50 Cheap and Easy Chicken Recipes

View from Top, Baked Chicken Thighs in a White Ceramic Pot


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View from Top, Baked Chicken Thighs in a White Ceramic Pot

Forget Boring Chicken

Love chicken but tired of the same old recipes? In honor of National Chicken Month — yes, it's a thing — we've gathered some of the cheapest, most convenient, and tastiest chicken recipes that can be made with a slow cooker, in the oven, or on the stove. There’s enough variety in these 50 dishes to incorporate chicken into the weekly menu and still keep the family from groaning, "Chicken again?"  

Related: Best Fried Chicken in Every State

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole in a White Porcelain Bowl on a Natural Napkin

Chicken Enchilada Stack

Smothering hearty chicken in chili sauce and cheese and wrapping it in tortillas is a Tex-Mex staple. By layering the ingredients rather than wrapping them, you can complete the entire process in a slow cooker.

Recipe: Self Proclaimed Foodie

Related: Delicious Dump-and-Bake Casseroles

Chicken Caesar Salad on a White Plate with a Fork on a Wooden Table
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Chicken Caesar Salad

A low-carb recipe for this classic dish is full of flavor, thanks to a rich Caesar dressing, and full of protein from lean chicken breasts. Rotisserie chicken is a convenient option, although using a home-cooked chicken is cheaper.

Recipe: Cooking Light 

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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in a Bun on a Rustic Wooden Table
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Pulled Barbecue Chicken

This barbecue chicken dish is an inexpensive way to deliver satisfying party food for a crowd. A slow cooker does all the work — just add the ingredients, press a button, and wait. While this recipe calls for breasts, thighs work just as well, cost less, and add more flavor.

Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen 

Closeup of Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry in a Wok

Thai Chicken Curry

A simple slow cooker recipe for curry makes enough to feed a large family for the same cost as one portion from a Thai restaurant. The instructions call for adding kale midway through the cooking, but leaving it out is fine, too.

Recipe: The Endless Meal

Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes on a Black Ceramic Plate with Fork and Knife

Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes

Cooks can use bone-in or boneless chicken for this crowd-pleasing recipe, but it’s important that the pieces still have their skin. The additional step of searing the chicken, skin side down, in a stovetop pan before cooking develops a deeper flavor.

Recipe: Damn Delicious

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala in a White Bowl on a Sari Tablecloth

Chicken Tikka Masala

The base of the sauce in this Indian restaurant favorite is made from household staples such as tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, garlic, and onion. The only specialty ingredient is garam masala, which is easily found at most grocery stores. A slow cooker is used to make this inexpensive classic.

Recipe: Real Simple 

Closeup of Chicken Cobb Salad on a White Plate on a Cloth Napkin
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Chicken Cobb Salad

While a traditional Cobb salad depends on expensive ingredients such as avocado and bacon, emphasizing larger portions of cheaper ingredients such as chicken, eggs, and greens should offset the price. For the bite-size chicken pieces, it's possible to use leftovers.

Recipe: Cooking Light 

Closeup of Spicy Hot Chicken Legs in a Rectangle White Bowl

Spicy Chicken Legs

The butter and hot sauce used to season these spicy chicken legs is the same base used for a traditional hot wing sauce. Because the chicken is braised, the texture is tender rather than crisp, although finishing the legs in an oven or under the broiler helps crisp up the skin.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Two Mango-Chicken Tinga Tacos on White Serving Papers on a Seafoam Wooden Table

Mango Chicken Tinga

Try mango chicken tinga over rice, or as a filling for tacos or burritos. Use bone-in chicken for extra flavor and remove the bones before serving. In addition to making a richer sauce, bone-in cuts are less expensive than boneless chicken.

Recipe: Midwest Living

Closeup of Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken on a White Porcelain Rectangle Plate
ARENA Creative/shutterstock

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Adjust the heat level of a sweet-hot recipe by using a spicier or milder chili sauce. Serve over rice, toss with noodles, or create a fusion-style sandwich with pickled vegetables.

Recipe: Slender Kitchen 

Closeup of Slow-Cooker Chicken-Tortilla Soup in a Earthenware Terracotta Bowl with a Spoon and Napkin

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Making this hearty and comforting Southwestern staple is an easy, three-step process, and makes use of inexpensive bone-in chicken thighs. Feel free to get creative with the toppings or offer a toppings bar so everyone can customize their own.

