59 Healthy Chicken Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals

Tired of the same old chicken recipes? Breathe new life into this poultry mainstay with mouthwatering marinades, sensational spices and downright delicious recipes for healthy chicken dinners.

There’s a reason why so many home cooks turn to chicken for lunch and dinner time and time again. It’s wonderfully versatile and lends itself to easy, one-pot, one-pan dinners. It pairs beautifully with a wide range of vegetable side dishes, from kimchi creamed spinach to peppery asparagus. For a true one-pot experience, scatter an assortment of root vegetables, citrus and herbs in the bottom of a roasting pan and roast a whole chicken.

To welcome more of this leaner meat into our meal rotation and freezers (hey, we’ve got to stock up when it goes on sale!), we’re rounding up our best better-for-you chicken recipes. There are plenty of ways to bring bright, zesty, worldly flavors to a pack of chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks. We’ve got easy tips that guarantee juicy chicken breasts every time and plenty of ideas that will ensure you’re just a sheet pan away from a gourmet dinner at home.

Plus, for those who want to buy a whole bird and cook it themselves or reheat rotisserie chicken, we have recipes for tasty chicken salads and other dishes using leftover chicken so that you can get the most bang for your buck. Just scroll, add the ingredients to your shopping list, grab a few things at the store and get ready for a wave of weeknight recipes the whole family will love.

Healthy One-Pan Chicken 'Fried' Rice

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

When life hands you leftover rice, make your own chicken “fried” rice. You probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge already (think: carrots, pre-cooked chicken and eggs). For a gluten-free-friendly version, use tamari, which is a wheat-free version of soy sauce.

Peanut Chicken Salad

American Bar / American Bar

This crisp chicken salad is bursting with colorful vegetables including radishes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, plus a ginger-sesame dressing. The creaminess of the avocado combined with the crunchiness of the sesame sticks really rounds this salad out.

Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad

Courtesy Matt Armendariz

Dig into this grain bowl, which features a delicious combination of basic pantry staples like quinoa, black beans and store-bought barbecue sauce, along with some seasonal finds such as corn on the cob, avocado, scallions and cilantro.

Joy Bauer's Chicken Salad

Joy Bauer

This classic chicken salad is ready in a pinch and always a guaranteed winner. Simply shred cooked chicken breasts or thighs and mix with light mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. For an added boost of flavor (and nutrients) toss in sliced grapes or chopped apples, crunchy celery or immune-boosting red onion.

TODAY Cafe's Chinatown Chicken Salad

Universal Orlando Resort

If you can’t travel to the TODAY Cafe in Universal Studios, bring the TODAY Cafe experience home with this recipe. A duo of arugula and radicchio create a bed for grilled chicken, roasted shiitake mushrooms and bean sprouts. When tossed in a zesty peanut-lime vinaigrette, everything comes together for a lively lunch or dinner.

Chicken Cutlet Cobb Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Matt Abdoo

This crowd-friendly Cobb-style salad is loaded with all of the essentials: hard-boiled eggs, crispy bacon, breaded chicken, blue cheese, fresh avocado and Dijon vinaigrette. Chicken cutlets are breaded in a combination of Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs for the ultimate crunch.

Mojito-Glazed Chicken

Katie Stilo

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are marinated in a mojito glaze, which consists of rum, honey, lime, fresh mint and garlic. Grill ’em and serve ’em on a spring salad.

Joy Bauer's Slow-Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Chili

Joy Bauer

The ultimate set-it-and-forget-it recipe. This white bean chicken chili is packed with a bevy of flavorful ingredients ranging from two varieties of beans and salsa verde to two types of peppers and butternut squash. Topped with butter avocado, it really brightens any cold day right up.

Sunday Roast Chicken with Chickpeas and Couscous

Angie Mosier

“This dish is in honor of Alberta Wright. Alberta Wright owned Jezebel, which was one of my inspirations for Red Rooster. When I think about Alberta’s history — her fierceness combined with her incredible charm and grace, I am humbled by how much she accomplished,” says Marcus Samuelsson about this incredible chicken dish.

Copycat Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Kevin Curry

These chicken-filled lettuce wraps serve double duty as either an appetizer or an an entrée any night of the week. The not-to-sweet sauce is made with coconut sugar, hoisin sauce, tamari, oyster sauce and mirin.

Chili Crisp and Honey-Roasted Whole Chicken

Franklin Gaw

Inspired by Ina Garten’s famous roast chicken, this whole chicken gets a blast of flavor from a combination of chili crisp, scallions and ginger. Serve it over rice or a big bed of greens.

