How to Make Smothered Chicken

How to Make Smothered Chicken

Who can resist a generous helping of smothered chicken? This is comfort food at its finest.

For many, home tastes like a plate of smothered chicken with all the sides. This meal, besides being wonderfully decadent and delicious, is an essential part of the soul food recipes canon.

We have generations of talented Black chefs and cooks to thank for this cuisine. Soul food was borne of the ingenuity and skill of enslaved peoples brought to the United States from across Africa. Despite finding themselves in unforgiving surroundings with unfamiliar ingredients, these folks took inspiration from their own heirloom recipes and blended it with what foods were available.

Smothered Chicken Recipe

This recipe makes four servings.


Smothered Chicken IngredientsTMB STUDIO

For the chicken:

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

For the gravy:

  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half


Step 1: Coat the chicken

Coating the ChickenTMB STUDIO

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Reserve 4 tablespoons of this mixture for the gravy.

Coat the chicken a piece or two at a time in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess.

Step 2: Brown the chicken

Next, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. For this recipe, our Test Kitchen recommends canola oil, but you can also use these other oils with a high smoke point.

Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides. Once browned, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

Step 3: Make the gravy

Whisking the gravy in pan TMB STUDIO

Reserve 3 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan (you can discard the rest). This will form the base of the gravy.

In the pan, whisk together the drippings and reserved flour mixture until blended. Then gradually whisk in the broth and bouillon. As you stir, loosen up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. These bits are called fond and are full of flavor that will make your gravy taste ultra-rich.

Whisk in the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce.

Step 4: Finish cooking the chicken

stiring in the half-and-half to chicken gravy TMB STUDIO

Next, return the chicken to the pan and heat until the gravy begins to boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 13 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165ºF.

The last step is to stir in the half-and-half to make the sauce velvety. All that’s left is to serve!

Smothered Chicken FAQs

Cooked smothered chicken in panTMB STUDIO

How do you thicken (or thin) gravy?

If you find that your gravy isn’t quite as thick as you’d like, you can add flour or cornstarch to give it more body. Thicken gravy with cornstarch by combining the starch with a bit of water. Then whisk in this slurry. You can thicken gravy by whisking in flour on its own. Be sure to whisk well to break up any lumps.

If the gravy is too thick, add a splash of broth. This will help loosen the sauce up.

And if you encounter any other issues, here are all our best ways to fix gravy.

What should you serve with smothered chicken?

You’ll definitely want to enjoy plenty of the creamy gravy that accompanies this chicken. To make the most of it, serve smothered chicken over a bed of rice or mashed potatoes. You can also serve smothered chicken with biscuits—be sure to sop up every bit of that sauce!

Complete the meal with some green veggies like broccoli, green beans or collard greens.

Can you use other cuts of chicken?

You can certainly use other cuts of chicken to make this recipe. Bone-in chicken breasts or drumsticks could also be used. You could even opt for boneless chicken thighs or breasts.

When you opt for a different cut of chicken, cooking times will vary. Be sure to cook until the internal temperature hits 165ºF.

More Smothered Chicken Recipes

Smothered Chicken Breasts
After trying a similar chicken dish in a restaurant, I decided to re-create it at home. Topped with bacon, caramelized onions and shredded cheese, this savory dish comes together in no time, and uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. And since it cooks in one skillet, it’s a cinch to clean up! —Brenda Carpenter, Warrensburg, Missouri

Go to Recipe

Spinach And Mushroom Smothered Chicken Exps Sdfm18 39907 C10 10 4b 6

Spinach and Mushroom Smothered ChickenChicken breasts stay nice and moist tucked under a blanket of melted cheese. It’s extra special to serve but is not tricky to make. —Katrina Wagner, Grain Valley, Missouri

Asian Chicken Thighs Exps27434 Th2847295b02 21 5bc Rms 2

Asian Chicken ThighsThe thick, tangy sauce makes this dish one of my favorite Chinese chicken recipes. Serve the chicken over long grain rice or with ramen noodle slaw. —Dave Farrington, Midwest City, Oklahoma

