27 Weeknight Chicken Dinner Recipes for Fast, Satisfying Meals

Lemon Pepper chicken Thighs with Potatoes
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Although time-intensive cooking techniques like roasting and braising may seem out of reach on a weeknight, there's an easy solution for that — chicken. The protein cooks quickly, allowing you to pull off everything from stews to burgers and still leave yourself plenty of time to relax afterward. We've rounded up some of our favorite fast chicken recipes here, all ready in an hour or less, that you can rely on when you're in a time crunch. Season chicken thighs and potatoes with herbs, lemon zest and juice, and garlic for a delicious roasted dinner that comes together in 55 minutes. Or, grab a skillet and make a batch of this Florentine Butter Chicken, ready in just 20 minutes. You can also add Kung Pao Chicken, Buffalo Chicken Calzones, and Dinner Hummus (yes, dinner hummus!) with Spiced Chicken and Cauliflower to your regular rotation. With more than 25 recipes to choose from, you'll have plenty of options in your back pocket — read on to find out how to make them all.

01 of 27

Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers
© John Kernick

Chicken thighs are perfect for the grill because they don't dry out, even if they cook a little too long. Skewering them with rosemary imparts a lovely herbal flavor.

02 of 27

Braised Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Green Olives

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Apricots Recipe
Jennifer Causey

"A stovetop chicken braise is in regular rotation on my weeknight dinner table for several good reasons," says cookbook author Molly Stevens. "It's relatively quick, it's nearly foolproof, it's endlessly adaptable, and who doesn't love tender, flavor-drenched chicken thighs bathed in a savory sauce?"

03 of 27

Pappardelle with Chicken and Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Pappardelle with Chicken and Pistachio-Mint Pesto
David Cicconi

Food & Wine culinary director at large Justin Chapple makes a bright and nutty mint and pistachio pesto as the sauce for this fresh and summery warm pasta dish. Using shredded rotisserie chicken helps keep things quick.

04 of 27

Auntie Georgia's Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce)

Auntie Georgia’s Dakgangjeong (Korean Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce)
Angie Webb

A sticky glaze of soy sauce and brown sugar gets subtle heat from fresh jalapeños to give these fried wings the perfect level of spice, sweetness, and salt. Potato starch creates a shatteringly crisp exterior on the wings and stays crunchy for hours — even after they have cooled.

05 of 27

Roast Chicken with Sauce Chasseur

Roast Chicken Sauce Chasseur Recipe
Victor Protasio

Sauce Chasseur is classically thickened with a rich demi-glace, but this version, created by former Food & Wine senior food editor Mary-Frances Heck, uses cream to allow the flavors of the herbs, tomatoes, and acidic wine to come through. You'll need skin-on airline chicken breasts for this recipe, or boneless skinless chicken breasts.

06 of 27

Feta-Brined Chicken Sandwiches

Feta-Brined Chicken Sandwiches
© John Kernick

The secret to these incredibly flavorful chicken cutlets is a quick marinade in feta brine in advance of grilling. Justin Chapple then whips the feta cheese with lemon juice and olive oil to use as a spread for the excellent sandwiches here.

07 of 27

Rice Noodle Salad Bowls with Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

Rice Noodle Salad Bowls with Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Greg DuPree

Like rice paper rolls and banh mi, rice noodle salad bowls — often categorized at restaurants as rice vermicelli bowls or bun (the Vietnamese name for rice vermicelli noodles) — can feature many wonderful things, like grilled lemongrass chicken skewers. To serve Vietnamese rice noodle salad bowls, simply layer the ingredients in a bowl and let diners dress and mix up their own at the table.

08 of 27

Buffalo Chicken Calzones

Buffalo Chicken Calzones
David Cicconi

To make the most of rotisserie chicken, Justin Chapple tosses it with a buttery Buffalo sauce, then bakes it into a calzone with Monterey Jack cheese. As a nod to traditional Buffalo wings, he serves the calzone with celery sticks and blue cheese.

09 of 27

Florentine Butter Chicken

Greg DuPree

This recipe, inspired by Food & Wine editor in chief Hunter Lewis' trip to Trattoria Sostanza in Florence, features tangy cultured butter, which has a higher butterfat content. The butterfat gives cultured butter a slightly higher smoke point and — when combined with olive oil — provides enough cooking time to finish the chicken and sauce simultaneously.

