The average American consumes about 92 pounds of chicken every year. That’s a lot of chicken! It makes a fabulous dinner, though. Low in fat, high in protein and consistently affordable, chicken is an ideal choice for families — but 92 pounds of chicken can get boring pretty fast. To help you out, we’ve turned up 10 of the tastiest quick and easy chicken dinners around to help you mix it up on your menu.
Garlic herb chicken and zucchini
One pan and a pound of chicken are all you need for this garlic herb chicken and zucchini dish from Rasa Malaysia. Plus, this dish includes its own side dish. It’s a win-win.
You’ll need bone-in chicken thighs. Rasa Malaysia has a super-quick video demonstrating how to debone the thigh; it’s actually quite simple. And chicken thighs are a delicious choice because the skin crisps up in the skillet.
Season the chicken with the minced herbs and garlic, and then brown it for four or five minutes per side. Remove the chicken and throw in the zucchini. The zucchini will absorb all those chicken juices, and a dash of white wine deglazes the pan. Return the chicken to the pan to let the flavors mix and mingle, and you have a quick chicken dinner with tons of fresh flavor.
Orange chicken and broccoli rice bowls
Jessica Gavin’s done it again with these orange chicken broccoli rice bowls. On nights when grabbing the takeout menu is tempting, grab this recipe instead. Yes, it’s more work, but it’s healthier and cheaper. Orange chicken from a restaurant usually packs about 400 calories and costs between $7 and $12 per serving. Save the money and calories, and make it yourself.
Here, chicken breasts are marinated in a spicy orange sauce, imparting plenty of flavor. The chicken is baked, then served over riced broccoli.
This recipe is a great option for freezer cooking. Just freeze the marinade and chicken in a freezer bag, and put the minced broccoli in another. By freezing this ahead of time, you’ll have a dinner option at the ready when the takeout menu beckons.
Roasted honey-mustard BBQ chicken thighs
These roasted honey mustard BBQ chicken thighs from Divas Can Cook are smothered and baked in a honey-mustard sauce — but not just any honey mustard sauce; this one’s souped up with barbecue sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and, of course, honey and mustard. This is another dish that can be made into a freezer meal. Simply combine the sauce with the chicken thighs, label the bag, and freeze. Stick it in the fridge to defrost in the morning and cook it when you get home. Dinner is done!
Baked pecan-crusted chicken fingers
This recipe for baked pecan-crusted chicken fingers from Sally’s Baking Addiction combines the irresistible crunch of pecans with chicken breasts to create a delicious dinner. Sally uses finely ground pecans in the flour mixture to intensify the crunch.
The chicken tenders are then dredged through an egg mixture and coated in coarsely-ground pecans. The tenders are then baked at 400F for 10 minutes on each side. This is a complete departure — and a more flavorful one — from the usual boring chicken strips. They make a good dinner on their own or sliced up in a salad. If you’re looking for a variation on chicken strips, give these a try.
Feel like pizza but have only chicken on hand? Try out this pepperoni stuffed chicken recipe from Budget Bytes.
First, carefully cut a pocket into a chicken breast (be careful not to cut all the way through). Next, stuff mozzarella cheese and pepperoni into the pocket. Dip the breast in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, then fry it for two to three minutes. After that, finish it up in the oven. Heat up some premade marinara sauce to serve as a dip if you like. Pizza night has a new variation with this easy, affordable chicken dish!
Loaded chicken quesadillas
This next one has it all: chicken, veggies and cheese. This recipe for loaded chicken quesadillas from Lemon Tree Dwelling is the one to turn to when you don’t know what to make for dinner. With a little bit of imagination, you can create a delicious meal in no time.
Load up a tortilla with leftover chicken, cheese, and sliced peppers and onions. Fold the tortilla over and cook in a skillet for a few minutes per side. (Quesadillas always taste better with just a little bit of crunch, so let them brown a bit.) Top with some salsa, sliced tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. Not feeling like Mexican tonight? Add some Buffalo wing sauce to the cooked chicken and swap out the garnishes for some blue cheese or ranch and celery.
Ginger soy chicken
The umami taste of Chinese chicken dinners always leaves diners satisfied, and this ginger soy chicken dinner from Domestic Superhero is no exception. Even better, it’s a one-pan meal and cooks in about 20 minutes total.
Chicken thighs are coated in soy sauce, ginger and apricot preserves, cooked for about 10 minutes, and then allowed to simmer as the sauce thickens. Serve with some rice or quinoa and green beans for an authentic Chinese dish. Keep this option around for those busy weeknights.
Baked chicken tacos
Most people who don’t care for chicken usually complain about the texture. If that’s the case for you or someone at your table, give ground chicken a try. Found near the ground beef at the store, ground chicken is a healthier alternative to beef, and when seasoned right, is just as tasty.
In this baked ground chicken taco recipe from Together As a Family, ground chicken is cooked up and spiced with taco seasoning. It goes into the taco shells with the cheese, and the whole thing gets baked for six to eight minutes. The tacos come out complete and ready to eat. If you want the taco but don’t have the ground chicken meat, use a mincer tool on cooked chicken. This won’t be exactly the same, but it will be similar. In any case, taco Tuesday just got a little bit healthier — and we promise: You won’t miss the beef.
Quick teriyaki chicken and rice bowls
As mentioned above, Chinese food makes the best chicken dinners. In this quick teriyaki chicken rice bowl from Crunchy Creamy Sweet, a sweet, garlicky sauce dresses up chicken breasts for a satisfying and savory meal.
To make this dinner quickly, cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces to speed up the cooking. Once the chicken’s cooked, pour in the garlic teriyaki sauce so it coats the chicken pieces. When the sauce is thick and the chicken is finished, serve with broccoli and jasmine rice. When you’re tempted to order Chinese takeout, save yourself some time, calories and money, and make this chicken dish instead.
Creamy Parmesan-crusted chicken
Cheesy, crunchy chicken is here in this crispy Parmesan crusted chicken from Fifteen Spatulas. Chicken cutlets are breaded in cheese, egg and panko breadcrumbs for a delicious meal. (You know it’s going to be good when the first layer is all cheese.)
For this recipe, use Parmesan cheese that you’ve zested; this makes it stick better to the raw chicken breast. Next, dip the breast into a beaten egg, then dredge it through breadcrumbs, and fry it in olive oil until it’s golden brown. Want to make the cooking go even faster? Flatten or butterfly the breasts before cooking.
You can flavor this chicken dish in so many ways. Consider adding fresh or dried herbs to the egg for deeper flavor. Use the leftovers to top a salad. It’s yet another way to crank up the weeknight chicken dinner.