Easy Smothered Chicken

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Welcome to the easiest comfort food classic Southern Smothered Chicken Breasts. Juicy seasoned fried chicken is gently smothered in a flavorful velvety onion gravy till it becomes melt in your mouth tender.

Suitable for low carb and gluten-free diets.

a plate of smothered chicken served with green beans and mashed potatoes

This full of flavor Southern Smothered Chicken is the perfect one pot meal. Juicy chicken breasts are paired with sweet almost caramelized onions to make an onion gravy in a 30-minute dinner that is sure to be a new family favorite comfort food.

It is a lifesaver for when we need a quick, simple, yet delicious dinner that also doubles up as an offering for Soul food style Sunday lunches, potlucks, or when you just need to spice up supper.

Just like these easy Smothered Potatoes and great served with Smothered Cabbage and mashed potato, potato salad, cornbread, collard greens, and more for a complete meal.

This easy chicken dinner is a restaurant worthy meal on an affordable budget, made at home. You might also like to try this easy Shrimp Creole.

close up view of a serving of smothered chicken on a white plate alongside green beans and mashed potatoes

Why Make This Recipe

  • It’s easy to make with minimal prep and done in 30 minutes.
  • It cooks up in one pot and is full of flavor.
  • It is affordable and made with everyday staple ingredients.
  • Assemble ahead for a freezer-friendly meal.

What Is Smothered Chicken

Smothering is a style of cooking in which the juicy fried chicken breasts, thighs, or legs (or other meats or vegetables) are gently smothered in a flavorful velvety onion gravy until they become melt in your mouth tender.

This well loved, southern style chicken and gravy is a delicious recipe that puts the comfort in comfort food. Southern cuisine for the win and quick to make for dinner tonight.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken – this recipe calls for boneless skinless breasts, with the fat trimmed off.
  • Herbs and spices – this gets its flavor from smoked paprika powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Flour – just use plain all-purpose flour. Use a gluten free flour if gluten free.
  • Oil – use olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Onion – this recipe uses diced white onion but you can use red onion too.
  • Broth – this recipe calls for low sodium chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth instead.
  • Cream – extra creamy flavor comes from heavy cream but you can lighten it up with half and half.  
the ingredients needed for making smothered chicken

How To Make Smothered Chicken And Gravy

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card further below. 

  1. Place one chicken breast at a time into a large bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap, then use a mallet to pound the thickest side until it’s about as thick as the thinnest side.
  2. Stir the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and thyme together in a small bowl then add it and the flour to a large plate and whisk to combine.
  3. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour and pack the flour onto both sides until completely coated but save the remaining flour mixture for later. Shake off any excess flour.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the chicken, and fry 2-3 pieces at a time in the pan for 3-4 minutes on both sides or until golden brown, adding more oil as needed.
  5. Remove the browned chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate, then cover it with foil to keep it warm.
  6. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet then add the onion and stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions become translucent and browned up.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds then whisk in 3 tablespoons of the leftover flour mixture until it starts to brown.
  8. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and continue whisking the entire time to scrape up any browned bits and prevent the gravy from burning.
  9. After about 3 minutes, or when the gravy has thickened to your liking, whisk in the heavy cream and let it thicken for another 30 seconds.
  10. Place the chicken on top then serve with cooked rice, mashed potatoes or green beans, and freshly minced parsley or thyme for garnish if desired.
image collage showing some of the initial steps for making smothered chicken

It’s surprisingly easy to make this delicious smothered chicken recipe…

image collage showing some of the final steps for making smothered chicken

Recipe Tips

  • Slice the chicken breast in half to speed up cooking. Thicker chicken breast halves will take a little bit more time to cook.
  • Pound the chicken to an even thickness so they cook evenly.
  • Pat chicken dry before dredging so the flour mixture sticks.
  • Make sure the oil is hot before frying the meat so that the coating stays on and does not become soggy and oily.
  • To reduce the carbs and calories (but not the flavor friends) avoid dredging the chicken in flour before frying. Just season chicken pieces instead, then fry.
  • Also please do use a meat thermometer. Always check the internal temp of the chicken to ensure the center of the meat reaches 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
a spoon pouring gravy on top of the cooked smothered chicken in the skillet

Creamy Gravy Tips

  • Thicken it  – If your southern chicken recipe sauce is too thin, thicken it by letting cook it some more.
  • Thin it out – if too thick, thin it with some extra broth, milk, or water.
  • Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet as these add flavor to the gravy.

Delicious Variations

  • Melt some cheese over the chicken at the last minute. #heaven
  • Add butter – for absolutely delicious extra flavor, add some melted unsalted butter in when making the gravy.
  • Add extra veggies – like sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers.
  • Add extra flavor – with Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce or nutmeg or homemade creole seasoning.
  • Add bacon – smoky crispy bacon adds great flavor to this.
  • Add heat – using cayenne pepper, chipotle or red pepper flakes.
  • Garnish – with herbs such as fresh parsley.
the completed smothered chicken recipe inside the pan

Prep Ahead and Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Make ahead and refrigerate for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • Time-saving shortcut – Cook until the gravy is done in step 6. But don’t put the cooked chicken breasts back in. Store separately and cook the final bit just before serving.
  • Storage – Keep leftovers in an airtight container inside the fridge for 4 days.
  • Freeze – Follow the handy tips below on how to freeze this.
    • Let cool down then transfer into these very handy Ziploc freezer bags.
    • Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bags.
    • Label the bags and then lay them flat in the freezer.
    • Store in the freezer for 3 months.

FAQ’s

What Other Chicken Can I Use?

Whilst this recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can also make it with skinless boneless chicken thighs, bone-in chicken breasts, chicken drumsticks, and chicken wings. The cooking time will change though. You can also make it with pork chops.

How To Tell When The Meat Is Done?

Chicken is done when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 76 degrees C. Use an instant read thermometer for checking this.

top down view of the smothered chicken ready to be served

More Southern Recipes

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

One serving of smothered chicken contains 8 Blue Plan SmartPoints.

side view of a fork removing a bite of smothered from a dinner plate

Thank you for reading my Southern Smothered Chicken recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

GET THE SOUTHERN SMOTHERED CHICKEN RECIPE

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smothered chicken in a an and ready to be served
Print Recipe
5 from 26 votes

Southern Smothered Chicken

This Easy Smothered Chicken Recipe is a true taste of the south.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, southern
Servings: 4
Calories: 461kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces (696g), 4 individual chicken breasts fat trimmed off
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup (120g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 cups (473mL) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup (60mL) heavy cream

Instructions

  • Place one chicken breast at a time into a large bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap, then use a mallet to pound the thickest side until it’s about as thick as the thinnest side.
  • Stir the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and thyme together in a small bowl then add it and the flour to a large plate and whisk to combine.
  • Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour and pack the flour onto both sides until completely coated but save the remaining flour mixture for later. Shake off any excess flour.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the chicken, and fry 2-3 pieces at a time in the pan for 3-4 minutes on both sides or until golden brown, adding more oil as needed.
  • Remove the browned chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate, then cover it with foil to keep it warm.
  • Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet then add the onion and stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions become translucent and browned up.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds then whisk in 3 tablespoons of the leftover flour mixture until it starts to brown.
  • Slowly pour in the chicken broth and continue whisking the entire time to scrape up any browned bits and prevent the gravy from burning.
  • After about 3 minutes, or when the gravy has thickened to your liking, whisk in the heavy cream and let it thicken for another 30 seconds.
  • Place the chicken on top, then serve with cooked rice, mashed potatoes or green beans, and add freshly minced parsley or thyme as garnish, if desired.
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Notes

  • Slice the chicken breast in half to speed up cooking. Thicker chicken breast halves will take a little bit more time to cook.
  • Pound the chicken to an even thickness so they cook evenly.
  • Pat chicken dry before dredging so the flour mixture sticks.
  • Make sure the oil is hot before frying the meat so that the coating stays on and does not become soggy and oily.
  • To reduce the carbs and calories (but not the flavor friends) avoid dredging the chicken in flour before frying. Just season chicken pieces instead, then fry.
  • Also please do use a meat thermometer. Always check the internal temp of the chicken to ensure the center of the meat reaches 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
  • If your southern chicken recipe sauce is too thin, thicken it by letting cook it some more. If it’s too thick, thin it with some extra broth, milk, or water.
  • Make sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet as these add flavor to the gravy.
  • Storage – keep leftovers in an airtight container inside the fridge for 4days.
  • There are 8 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 822mg | Potassium: 867mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg

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