Cashew Chicken and Asparagus

Tyler Essary / TODAY

Move aside, broccoli! Asparagus is a welcome addition to this takeout-inspired chicken recipe. Fresh ginger, agave nectar, fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce come together to create an umami-packed sauce with layers upon layers of flavor.

Skillet Chicken with Creamy Corn and Tomatoes

Joy Bauer

Boneless chicken breasts are nestled in a skillet of corn kernels, juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese for the ultimate summer dinner.

Sheet-Pan Chicken with Ramps, Lemon and Smashed Garlic

Courtesy Yasimin Fahr

This super simple sheet-pan chicken utilizes the garlicky, oniony flavor of ramps, smashed garlic and lemon slices for a flavorful roast, while the pan drippings enhance the rest of the dish. As everything cooks, the lemon rinds become soft and edible, and the garlic soft and spreadable.

Spiced Chicken with Lebanese Couscous

Zach Pagango / TODAY

Shawarma-inspired spices flavor the chicken in this one-pot, low-and-slow dish. The moist, tender chicken shares the stage with pearl onions and cremini mushrooms, all of which are finished with fresh herbs, butter and white wine sauce and served alongside Lebanese couscous.

Sheet-Pan Pineapple Chicken

Joy Bauer

Sweet, saucy and oh-so-delicious, this is a dish your whole crew will enjoy. It’s bright, colorful and packed with nutrients, thanks to cubes of juicy pineapple, red onion and bell peppers. The best part? This recipe comes together in 30 minutes flat and it all happens on a single sheet pan.

Air-Fryer Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Aubrie Pick

Chicken satay is a popular Southeast Asian dish that’s best served as an appetizer. The meat is threaded onto skewers, grilled and accompanied by a spicy peanut sauce. This recipe skips the skewers and the grill and air-fries the chicken instead, which is perfect for speedy weeknight dinners.

Garlic-Ginger Chicken with Cilantro and Mint

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The juiciness of the chicken and bright, slightly spicy marinade make this a winner anytime of year. The chicken can be served on its own, tucked into tacos or served over rice — feel free to try it all three ways.

5-Ingredient Oven-Baked Fried Chicken

Ashley Holt

This extra-crispy oven-fried chicken is the ultimate dish for fried chicken lovers everywhere. The crust is made with Ritz crackers, which provides a salty-yet-sweet flavor that’s irresistible.

Herbed Roast Chicken

This all-in-one dish requires only four ingredients — a free-range chicken, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, and garlic — plus some salt and pepper and an assortment of whichever vegetables you prefer for the side. Its simplicity and versatility make it easy to tailor the recipe based on what vegetables are in season (think: carrots and beets for winter or summer squash during warmer months).

Lemon, Harissa and Olive Spatchcock Chicken

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The combination of zesty lemons, smoky harissa and briny olives offers a taste of the Mediterranean no matter where in the world you’re cooking. Serve the roast chicken alongside a bulgur wheat salad complete with cucumber, scallions, parsley, dill, mint and lemon juice.

Joy Bauer's Sheet-Pan Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Joy Bauer

This quick and easy one-sheet wonder requires just a handful of basic ingredients — chicken breasts, Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper. The real magic, however, is all thanks to the smoky marinade, which is made with paprika, garlic powder, vinegar and olive oil.

Classic Chicken Paillard

Katie Stilo

Everyone loves paillard, which is just a French term for a piece of meat (usually chicken or veal) that has been pounded thin, breaded and pan-fried. Grainy mustard and chives bring a tangy saltiness that makes this hot dish shine alongside bitter greens.

Easy Skillet Chicken Parm

Kid in the Kitchen

This is a faster but just as satisfying version of chicken Parmesan — no deep-frying required! Chicken cutlets are seasoned with oregano and salt and quickly seared; they’re then nestled with marinara sauce and Parmesan, sprinkled with fresh mozzarella, and broiled. Melissa Clark’s family loves eating it for dinner with a big green salad on the side.

Gluten-Free Chicken Milanese

Courtesy Kristin Teig

If you’re gluten intolerant or just want to try a new approach to chicken Milanese, this recipe will hit the spot. Instead of the usual breading, a combination of rice flour and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs create an extra crispy crust that just so happens to be easier on the stomach. Giada serves it the way they do in Italy — topped with an arugula salad dressed with lemon and salt.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga

Kevin Curry

There are so many ways to slow-cook chicken but this version might just be our favorite. Chicken breasts simmer with roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo, onion, coconut sugar, lime juice, and smoky spices for four to eight hours. Whether you’re using it to fill tacos or bell peppers, it’s the protein that just keeps on giving.

Lidia Bastianich's Chicken Scaloppini

Kelly Campbell

The bracing acidity from the lemons and bright brininess of the olives and capers makes this a standout dish. It’s perfect for a casual weeknight dinner but special enough to serve for date night or other celebrations.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Piccata


This recipe is popular because it delivers the flavor and ease of traditional chicken piccata without the heaviness from panko breadcrumbs. Instead of the usual all-purpose flour, almond meal (aka almond flour) is used to create a crispy, gluten-free coating.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard

Courtesy Joy Bauer

This nutty variation of the kid-favorite comes together fast and provides an even more delicious way to enjoy the classic meal. Big bonus: The chicken fingers are baked and yet, they’re just as crispy as deep-fried versions.

Za'atar Chicken Schnitzel with Israeli Salad

Gail Simmons

Served with a crisp, bright salad, this chicken schnitzel is equally at home on a dinner plate as it is packed into a pita with a spoonful of hummus and a drizzle of hot sauce.

Blackened Chicken with Collard Green Slaw

This recipe has that big, bold flavor that’s synonymous with Southern food using ingredients you can find in most grocery stores (think: chile powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and sweet paprika).

Thai Cashew Chicken

Ken Goodman

Cashews are a staple ingredient in southern Thailand. This recipe is very different from its Chinese cousin, thanks to its delicious stickiness from chile paste in soybean oil and black soy sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken

Courtesy Jamie Cho

This dish, also known as “gong bao” (which means palatial guardian), was invented by Ding Baochen who was governor of Sichuan. It’s numbing, spicy, sweet, tangy and hands down one of our favorite ways to serve chicken.

One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken

Lorianne DeVita

It seems like there are nearly endless ways to cook chicken thighs but this recipe is one of our favorites. It’s a one-skillet meal that unites a combination of fresh and dried herbs, bell peppers, garlic, carrots and celery.

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Burrata

Andrea D’Agosto

Burrata deserves a place beyond the cheeseboard. Here, it’s served at the center of the dish alongside bone-in chicken thighs, blistered herby grapes, and a buttery white wine reduction.

Braised Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses

Quentin Bacon

Pomegranate molasses is a bit of a specialty ingredient — and one that’s admittedly a little challenging to figure out what to do with it. This recipe from chef Anne Burrell puts the tart ingredient to use alongside fatty chicken thighs for a beautiful balance of flavors.

 Lemon Tarragon Chicken


Four-ingredient chicken dinners for the win! Here, fresh tarragon and lemon zest bring brightness to savory skin-on chicken thighs.

Sheet-Pan Chicken with Jammy Tomatoes and Pancetta

Julia Gartland for The New York Times

In this relatively speedy sheet-pan dinner, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are seasoned with a cumin spice mix and roasted with whole garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes, which turn soft and sweet once baked.

Valerie Bertinelli's Sheet-Pan Vinegar Chicken


The sweet tomatoes beautifully balance the bracing acidity of the tangy sherry vinegar and briny olives in this easy chicken dinner. It’s easy to make and has a bright pop of flavor in every bite.

Carla Hall's Oven-Smothered Chicken

Brian Donnelly / Donnelly Studios, LLC.

“Smothered chicken is a time-honored tradition in the South,” says Carla Hall. “Decades before everyone became more aware of health and nutrition, my Granny was at the forefront. She spent her days as a hospital dietitian, but her life’s work was as a loving wife, mother and grandmother. When my grandfather began to have heart problems, she immediately took her family’s classic Southern recipes and made them more nutritious. Those are the recipes she passed down to me.”

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Cucumber Yogurt

Johnny Miller for The New York Times, Food Stylist: Simon Andrews, Prop Stylist: Christina Lane

There’s a reason most professional chefs prefer cooking with chicken thighs rather than breasts. The dark meat is tender and more flavorful, thanks to its higher fat content. This quick-to-prep recipe capitalizes on the natural taste and balances it beautifully with robust garlic and creamy cucumber sauce.

Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Thyme

Lanna Apisukh / Lanna Apisukh

If you want a comforting, fall-off-the-bone meat dish without babysitting a roast all day, might we suggest the humble chicken thigh? This one-skillet recipe keeps the meat tender while the skin gets crackly-crispy-crunchy.

Chicken Salmoriglio

CB Creatives INC.

Chicken salmoriglio is a prime example of Sicilian cooking: fresh herbs, lemon, honey, olive oil and greens. Simple and exceptional.

Sheet-Pan Roasted Chicken Panzanella

Katie Stilo

Dark meat chicken and a crusty baguette come together on one sheet pan for this winning weeknight meal from Siri Daly. The meat and bread are served over a bed of arugula and dressed with a duo of oil and red wine vinegar.

Dijon Chicken with Tuscan Kale, Yukon Potatoes and Parmesan

Roze Traore

Dijon chicken combines the ease of one-pot cooking with big flavor. From warm spices like ground cardamom and cinnamon to hearty kale, each ingredient in this recipe adds a layer of flavor for a lively yet comforting meal.

Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

Christopher Testani for The New York Times

Chicken and potatoes are a classic combo; here, they’re jazzed up with harissa and yogurt for a little bit of spice and a little touch of tang.

Chicken Biryani

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The robust flavor of spices such as cumin, coriander and garam masala bring warmth and heat to the biryani, while saffron adds a vibrant yellow color and a floral aroma.

Ina Garten's Crispy Mustard Chicken and Frisee

Nathan Congleton/TODAY

We love the interplay of hot and cold in this weeknight dinner — crispy chicken and roasted fingerling potatoes mingle with bitter greens and mustard vinaigrette. It hits all the right notes.

Filipino Chicken Skewers

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Soy sauce, ginger and crispy garlic make this classic Filipino chicken a notable addition to anyone’s meal plan.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Onion and Garlic

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

These chicken thighs couldn’t be easier to make — just season them with salt and pepper and lay them on a bed of sliced onions and garlic on a sheet tray. It’s a one-pan dinner that’s cozy as can be.

Honey-Hoisin Chicken Thighs with Stir-Fried Kale

Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY

On busy weeknights, there’s this speedy Chinese-American recipe. Marinate the chicken the night before to save yourself prep time before dinner.

 Head of Garlic Chicken Thighs

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

If you can find heirloom garlic, stock up. It’s the secret to this chicken thigh recipe. Although it doesn’t last as long as the type you’ll find in most grocery stores, it has a more intense flavor and tastes sweeter.

Greek Sheet Pan Chicken

Rica Blue / Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

If you like quick and easy meals that can be prepped in advance, this is the recipe for you. The marinade can be made days — even months — in advance and frozen. Defrost overnight and pour over the chicken the morning you want to cook it. Bonus: This one-pan recipe means less mess to clean up.

Grilled Za'atar Chicken

Edy’s Grocer

The quickest and the most efficient way to add a ton of flavor to chicken legs is with this za’atar marinade. Unlike other marinades that require a lengthy resting time, this one just needs a good rub on your choice of protein and it’s good to go.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Adobo Sauce

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef JJ Johnson loves cooking with Peruvian-style adobo sauce. This one features the unexpected sweetness of rice vinegar along with West African palm sugar, which we love for its rich, caramel flavor.

Oven-Baked Chicken and Rice

Courtesy Moriah Sawtelle

Chock-full of Spanish ingredients like chorizo, bomba rice and olives, this savory, easy-to-throw-together chicken dish comforts you from the inside out.

Chicken Cacciatore

Armando Rafael

Lidia Bastianich serves her chicken cacciatore with polenta for a comforting Italian American meal.

Grilled Za'atar Chicken with Garlic Yogurt and Cilantro

Ryan Liebe for The New York Times

This easy chicken recipe is full of bright, zesty flavors. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken as it marinates. Eat it as is or serve it with pita or other flatbread bread and a big cucumber-tomato salad.

Three-Cup Chicken

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

This is a classic Taiwanese recipe that is perfect for a speedy supper. It gets its name from its simple ingredients list — one cup of soy sauce, one cup of rice wine and one cup of toasted sesame oil. It’s a fuss-free recipe for a fabulous family meal that’s inexpensive to boot.

Sheet-Pan Roast Chicken with Brussels Sprouts

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

This recipe takes a basic comfort food and turns it into something really special. Spicy harissa, sweet pomegranate, crunchy walnuts and fresh mint hit create layers of punchy flavor. Also, the whole thing only takes about 30 minutes to make, so you’ve got a full dinner on the table, fast.

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