Recipe: Country Living

Closeup of Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup in a White Porcelain Bowl on a Matching White Plate, with a Side of Soda Crackers

Chicken Noodle Soup

This comforting classic requires only a few steps. The simplicity of the recipe brings homemade chicken soup within reach for every level of cook. This is a good option when you need a healing meal but don’t have much energy to prepare one.

Recipe: Food.com

Crockpot Whole Chicken on a Cutting Board with a Cutting Knife
Liv friis-larsen/shutterstock

Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

The prep for slow-cooking a whole chicken is exactly the same as roasting. After the bird is washed, seasoned, and trussed, it cooks atop a bed of veggies. Finishing it in the broiler crisps the skin.

Recipe: The Little Kitchen

African-Style Braised Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Crock Pot) in a White Bowl on a Napkin
Blue Pig/shutterstock

African-Style Braised Chicken in Peanut Sauce

African flavors become easier by letting the slow cooker mimic the hourslong slow simmer that this dish would otherwise require. The combination of warm spices and curry powder with creamy peanut butter and chicken is worth the wait.

Recipe: Food.com

Whole Roast Chicken with Vegetables in a Blue Ceramic Cooking Pot
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Whole Roast Chicken

Basic ingredients such as salt, herbs, garlic, and butter make a supremely juicy bird with instructions adapted from a Thomas Keller cookbook. The key is starting with a room-temperature bird, so don't forget to take it out of the fridge in advance.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Closeup of Many Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Drumsticks
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken has a reputation for being difficult to make, likely because of all the spices needed for an authentic-tasting dish. But it uses aromatics as common as garlic, allspice, ginger, scallions, thyme, cardamom, and habanero chilis. A slow cooker make it easier.

Recipe: Bakers Royale

Herb-and-Lemon-Roasted Chicken on a Cutting Board with a Serving Knife and Forks and Plates
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Herb and Lemon Roasted Chicken

This versatile and basic recipe combines fragrant herbs and tart lemons to infuse the bird with subtle flavor. Combine this with any side dish and a bottle of wine for an elegant meal.

Recipe: Food & Wine

Pan-Roasted Chicken Paillard with Potato Salad and Tomatoes on a Blue Plate

Chicken Paillard

This crispy chicken breast dish is made from boneless, skin-on pieces, which usually involves de-boning at home. Crisping the flour-dusted skin is key to achieving the dish’s characteristic texture and is worth the extra step.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Broccoli Pesto Chicken & Rice in a Yellow Rectangle Ceramic Cooking Pot with a Wooden Serving Spoon on Top

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and rice can be made in virtually infinite ways, but this dish distinguishes itself with basil, broccoli, and shredded Parmesan. The broccoli pesto adds an unexpected dimension of flavor and nutrition. 

Recipe: Delish 

Closeup of Chicken Parmigiana on a White Plate
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Chicken Parmigiana

Try this as a stand-alone entree, a sandwich filling, or even a pizza topping. The most laborious step in a recipe by chef Bobby Flay is pan-frying the chicken before layering it with cheese and marinara, but it’s worth the effort.

Recipe: Food Network

Closeup of Skillet-Fried Chicken on a White Plate

Fried Chicken

There are countless fried chicken recipes, from Nashville hot to extra-crunchy Korean-style. While it may not be a staple, getting comfortable with a good fried chicken recipe is handy for special occasions.

Recipe: Bon Appétit 

Top View of Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with Celery Sticks and White Dipping Sauce on a White Plate

Baked Chicken Wings

Baking wings on high heat in the oven yields a naturally crisp exterior, thanks to the high fat content of the chicken skin. Once cooked through and crisped, the wings can be tossed in a variety of different sauces, including traditional Buffalo.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Closeup of One Shredded Chicken Taco (Tinga de Pollo)
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken with a Side of Potatoes on a Dark Blue Plate with a Fork and Knife on Yellow Napkins
Tatiana Vorona/shutterstock

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

The sweet and hot flavor of honey mustard is the highlight of this easy dish. Try searing the chicken thighs in a pan for extra crispness, although they will still be tasty if this step is skipped.

