Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! 47 Easy Weeknight Meals
Easy chicken dinners for all the flavors you’re craving, from cheesy chicken Parmesan to ginger chicken stir-fry
Photograph by Olga Ivanova
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“I never know what to make for dinner,” confided a fellow mom named Lynne at a gathering. “I mean, I need to feed my family every night, but I’m not really...a cook. I never learned the basics.” That’s when I pulled out my phone and started talking about Yummly’s Guided Video Recipes. And chicken.
“Well, what flavors do you like?” I asked. “Look, I’ll show you how to cook an easy dinner with chicken. Yummly has all these step-by-step videos where you can cook along and see how to make things." Lynne was perking up, so I kept going.
“What about a quick and easy chicken dinner like baked chicken with barbecue sauce? Or Easy Korean Sticky Chicken? You can get gochuchang at the supermarket now. Or how about Melt-in-Your-Mouth Baked Chicken Breasts? They’re coated in mayo, Greek yogurt, and Parmesan. I’ve heard the combination called ‘man-pleasing chicken.’ “
“Ooo, that sounds good to me," Lynne said, and we laughed.
In honor of Lynne and all the busy cooks out there, I’ve put together this collection of our best chicken recipes for weeknights. You can pull them off in 20 to 50 minutes, and nearly all include a video, just in case you could use a little coaching, too. Chicken is versatile. Chicken is fast. Chicken will solve your dinner dilemma.
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Extra-easy chicken recipes with garlic, mustard, and herbs
Looking for an easy chicken dinner with few ingredients? This first group requires only five (six ingredients if you count nonstick cooking spray).
Stir together whole-grain mustard, honey, and a little garlic powder and olive oil in a bowl. Then slather it onto chicken breasts, and into a hot oven they go for almost no prep time and a mere 15 minutes cooking time. You can do this.
Building on the theme of ultra-easy, these next few recipes, for chicken thighs, feature grab-and-go seasonings of Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and dried herbs.
Asian-inspired chicken recipes
Swing by your grocery store’s Asian foods aisle to stock up on a few basic seasonings like toasted sesame oil, mirin (rice wine), fish sauce, rice vinegar, and of course soy sauce, and you’ll be ready to cook chicken with Asian flair on short notice.
Have you tried gochuchang, the sweet and spicy Korean red pepper paste? It’s a flavor bomb that totally makes this 20-minute recipe for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and more and more grocery stores are carrying it. But if yours doesn’t, swing by an Asian market or buy gochuchang online. Once you have the seasoning, it keeps for months in the fridge.
Fresh orange zest and juice, zingy fresh ginger, and salty soy sauce are a few of the flavors you’ll enjoy in these next easy dinner recipes with chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and chicken wings. No takeout required.
Chicken recipes with barbecue sauce
Love the sweet, tangy, and tomato-y flavors of barbecue sauce? Grab your favorite brand of bottled sauce and you’re on your way to devouring some family-friendly, easy chicken recipes cooked right in your oven, without the chore of firing up the grill.
Chicken drumsticks, salt, pepper, and barbecue sauce. That’s it! Oh, and a little nonstick cooking spray. Give the chicken 20 to 30 minutes in the oven followed by a quick pass under the broiler for just the right singe on the sauce.
There are lots of options for you and your bottle of barbecue sauce: How about flavoring chicken breasts with the bbq sauce to make some tacos, or adding a little to rotisserie chicken for pizzas? If you’re feeling adventurous, doctor up the usual sauce with a little peach jam and cayenne.
Chicken recipes with citrus
A generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime gives chicken a massive flavor boost in these next recipes for baked lemon chicken, lime chicken, and a stovetop curry. All three come together in 45 minutes or less total time.
If plenty of fresh dill, garlic, citrus, and olive oil are all it takes to transport us to the sunny Mediterranean (at least at the dinner table) sign me up.
Generous lime, honey, and chilies come together in the marinade for the next recipe. It's a combination that’s bound to get your diners talking — and possibly licking their fingers. You’ve tried Indian curries; how about the Caribbean version, made with coconut milk, lime, and curry powder?
Easy gluten-free chicken casseroles
These days it seems we all know someone who follows a gluten-free diet. Three crowd-pleasing casseroles featuring cooked chicken give you options that will make the whole family happy. You'll need up to 50 minutes to bake everything until bubbling, but a good chunk of this is hands-off time.
This first recipe opts for frozen riced cauliflower for a chicken dish that’s both gluten-free and keto diet-friendly.
In the next, you coat a generous 6 cups of chicken with a creamy, grain-free combo of mayo, Greek yogurt, and Parmesan. The last includes creamed corn, evaporated milk, sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese: We’re talking about a serious level of comfort food in this creamy chicken and rice casserole.
Mexican-inspired chicken recipes
Chicken's mild taste makes it versatile for cooking and perfect for fast, flavor-forward recipes featuring canned chipotle chilies, simple spices, and store-bought enchilada sauce and salsa verde. Recipes in this group of Mexican-inspired favorites feature cooked chicken (leftover or rotisserie) as well as chicken thighs, and they clock in from 20 to 50 minutes.
“Tinga” refers to the very tasty combination of smoked chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and tomatoes used to season shredded chicken — in this case, store-bought rotisserie chicken. Tuck the meat into tortillas. Then add shredded cabbage, cilantro, and salty crumbled cotija cheese (or feta), and you have yourself dinner in 35 minutes.
If you love Mexican flavors, we have additional chicken options you won’t want to miss, including a one-dish fajitas dinner, loaded nachos, and three takes on enchiladas: traditional (and more indulgent) rojos, a lighter red version, and chicken-cheese enchiladas verdes. How about a little avocado topper for you?
More spicy chicken dinners
Mexican cooking isn’t the only cuisine that goes for spicy chicken. How about incorporating chilies with Cajun, Moroccan, or Southeast Asian flavors?
Coat boneless, skinless chicken breasts with seven pantry seasonings, bake in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes, and you’ll have yourself some yummy Cajun chicken — in 30 minutes, start to finish.
Two flavorful chili-based seasoning blends are featured in the next recipes, harissa (a North African paste of chilies with garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, and other flavors), and sriracha hot sauce.
Italian-inspired chicken recipes
Time to channel your inner nonna! Fresh and dried herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, zesty capers, and plenty of garlic are just a few of the ingredients you’ll dip into to create this group of much-loved chicken dishes.
Inspired by Caprese salad, chicken breasts are flavored with Italian seasoning and baked with tomato and melty mozzarella. This recipe also includes a colorful side of asparagus for a one-pan meal.
Have you tried chicken piccata, thin chicken cutlets that cook on the stove with the bright flavors of lemons and tangy, salty capers? It’s a classic recipe you’ll want to have in your repertoire. From there we depart from Italian tradition to create delicious sheet pan suppers and pizza. You need only 20 to 30 minutes to pull these off.
Cheesy chicken dinners
Chicken Parm, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: Coated with panko breadcrumbs, marinara, and mayo, and sprinkled over and stuffed into the meat. Yes, these recipes are possible even on busy weeknights.
Breaded chicken gets a cheesy boost from Parmesan in the coating. An initial dip in mayo and mustard helps everything to stick. Pop the chicken in the oven, and it’s done in about 15 minutes.
The crispy panko-Parm idea plays out with inexpensive and kid-friendly chicken tenders, as well as a saucy Chicken Parm with marinara. Or go creamy with the additions of mayo, butter, or ricotta.
More favorite weeknight chicken dinner recipes
Looking for some veggies to cook with your chicken? Choose asparagus and peas, summer squash, or lettuce cups. If you're feeling adventurous, how about seasoning chicken with Middle Eastern za’atar or Indian tikaa masala flavors? Any of these dishes would be great to serve for a special weeknight dinner, and you can put them together in 35 to 50 minutes.
Cook and serve this springtime tender chicken thigh combination right from the skillet!
Chicken sausage, cooked chicken, and chicken thighs: With the next recipes, you have plenty of choices for the form of your protein. Make it easy on yourself and whip up some quick wraps, or simmer up something a little more complex with the Indian tikka masala.
Keep cooking chicken
You could say chicken is our bread and butter (make that, chicken and rice?) at Yummly. In fact, we're just getting started here on chicken dinner ideas. How about some balsamic chicken, chicken Alfredo, or Thai chicken? Perhaps you'd like to put your favorite time-saving tools to work to make Instant Pot chicken and Crock Pot-chicken recipes. We have loads more weeknight dinner ideas to explore in these next articles, too.