Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. The poet Edith Sitwell may have written those words nearly 100 years ago, but they hold true. Winter is for settling in, getting cozy, and nourishing your self and loved ones with good food and company.
We can’t come visit, but we can share our absolutely essential, unbeatable, can’t-miss favorite chicken recipes for the long winter season. We’ve pulled together everything we love most about winter cooking: comfort food that’s as easy as it is satisfying; casseroles that warm your kitchen and your heart; soups and stews to simmer on the stovetop through an afternoon; weeknight soul-soothing meals for the pressure cooker or crockpot; our favorite ways to roast a whole bird; and even our top picks for healthy chicken dishes that will fill your tank without adding junk to your trunk.
You’ll find everything here from one-pot wonders (like spicy jambalaya) to classic standbys (like chicken noodle soup) to fun twists on old favorites (like miso pot-au-feu) to regional superstars (like King Ranch Chicken) and international family favorites (like Cuban arroz con pollo). There’s something here for every weeknight of the season, every palate, every member of the family. So start a fire, grab a few pantry staples, and pick a recipe from our list. It’s time for home.
5 Winter Chicken Casserole Recipes
Nothing beats a casserole when winter sets in and dinner is always after dark. Knock the chill from your bones with these hearty, easy-to-make chicken casseroles, all of which go straight into the oven and need little more than a quick green salad or a warm roll to make a meal.
With pantry staples and a bit of bacon, you can turn same ol’ chicken into a deeply comforting cold-weather meal, with just 15 minutes prep time and a no-fuss slow cooker method. Recipe via Best Recipes
Anyone who grew up in or near Texas knows King Ranch Chicken is a wintertime go-to. Sure, winters are shorter in the South, but that doesn’t mean it never gets chilly enough to need a hearty Tex-Mex dinner. This staple recipe varies a bit from kitchen to kitchen, but Ree Drummond’s is as close to perfect as any we’ve seen.
This is not your grandma’s hot dish. Smoky paprika, tender lentils, and the deep, satisfying comfort of a meal cooked stovetop in less than an hour that tastes like one slow-roasted for half the day, all in one pot.
Credit: Southern LivingIf there’s one thing home cooks know, it’s cobbler. If there’s anything they know better, it’s that a family will eat just about anything topped with flaky, buttery biscuits. While we would just call this “chicken and biscuits” in our homes, it is technically a cobbler, and just about the closest version you’ll find to perfect. The secret? Bacon in the biscuits. You read that right: Bacon. In. The. Biscuits.
Tuna noodle casserole gets all the retro-classic affection from nostalgia miners, but chicken noodle casserole is where it’s really at. This recipe is truly beautiful: nary a can of soup in sight, plenty of deep, soul-soothing flavor from bone-in chicken, and entirely from scratch in about an hour.
4 Ways to Roast a Perfect Chicken for Winter Dinners
Few meals have the crowd appeal of a whole roasted bird. We’ve rounded up our favorite takes on the classic roast here: spicy, herbaceous, schmaltzy and salty in turn, there’s an option for any mood.
Usually the “meat and fruit” roast is a pork and apple combo, but you’d be remiss to pass up this roasted chicken with winter stone fruits. Onions and plenty of aromatics play alongside pears and plums in this delightfully wintry take on a meal that might otherwise seem ho-hum.
Crispy-skinned chicken with roasted delicata? Yes and yes. Smoky, salty pancetta? You bet. In one pan? Absolutely. There are no missed notes here: This is the go-to roast chicken for using up your CSA or rescued produce box, while also highlighting the best parts of chicken without overwhelming the cook or the kitchen.
Winter spices usually find their homes in sweet sides and desserts. But here, citrus, cinnamon and ginger play center stage for a seasonal delight: A whole roasted chicken surrounded by tender sweet potatoes, all bathed in a warming spice blend that seems designed to remind you that you’re warm and cozy, even if the weather is not.