Recipe: Damn Delicious

Closeup of Mediterranean Chicken Skillet

Mediterranean Skillet Chicken

Mediterranean flavors such as olives, fresh veggies, and herbs are trendy, healthy, and inexpensive. Combined with chicken on the stovetop, these ingredients become a quick and easy low-carb meal when combined.

Recipe: 12 Tomatoes

Baked Chicken Fingers on a White Plate with BBQ Dipping Sauce in a White Cup
Mateusz Gzik/shutterstock
Closeup of a Chicken Burger on a Whole Wheat Bun with a Diced Tomato Topping on a White Plate

Chicken Burgers

Chicken is often less expensive than beef and lower in fat content, making it a sensible choice for burgers. Customize it with different spices and flavors.

Recipe: Food Network

Closeup of Baked Chicken Breasts on Parched Paper
Oksana Shufrych/shutterstock

Baked Chicken Breasts

So many recipes call for cooked chicken breast that it’s important to know how to make white meat stay juicy and tasty every time. This recipe uses a brining technique for extra flavor, along with a few other basic tips.

Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Easy Kung Pao Chicken on a Square Black Plate on a Natural Napkin with Dipping Sauce in a Matching Small Bowl
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken can be so easy to make and customize to a family’s preferences that picking up takeout might lose its allure. Most of the complexity comes in picking up ingredients ahead of time; once you're stocked, you should be able to eat with 15 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking.

Recipe: The Stay at Home Chef 

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry on a White Plate

Chicken and Broccoli

This one-skillet recipe is so quick and easy it can be made in less time than it would take to get it delivered from the closest Chinese restaurant. The combination of chicken and broccoli is kicked up a notch with a tangy sauce.

Recipe: Dinner at the Zoo

Related: 40 Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

Four Pieces of Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella on a White Plate with Two Pieces of Lime

Chicken Rollatini

Chicken rollatini is chicken cutlet stuffed with anything from spinach to prosciutto and rolled into a tidy package. This recipe combines zucchini and mozzarella for a vegetable-forward dish.

Recipe: Skinny Taste

Five Easy Sesame Chicken Egg Rolls on a Cutting Board with Egg Rolls Surrounding
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Chicken Eggrolls

Packing eggrolls with the lean protein from chicken makes them a filling addition to any meal or a tasty appetizer. This recipe uses aromatics such as garlic and sesame oil for extra flavor.

Recipe: Just a Taste

Buffalo Chicken Dip in a Beige Ceramic Bowl with Round Bread Pieces on a Navy and White Napkin

Buffalo Chicken Dip

The buttery and spicy flavors of Buffalo chicken have been turned into countless dishes, from classic wings to pizza and pasta bakes. This dip (which includes chicken breast) works with everything from celery and carrots to toast and tortilla chips.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Classic Chicken Soup in a Brown Bowl with 'SOUP' Etched in the Side on a Brown Napkin

Chicken Soup

Good for the soul and the body, classic chicken soup is a delicious and comforting meal. This easy-to-follow recipe starts with a whole chicken, which is the cheapest way to make this soup.

Recipe: Real Simple

Cracking Chicken Burrito with Tortilla Chips and a Slice of Lime on a Dark Blue Plate

Chicken Burrito

Made from inexpensive chicken thighs, this chicken burrito recipe makes a filling and surprisingly healthy meal. This protein-packed burrito also gives home chefs another way to use leftover rice.

Recipe: Jamie Oliver

Four Slices of Easy Chicken Quesadillas Stacked on a Wooden Cutting Board

Chicken Quesadilla

This simple dish is a fast way to get a family-pleasing dinner on the table. This bare-bones recipe leaves room for creative additions that can include almost anything in the fridge, from bacon to roasted veggies.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Rice and Sides in a Stainless Steel Thali on a Large Natural Napkin

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken shawarma can be found at inexpensive street food carts, but making it at home is convenient and even lower in cost. Although shawarma is usually made on a rotisserie, baking creates a juicy and tender version.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Closeup of Better Than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice with a Pair of Black Chopsticks Holding a Piece of Chicken
Warren Price Photography/shutterstock

Chicken Fried Rice

Using leftover rice and vegetables to make a batch of fried rice is a clever way to create a dish out of on-hand ingredients, and adding chicken makes it a complete meal. This recipe calls for frozen veggies, another cheap way to add fiber and nutrients.

