Smoked Paprika Chicken

One of my favorite bloggers (and people!) is Erika Kerekes from In Erika’s Kitchen. A couple of months ago, Erika posted a super simple recipe– just three ingredients. Erika said the flavor was reminiscent of chicken wrapped in bacon. It was so easy, I just had to try it.

Fast forward to today– Erika’s Chicken with Smoked Paprika has become one of my go-to recipes for those evenings when I just don’t feel like cooking. Yes, it happens, even to me! Let’s face it, we all get busy and tired and stressed. Having a recipe like this in your repertoire makes life just a little bit easier. It tastes great, uses three simple ingredients, and the prep takes only a couple of minutes. Really. Two minutes!

Erika’s recipe uses boneless skinless chicken thighs; they have more natural moisture than breasts. For those of you who like using boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs, I’ve included a modification. It will take a bit longer (breast meat tastes better when it’s had a chance to marinate), and it requires a little bit of olive oil to keep it from drying out under the broiler. But it’s a great alternative, and turns out really juicy if you follow the instructions carefully. The cooked breasts are perfect for slicing over a fresh salad for a protein and flavor boost.

Not all Smoked Paprika is created equal. Look for one that smells smoky and strong; a good Smoked Paprika has a mesquite-like essence that is unmistakable. I used Spice Islands Smoked Paprika for this recipe, and it was terrific. It’s OU certified for those of you who are keeping kosher. If you’ve never bought the spice before and are hesitating, wondering if you’ll ever use it again, not to worry– I’ve become a bit obsessed with it lately, so I’ll be posting several recipes that use it in the next few months. It’s worth the purchase, especially if you enjoy smoky grilled flavors.

If you like this recipe as much as I do, make sure you go give Erika’s blog a look. She’s an ace in the kitchen and a really nice person to boot.

Recommended Products:


Basting Brush

Baking Sheet

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Smoked Paprika Chicken


  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika, or more if needed
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp garlic salt, or to taste-- if you're sensitive to salt, use less (if you don't have garlic salt on hand, substitute 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried parsley and 3/4 tsp salt)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed (only for chicken breasts)

You will also need

  • Baking sheet and foil. If using breast meat, you will also need a cutting board, plastic wrap, a mallet, and a basting brush.
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: 14 Minutes
Total Time: 16 Minutes
Servings: 4-6 servings
Kosher Key: Meat

For Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • Preheat the broiler on high. Set a rack in the oven at least 4 inches below the flame. If you put the rack right under the flame, the chicken will burn on the outside before it's cooked through.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the chicken thighs out flat. Sprinkle each side generously with the garlic salt and smoked paprika; if the amounts above don't seem like enough, use more. Do not skimp on the garlic salt, even if you're salt-phobic - it's necessary and still will have far less sodium than any chicken dish you will ever eat in a restaurant.
  • Broil the chicken about 7 minutes on each side, until the thighs are cooked through and have developed a nice crust. Broilers tend to vary in terms of strength; if your chicken seems to be burning or cooking too fast, move the rack down a notch or two.
  • Once the chicken has cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees F), serve immediately.

For Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

  • In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, garlic salt, and 3 tbsp olive oil to create a smooth paste.
  • Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place your chicken breasts on top of the plastic wrap, with a few inches of space in between each breast (if making 2 lbs. of chicken breasts you will probably end up with four breasts; I only cooked two breasts for this demo). Place another layer of plastic wrap on top of the breasts.
  • Use a mallet to gently pound out the chicken breasts till they are an even thickness all the way across and about 1 1/2 times their original size. This will allow the breasts to cook more evenly under the broiler.
  • Paint each breast on both sides with a thin, even layer of the smoked paprika paste. Let the breasts stand for 20 minutes to allow the flavor to infuse the meat.
  • Place a rack at least 4 inches below your broiler and preheat the broiler. Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the chicken under the broiler and let it broil for about 7 minutes till a crust begins to form around the edges. If your chicken seems to be burning or cooking too fast, move the rack down a notch or two.
  • Flip the breasts with a pair of tongs. If the breasts appear to be dry after you turn them, baste them with a little olive oil. Let them cook under the broiler for another 5-7 minutes, until cooked through (internal temperature of 160 degrees F).
  • Let the breasts rest for a minute or two before serving to allow the juices to evenly distribute through the meat. Serve.

Comments (104)Post a Comment

  1. I have some chicken breasts to cook and all the needed ingredients – not that this recipe requires too many as you’ve said 😉 – and the end result looks way too good! It’s decided – making this tomorrow night, to relax with some easy cooking after a hard, post-Thanksgiving week!

  2. I’m totally making this for dinner tonight. I had the Mister take some boneless skinless thighs outta the freezer, so this post is perfect timing. YAY! Thanks for giving substitution instruction for garlic salt – I don’t have it so it’s good to know I can make do with garlic powder and salt.

