Chicken Etouffee – This recipe is ridiculously flavorful, super easy to make, and comes together in about 30 minutes. The Creole spices and thick tomatoey sauce are out of this world. That’s what I call ticking all the boxes! ✅
Get ready to learn a classic Southern cooking technique with this recipe. If you’ve heard of a fricassee, then you know how to make an etouffee except, instead of a white sauce, we’re making a vibrant and spicy tomato-based sauce. 🤤 With this etouffee, your chicken cooks in the sauce for less time than it would in a stew and more time than if you were just sauteing.
I love this recipe because once you know how to make a good chicken etouffee, other types of etouffee are a breeze. Off-the-charts flavor combined with quick prep and cook time, plus a surprisingly simple ingredient list, make this meal a weeknight dinner dream perfect for my weekly dinner menu. 🤩
What Is It?
What Exactly is Chicken Etouffee?
Chicken etouffee is juicy chicken thighs smothered in a thick, spicy sauce with tomatoes, onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. In fact, that’s how the French word etouffee translates – to smother. If you compared chicken etouffee with chicken gumbo, gumbo would be more stew-like with a thinner sauce or broth. Chicken etouffee has a thicker sauce and less of it, which makes it the ideal partner for a bed of steaming hot, white rice.
- Chicken Thighs – A flavorful chicken cut that adds richness to an already delightfully flavorful dish. Plus, chicken thighs are super economical! You can always substitute other cuts of chicken for this recipe if you prefer, of course. Chicken breast works just as well; just cook it less time.
- Roux – Oil, butter, and flour make a roux that adds flavor to your sauce while giving it that perfectly thick etouffee consistency.
- Vegetables – Of course, the holy trinity appears in this classically Creole dish – green bell pepper, onion, and celery. But tomatoes are here for the sauce, too, balancing out the intense herbs and spices. Speaking of which…
- Herbs and Spices – Garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and a good dose of Creole seasoning are some of the leading players in this recipe, and I’m here for them! 🙌
- Broth – Keeping the sauce, well, saucy is a chicken stock base. Did I mention that Worcestershire and hot sauce contribute to the broth’s flavor? So. Good. 🤤
How to Make Chicken Etouffee
Prepare the Chicken
- Cut the Chicken into bite-sized chunks. Season with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. (Photos 1-4)
- Saute the Chicken – Heat a Dutch oven with about two tablespoons of oil, and then add chicken. Let it rest for about 30 seconds before stirring. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Make the Roux
- Heat the Butter – Add butter to the Dutch oven with oil and flour. Whisk until smooth. (Photo 5)
- Cook – Reduce heat and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for 6-7-minutes until you have achieved the desired color. The color should be pale. Don’t walk away from the stove during this process because it might burn. (Photo 6)
Complete the Etouffee
- Saute the Veggies and Seasoning – Add the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for 8- 10 minutes, stirring frequently. (Photos 7-8)
- Add Tomatoes – Next, throw in the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning, and let it cook for 5 minutes. (Photo 9)
- Add the Chicken – Gradually pour in about 2 cups of stock, bring to a boil and let it simmer. Add the chicken, and simmer for 7-10 more minutes. (Photos 10-11)
- Adjust the etouffee’s thickness with more broth or water, then adjust the seasonings to taste.
- The Final Touch – Stir in green onions and chopped parsley. Serve over hot cooked rice.
- You can quickly turn chicken etouffee into a vegetarian dish. Substitute the chicken with mushrooms, tempeh, tofu, or eggplant and use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
- Make this chicken etouffee gluten-free by substituting flour with arrowroot powder. Instead of making a roux, just make an arrowroot powder slurry and add it to your sauce to thicken.
- Want to make chicken etouffee in your instant pot? Go ahead! Simply follow the recipe instructions, saute the ingredients right in the pot, and set to sauté. Once you add the liquids, close the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Manually release the steam, and your etouffee is ready to serve.
Tips and Tricks
- The roux in this recipe can make or break your sauce. Roux burns easily and can ruin that lovely etouffee flavor you are working so hard to achieve. So keep it on medium heat, don’t walk away while making it, and don’t stop stirring. 😅
- Some people like a brown roux for the etouffee sauce, but I think a blonde roux works best for this recipe. It takes less time to achieve, and it’s harder to burn the roux when you’re aiming for a golden color. Plus, a blonde roux gives the etouffee a slightly nutty taste that is just beautiful.
- To ensure the chicken cooks evenly and is nice and moist, try to cut it into chunks all about the same size.
This dish is perfect for making ahead since the flavors get deeper and richer by the second day. So you can make it the day before and then let it cool and store it in the fridge. Simply make your rice and heat the etouffee up on the stovetop when you are ready to serve it.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Serve etouffee hot off the stove on a bed of rice. Garnish it with chopped green onions if you like to add a little extra burst of color and flavor.
Store etouffee leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay good for 3-5 days.
I prefer reheating this dish on the stovetop, but you could also reheat it in the microwave. But add a splash of water to your rice when reheating so it doesn’t dry out in the microwave or stick to the bottom of your pan.
An authentic Cajun etouffee is sans tomatoes, but Creole recipes incorporate them. I like a good tomato-based sauce, so I’ve included them in this recipe.
Good question. In English, you’d pronounce this French word like so: ey-too-fey. Learn to say it correctly, and you’ll sound like a genuine New Orleans cook. 😜
What Goes With Chicken Etouffee
Other Awesome Creole Recipes
Such a flavorful, easy recipe is so worth trying out! Have you ever made etouffee before? Give it a whirl, and please don’t forget to rate the recipe once you’ve made it. ❤️
Watch How to Make It
- 2 pounds (907g) chicken thighs, boneless and cuts in chunks
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) canola oil
- 3 tablespoons (22g) flour
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter
- ½ cup (60g) green bell pepper, diced
- ½ onion, diced
- ⅓ cup (35g) celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons (5.5g) garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon (2g) thyme, fresh or dried
- 1 14-ounce can tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon (28g) Creole seasoning
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 cups (709-946ml) chicken stock
- 2-3 tablespoons (4g) parsley chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) hot sauce, optional
- Heat a Dutch oven with about two tablespoons of oil, and then add chicken. Let it rest for about 30 seconds before stirring. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
- Add butter to the Dutch oven together with the oil and flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Reduce heat and cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, for 6-7-minutes until you have achieved the desired color. The color should be pale. Don't walk away from the stove during this process because it might burn.
- Add the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for 8-10 minutes–stirring frequently.
- Next, throw in the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning, and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
- Gradually pour in about 2 cups of stock, bring to a boil and let it simmer. Add the chicken, and simmer for 7-10 more minutes.
- Adjust the soup's thickness and flavor with more broth or water and seasonings to taste.
- Stir in the green onions and chopped parsley. Serve over hot cooked rice.