20 Best Chicken Recipes for Beginner Cooks

Sausage-Mushroom Chicken
Photo: Chef John

These top-rated chicken recipes are great for beginners. Yet they're anything but basic or boring. They're the chicken dishes we crave most, including chicken enchiladas, Parmesan chicken, roasted chicken, and more. There are no elaborate techniques, unusual ingredients, or special equipment required to make these recipes. Just simple ingredients and straightforward preparations that really bring out the best in the ingredients.

01 of 21

Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms

Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms
Chef John

Delicious on its own, this recipe is also a good starting point recipe. It's easy! The trick is searing the chicken to a beautiful brown crust and cooking the mushrooms so they give off their natural juices. Watch Chef John's video to learn the simple technique that creates tremendous flavor using just two main ingredients—chicken and mushrooms—plus salt and pepper, a splash of olive oil for sautéing, and just a touch of butter for finishing the dish.

02 of 21

Chicken and Tortellini Pesto Skillet

close up on a skillet of chicken and tortellini pesto
My Hot Southern Mess

You'll start by browning cubes of chicken in a skillet with a little olive oil. You'll deglaze the pan with broth, scraping up any browned bits, and then add prepared pesto, a little cream, Parmesan cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese tortellini for the last 5 to 10 minutes. "A delicious chicken and tortellini pesto dinner that needs only one pan to create," says My Hot Southern Mess.

03 of 21

Chicken Breasts with Chipotle Green Onion Gravy

Chicken Breasts with Chipotle Green Onion Gravy

This recipe is all about the gravy. Chef John says, "This delicious chicken recipe includes a simple exercise in pan gravy perfection. If I only had one day to teach someone how to cook, you better believe this archetypal sauce recipe would be one of the first things I'd demonstrate." Watch the video to see Chef John demonstrate the technique.

04 of 21

Chicken Tostadas

close up on a single chicken toastada

These simple seasoned chicken, refried beans, and veggie tostadas are baked in the oven until crispy. Finish them with salsa, sour cream, and a sprinkle of cilantro. "Excellent flavors!" raves bd.weld. "Didn't have green peppers so I used orange and use refried black beans."

05 of 21

Chicken Udon Noodle Soup

close up on a small bowl of chicken udon noodle soup

Here's a great recipe for using up leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. You'll chop up the chicken and add it to chicken stock, garlic, ginger, and chili powder, along with bok choy and mushrooms. You'll add udon noodles toward the end of cooking, and finish with green onions, sprinkle dried onions, and cilantro.

06 of 21

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts

Here's a quick and easy way to prepare chicken breasts. A swirl of vinegar and butter at the end creates a simple, yet delicious pan sauce. "This recipe is awesome!" raves jn92019. "Works great, really good flavor. I use fresh herbs from the garden and that I believe is the icing on the cake. Really good for a quick easy main course or great on salads." Watch the video to see Chef John demonstrate how to remove bones from skin-on chicken breasts.

07 of 21

Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner for Two

looking at a plate full of sheet pan chicken dinner
France C

Boneless chicken breasts are marinated in Greek salad dressing and baked on a sheet pan with potatoes, green beans, and bell peppers. Sprinkle with feta cheese at the end. "Dinner couldn't be easier! This is perfect for those hectic weeknights and the recipe can easily be doubled,' says France C. "Feel free to use different vinaigrette flavors and/or vegetables for a change of pace. Use chicken breasts that are 6-8 ounces each for best results."

08 of 21

One-Pot Chicken and Sausage Orzo

One-Pot Chicken and Sausage Orzo
One-Pot Chicken and Sausage Orzo | Photo by Chef John.

Spicy Italian sausage simmers with bite-size pieces of chicken breast and rice-shaped pasta. Chef John explains the brilliance: "There's something extra satisfying about a recipe like this, where you just basically dump the ingredients in a pot and wait until it's cooked. Sure, you have to stir it a few times, and it helps if you add stuff in the right order. But for how delicious this comes out, you're doing very little actual work."

09 of 21

Poulet a la Moutarde (Chicken in Dijon Mustard Sauce)

Don't let the fancy French name frighten you off! "This is a fantastically easy and delicious chicken dish, basically made with onions, white wine, heavy cream and Dijon mustard," says Diana71. "Your family will feel like they've had a meal made by an impressive French chef. Serve with rice, pasta, or crunchy French baguettes."