Exps42488 Csf153743a06 25 1b 11

Almond Chicken & Strawberry-Balsamic SauceCrispy chicken with a sweet-tart sauce is served alongside wilted spinach for this special meal. I created the recipe many years ago for a contest, and it won the grand prize! It’s easy to make and comes off as very elegant. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida

Saucy Chicken Thighs Exps Scmbz17 32244 C01 12 5b 2

Saucy Chicken ThighsEveryone raves about how sweet the sauce is for these slow-cooked chicken thighs. They’re such a breeze because they simmer away while you do other things. They’re ideal appetizers, but you can also add your favorite side for a nice meal. —Kim Puckett, Reagan, Tennessee

Creamy Braised Chicken Exps Dsbz17 14223 B01 18 2b 9

Creamy Braised ChickenA smooth, delicate cream sauce gives a special taste to these tender chicken breasts accompanied by pearl onions and sauteed mushrooms. This dish is so rich-tasting, you’ll want to serve it to company.
—Margaret Haugh Heilman, Houston, Texas. Looking for more? Check out our collection of smothered chicken recipes.

Exps510 Th2847295b02 27 5bc Rms 7

Oven Barbecued ChickenChicken and Sunday dinner belong together. During my married life on a dairy farm, I’d make this baked bbq chicken before church. — Esther Shank, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Exps85991 Fm153592d03 24 5b 3

Saucy Garlic ChickenRoasted garlic lends a rich flavor to this appetizing chicken entree, and it complements the spinach nicely. Ideal for entertaining, the recipe can be assembled in advance and popped in the oven when guests arrive. —Joanna Johnson, Flower Mound, Texas

Contest-Winning Chicken CacciatoreMy husband and I own and operate a busy farm. There are days when there’s just no time left for cooking! It’s really nice to be able to come into the house at night and smell this wonderful slow cooker chicken cacciatore. —Aggie Arnold-Norman, Liberty, Pennsylvania

Lemon Cream ChickenIf you want an entree that’s quick, easy and elegant, you can’t beat this one. The lemon cream sauce is what makes it irresistible. It goes so nicely with the chicken and mushrooms. —Mary Anne McWhirter, Pearland, Texas

Smothered Chicken Exps Sddj18 19167 D08 01 4b 5

Cheesy Smothered Mushroom ChickenYou can’t go wrong when serving this speedy skillet creation. Top tender chicken breasts with mushrooms, bacon, green onions and cheese for a swift and savory sensation that’s sure to become a family favorite. —Penny Walton, Westerville, Ohio

Chicken with PineappleI’m always on the lookout for low-fat recipes that are scrumptious, too, like this pineapple chicken recipe. Quick-cooking chicken breasts get wonderful, sweet flavor from pineapple, honey and teriyaki sauce. —Jenny Reece, Lowry, Minnesota

Chicken In Sour Cream Sauce Exps Chbz18 16998 C10 19 1b 5

Chicken in Sour Cream SauceTender chicken is deliciously dressed up in a flavorful cream sauce with fresh mushrooms. This is an excellent entree for your family or guests. —Jane Carlovsky, Sebring, Florida

Flavorful Lemon Chicken Exps Hscbz17 39554 C07 21 4b 4

Flavorful Lemon ChickenThis easy and delectable meal is bound to become a staple with your family. It’s made with everyday ingredients, there’s nothing complicated or fancy about this delicious recipe. —Elizabeth Hokanson, Arborg, Manitoba

Exps109867 Sd132779a06 12 6b Web 2

Bruschetta-Topped Chicken & SpaghettiI’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes for my family. If you find yourself craving Italian food, this delicious 30-minute meal hits the spot. —Susan Wholley, Fairfield, Connecticut

