20 Old-Fashioned Chicken Recipes To Make Tonight
Nearly everyone loves chicken for what it isn't. Chicken isn't flashy, it isn't high in fat, and, above all, it isn't hard to make. It soaks up flavors readily while still providing a satisfying bite that everyone loves. Chicken is one of the most accessible proteins in the world as well as the most consumed. Home cooks and professional chefs alike have been creating recipes for this beloved meat for centuries, and some of those classic, old-fashioned chicken recipes still deserve a place at your table.
But some of these recipes can leave cooks scratching their heads if they are unfamiliar. Do you know the difference between Chicken Divan and Chicken Dijon? Or what makes a fricassee different from a tetrazzini? If not, read on to discover the difference between these classic, old-fashioned dishes and what has made them stand the test of time. Plus, get recipes that taste just as good today as they did when these chicken recipes were first created… maybe even better. Plus, check out these 15 Old-Fashioned Cooking Tips That Really Work, Say Experts.
While this dish sounds fancy, the word fricassee is French for "to cut up and fry." These days, says Natasha's Kitchen, it refers to chicken cut up, seared, and braised in a white wine cream sauce with assorted vegetables. This is more of a technique than a dish, so feel free to ad-lib with your favorite veggies.
Try this Chicken Fricassee recipe from Natasha's Kitchen.
Chicken à la King
Chicken à la King sounds like a dish that was created in some French kitchen for royalty, but it was actually first made in New York City. According to one origin story, it was born at the Brighton Beach Hotel in honor of the hotel's proprietor, E. Clark King II. It appeared on over 300 menus between 1910-1960. Now it is relegated to diners and old cookbooks, and there's even a canned version that belies its fancy upbringing. It's time to bring this easy, comforting chicken dish back.
Try this Chicken à la King recipe from Taste and Tell.
Chicken Divan is another dish that's preparation and name point to a French origin, but it was actually developed in NYC. The Divan Parisien Restaurant at the Chatham Hotel is said to be the birthplace of this chicken and broccoli casserole in a cream sauce. The recipe from Kevin Is Cooking eschews the condensed soup for a traditional Mornay sauce, resulting in far less sodium.
Try this Scratch Made Chicken Divan recipe from Kevin Is Cooking.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Finally a French dish! Actually no, while cordon bleu translates to "blue ribbon" in French, this dish was developed in Switzerland. For this recipe, thinly pounded chicken breasts are wrapped around thin slices of ham and swiss (Makes sense now doesn't it?) cheese. Use the best quality ham and swiss you can get for the best flavor. Our recipe skips the pan-frying for a baked version that slashes the fat and calories.
Try our recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce.
Coq au Vin
French? Yes, actually, Coq a Vin is a decidedly French dish. This simple dish was traditionally used to soften an older chicken by allowing it to tenderize in a long, slow braise with a bottle of wine and some veggies. It literally translates to "rooster in wine." Of course, these days we use the trusty slow cooker to do all the set-it-and-forget-it work, and it's safe to say that most people use regular supermarket chicken and not an old rooster.
Try our recipe for Classic Slow-Cooker Chicken in Red Wine.
Chicken Kiev is a Russian dish with French influence that was perfected in Ukraine. It is similar to Chicken Cordon Bleu, but instead of a filling of swiss cheese and ham, the chicken filets are wrapped around butter. Obviously, chicken stuffed with butter isn't the healthiest thing in the world, and some recipes go overboard. This one from Wholesome Yum gives it a paleo spin and bakes it for fewer calories.
Try this Chicken Kiev recipe from Wholesome Yum.
Chicken Marengo is a French dish of chicken in thick tomato sauce with mushrooms and wine. It is named after a battle that Napoleon won. This dish is naturally lighter than some of the other chicken dishes on this list.
Try this Chicken Marengo recipe from The Spruce Eats.
Legend has it that, Chicken Dijon was created when a jar of paprika accidentally fell into a chicken dish that was being made for famous 1930s food critic Gaston Gerard. Most recipes these days don't even use paprika, but these white wine and Dijon mustard braised chicken breasts are utterly delightful and easy to make.