Five ingredients, one pan, one hour, an entire meal. You can’t beat it. Flavorful roast chicken with potatoes and veg to feed a houseful of hungry mouths, with no fuss and no mess. You’ll come back to this recipe again and again.
8 Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes for Busy Winter Weekends
The crock pot is a busy person’s comfort food hero. Plunk your ingredients in, shuffle off to work or tackle the week’s laundry, and voila: dinner is ready. These are among our favorite repeat recipes, all easy, filling, flavorful, and most are made with ingredients you have on hand anyway. Perfect winter fare.
You can’t miss with a good homestyle crock-pot dish, especially not one featuring hearty winter staples like mushrooms, onions and carrots. But even better? This recipe is low in fat and high in flavor.
Credit: Sweet Peas & Saffron
This looks just like any other chicken stew just until the moment you add crushed fennel seeds, a bit of balsamic vinegar, and take that first perfect bite. Chicken thighs stay flavorful without going dry. Standard winter veg like onions, potatoes and carrots are married with surprising flavors and slow cooked to tender perfection.
Credit: EatWell101Whether you’re counting carbs or not, eating keto or not, are an alfredo purist or not, there is a lot of love about this crock pot garlicky alfredo chicken recipe. Firstly, it is truly garlicky, which is always in the plus column for us. Secondly, it doesn’t suffer from the “cream cheese replaces all dairy” mistake many slow-cooker recipes make. Thirdly, it’s really, really ridiculously good. We like this over rice or zoodles, but it eats well as a saucy main course with a side salad, too.
Enchilada casserole is a classic recipe in most Southwest and Plains households. While those crazy northerners are spooning out their hot dish or Sunday gravies, kids along the southern border are sitting down to a hot plate of chicken, corn tortillas, red sauce, and cheese. Yellow rice is a standard side, but for a lighter option we like to omit the cheddar jack that’s stirred into the meat mixture and pair it with a raw jicama salad.
Credit: I Heart Eating
Slow-cooker chicken parm recipes are hit or miss. The misses are little more than jarred pasta sauce with soggy chicken. The real winners, though, like this one from I Heart Eating? Oh, they’re niiiice. Sauce from scratch with plenty of flavor but just a few ingredients and steps. Whole, real food. A crispy, crunchy, olive-oily topping means you won’t miss the pan-fried cutlets. And all that, piled high over hot pasta and topped with melty mozzarella cheese? Fuggedaboutit. Best of all, this meal goes a LONG way, so it’ll feed you all weekend.
Pale, drab chicken is not really our thing. But big flavors, easy prep-ahead dinners, and flexible serving options are our thing, and this recipe has all that—plus it seems very impressive to your noncook friends and family, who won’t believe you only spent about 20 minutes working on this crazy-delicious shawarma. Pile it over rice, stuff it into a pita with tomatoes and red onions, roll it into a wrap with tabbouleh and cucumbers, or eat it all by itself — we’re not going to tell.
One thing many winter days lack is a bit of brightness. These chicken thighs can fix that right up, because they’re smeared in a blend of herbs and lemon zest, seared, slow cooked, and then served with a lemony, savory gravy that’s made right in the same pan used to brown the skin. So it’s gray and gloomy out. So what? This can be made in the oven or the crock pot, so brightness is always on the menu.
Any chicken recipe roundup without a basic shredded chicken recipe is no roundup at all, we say. So here is our favorite: A tried, tested, approved, flexible, no-nonsense, all-purpose shredded chicken recipe for the crock pot that is easy, flavorful, not dry, and can be used in any recipe that calls for precooked or rotisserie chicken.
6 Super-Tasty Healthy Chicken Recipes to Try This Winter
Comfort food, winter meals, and meat-focused recipes often lean toward the high-calorie favorites we all crave when the days get short and cold. But any veggie-forward eater can tell you that the quickest route to feeling less gloomy is to be well-nourished and get an array of vitamins with as little processed, prepackaged food as possible. So here, in the “healthy” section, we want to show you that there is the same deep satisfaction in from-scratch, whole-food meals as you’ll find anywhere, especially in winter when that extra nutrition really can make the difference between feeling great and the winter blues.
