Chicken à la King holds a special place in my heart, because it was one of my grandfather’s favorite recipes to make when I visited my grandparents’ house in Wisconsin every spring break.
While my grandma and I would play video games all day and into the wee hours, grandpa would lure us away from the computer with his specialty, served over piping hot biscuits.
Since I’m always trying to tweak the old-fashioned recipes we know and love to make them even better than ever, I think this one is exactly that: comfort food at its finest.
Making Chicken à la King for an entire kingdom? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, so you can get on with cooking.
Chicken à la King origin:
Like any member of royalty, there’s a lot of rumors swirling around about Chicken à la King. Most likely it was made for the owners of the Brighten Beach Hotel in New York, a Mr. and Mrs. E. Clark King II. The Kings loved it and requested that it be put on the menu permanently.
This was back in the late 1800s or early 1900s, well over one hundred years ago! Chicken à la King has remained extremely popular to this day, because every single bite is incredibly delicious, and because comfort food never goes out of style.
Chicken à la King Ingredients:
- Chicken breasts. Boneless and skinless chicken breasts make prep easy.
- Heavy cream. Because a cream sauce wouldn’t be as wonderful without it. BUT, if you don't have cream, there's a hack for it below.
- Lemon juice.
- Olive oil.
- Frozen peas.
- Dry white wine. Use extra chicken broth if you don’t want to use wine.
- Chicken broth.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper.
Other recipes add finely chopped red bell pepper, green bell pepper, pimientos, or sliced button mushrooms. Feel free to add whatever vegetables your heart desires.
How to make Chicken à la King:
These instructions walk you through the basics without giving you specific ingredient amounts, which are all listed below in the recipe card.
- First, marinate the raw chicken pieces in the cream (holding some cream back to use later), salt and lemon juice. You can put everything in a zipper-top plastic bag, or use a shallow glass baking dish for marinating. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Stir in onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for several minutes until softened.
- Then stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Pour in the wine and cook until the mixture thickens. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This will add tons of flavor to the dish.
- Next, pour in the chicken broth and the remaining cream. Cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce is very thick.
- Then stir in the chicken mixture, cream and all. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the frozen peas, and cook for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Crockpot Chicken à la King:
Your house is going to smell amazing!
- In a 3-quart slow cooker, combine cream, wine, chicken broth, flour, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Stir in chicken, celery, carrots and onion.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or until meat is no longer pink.
- Stir in peas and lemon juice.
- Cook 30 minutes longer or until heated through.
- Garnish with parsley.
How to make a heavy cream substitute:
When a recipe you're excited to make calls for heavy cream, but your refrigerator is bare, here's what to do. All you need is milk and butter.
To make enough for 1 cup of heavy cream, melt 5 tablespoons butter and let it cool a bit. Then add it to 3/4 cup milk and mix the two ingredients together.
If you use low-fat milk, the mixture will be thinner--add a tablespoon of flour to thicken it up, if you like. Then use it in the recipe you need.
Also, Trader Joe's sells small cartons of heavy cream that you don't need to refrigerate. Always a good idea to stash a couple in the pantry for whipped cream emergencies!
What can you serve Chicken à la King with?
You could change up the style of this chicken recipe every day of the week, when you serve it on something different.
- Biscuits. Make your own biscuits, or buy a can of biscuits at the store.
- Toast. Grilled bread, a toasted English muffin, or even a slice of Garlic Bread would taste great.
- Rice. Plain white rice, a nutty rice pilaf, or healthy brown rice.
- Noodles. Simple buttered noodles are fast and satisfying.
- Zoodles. Healthy Chicken à la King on a heap of spiralized zucchini, summer squash, or sweet potato.
- Mashed potatoes. When there’s mashed potatoes, life is good.
Chicken à la King Recipe
- 3/4 cup heavy cream See notes.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
- Biscuits or toasted bread, for serving
- In a large zipper-lock back, combine 1/2 cup cream, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the chicken and mash until evenly coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add wine and cook until thickened, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth and the remaining 1/4 cup of cream. Cook until the sauce is very thick, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in chicken mixture and peas. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley. Serve on toasted bread or biscuits.