The Washington Post

Smothered Chicken

Smothered Chicken 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Mar 9, 2022

Smothered chicken is a traditional Southern dish where chicken parts are braised with aromatics and liquid to form a luscious gravy. There are as many ways to prepare it as there are cooks, so feel free to use this recipe as a template for your own creation. The finished dish is commonly served with rice to sop up the gravy.

Active time: 45 mins; Total time: 1 hour 15 mins

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 pounds chicken leg quarters, patted dry (can substitute thighs and/or drumsticks) (see NOTES)
  • 2 medium yellow onions (about 14 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio (see NOTES)
  • 1 cup unsalted or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme


In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, garlic powder and paprika until combined. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the chicken.

Working in batches, if needed, so as to not overcrowd the pan, place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and sear until nicely browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter or rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken, if needed.

Add the onions and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine, scraping up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and thyme, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet, partially cover, and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the chicken is fully cooked (an instant-read thermometer should register at least 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone) and tender, about 30 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and/or pepper, as desired. Discard thyme sprigs and serve (see NOTES).

NOTES: If avoiding alcohol, use an equal amount of additional chicken stock and a splash of vinegar in place of the wine.

If using leg quarters, you can cut each quarter into thighs and drumsticks for more servings.

Recipe Source

From Voraciously staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1 thigh or 2 drumsticks and 1/3 cup onion gravy), based on 6: 482

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 32g 49%

Saturated Fat: 8g 40%

Cholesterol: 151mg 50%

Sodium: 655mg 27%

Total Carbohydrates: 11g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 33g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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