Credit: Good to Know
Like any good chicken casserole, this one starts with thighs, herbs, lots of veggies and a good browning. But what we love about this one in particular is the inclusion of vitamin-dense legumes instead of rice or pasta, which can add a lot of carbs and calories at a much lower nutritional value. Butter beans are the magic-maker here, soaking up all that lovely broth and adding a bit of bulk to an otherwise straightforward chicken casserole.
Low-carb cauliflower rice replaces traditional grains in this lightened-up fried rice dish that’s perfect for a quick winter weeknight meal. We recommend using any veggies you have on hand, and going heavy on the aromatics to maximize on this go-to chicken recipe’s satiation and flexibility.
“Jambalaya” might as well mean “rib-sticking,” as far as we’re concerned. This spicy, smoky, super-satisfying winter staple gets an overhaul in the nutrition department with turkey sausage, brown rice, low-sodium broth and skinless chicken. But it’s no weakling in the flavor department; you get all the same comfort-food goodness with fewer calories, less saturated fat, and a better micronutrient profile.
A one-pan dinner that’s hearty, wholesome, and a cinch to make? We’re all over it. Chicken breasts get a hefty handful of chopped fresh herbs and garlic, and are surrounded by a skilletful of winter’s best bounty: turnips, beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips. (We like to add an onion, as well, and sometimes Brussels sprouts, too.) In under an hour you have a meal for four (or a weekend meal for two) that lacks nothing but unwanted calories.
Healthy meals are often miscast as bland, textureless, and boring. Not here, friends. Wild rice and tender chicken are given a full parade of accompaniments, including chewy dried fruit, crunchy slivered almonds, tons of winter veg and a sweet, herby seasoning that stands alone or pairs well with a little feta for a kick.
It would be fair to think of stew as an oversoft bowl of glop. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and we sincerely hope it never is. This recipe maximizes on chicken’s versatility by pairing it with all the best veg and a deeply satisfying stock to create a meal that’s filled to the brim with color, texture, vitamins and flavor.
6 Winter Weeknight Chicken Pressure Cooker Recipes
The unsung hero of quick home meals is finally getting its day in the sun (even if that sunshine is short-lived lately). Instant Pot and other modernized pressure cookers have brought back the old-school practice in a new-guard way, making quick, simple, and delicious dinners accessible to everyone in just minutes. We especially enjoy using the pressure cooker for weeknight dinners because it makes dinners that taste slow-simmered in about 30 minutes, without a ton of cleanup or fuss.
Gumbo is a cinch to make but it does usually take a long simmer to get just right. The pressure cooker swoops in with the save here to deliver flavorful and perfectly cooked homestyle comfort in about 10% of the time, which is exactly how much time we want to spend waiting for a bowl of hot gumbo on a snowy evening.
Creamy soups have a bad reputation. They’re often calorie-laden, hard to reheat (dairy splits so easily!) or overly rich. (Can we say “claggy”? We think so.) Not here. A potful of common ingredients gets a quick creaminess without added dairy or fat from a quick whir of the blender. All the creaminess, none of the complication. And, in the pressure cooker (or stovetop!) this hearty meal comes together before you finish scanning your Twitter feed.
Do you have 7 minutes? Of course you do. And now (provided you also have a pressure cooker), you can have tender chicken and mushrooms in a velvety Marsala wine sauce, too, because that’s how long this dish cooks. SEVEN. MINUTES. You’ll make it a dozen times before the last frost.
Remember when we said we can’t stand pale, flavorless chicken? This is one reason. Why (why why why?) eat bland, spongy chicken breasts when these sticky, sweet, spicy, garlicky chicken thighs exist? You can make them any night of the week in under 30 minutes, and they meal prep like a dream so you can have them for lunch all week long.