10 of 27

Skillet Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Chicken and Chorizo Skillet Paella
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

While Spanish paella is traditionally made in its namesake pan, this cast-iron variation is a great alternative — and it can also go straight from stove to table. The recipe builds layers of flavors as you sauté aromatics in the same pan you've used to sear the chorizo and chicken. From delicately floral saffron to smoky paprika and a bright lemony finish, this one-pan meal has it all.

11 of 27

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Sugar Snap Pea Salad Recipe
Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

Sweet sugar snap peas give this light summer salad from Boston chef Ivan Conill a satisfying crunch, while whole-milk ricotta adds heft with its mild, creamy richness. Shredded rotisserie chicken may be omitted for a vegetarian version, or you can substitute with flaked hot smoked salmon.

12 of 27


Asopao Recipe
Oriana Koren

A hearty and sustaining dish, asopao is a Puerto Rican stew filled with rice and plenty of vegetables and topped with spiced ground chicken. Starchy potato can stand in for the yucca.

13 of 27

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip Recipe
Photo by Tara Donne / Food Styling by Chris Lanier / Prop Styling by Raina Kattelson

2001 F&W Best New Chef Anita Lo's cookbook SOLO celebrates the joy of cooking for one, just like this weeknight-friendly chicken dish with a twist. "The banana pepper dip in this recipe is perhaps my favorite recipe that my partner's mother, Bonnie Attea, makes," Lo says. "It's a three-ingredient wonder that makes a weeknight chicken breast exciting." 

14 of 27

Chicken Burgers

Herby Chicken Burger
Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Cookbook author and F&W Cooks contributor Leah Koenig's secret for the juiciest chicken burgers is grinding chicken breasts in the food processor, which guarantees the freshest blend and the best texture. Flavored with scallions, parsley, basil, and lemon zest, the burgers are delicious enough to stand alone, but for a fuller meal, serve them with coconut rice and a green salad, or on brioche with harissa-honey mayo.

15 of 27

Chicken Scarpariello with Pickled Peppers

Chicken Scarpariello with Pickled Peppers
Greg DuPree

Scarpariello is a classic Italian-American dish that's easy to pull off at home with jarred pickled peppers and sweet Italian sausage. This one-pot meal requires no chopping at all — just dump and stir.

16 of 27

Dinner Hummus with Spiced Chicken and Cauliflower

Dinner Hummus with Chicken and Cauliflower Recipe
Victor Protasio

"Serving hummus at the center of the table is common practice in the Middle East, where it's eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner," Leah Koenig says. "The creamy chickpea spread is often topped with sautéed mushrooms or eggplant, browned ground lamb and onions, saucy fava beans, or similar hearty add-ons. I've tried (and adored) all of these versions, but the dinner hummus of my dreams is capped with a generous layer of chicken and cauliflower. Flavored with a shawarma-inspired array of spices — cumin, smoked paprika, coriander—and sautéed with plenty of onions, buttery pine nuts, and sweet-tart currants, hummus is transformed into a fully satisfying meal."

17 of 27

Jerk Chicken Pizza

Jerk Chicken Pizza
Yekaterina Boytsova

Whether you choose to make your own dough (which Nicole Russell, founder of Last Dragon Pizza in Far Rockaway, Queens, highly recommends) or buy it from the store, this pizza, called "Kiss Mi Converse" at Last Dragon, is destined for greatness. A homemade jerk marinade inspired by Russell's Jamaican family takes center stage, giving rich flavor to the chicken topping, while the black olives, yellow peppers, and crossed scallion greens aren't just delicious — they're a salute to the Jamaican flag. You'll have some extra jerk marinade left over from this recipe—it's terrific for smoked or grilled chicken.

18 of 27

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

At chef Ziqiang Lu's Birds of A Feather in Brooklyn, tingly heat from Szechuan peppercorns teams up with slightly sweet dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine to build deep flavor into this quick stir-fry. Have all of the ingredients at the ready before you start cooking; stir-fry cooking goes fast. Lu recommends browning the dried chile peppers until they are well toasted; this teases out their aromas and leaves you with a warming mouthfeel that lingers.

19 of 27

Chicken Diane

Chicken Diane
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

This Chicken Diane recipe is all about building layers of flavor as you cook. Searing chicken and then browning mushrooms in a skillet creates delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you add the liquids, those browned bits release their flavor, resulting in a rich, silky, savory sauce. Fresh lemon juice and parsley are mixed in at the end for brightness. Serve the finished dish with egg noodles and a salad.

20 of 27

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Grapes, Garlic, and Rosemary

Chicken with Roasted Grapes, Garlic and Rosemary
Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Dinner doesn't get more simple or elegant than this pan-roasted chicken. To make it, cut a whole chicken into eight pieces, then roast it with grapes, garlic cloves, and sprigs of rosemary to yield crispy-skinned chicken in a schmaltzy pan sauce that begs for a crusty piece of bread. "I'm on record as being a slavering fan of Angie Mar's glam-bomb fare," says Senior Editor Kat Kinsman, who is a super-fan of Mar (a 2017 F&W Best New Chef) and first tried this dish to-go. "But the take-out foil pan filled with roasted grapes, garlic, and rosemary; fatty drippings; and the sloppiest, cook's-treat parts of a chicken (my favorite) may be the best thing she ever served me."

21 of 27

Chicken Freekeh Skillet with Warm Feta-Lemon Relish

Lemon Chicken Freekah Skillet Recipe
Alison Miksch

"Another quick-cooking staple in my kitchen is boneless, skinless chicken thighs," Food & Wine Cooks contributor Ann Taylor Pittman writes. "They're always meaty and juicy and nearly impossible to overcook. I sear them first, then nestle them into the half-cooked freekeh to finish cooking under a layer of lemon slices to cut through their richness. My favorite part of this dish, though, is the relish. It's garlicky, a little spicy, herby, and full of surprises."

22 of 27

Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale

Chicken Tortellini Soup Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Fresh ingredients team up with store-bought shortcuts to get this comforting dinner on the table in around 30 minutes. Frozen cheese tortellini only need a five-minute dip in the simmering broth to cook up perfectly. Don't be tempted to just dump the whole can of tomatoes into the pot; draining them first concentrates the flavors.

23 of 27

Grilled Chicken with Marinated Tomatoes and Onions

Individual plate of grilled chicken with marinated tomatoes and onions
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

In less than an hour, heirloom tomatoes and slivers of red onion are transformed into a savory sauce that brings bright, summery flavor to this simple grilled chicken. Chicken cutlets quickly pick up the flavors of the tomatoes and onions; let them soak in the tomato marinade after grilling for an extra kick of flavor.

24 of 27

Chicken Fricassee Stir-Fry with Asparagus

Chicken Fricassee Stir Fry
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Neville Crawford

This quick-cooking recipe from cookbook author Grace Young showcases the technique for a simple stir-fry, where ingredients are continually added to the wok, layering flavor as each cooks perfectly. "Once you understand the basics of stir-frying, you don't have to limit yourself," Young says. Here, tender asparagus joins carrots and chicken in a speedy stir-fry seasoned with white wine instead of rice wine, and cream enriches the sauce.

25 of 27

Sheet Pan Baked Chicken, Feta, Tomatoes, and Kale with Pasta

Sheet Pan Feta Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Tangy feta and juicy tomatoes roast together in the oven, creating a creamy sauce that clings to ruffly campanelle or corkscrew-shaped cavatappi pasta in this easy sheet pan dinner. The whole dish comes together in under an hour as the chicken, cheese, and aromatics bake in the oven while the pasta and kale quickly cook on the stove. Even better, this dish can be served hot, at room temperature, or as a chilled pasta salad.

26 of 27

Quick Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Quick Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Tender vegetables simmer in a mixture of chicken drippings and butter in this simple, speedy dish. The attached drumette gives these airline chicken breasts more flavor; bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are a good substitute. Andrew Fortgang of Canard in Portland, Oregon, recommends pairing this dish with floral, spicy Gourgonnier. "Orange aromas of Gourgonnier draw me in," he says. "On the palate, it's weighty, almost creamy, but with pepper and just enough acidity to balance."

27 of 27

Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs with Potatoes

Lemon Pepper chicken Thighs with Potatoes
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Instead of dried lemon pepper seasoning, these chicken and potatoes are seasoned with fresh lemon juice and zest, chopped garlic, and freshly ground pepper, along with fresh dill and oregano. While the chicken thighs roast, the fat adds extra flavor and crunch to the lemony potatoes. After the chicken is done, the potatoes get extra crispy as they roast in the drippings for a few extra minutes. Serve the finished dish with lemon wedges.

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