20 Ways to Make Chicken a Fast and Fancy Dinner

updated Apr 26, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

There are basic chicken recipes we all keep in our meal plan rotation — and then there are the chicken recipes that make you feel like a dinner genius. These 20 recipes are the latter.

They come together with minimal effort, yet deliver sophisticated flavor and sometimes an unexpected ingredient that makes your midweek meal feel pretty fancy (think: figs and balsamic glazed chicken, Arnold Palmer chicken thighs, or a vibrant coconut curry soup).

Fast and Fancy Chicken Dinners

1 / 20
Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken
This creamy Parmesan garlic mushroom chicken skillet is inspired by cream of mushroom soup, and comes together in 30 minutes.
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2 / 20
Easy Apricot-Glazed Chicken
An easy, one-skillet dinner recipe for crispy chicken thighs dressed in a sweet and spicy apricot glaze.
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3 / 20
Drunken Chicken and Mushrooms
A one-pan recipe for chicken breasts sautéed with mushrooms in an aromatic white wine sauce.
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4 / 20
Braised French Onion Chicken with Gruyère
Caramelized onions braise with chicken and broth, all topped with a thick layer of melty Gruyère cheese.
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5 / 20
Chicken Saltimbocca with Spinach and Potatoes

Plain ol’ chicken cutlets get all dressed up in this one-skillet meal. The prosciutto helps keep the cutlets moist while adding plenty of salty, rich flavor.

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6 / 20
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Yes, chicken tikka masala can have a place in your meal plan. With the help of your Instant Pot, this flavorful chicken dinner can hit the table in about 30 minutes.

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7 / 20
Pan-Seared Crispy Chicken Thighs with Blistered Tomatoes and Basil

When you want a simple, fresh, and totally delicious dinner, this recipe hits all the high points. With just five ingredients and about 30 minutes, you can be feasting on crispy-skinned, tender chicken piled high with warm, blistered tomatoes and fresh basil.

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8 / 20
Baked Chicken with Artichokes, Cinnamon, and Preserved Lemons

Inspired by a classic Middle Eastern tagine, this easy weeknight supper leans on preserved lemons and a few warm spices for an ultra-fragrant boost.

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9 / 20
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Lemon

Licorice-scented fennel and the bright pop of lemon join forces to make this fuss-free sheet pan supper taste extra special.

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10 / 20
Arnold Palmer Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs

Inspired by the classic summertime drink, these chicken thighs are brined with, you guessed it, tea and lemon juice! It cooks up into a skillet dinner with irresistibly crispy skin and subtle smoky lemon undertones.

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11 / 20
Balsamic and Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs and Figs

If your heart skips a beat for recipes that are big on glazes, this is the weeknight dinner for you. Sweet figs, tangy balsamic vinegar, and spicy mustard come together to give chicken thighs the upgrade you didn’t know they needed.

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12 / 20
Orange Chicken and Kale Stir-Fry

This is how to give your regular mid-week chicken stir-fry a well-deserved refresh. Tender chicken thighs are paired with shredded Lacinato kale, orange segments, and a sweet and spicy sauce for a stir-fry that’s simple yet feels more special than the standard go-to.

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13 / 20
Tuscan Chicken Skillet
Caramelized mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, tender white beans, juicy chicken: there's nothing but good flavor happening here. And all in one skillet!
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14 / 20
Dubliner Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Consider this recipe the most wonderful reason to buy those bone-in chicken breasts. Even more than the crispy skin, you’ll love the layer of melted sharp cheddar cheese and sweet tomato nestled underneath.

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15 / 20
Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
Take your chicken noodle soup routine on a trip to Thailand with lime juice, red curry paste, and the creamy richness of coconut milk.
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16 / 20
Caprese Chicken and Zucchini Packets

You can switch up the flavor profile of this packet by swapping the pesto for salsa and grating pepper Jack or cheddar to replace the mozzarella, but don’t skip the olive oil, and make sure the packet is tightly sealed to ensure success.

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17 / 20
French Bread Pesto Chicken Pizza

A crusty baguette, a swipe of pesto, and tender chicken gives pizza night a fun, fancy upgrade.

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18 / 20
Weeknight Coq au Vin

This classic French stew is usually a weekend affair, but this variation comes together without fuss, thanks to chicken thighs, a handful of dried mushrooms, and plenty of red wine.

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19 / 20
Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs
A quick and easy recipe for crispy, skillet-cooked chicken thighs seasoned simply with fresh lemon and thyme.
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20 / 20
Parmesan Chicken and Kale Sauté
A quick and easy one-skillet dinner that fits the bill on weeknights and at dinner parties alike.
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