This cacciatore recipe is so good we almost put it in the healthy recipes category to show off the full scope of giant flavors available without tons of calories or carbs. But as this is specifically the pressure cooker version of this recipe, it’s here with the other Instant Pot rockstars to show you just how effective the method is for getting the absolute best out of your ingredients in the least amount of time. A few minutes of prep, 10 minutes of cooking, and a quick release later you’ve got 6 quarts of cacciatore to serve up over rice, pasta, spiralized veg or straight into a bowl. It freezes well, meal preps perfectly, and feeds an army.
Five ingredients for the chicken, plus rice and toppings if you want to serve as shown. We cannot overstate how good any bang bang protein is (try it on air fried tofu, seriously), but this chicken specifically is our favorite way to use the famous spicy sauce. Wrap it in tortillas, bowl it up on rice, toss it with noodles and stir fried veggies. Whatever you do with it, don’t skip it—this is probably our favorite shredded chicken of all time, and definitely the best one on this list.
5 One-Pan Wonder Chicken Recipes for Winter Dinner
It’s getting late, the kids are tired, your house is a mess and you are hangry. It’s time for a one-pot dinner—a complete meal in one pan in about an hour. Here are our favorites featuring chicken, complete with veg and grain or starch. At most, you’ll need a quick salad alongside, but no one will miss one if you skip it.
Greek chicken dishes are so flavorful and simple: lemon, olive oil, dill, feta, and olives make chicken the star but hold their own with sprouts and orzo. This is also a great freezer-prep meal: the chicken marinates in the freezer, can be thawed in a couple of hours and cooks up just as quickly as any same-day dinner would. For easy variations, replace the Brussels sprouts with broccoli, asparagus, or kale.
With six ingredients and 25 minutes, you can have a complete, nutritious and flavorful curry on the table. Pop a few store-bought pitas or naan under the broiler for a minute and serve alongside for a hearty, warming winter meal in no time flat. And don’t fret—any vegetables work here, so if you’re out of frozen, you can sub in anything in the vegetable bin or a drained and rinsed can of peas and carrots.
Who doesn’t love a quick and easy (and delicious) dish for weeknight dinners? This convenient one-pot meal calls for minimal ingredients, but it doesn’t skip out on flavor. If you’re a fan of Spanish spice and rice with chicken, give this recipe a shot. The lemon really brings out the flavors in this dish as well.
Nothing warms the body and soul during the winter months like a good chicken soup. You definitely don’t need to opt for the classic chicken noodle if you’re looking for something more adventurous. This recipe only takes thirty minutes to make, and the result is a hearty and healthy chicken-based soup with Mediterranean vegetables.
The classic chicken stew is a great go-to if you want to make something hearty and simple. However, it can be difficult to really nail it. This excellent recipe from Cooking Classy is a BYB favorite because it implements a variety of fresh and dried herbs, including thyme, rosemary, and parsley, along with an armload of seasonal veg and a rich stock.
4 Flavorful Takes on Chicken and Rice for Winter
Who doesn’t love chicken and rice? This simple dish is delicious all year round, but there’s something really satisfying about having it in the cold winter months. The beauty of this dish is that you can go as simple or as intense as you’d like. If you’re not exactly a fan of bland chicken thighs and plain rice, check out these four incredible takes on chicken and rice for wintertime meals.
Need a little bit of kick in your chicken and rice? Arroz con Pollo is a classic Puerto Rican dish. It takes the basic formula of chicken and rice and pumps it up with adobo and a wide variety of spices and delicious vegetables. We recommend incorporating the optional green olives from the recipe to add even more flavor to this already delicious dish.
Alright, bear with us here. We all know regular “real” rice. We all know cauliflower rice. But butternut squash rice is on an entirely different level. If you’re cutting down your carb consumption but are sick of the taste of cauliflower, give this flavorful Thai-inspired recipe a shot. The ginger and red curry paste give this dish just a hint of spice, but tons of flavor.
This recipe takes traditional (often bland) chicken and rice and adds a homestyle, flavorful vibe to it. The added vegetables add some variety to the dish’s texture, and the fresh and ground herbs really bring out the brightness in this dish. We recommend making this if you’ve got a lot of people to feed at one time.