Slow Cooked Curry Chicken Exps Sscbz18 38999 D09 26 5b 5

Slow-Cooked Curry ChickenOur three children love the spicy flavors found in this Crock-Pot chicken curry. Add more or less curry depending on your taste preferences. —Helen Toulantis, Wantagh, New York

Garden Chicken Cacciatore Exps Thas21 133377 B04 13 8b

Garden Chicken CacciatoreTreat company to this perfect Italian meal. You will have time to visit with your guests while it simmers, and it often earns rave reviews. I serve it with couscous, green beans and a dry red wine. Mangia! —Martha Schirmacher, Sterling Heights, Michigan

Apple Balsamic ChickenI just love the sweet and tart flavor that balsamic vinegar gives to this dish. It’s easy to prepare and after cooking in the slow cooker, the chicken thighs are tender and flavorful. —Juli Snaer, Enid, Oklahoma

Exps158367 Sd132779a06 11 5b Web 4

Chicken with Tarragon SauceThis is comfort food at its finest. I cook it at least once a week and usually serve it with homemade mashed potatoes and sautéed fresh green beans. —Cher Schwartz, Ellisville, Missouri

Tex Mex Chicken With Black Beans Rice Exps Chkbz18 82324 C10 25 5b 4

Tex-Mex Chicken with Black Beans & RiceI came up with this Tex-Mex recipe for my sister who just got her first slow cooker. It’s a delicious go-to recipe for busy days. —Elizabeth Dumont, Boulder, Colorado

Exps213 Fm153592d03 24 6b 5

Tart Cranberry ChickenMy husband loves chicken when it’s nice and moist, as in this autumn recipe. I serve it over hot rice with a salad and warm rolls. The ruby red sauce has a wonderful sweet-tart flavor. —Dorothy Bateman, Carver, Massachusetts

Mexican Smothered Chicken Thighs Exps50835 Sd19999446c10 11 6b Rms 5

Mexican Smothered Chicken ThighsChicken thighs are a juicier, less expensive alternative to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They’re used to perfection in this Mexican-inspired dish. —Jeanne Trudell, Del Norte, Colorado

Chiles Rellenos Chicken Exps Ciw19 50211 B09 11 7b 7

Chiles Rellenos ChickenThere’s a little math and a lot of mouthwatering flavor in this simple dinner recipe. The creamy cilantro and lime sauce would taste terrific with rice or egg noodles. —Julie De Matteo, Clementon, New Jersey

Saucy Bbq Chicken Thighs Exps118313 Sd142780c08 15 3b Rms 8

Saucy BBQ Chicken ThighsBarbecued chicken gets a makeover in this recipe. The combination of ingredients makes for a mellow flavor that tastes more grown up than the original. It’s fantastic over rice, pasta or potatoes. —Sharon Fritz, Morristown, Tennessee

Chicken And Broccoli With Dill Sauce Exps Sdam18 200154 C12 01 4b 8

Chicken and Broccoli with Dill SauceI’ve had this chicken and broccoli recipe for so many years, I don’t remember when I first made it. Serve it with a side of couscous or rice for a complete meal, or add some sliced mushrooms or carrots for extra veggies. —Kallee Krong-Mccreery, Escondido, California

Pressure Cooker Chicken Thighs In Wine Sauce Exps Thjj18 206942 B01 31 1b 6

Pressure-Cooker Chicken Thighs in Wine SauceI love this recipe for its incredible flavor—and it seems everyone who tries it does, too. For an easy pairing, try mashed potatoes and peas.—Heike Annucci, Hudson, North Carolina

Exps71943 Sd153321b02 03 6b 2

Chicken with Cherry Wine SauceMy dad’s a chef, so I learned to cook at an early age. This saucy chicken was the first dish I made by myself. —Ben Diaz, Azusa, California

Exps138580 Thca163696b03 06 14b 8

Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Vodka SauceI originally invented this scrumptious dish to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday, and it has since become a quick and easy family favorite. —Karen Kuebler, Dallas, Texas

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *