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This smothered chicken recipe has juicy pan-fried chicken in the ultimate gravy! It’s rich, perfectly seasoned, and made from scratch with pantry staples.

You may want to try my Easy Smothered Pork Chops and Gravy next for another stovetop favorite with similar flavors.

smothered chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Why you’ll enjoy it

Golden smothered chicken breasts are the best example of really good homestyle cooking for the family, in my opinion. My take on it makes loads of gravy to drench a big pile of mashed potatoes, which is definitely the most special part of the whole dish!

Another great thing is that there’s nothing complicated about making this skillet chicken recipe that has everyday pantry seasonings. It’s weeknight comfort food at its finest. There’s an irresistible heat in the homemade chicken gravy that’s balanced with sweetness from the onions, making this one mouthwatering meal.

What you’ll need

  • Chicken – we’re using two large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise to make four thinner cutlets that cook faster
  • Flour – for dredging the cutlets and getting that perfect crust when pan frying and making the base of the sauce
  • Seasoning – garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper are what we’re using for that bold signature flavor in the seasoned flour
  • Olive oil & butter – for pan frying
  • Onion – our kitchen likes sweet (Vidalia) in this one
  • Chicken broth – for deeper, richer flavor in the gravy
  • Worcestershire sauce – it’s one of my go-to ingredients to add an extra savory layer
  • Heavy cream – for a touch of luxuriousness to round it all off!
ingredients for smothered chicken in small bowls on a countertop

How to make smothered chicken

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

making flour mixture and pan searing chicken

Cut the chicken in half lengthwise. Sprinkle both sides with salt & pepper. Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a bowl, and measure out 2 tbsp and set aside. Dredge the chicken in the flour from the larger bowl, and pan fry in the olive oil until golden. I like using this cast iron skillet.

frying onions and making gravy in a cast iron skillet

Transfer the chicken to a plate. In the skillet, melt the butter and cook the onions until golden brown and softened, giving them a stir every so often. Add the reserved seasoned flour and cook for a minute, constantly stirring. Stir in the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce, and scrape up the brown bits.

adding cream and chicken back to the skillet

Add in the cream, stir, and return the chicken to the pan. Cook until it’s fully cooked through and the gravy has thickened. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy right away!

Helpful tips

  • The onions are just shy of being caramelized in this recipe, and slow and steady wins the race with this one! It’s important to cook the onions low and slow so that they don’t burn.
  • I cut the onion in half, peel it, and then slice it into half rings vs. chopping/dicing it for this recipe.
  • Check when chicken is done using an instant read meat thermometer. Chicken breasts especially can go from undercooked to overcooked in a hurry, so using a meat thermometer is an inexpensive way to have peace of mind.
  • If using smaller chicken breasts, use 4 of them and cook for a bit longer.

Substitutions and variations

  • The gravy isn’t super spicy, but it does have a kick. It builds rather than hitting all at once. If you’re someone who is sensitive to spice, just use less cayenne pepper. I recommend adding at least a small pinch, however.
  • You can leave the cream out if need be, but I do prefer the sauce with it. It makes the gravy richer and cuts some of the heat. If omitting the cream, you may need to add more liquid and/or adjust cooking time.
  • Chicken thighs may be subbed for the chicken breasts. I’d cook them for a little longer to ensure they’re tender.

What to serve with smothered chicken

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers of this chicken recipe will keep 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat in a covered saucepan for best results. If heated up again too quickly, the gravy could possibly separate.
  • Leftovers can be frozen if needed. I’d suggest thawing in the fridge overnight before warming it up again.
a skillet with smothered chicken

Do you love cozy smothered chicken as much as I do? Have any questions? Talk to me in the comments below, or tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram!

smothered chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans
4.95 from 51 votes

Smothered Chicken

This smothered chicken recipe has juicy pan-fried chicken in the ultimate gravy! It's rich, perfectly seasoned, and made from scratch with pantry staples.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper see note
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium-to-large onion sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream

Instructions 

  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner cutlets. Season each piece with salt & pepper on both sides.
  • Add the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper to a bowl and give it a good stir. Measure out 2 tablespoons of this seasoned flour and put it in a small bowl – you will use it later to thicken the gravy.
  • Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • While the pan heats up, add the flour from the larger bowl to a plate and then coat each piece of chicken in it (you will have some leftover flour to discard).
  • Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes/side (golden but not quite fully cooked through). Transfer chicken to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the skillet. Once it's melted, add in the onions and cook until softened and golden (about 15-20 minutes. It'll depend how thin the onions are sliced and vary from skillet to skillet – I use cast iron). Stir every couple of minutes, and if the onions appear to be burning vs. slowly browning, turn the heat down.
  • Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of seasoned flour into the pan. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add in the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and stir until the flour has dissolved while scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan, then stir in the cream.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through (165F) and the gravy has thickened a bit. You may need to increase the heat to get it going again.
  • Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.

Notes

  • You can definitely sub chicken breasts for chicken thighs! You may need to cook them a bit longer to ensure they’re nice and tender.
  • This recipe has a bit of a kick. If you’re sensitive to spice, you can use less cayenne pepper than indicated.
  • Some of the flour dredge is discarded, so I used 1/4 cup flour in the nutrition calculation.

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 421mg, Potassium: 531mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 965IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.95 from 51 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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121 Comments

  1. JJ Hall says:

    My house is so aromatic that the teenager has come out of her room to investigate and is friendly. LOL! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Natasha says:

      Hahaha love it!

  2. Brittaney says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I added red and green bell peppers to mine and it was amazing! Thank you for this recipe! πŸ˜‹

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      You’re very welcome, Brittaney! Thrilled you enjoyed it.

  3. Jen says:

    5 stars
    This is probably the 3rd or 4th time I have made this dish and it never disappoints!

    I now add mushrooms to the skillet when I add onions because my husband is a fan.

    The flour/seasoning dredge locks in the juiciness and flavor.

    All of my children will happily eat this dish without bbq sauce to dip in- huge win!

    I add roasted carrots with salt and pepper and a warmed up package of Bob Evan’s mashed potatoes to complete the meal.

    Two thumbs up! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s awesome!! Thanks so much for your detailed review, Jen!

  4. Travis says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is fire πŸ”₯. For anyone wondering if it’s good just try it. I added mushrooms to it and it is amazing.

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww thank you, Travis!

  5. Gina Schatzan says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious and total comfort!! It’s not hard to make either! We love it!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much!! πŸ˜€ Appreciate your 5-star review!

  6. Andy says:

    5 stars
    Good evening from Gilbert Az. This is the third time making this dish and it still does not DISAPPOINT so good, tonight I tried using Chicken Legs ( Pulled the Wrong Package out of the freezer) so cooked the legs longer before adding the Heavy Cream, I also add Fresh Mushrooms and everything turned out great and enjoyed by all. Will say I liked the breast best as it comes out very moist, I’ve also done Pork Chops this way as well πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit again!! πŸ˜€ Thanks, Andy!

  7. Jill rabosky says:

    5 stars
    This has become a new favorite of mine. I make it weekly. It’s easy to make and loaded with flavor (I’m not understanding the commenter who said there’s no flavor!). I love the combination of chicken broth (I use Better than Bullion, because the flavor is so rich), the cream and Worcestershire – it is so yummy. I add mushrooms, along with the onions. It’s awesome!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s so nice to hear!! πŸ˜€ Thanks for your review, Jill! Glad it’s a favorite!

  8. Steven Dillon says:

    Do you have a variation of this recipe for the slow cooker rather than the stove top?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Steven! Not for this one – sorry!

  9. Khris says:

    This had no flavor at all. I wouldn’t make it again.

    1. Natasha says:

      No flavor? It’s loaded with spices and seasonings. Sounds like user error! Did you get a good sear on the chicken and onions? Did you add enough salt? I am baffled as how this of all recipes could have “no flavor”.

  10. Kandysis says:

    3 stars
    It tasted ok, I think it was missing something, I guess it was just a different taste that I never tried before.