My smothered chicken recipe is determined to be your new favorite meal. The one you crave for its tender pieces of poultry. Its slow-simmered flavors. It’s perfectly seasoned gravy that goes well with anything. Yeah, that kind of meal!
What makes this recipe one of the most memorable chicken recipes you’ll ever eat? Gravy. The chicken’s cooked in it. The flavors get plenty of time to develop. And you get a gravy that rivals any southern chicken dish you’ve ever had.
Time to prove this deliciousness to you — get ready for my smothered chicken recipe!
Any recipe that has the word smothered promises deliciousness. And this smothered chicken recipe? Oh, trust me. It delivers on those promises!
- Deep, slow-simmered flavor
- Tender, juicy chicken
- Crowd-pleasing perfection
- Southern comfort at its best!
How To Make Cajun Smothered Chicken Recipe
The crux of this cajun smothered chicken recipe is the homemade gravy! If you’ve never made gravy before, let me walk you through it.
You’ll need fat, aromatics, a starchy thickener, and chicken stock. For this recipe, we use the vegetable oil our chicken was cooked in.
Next, we’ll saute our aromatic components: onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. These classic “mirepoix” ingredients will soften enough to release their natural oils and flavors into the gravy but still leave a little texture in the finished product.
Then comes the thickener. I use flour and cook it just enough to eliminate the raw taste and emulsify with the other ingredients. Once it’s happy, add chicken stock, and finish cooking your chicken pieces in this velvety mixture.
Finally, garnish your recipe with chopped parsley, and dig in!
Want more details on how to get the true smothered chicken? Or maybe you want to speed up the process and make smothered chicken Crockpot? Read on!
Soup vs Gravy: Some recipes use cream-based canned soups to create a gravy, which is always a time-saving option. But since those versions skip the pan-frying step, the final result just isn’t as lip-smackingly good as fully homemade gravy.
With my recipe, we can make an easy smothered chicken recipe right on the stovetop that coaxes all the flavor out of the chicken with no cream-of-this-or-that required.
Chicken: True Southern smothered chicken uses a whole, cut-up chicken (instead of just smothered chicken breast or thighs). The pieces are dusted lightly with flour, browned in oil, then cooked in a fragrant, homemade chicken gravy. Most grocery butchers will break down a chicken for you, but if you want to try it yourself, this is a great How-To video.
Thickener: There are two types of gravy – pan gravy and thickened gravy, which both rely on flavorful pan juices and drippings to build the base. This smothered chicken recipe features the latter, which requires something to thicken all that tasty stuff in the pan, which is the glorious glue that brings this whole dish together.
I use flour, but there are alternatives if you have wanted to avoid gluten:
- Sweet rice flour (or white rice flour if you can’t find the sweet variety) will work as a one-to-one substitute in the gravy here. The starch content is even a little higher than wheat flour, so you may find it’s even smoother than what you’re used to.
- You can also thicken the gravy with a slurry of water and cornstarch.
Dusting: Flouring the chicken before pan-frying helps provide texture for the outside of the chicken that will ultimately help the gravy cling to it, and some of that flour will fall off into the oil and aid the thickening process later on. But make sure you don’t over flour your chicken!
The flour that falls off is susceptible to burning. Shake off any excess flour (I like to knock the pieces together or against a dish) before you gently plop the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Also, watch the temperature carefully and adjust it, if necessary, to avoid over-browning the bits floating in the oil.
Now that you’ve worked so hard to make this delicious southern dish, how should you store it? Let’s find out!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! The gravy in my smothered in chicken recipe freezes very nicely. Once fully cooled, store your leftovers in an airtight container, and you can freeze the chicken and gravy for up to three months.
Your chicken would normally last longer, but the way it’s been cooked in the gravy breaks down the freezer life a little bit.
Make Ahead Tips
Since so much of my smothered chicken recipe relies on that slow-simmering stage to bring out the flavors, there isn’t much you can do in the way of prep. But! You can always transfer this recipe to make it in a Crockpot or Instant Pot, so you speed up the process but retain all that slow-simmered flavor.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Gravy isn’t super versatile when it comes to fridge storage. You’ll only get up to two days in the fridge, even sealed. Longer and the gravy starts to separate and congeal, which makes for texture differentiations and general ickiness.
Eat your leftovers fast! Not that you need any encouragement. It’s so delicious!
My smothered chicken recipe is practically perfect as is, but there’s always room for variety! Let’s explore some options:
Can I Turn This Recipe Into A Southern Soup Or Stew?
So much of my smothered chicken recipe has southern roots that shifting gears into a southern chicken and dumplings wouldn’t be far off at all! Toss in some of your favorite dumpling mixes and you’ve got a real winner.
Or go a wholly new southern route with the ever delicious chicken gumbo!
Can I Omit The Sauce And Fry This Instead?
Southern fried chicken is always a good idea! Bring in that crunch and let the good times roll. Louisiana chicken gives a nice hat tip to your favorite New Orleans flavors while Kentucky fried chicken takes the restaurant favorite and brings it to your kitchen.
What Other Southern Recipes That Can Be Partnered With Rice?
Chicken jambalaya will whisk you down the bayou with its smoky, meaty flavors. Southern chicken and rice is a stick-to-your-ribs favorite, and by combining those concepts with this recipe, you’ll get smothered chicken and rice — yum!
But if you want a real southern treat, go for the chicken bog. The yummiest bog you’ll ever eat!
Can I Change The Gravy?
Gravy welcomes all flavors! Chicken and gravy is a great base recipe, while chicken lazone leans more toward creamy, buttery gravy. If you like smothered chicken recipe with cream of mushroom soup, you’ll adore this!
For a Kentucky twist, try bourbon chicken. You can’t go wrong!
What Other Cajun Dishes Can I Make?
Like that spice, do ya? Me too! Cajun chicken alfredo mixes spice with cream in the best ways. It’s my favorite type of cajun chicken pasta! The heat is perfectly balanced by the mellowness of the dairy.
- 1 (3-4 pounds) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour divided
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 cups carrots chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a shallow bowl, spread 3/4 cup all-purpose flour. Dredge chicken pieces, one at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces, skin side down, cooking 4-6 minutes until nicely browned. Remove browned chicken to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces, adjusting heat as need, so not to burn the flour.
- Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots and cook until veggies are soft, 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour over veggies and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Mix in broth, poultry seasoning, cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Nestle chicken pieces into sauce along with any accumulated juices. Partially cover and simmer chicken 30-40 minutes, or until cooked through and tender.
- Transfer chicken to a deep platter. Adjust gravy seasoning if needed, then pour over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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Once you start eating southern chicken like my smothered chicken recipe, you’ll find it hard to stop! Here are some of my other favorites:
- Blackened Chicken – Bring that heat!
- Mississippi Chicken – Take a trip down the river with this dish.
- Nashville Hot Chicken – Is it hot in here? Nope, it’s just this SPICY chicken!
- Southern Chicken Salad Recipe – A fresh, light treat for a picnic.
- Paula Deen Chicken Salad – The queen of southern cooking brings you a great lunch treat!
From that perfectly seasoned gravy to the tender, juicy chunks of chicken, each bite of my smothered chicken recipe is better than the last. I have to limit how often I make this because I’d sneak bites all day long — breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Seriously, it’s gravy. There’s no wrong time to eat gravy!
What’s your favorite type of gravy? Let me know in the comments!