Annie – Greetings from Hungary! I have been reading your blog for over a year now. I love and use your recipes a lot! Thanks for sharing this. I agree with Zsu, we make it very similarly here. AS said, we add only one piece of tomato and a whole green/yellow paprika as well (usually not available outside Hungary) cut into chunks. And a hint of ground cummin. The mushroom version is fabulous when the whole dish is pureed and filled into non-sweet pancakes. Some additional double cream sauce and fresh parsley on top, put in the oven for 15 minutes with some butter in a casserole dish…it is something my mom used to do a lot when I was small. Thanks for sharing your memories!!! It is fascinating to think how our national cuisine spread all over the world. Zsuzsi

  • That`s a really sweet memory. :) This dish does look wonderful.

  • Tracy

    This looks a lot like my mom’s beef stroganoff but with chicken and out with the condensed soups. I’m so glad you were able to recreate this memory!

  • I’m so glad you were able to find such a meaningful recipe! It looks delicious

  • Rene Kratz

    Your story is sad and lovely at the same time. I’m glad you found this recipe.

  • dori

    just made this and it was amazing! thanks for sharing!

  • Liv

    Made this dish and it was gloriously comforting. I dubbed it the cable knit sweater of dinners! Totally right on about using the thighs (I’m strictly a chicken boob girl myself and I was pleasantly surprised!). So this recipe made me a lot of leftovers…do you think this would freeze well?

  • Ami

    This is a beautiful story and a beautiful dish that I’m excited to try. I feel sad for the losses you have experienced and warmed by the happiness that you finally found this recipe.
    I’m involved with a small magazine that focuses on real stories from real families, and your story reminded me of the tone and warmth that the magazine strives for. We invite anyone to submit a story, and I think this story would be wonderful. Here is the website, if you’re at all interested. http://seeingtheeveryday.com/
    We’re not in a position to pay anyone (even the employees!) but it is a beautiful publication that I think you’d enjoy being a part of.
    Thanks again for your stories and recipes.

  • Angel Shadoff

    What a sweet story. I can say for me your chocolate syrup did that for me. I was raised by her and I always remember her in the kitchen making one thing or another. I remember fondly helping her make the chocolate sauce that she would make chocolate milk out of (she never purchased chocolate milk, but always made it). After she passed away I searched and searched through her boxes and never found it. When I read your recipe I knew that was it – and sure enough it was. Nothing like the joy of making it with my children to put in their milk. I know if Grandma could see it someone that it would bring a smile to her face – just as I am sure your mother would smile seeing you cook for your family. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  • What a wonderful story. My mom made something similar.

  • annieseats

    Aw, I’m glad to know that the chocolate syrup did that for you.

  • annieseats

    Thanks, Ami. I hadn’t heard of that site before. I will look into this and try to submit some time. Thank you!

  • annieseats

    I haven’t frozen it myself but I think it would be fine. However, you might consider stirring in the sour cream only after reheating (post-freezing). Some people say dishes with sour cream don’t freeze well. That said, I freeze white chicken chili with sour cream in it and it’s fine, so I don’t know how much it really matters. So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Roxy

    I love this story and I can relate. I lost my mom when I was 16. I still enjoy making many of the dishes that she made. Many had no actual written down recipes and I had to reinvent them the best that I could. Thanks for sharing.

  • Melissa Brooker

    My husband and i love this! I have never tried chicken paprikash before so i didnt know what to expect, but it was wonderful! Thank you for sharing your mom’s wonderful recipes! I also lost my mom at a young age, i was 2 and my sisters were 3 months old, so unfortunately i have no memories of her, i only know what she liked by my dad telling us, i do however have so many wonderful memories of my dad’s cooking!

  • kita

    Wow. I came over because I have never had paprikash and have been eyeing up some recipes because I want to try it. But, wow… I lost my mom when I was in my teens and I totally get trying to recreate those meals. She didn’t leave notes or cards and I am trying to recreate recipes from vague childhood memories. Im glad you were able to come up with this – the flavors sound fantastic.

  • Kami

    Thanks for sharing. My family loved it!

  • Michelle

    I tried this last night and very delish!! I loved the dark meat over regular chicken breasts. Better texture and flavor in this dish. Thanks for sharing.

  • daisy

    The store only has regular paprika, and sweet and smoked paprika.Witch one should I use in this recipe?

  • annieseats

    I just used regular, I think. Enjoy!

  • sweetsugarbelle

    :-). That is all…

  • Amber

    I made this last night for company and it turned out delicious! I’m not sure if we are just big eaters but I would say it would feed 5. I added a pinch or two of cayenne for a little kick. I also used Hungarian sweet paprika. Served along with broccoli and garlic bread. My husband said this is a keeper and let’s try it on rice next time! Thanks Annie!

  • Lksimcoe

    I tried this and it turned out great. I lost my mom and dad 14 years ago, and when we were emptying the house, I saved the recipe book that my mom had started when she first came to Canada in 1944. I remember my mom making chicken Paprikash as a kid, but it wasn’t in her book. Now that I have transcribed the whole book on line for my sisters and nieces/nephews, I have added this recipe to it. To me, it re-creates more memories from my childhood. Thank you for that.

  • annieseats

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom and dad. That is heartbreaking. I’m really glad this recipe helped recreate a childhood memory. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mallori

    Another hit! After a full day in clinic I need something on the table quick. I have been cooking my way through your weeknight category and loving every bite. Thanks for sharing!

  • Melissa Brooker

    Made this tonight for the 3rd time, not sure why I make it so infrequently, I think I forget how much I love it! This time I used half smoked paprika and half regular, yummy combo!