10 of 21

Sausage-Mushroom Chicken

Sausage-Mushroom Chicken
Chef John

"Introduce this ultra-forgiving technique to any friend who's intimidated by cooking to prove just how easy it is to pull off a gorgeous dinner," says Chef John. "Though the name of this recipe is ordinary, the flavor is anything but, thanks to its use of rendered sausage fat, which makes everything it touches taste meatier, including the chicken breasts and mushroom pan sauce."

11 of 21

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana

Here's a simplified, baked version of chicken Parmigiana made with prepared sauce. You'll bread and bake the chicken breasts, and then top them with spaghetti sauce and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and return to the oven. "This was my first attempt EVER at making chicken parmigiana," says Jennifer. "It turned out perfectly and made excellent leftovers."

12 of 21

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

looking down at a baking dish of chicken enchiladas
Kathy Flynn

This Mexican-inspired recipe for sour cream and chicken enchiladas is a terrific recipe for a quick dinner, particularly if you're starting with leftover cooked chicken. You'll simply mix shredded chicken with sour cream, Cheddar cheese, and green onions, and season with cumin and cilantro. Roll up the filling in corn tortillas, cover with salsa (or enchilada sauce), and bake. "This is my new favorite chicken enchilada recipe," says STARLAZERO. "What I like best is that it isn't runny or greasy. I usually have some leftovers and I like to put some in a flour tortilla and grill it for a quick snack!"

13 of 21

Chef John's Chicken Cacciatore

Chef John's Chicken Cacciatore
Photo by pelicangal.

Packed with chicken, peppers, mushrooms and herbs, this Italian-style comfort food will become a favorite. Bake Chef John's simple cacciatore in the oven, and you have a delicious one-pot chicken dish and an easy cleanup job ahead. Enjoy with pasta, polenta, rice, even mashed potatoes. Watch the video to see how it's done!

14 of 21

Baked Italian Chicken Thighs

Baked Italian Chicken Thighs
France C

France C says, "These juicy chicken thighs are topped with a flavorful blend of three cheeses and your favorite marinara sauce. Serve over pasta or rice or alongside roasted potatoes for a tasty weeknight meal. I like to shred my own cheese, as I find it melts better, but feel free to use pre-shredded to save time."

15 of 21

Chipotle Chicken Thighs for Burritos

looking at a skillet of chipotle chicken thighs
My Hot Southern Mess

A simple can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is the key to this recipe. Combined with chicken thighs, onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and cayenne, the result is a super-flavorful filling for burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and tostadas.

16 of 21

Baked Lemon-Butter Chicken Thighs

looking down at a plate of baked lemon butter chicken thighs
France C

Basted with a tangy and rich butter sauce, these low-carb chicken thighs are easy enough for a quick weeknight meal. Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice with your favorite vegetables on the side. Robert J Coste says rates it 5 stars: "Easy and fast, tastes great, the pan dripping are perfect for a gravy over pasta with capers and Parmesan or with rice."

17 of 21

Fiery Chicken Thigh Stir-Fry

very close up on chicken thigh stir-fry

Once you get the simple stir-fry technique down, you'll always have quick meals at your fingertips, using whatever ingredients you have on hand. "This stir-fry comes together with chicken, and fire-roasted vegetables and is a keto-friendly Chinese dish," says thedailygourmet. "I love fire-roasting my vegetables, but it's completely optional. Use any assorted vegetables you like, e.g. red bell pepper, onions, tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms, or carrots, but be careful if using carrots as they have more carbs than most other vegetables."

18 of 21

Ranch-Baked Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, and Potatoes

close up on a baking dish of ranch baked chicken thighs with bacon, brussels sprouts and potatoes

This savory one-pan dinner features zesty ranch-seasoned chicken thighs with potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and bacon. "The vegetables cook with the bacon on top of them, infusing them with bacon-y deliciousness," says fabeverydayblog.

19 of 21

Weeknight Mexican Chicken Lasagna

close up on a slice of Mexican chicken lasagna

"A fabulously easy and delicious take on a favorite," says SunnyDaysNora. "This lasagna is full of Mexican flavors and uses layers of corn tortillas in place of noodles. Easy to adapt and personalize--try adding sauteed veggies, Spanish rice, diced jalapeno, or even switching out the red salsa for green!"

20 of 21

Sandy's Chicken Saltimbocca

close up on a plate full of chicken saltimbocca
Trusted Brands

You'll wrap pounded chicken cutlets and sage leaves in prosciutto and pan-fry them. "Try this and you'll know why they call it saltimbocca--Italian for 'jump in your mouth,'" says SandyG. "It's kind of like it jumps right off of your plate. Though it's traditionally made with veal, I made it with chicken. Quick, easy, and so delicious!"

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