Looking for a chicken and rice dish that has a little bit more creaminess to it? This one-pan recipe is definitely worth trying if you want a slightly Italian spin on this classic dish. This recipe marries chicken and rice with heavy cream, parmesan, and butter. The flavor is simple, but the depth and hardiness of this recipe really makes for a meal that sticks to your ribs.
9 Chicken Soup & Stew Recipes Perfect for Cold Weather
Chicken soup and stew is the pinnacle of comfort food. Whether you’re a little bit under the weather or the weather itself is bitter and cold, chicken stews and soups are a great treat to have. Warm, savory, nourishing, and delicious– who could ask for a better food, really? These chicken soup and stew recipes will knock your socks off. Plus, must of them are pretty easy to put together for a quick dinner.
The classic has arrived! Homestyle chicken noodle soup is one of the most beloved and well-known soups out there, and for food reason. Warm, savory broths paired with egg noodles and juicy chicken make for an excellent and satisfying meal. This homestyle recipe is the perfect dish to whip up for a cozy afternoon. Plus, this is crazy easy to make ahead or in bulk and then freeze.
Chipotle and chicken go hand-in-hand, and they come together at their best in this hearty stew. Clearly inspired by Mexican pozole, a hearty and flavorful soup, this recipe adds in a few wild cards. Sweet potato adds an element of sweetness to the dish, while quinoa gives it a little bit more substance. You won’t be lacking flavor, though. We recommend adding avocado and coriander sprigs.
Speaking of pozole, we couldn’t NOT include pozole on a list of delicious chicken stew recipes. This recipe demonstrates how to make the verde version of the soup, and you can make the entire thing in a slow cooker. This comforting soup has a rich broth and different textures that make for the perfect soup. We recommend topping it off with cabbage and radish for a full, delicious experience.
Japanese and French cuisine come together to make this tasty soup. Based on the classic beef stew that is celebrated across France, this recipe adds a uniquely Japanese element—white miso paste. The result is an extremely rich broth accompanied by whole vegetables and juicy meat cutlets typically found in the classic Pot-au-Feu.
Chicken noodle soup gets all the love, but we can’t forget about another American classic that does the body good. This chicken and rice soup recipe is a special one that incorporates classic veggies and simple seasonings. Plus, the chicken is shredded—not cubed—so you get a much richer flavor and a soup that’s easier to digest. A perfect soup for when you’re feeling under the weather.
Peruvian chicken soup is a rich, brothy soup that has just a little kick of spice from the aji amarillo paste used. This soup combines shredded chicken, cubed gold potatoes, rice, and a sea of spices and herbs to make a deliciously rich soup that’s perfect for virtually any occasion. We recommend packing on the green onion and fresh lime juice as a topper for this soup.
Curry is one of the coziest flavors out there. This curry chicken soup manages to capture the delicious essence of curry and incorporate it into a light soup. With a coconut milk base, you get a little sweetness behind all the bold savory flavors from the chicken, onions, and garlic. You have the option to use half and half, but this recipe really shines with the full-fat coconut milk.
Lemon and chicken go very well together. They go REALLY well together in this light and brothy soup. This recipe really packs in the vegetables, which makes this dish a great healthy option that tates amazing. If you follow the base recipe, you can get creative with the vegetables you add to make it suit your unique palette as well.
Who doesn’t love a good chicken and wild rice soup? Why not add a little creaminess to the mix? This recipe is extremely rich and satisfying, especially because of the mix of milk and fresh vegetables. The beauty of this dish is that you can get creative with your cream base. Plant-based milks go great with this recipe.
Chicken is so easy to integrate in a variety of different recipes—for the winter, of course, but you can make all these yummy recipes even during the summer, spring or fall if you have the ingredients or are comfortable making substitutions. No matter when you have these nutritious, flavorful chicken meals, you’ll feel all the heartwarming goodness of comfort food… even if it’s the middle of summer.
Have you tried any of these recipes? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!