Recipe: The Recipe Critic 

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry in a Black Ceramic Bowl with a Wooden Spoon in It with Four Orange Halves and Another Wooden Spoon on the Wide
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

This riff on a Chinese takeout favorite is made from common ingredients such as orange juice, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Because the chicken is sautéed rather than fried, this recipe is healthier than its restaurant counterpart.

Recipe: Bon Appétit

Closeup of Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake on a Yellow Rectangle Ceramic Cooking Pot
Elena Shashkina/shutterstock

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake

This rich and creamy baked pasta dish is like a cross between spinach dip and chicken marinara. Many of the ingredients, including dry pasta and canned tomatoes, are pantry staples, making this a convenient anytime meal.

Recipe: Plain Chicken

Cajun Chicken Gumbo in a White Bowl with a Spoon on a Matching White Plate with a Side of Crackers

Chicken Gumbo

Gumbo is a hearty, flavorful Cajun stew that can work as a one-pot meal, served with or without rice. This simplified gumbo freezes well, so make a full batch and freeze the leftovers.

Recipe: BBC Good Food

Five Skewers of Middle Eastern-Style Grilled Chicken Kabobs on a White Plate

Chicken Kebabs

A mixture of yogurt and spices infuses savory chicken kebabs with maximum flavor and tenderness. This recipe isn’t complicated, but remember that the chicken needs to be marinated overnight.

Recipe: Once Upon a Chef

Favorite Chicken Potpie on a White Plate with a Knife

Chicken Pot Pie

Turn small amounts of leftover chicken into a full meal with the inexpensive addition of vegetables and pastry dough. This classic chicken pot pie recipe can be made in individual ramekins or two pie plates — freeze the extra for later.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Closeup of Classic Chicken Salad on Two Pieces of Whole Wheat Bread on a Blue and White Napkin

Chicken Salad

This recipe works well with leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken. The meat is mixed with mayonnaise and seasonings to create a versatile and satisfying chicken salad.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Closeup of Many Pieces of Oven BBQ Chicken on a Wooden Plate

Oven Barbecue Chicken

Oven-baked barbecue chicken is a convenient alternative to grilling during winter months. Using thighs keeps this dish juicy, flavorful, and inexpensive. Bonus savings for using homemade barbecue sauce.

Recipe: The Pioneer Woman 

Closeup of Chicken Foil Pack in Aluminum Foil
Rudenko Alla/shutterstock

Chicken Foil Pack

For a simple one-dish meal, wrap the contents in a foil pack before placing on a hot grill, making cleanup and preparation effortless. Choose chicken parts, as well as other vegetables, based on what’s already in your fridge.

Recipe: Delish

Related: Foods You Wouldn't Think to Grill But Definitely Should Try

Closeup of Chipotle Chicken Fajitas on a White Plate with a Slice of Lime and Guacamole
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

Use chicken breasts and vegetables seasoned with spicy chipotle chilis in a piquant and flavorful Mexican-inspired meal. Chicken parts such as thighs and legs can be substituted for extra savings.

Recipe: Food Network

Four Skewers of Chicken-and-Summer-Squash Kebabs on a Grill Plate

Grilled Chicken and Squash Kebabs

Consider letting vegetables share the spotlight with chicken. A recipe for grilled chicken and squash kebabs is easy and healthy, too — it provides 40% of the recommended daily dose of potassium.

Recipe: Self

Chicken Tetrazzini on a White Plate with a Red Stripe and a Fork
Charles Brutlag/shutterstock

Chicken Tetrazzini

A creamy, decadent dish that relies on mushrooms for flavor, chicken tetrazzini can be time-intensive but is worth the effort. Try the time-saving step of using rotisserie chicken.

Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen

Coffee-Brined Chicken Drumsticks on a White Plate with Tomato Slices and Herbs for Garnish
Jacek Chabraszewski/shutterstock

Coffee-Brined Drumsticks

Try something different by marinating chicken in a rich and completely unexpected mixture of coffee, brown sugar, red pepper, and other spices. Try using drumsticks, but any dark meat works well. If serving the whole family, consider skipping the spicier ingredients.

Recipe: MyRecipes