Try this Chicken Dijon recipe from The Seasoned Mom.
Chicken Marbella is one of the most famous dishes that came out of The Silver Palate cookbook which was published in 1982. This seemingly odd combination of braised chicken, prunes, olives, and capers but fans say that it really works!
Try this Chicken Marbella recipe from Zestful Kitchen.
Cuban Mojo Chicken
Marinated in citrus juice, garlic, and spices and then baked, Cuban Mojo chicken is infused with bright flavors and delicious served with rice and beans and fried plantains. This marinade is traditionally made with sour oranges, which can be hard to find, Chef Kathy at Lemon Blossoms uses a mixture of fresh orange juice and lime juice to achieve a similar flavor.
Try this Cuban Mojo Chicken recipe from Lemon Blossoms.
Shake 'n Bake Chicken
This convenient way of breading chicken without the traditional three extra dishes for flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs came out in 1965. Update the classic by skipping the boxed mix and just using a plastic bag—which is essentially what the boxed product used.
Try this Shake 'n Bake Chicken recipe from Love From the Oven.
This typically insanely rich casserole of pasta, chicken, and cream sauce was named for Luisa Tetrazzini, a popular 20th-century Italian opera singer. While the original is off-the-charts unhealthy, this one from A Pinch of Healthy is flavorful without being heavy.
Try this Chicken Tetrazzini recipe from A Pinch of Healthy.
Arroz con Pollo
When in doubt, chicken and rice, aka arroz con pollo, is a crowd-pleaser that will stretch your dollar. The Cozy Cook adds spinach for a healthy pop and uses just one pot to cut clean-up.
Try this Arroz con Pollo recipe from The Cozy Cook.
Chicken Française or Francese is another dish with a French name but a far different origin. This is an Italian-American dish in the style of a French dish, hence the name. Thin chicken cutlets are typically dusted with flour, shallow fried, and then coated in a white wine, butter, and lemon sauce. Add capers to the sauce and you have yourself chicken piccata.
Try this Chicken Française recipe from Not Entirely Average.
This rustic French countryside dish literally translates to "hunter's" chicken. Typically, chicken on the bone is braised with tomatoes, white wine, chicken stock, cognac, mushrooms, and herbs, and finished with butter.
Try this Chicken Chasseur recipe from Food & Wine.
This dish is the Italian version of hunter's chicken. Like Chicken Chasseur, this dish has chicken simmering in a sauce of tomatoes, mushrooms, and little wine, and sometimes olives.
Try this Chicken Cacciatore recipe from Well Plated.
Perhaps one of the most-loved chicken dishes in America, chicken Parmesan is not from Italy but was created in the U.S. by Italian immigrants. In the end, who cares where it was made when it is one of the greatest chicken dishes of all time?
Chicken Parmesan can be very heavy, but we've updated it by baking instead of frying and serving it over healthy sauteed spinach.
Try our recipe for Chicken Parm with Spinach.
The quality of this traditional Hungarian dish depends on the quality of the paprika you get. Seek out Hungarian paprika and skip the stuff on your spice rack that expired in 2012.
Try this Chicken Paprikash recipe from The Cozy Apron.
Created in Delhi sometime in the 1950s, butter chicken has humble beginnings as a leftover dish. The cooks of Moti Mahal would mix together the leftover Tandoori chicken with butter and tomato and thus this velvety, beloved chicken dish was born. Like most great Indian dishes, butter chicken requires spices like cumin, ginger, garam masala, and preferably spices that you toast yourself. Marinating the chicken overnight in yogurt helps tenderize it and adds richness to the dish.
Try this Butter Chicken recipe from RecipeTinEats.
Chicken Pot Pie
We could not in good conscience have an old-fashion chicken recipe list without this classic standby. Don't worry, in this recipe, we've made it healthier and perfect for any night of the week.
Get our recipe for Best-Ever Healthier Chicken Pot Pie.
Chicken is the old standby for a reason, it's cheap, quick to cook, and nearly everyone loves it. It's no wonder that these classic, old-fashioned chicken recipes have stood the test of time.
A previous version of this article was originally published on May 20, 2022.