    1. Hi Rocio– while you technically could sub regular paprika, it won’t taste the same. The flavor in this dish comes from the smoky essence of the smoked paprika. It won’t be bad if you use regular paprika, but it won’t be nearly as yummy.

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Perfect timing – I’ve been looking for new chicken recipes, and I’ve got some wonderful smoked paprika I’ve been dying to use. Thanks!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Mmm I love paprika and your chicken looks amazing! Cooked to perfection! I bet your kitchen smelled amazing too :) If you haven’t already, feel free to stop by my blog and check out the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway going on right now! xoxo

  5. I am so totally in agreement with you about smoked paprika. It, (along with chipotle chile powder) is one of the spice isle’s best kept secrets! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It is definitely on my “to-do-immediately-if-not-sooner” list for dinner.

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Alright, I made this for dinner last night. I didn’t feel up to cooking at all but Tori, you’re comments that it is so quick to prepare that I couldn’t resist. I must say, this recipe is spectacular! I can’t believe how fast prep was. Before I knew it, I had a delightful chicken dish to serve to the Mister along side some steamed rice.

    Delicious. The Mister commented immediately. The chicken was tender, smokey and full of flavor. I only wish I’d make more. I’ll be following your lead Tori – this recipe is going in my repetoire as well for those nights when I don’t have time to cook. Next time, I’m making a double batch. :)

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This definitely sounds like a keeper. My hubby and I a trying to lose weight and I have plently of chicken cutlets in the freezer..I woulder how this would work on fish??? Once I get the Spice Island Paprika , I am going to try it on both..Keep up the good work..I love these nice easy recipes. I woulder if my KOsher experience carries this spice. I’ll give them a ring tomorrow morning.
    HAve a great weekend.

  8. Hi Tori
    I did a google check and my Shop rite does not carry this spice. Any suggestions were I can purchase it .,I live in Highland Park, NJ.Appreciate any help you can offer.

    1. Hi Natalie, I used Spice Islands smoked paprika for this blog. I did a search on the Spice Islands website for your area, and it says that Stop and Shop carries the Spice Islands line. I’m not sure if that listing is current, and I don’t know if they carry smoked paprika specifically, but you might want to try calling them. If that fails, you can get the spice online– just do a search for Spice Islands Smoked Paprika, there are many online shops that carry it. Good luck!

    2. You can order it online at penzey’ They have all kinds of spices I love. I hope this helps.

  9. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This is my first recipe using a good quality Smoked Paprika and I am pleased as punch!! This is really easy and so good. It has made it into my “Go To” recipe book.
    Thank you for sharing this and so many other great recipes.

  10. I typically cook and serve chicken pieces or whole roasters but having nothing thawed, I grabbed thin sliced cutlets at the grocery store and made this recipe.

    We all loved it. Our 6yo son had two cutlets. This is a winner.

    1. Happy you enjoyed the recipe Heather! I especially love how easy it is. I keep a few cutlets in the freezer for those nights when I’ve run out of ideas and defrost for a quick meal. :)

  11. I made this the other night. I used the garlic salt as directed. It ended up barely edible because it was way too salty!!. Why do you need so much salt? I will make this again but will not use nearly that much salt.

  12. Sarah, this is good to know. A lot of people have enjoyed this recipe as written, but if you’re sensitive to salt it might be too salty. Also, I’m wondering if your garlic salt might have a higher salt content than the one I used. I have edited the recipe and added a “salt to taste” note for people who are more sensitive to salt– it would be a good idea to test your garlic salt before using it in the recipe to see how salty it is. If it seems very salty, go easy with it. Thank you for reporting back!

  13. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks extra easy and delicious. And since I love smoked paprika and use it in almost everything I cook, I’ll definitely be giving this dish a try. A new chicken recipe is always a great addition. Thanks!

  14. This recipe looks awesome… I love smoked paprika… I use it all the time on roasted potatoes with some garlic powder and olive oil roasted in the oven. Can’t wait to try this recipe out. Have to go buy Chicken!

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    WOW WOW W O W !!!! I thought this would be good but I did NOT expect the full smoked flavor and juiciness!

    I used chicken breast, under the broiler (I left it in a bit longer because I sadly have an electric stove/ oven= hell), threw it on top of some lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice- yum yum yum!!!!

    Thank you for my new go to chicken!!! and you’re right, regular paprika wouldn’t do what the smoked paprika did for this.

  16. Pretty good. Had a smokey flavor and not salty. It was very juicy. I will make this again, I think I will add some pepper to it. It wasn’t bland at all, it was just missing something. This will be on my list of QUICK cooking meals for that busy night. No more fast food on the busy night. YAY!

  17. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I am going to for sure make this. And I am going to use the same oil mixture on potatoes and make the same way! And sweet potatoes! Great idea!

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This has become my go to recipe, especially when I’m not up to cooking its so easy and fast and a lot heallthier than ordering in. I love this recipe its amazing I recommend it to everyone Thanks!!

