Chef John's Very Best Chicken Recipes
Here they are, a Sweet 17 of Chef John's best chicken recipes. They cover every method of cooking -- from stewing to grilling, frying to baking -- and tackle just as many of the world's cuisines. Enjoy top-rated recipes for tandoori, chicken Parmesan, cacciatore, chicken curry, and of course American classics like buttermilk fried chicken and chicken and biscuits. They're all here, and more!
Chef John's Chicken and Mushrooms
The trick to this super-simple recipe is to sear the chicken to a beautiful brown crust and cook the mushrooms until they give off their natural juices. With this technique, Chef John builds big flavor using just two main ingredients -- chicken and mushrooms -- plus salt and pepper, a little olive oil for sautéing, and a little butter to finish the dish.
Korean Fried Chicken
Twice-frying chicken results in extreme crispy excellence on the outside and juicy, tender goodness on the inside. "I've always considered myself something of a fried chicken expert," boasts Chef John. "And this Korean fried chicken is officially my favorite. No other method has the same combination of tender, juicy, flavorful chicken and plate-scratching crispiness as this recipe does. It's simply a must-try!"
Chef John's Tandoori Chicken
This is an easy variation on the Indian classic. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and a terrific mix of spices. "Tandoori chicken gets its name from the clay oven it is traditionally cooked in, the tandoor," explains Chef John. "Don't worry if you don't have a tandoor clay oven sitting in the backyard; a grill will work just fine."
Chef John's Peanut Curry Chicken
This composite curry draws from many influences. The result is a wonderful combination of flavors, spices, textures, and colors. Chef John explains: "I decided not to follow any specific recipe from any particular country or culture, but instead I made a simple composite of every peanut curry I've ever come across. I didn't use coconut milk, as I feel that's a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter."
Chef John's Salt Roasted Chicken
Remember the chicken and mushroom recipe above that only calls for a few ingredients? Here we go again. "This is one of those rare recipes where the name is the same as the ingredient list," says Chef John. "You're going to be so shocked at how flavorful, juicy, and amazing this roast chicken comes out."
Chef John's Chicken a la King
"This classic comfort-food recipe is easy to adapt," says Chef John. "You can make it thicker or thinner by changing the amount of roux and having a little extra stock on hand. Usually I make this with leftovers from a large roasted chicken."
Chef John's Chicken Parmesan
With this chicken Parmesan, Chef John is shooting for something a little different. Unlike many restaurant preparations, Chef John's method doesn't overwhelm the chicken with sauce and cheese. By holding back a little on the sauce, he gets a crisper crust on the chicken. This delicious meal seems fancy but is actually pretty easy to make.
Grilled Five Spice Chicken
Chef John's version of a popular Southeast Asian grilled chicken dish features Chinese 5-spice seasoning (along with lime juice, ginger, garlic, chile sauce, fish and soy sauces, and rice vinegar). "Chinese 5-spice blend has a proven track record of awesomeness when combined with smoky, caramelized meats," says Chef John.
So remember the chicken and mushrooms recipe and the salt-roasted chicken recipe above that were super easy to make and required just a few ingredients? Well, this ain't like those. Truth be told, it's a little worky. "I'm not going to say this chicken Kiev is easy to make," says Chef John. "It's really not. But when you pull this off, you'll be enjoying one of the greatest chicken experiences of your life." Enjoy it with a nice glass of Chardonnay.
Chef John's Chicken and Biscuits
The topper here is a layer of pre-made buttermilk biscuit dough. Baked in the oven, the biscuits come out golden brown and crispy on top, like chicken pot pie, while on the bottom the texture is a bit like chicken and dumplings.
Chef John's Chicken Cacciatore
Get ready for Italian-style comfort food. "This simple Italian dish is packed with chicken, peppers, mushrooms, and herbs for a satisfying one-pot meal," says Chef John. Bake it in the oven, and you'll have a simple, delicious chicken dish -- and an easy cleanup job ahead.
Spicy Caramel Chicken
This flavorful stir-fried chicken is the total package. It gets some sweetness from brown sugar, a touch of heat from Sriracha, and loads of savory umami from soy and fish sauces. The key here is to put a deep, dark mahogany caramelization on the chicken pieces (preferably chicken thighs).
Chef John's Broiled Chicken
But wait, we're not done with the super-simple yet incredibly delicious roast chicken recipes that call for just a few ingredients. Here's Chef John's flavorful indoor alternative to outdoor grilled chicken. When the rain and/or snow season ruins your dreams of grilled chicken, fire up the broiler and use this method. "Not only are you getting the same intense, direct heat as the grill," says Chef John. "But you also have more control since you can adjust how far the chicken is from the flame."
Chef John's Chicken Marsala
"Certain dishes have a special place in my heart and this is one of them," says Chef John. You'll sauté mushrooms and shallots and then reduce a sauce made with Marsala wine and a little chicken stock. The wine brings out the mushrooms' earthy, savory flavors.
Chef John's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
This classic buttermilk fried chicken is a little worky -- you'll toss the chicken pieces with 11 spices and then marinate them in buttermilk. But the results are definitely worth the effort. "I love the tangy tenderization that the buttermilk provides," says Chef John. "After the buttermilk soak, dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, and fry them in hot oil until crisp and cooked."
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
This simple, soul-warming soup is essentially chicken and noodles with a few diced veggies. What makes it so very good is the homemade roasted chicken stock. Delicious, comforting, and ridiculously easy!
Chef John's Chicken Satay Burger
This recipe takes the basic ground-chicken burger and combines it with the concept of the satay. Top your chicken satay burgers with quick pickled-veggie slaw and peanut sauce.
Copycat Fried Chicken Sandwich
Chef John's fried chicken sandwich is the best of both worlds: "I tried to make a copycat Popeyes® fried chicken sandwich and ended up with a hybrid between that and the one from Chick-fil-A®," says Chef John.
Buttermilk Barbecue Chicken
"Buttermilk is a very popular marinade for fried chicken, but for whatever reason, it isn't often used with other chicken cooking methods," says Chef John. "Which is kind of surprising, especially when you taste just how effective it is for something like this beautiful barbecued chicken. Yogurt, a very similar product, is quite popular in grilled chicken marinades. So, why not use buttermilk? This goes great with coleslaw, potato salad, and a squeeze of lemon."
Laotian Grilled Chicken (Ping Gai)
"This particular ping gai (Laotian for 'grilled chicken') recipe seems to have originated from the Queen Mother Cafe in Toronto, so some North-Americanization may have occurred," says Chef John. "But rest assured, this is at least twice as good as your average grilled chicken, North American or otherwise. Generous amounts of freshly ground pepper and chopped cilantro are the main players in the marinade, while a sweet, garlicky dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment."