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Smothered Chicken In A Skillet

Smothered chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods. Tender moist chicken smothered in onions, carrots, celery, peppers and spinach and a yummy sauce – all in one skillet.

Food for the soul, this one pot meal of chicken and vegetables goes way back, over 30 years at least. 

chicken and vegetables in sauce in skillet 1

It’s a family fall or winter favorite that shares similar tastes to a chicken stew or chicken fricassee, but contains no dairy. The oniony, garlicky savory gravy is like a warm hug.

I use bone in, skin-on chicken. If you’ve seen my other posts, you’ll know that I always prefer dark meat (thighs and legs) because I find it is juicier and more flavorful. But since the chicken and vegetables are covered in a sauce, the chicken  – both dark and white – stays moist.

Weird tip: To avoid that fry/onion-smell in my hair, I wrap a scarf around my head when pan frying the chicken. Not pretty and my husband just shakes his head, but worth it!

This recipe is well worth the few extra steps and time in my opinion and it can be made ahead and warmed up the next day.  In fact, it’s just as good or better the next day. 

What to serve with smothered chicken

Keeping with the comfort food vibe, I love to serve this saucy chicken and vegetable recipe with fluffy basic mashed potatoes. Noodles, quinoa or rice are great too. 

Tailor to your taste

  • Chicken options
    • You can substitute a whole cut-up chicken with any type of bone-in chicken pieces you prefer e.g. all thighs, all breasts, etc.
    • Skinless chicken would be fine too. 
  • Vegetable variations
    • Substitute or add other vegetables like mushrooms, sweet potato or parsnips. I don’t suggest watery vegetables like zucchini as they can become mushy.
    • Instead of fresh spinach, use a cup or more of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved on high for 3 minutes then well drained.
  • Seasonings
    • Play around with the seasonings. I love thyme or rosemary in this recipe. Marjoram, sage and poultry seasoning would work too. Even dill.

Shortcuts

  • Instead of making your own seasoned flour, buy a seasoning mix with similar seasonings (no chili powder or sugar!)
  • Substitute 2 teaspoons of garlic from the jar or 2 frozen garlic cubes instead of mincing fresh garlic.

Make Ahead 

  • Make the full recipe, cool and refrigerate. Warm up in the oven the next day. The only small downside is that the spinach won’t maintain its vibrant green color.
  • Leftovers are delish and will keep in the fridge for several days.
  • You can also make the dish a couple hours ahead and rewarm it before serving.

Other chicken comfort food recipes you might like

How to make the best smothered chicken and vegetables

sauteed chicken
Coat chicken pieces with seasoned flour. Fry in a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven until golden brown. Set chicken aside on paper towel.
sauteed vegetables
Sauté vegetables and garlic for 5 minutes. Add chicken back to skillet. Pour in broth, sprinkle chicken with thyme and bake chicken, covered, in oven, for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
Vegetables and sauce
Set chicken aside. Thicken broth on stovetop with cornstarch slurry. Add spinach if using and stir until wilted.
chicken and vegetables in sauce in skillet 2
Add chicken back into skillet and spoon over sauce.
chicken and vegetables in sauce on plate with rice
Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, quinoa or noodles.
chicken and vegetables in sauce in skillet p
chicken and vegetables in sauce in skillet 1
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4.91 from 11 votes

Smothered Chicken In A Skillet

Smothered chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods. Tender moist chicken smothered in onions, carrots, celery, peppers and spinach and a yummy sauce – all in one skillet. Food for the soul, this one pot meal of chicken and vegetables goes way back, over 30 years at least. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 -5
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • A deep 12" skillet (20.5 cm) with lid (or 14"/35.5cm). If you don't have one, you can transfer chicken and vegetables to a roasting pan with a cover for the oven portion of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 pounds (1.59 kg) chicken pieces (e.g. legs, thighs, breasts, wings) bone in, skin on.
  • 1/4 cup (31 grams) seasoned all purpose flour, Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Vegetables

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch/1.3 cm pieces
  • 4 large carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • 4 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch/1.2 cm slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch/1.3 cm slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
  • 3 cups (90 grams) fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped optional to add at final step

Sauce

  • 2 cup (473 ml) chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme I use a bit more
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed into 1/4 cup/59 ml cold water
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Garnish (optional)

  • chopped green onions or chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F/176.7C
  • PREPARE CHICKEN : Trim extra fat from chicken. Place seasoned flour into a bag and season chicken pieces, one at a time, by shaking in bag (shake off excess flour and discard any remaining flour mixture after all chicken is coated).
  • SAUTÉ CHICKEN: In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat to medium-high heat. Fry chicken on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken and repeat on second side. Drain on a paper towel over plate and set chicken aside. If your pan is not large enough to fit all the chicken pieces with some space in a single layer, fry in two batches then transfer all the chicken to a larger covered roasting pan.
  • SAUTE VEGETABLES: Sauté vegetables and garlic in the skillet for 5 minutes. Place chicken back in skillet (or transfer to pan with chicken if using a separate pan) and settle vegetables under and on top of chicken.
  • BAKE: Pour broth into bottom of skillet (or roasting pan) and sprinkle chicken and vegetables with thyme. Cover chicken, place in the oven and cook chicken for about 35-45 minutes. Vegetables should be tender and chicken should read 160F-165F/71-74C with an instant thermometer.
  • FINISH SAUCE AND SERVE: Remove chicken to a plate and set aside while you finish the sauce. Skim grease floating on the top and discard. Place skillet (or pan) on stove and bring vegetable and broth mixture to a boil. Pour in the cornstarch-water slurry and stir until thickened, 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, stir in spinach (if using) and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute.
    Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add some more chicken broth or water. Place chicken back into the skillet and spoon over sauce to coat it. If serving to company, transfer the entire dish to a deep platter (or serve in the skillet), sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles or with crusty bread. Garnish with parsley or green onions if desired.

Notes

  1. To make seasoned flour: combine 1/4 cup (31 grams) flour with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Shortcut: buy seasoned flour or chicken seasoning (about 4-5 teaspoons) to add to flour. 
  2. Variations and Substitutes
    • Chicken options
      • You can substitute a whole cut-up chicken or any type of bone-in chicken pieces you prefer e.g. all thighs, all breasts, etc.
      • Skinless chicken would be fine too. 
    • Vegetable variations
      • Substitute or add other vegetables like mushrooms, sweet potato or parsnips. I don’t suggest watery vegetables like zucchini as they can become mushy.
      • Instead of fresh spinach, use a cup or more of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved on high for 3 minutes then well drained.
    • Seasonings
      • Play around with the seasonings. I love thyme or rosemary in this recipe. Marjoram, sage and poultry seasoning would work too. Even dill.
  3. Make Ahead: 
    • Make the full recipe a day or two ahead, cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350F/176.7C oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
    • Leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days. I just warm them in the microwave.
    • You can also make the recipe a couple of hours ahead. Rewarm in a 325-350F/163-176.7C oven before serving.  
 
Nutrition values are estimates. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Smothered Chicken In A Skillet
Amount Per Serving
Calories 760 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Fat 48g74%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 202mg67%
Sodium 1367mg59%
Potassium 1038mg30%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 54g108%
Vitamin A 13628IU273%
Vitamin C 63mg76%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 9mg50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

This recipe from 2016, now updated, was previously posted as Chicken and Vegetables In A Skillet. 

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just wanted you to know that this recipe was fantastic. I doubled the minced garlic because, well. GARLIC! And I added Trader Joe’s Umami seasoning, about 1 tsp. Served over brown Jasmine rice.

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