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Made this tonight using chicken breasts. It was delicious. My husband loved it. Moist, and smokey and just 6 minutes on each side did the trick. Used my wonderful Thermador electric oven, with door ajar. Thanks for the recipe and technique.
    Will be making this again, maybe on the grill??

  20. I made this yesterday for lunch and it was the best chicken I had ever cooked! I think I may now be obsessed with smoked paprika.

  21. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Tonight we made the skinless/boneless chicken thighs seasoned as you directed and threw them on the grill with some asparagus spears – dinner took literally just minutes and it was so delicious and simple!
    Thank you for the recipe idea! :)

  22. I made this with skin-on bone-in drumsticks with just paprika and garlic powder (no salt), about ten minutes per side. Came out well, but think next time I’ll add onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne for a little heat.

    1. Next time try to use smoked paprika if you can find it– regular paprika isn’t going to give you the same flavor punch as the smoked variety.

  23. tori, Have you tried this in the oven? It would seem difficult to make it with company if you have to watch over it carefully. Thank you.

    1. Hi Tammy, it cooks so quickly that I’ve never really considered that issue– you only need to keep an eye on it periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. That said, you won’t have to watch quite as carefully if you bake it rather than broil it. Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking, till it is cooked all the way through (cut the thickest piece with a sharp knife to check for doneness). You shouldn’t have any risk of burning with this method, but it will take a bit longer than broiling and there is a risk of the meat getting dry if you let it cook too long. Enjoy!

  24. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This looks great! Have been getting heavily into paprika this year, since I started my Slovenian roots cooking project. This seems very much in that spirit flavor-wise, but refreshingly lower in carbohydrates. Maybe I’ll try it tonight, probably (as some have suggested) lowering the salt.

  25. I have made this twice so far. It works beautifully on our stovetop Le Creuset grill! So happy to discover an easy, elegant entree that complements some of the heavier side dishes I am making as part of my Slovenian cooking journey. Thanks!

  26. Hi Shiksa, I have a query. Do you know what temperature you should put the oven at (not the internal temperature of the chicken breast, but of the oven)? Since my oven is electric, for how long do I bake the chicken breasts for?
    Thank you. Bye.

    1. Hi Riaz, does your oven have a “broil” setting? Most ovens do, including electric. If it does, set the temperature to broil. If not, try 400 degrees. Cooking time will vary, so best to check the internal temperature to be sure it’s cooked through. Enjoy!

  27. Love this recipe! Just tried a version with rosemary and a touch of pumpkin seed oil. @Shawna: I don’t have a mallet either, but it works just fine to pound with the edge of a thick ceramic plate, the way I recall my mother doing it.

  28. Hi Tori, Is there a reason you brush the chicken breasts on both side with the smoked paprika, et al but the thighs are only brushed on one side? Thank you for your response.

    1. Hi Tammy! The thighs are sprinkled on both sides with the spice mixture, as indicated in the recipe above. I only use olive oil for the breasts, because they tend to be naturally drier than thighs… the thighs won’t need the extra oil, if you make them according to the instructions. But both versions have seasoning on both sides… the only difference is the addition of olive oil. Enjoy!

  29. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    i love how you always offer options! yum, can’t wait to try this. smoked paprika is heavenly. have you tried Trader Joe’s South African Smoked seasoning in a grinder? smoked paprika is key ingredient with that lovely mesquite scent!!!

  30. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just made the paprika chicken this evening for the first time. It was DELICIOUS and the whole family liked it and said it was a “make again” recipe. You cannot beat easy AND delicious!

  31. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi! This recipe looks amazing, one question though, what temperature do you broil the chicken at? Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!! :)

    1. Hi Monica, when you set your oven to “broil” it heats up the element at the top of the oven very hot, to quickly cook or brown foods (you can see the broiler in the step-by-step photos above). Most ovens have a “broil” setting, but if yours does not, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and check the meat for doneness at the end of cooking. Enjoy!

    2. Just finished eating the paprika chicken and it was super yummy! 425F was perfect for the broil setting!(: I am definitely going to make this again soon, it was even EXTRA delicious with some Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on the side. Perfect combo of smokiness with a little sweetness!!!

  32. I found you by doing a search for smoked paprika that my b/f sent me from germany. I have to confess never cooked with paprika but after smelling this I had to find a recipe and this is the one I will be making it for a family dinner and when he gets back in April. Thanks for the fast and easy dish

    1. The “hi” setting should work fine. Try 1 test piece first to see how it goes. You can always adjust the rack height or decrease the heat to “lo” if the chicken is cooking too fast on the outside before it’s cooked through. Enjoy!

  33. I just tried this with a no-salt seasoning blend. It works! Is it better with salt? Of course. But sometimes you need to adapt. Glad to see that one can still enjoy a version of this great dish on a low-sodium diet.

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