Creamy Chicken a la King

Creamy chicken a la king recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
385 Calories
32g Fat
8g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 385
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 42%
Saturated Fat 18g 88%
Cholesterol 207mg 69%
Sodium 731mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 13mg 67%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 273mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chicken a la king is a dish of chicken, mushrooms, and peppers enveloped in a creamy sauce of butter, cream, and chicken broth. This recipe includes 2 egg yolks for added richness and bit of pimiento for bright color. The warm, comforting mixture is often served on toast or in puff pastry shells (vol-au-vent) or can be spooned over rice.

The origin of this dish is somewhat debated, but there is one scenario that gets the popular vote. In the early 1900s at the Brighton Beach Hotel in New York, the head chef wanted to create a dish to honor the hotel owner, E. Clark King II. Mr. and Mrs. King enjoyed it so much they asked for seconds. So, the following day, chicken a la king appeared on the menu, for $1.25 a serving. The dish gained a reputation as an elegant dish worthy of any upscale hotel restaurant and soon became standard fare at establishments such as The Plaza Hotel. It then grew to find its way onto menus across the country, remaining popular until about the 1960s.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper

  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken

  • 2 ounces pimiento, drained and chopped

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup cream, or half-and-half

  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten

  • Toast points, pastry shells, or rice, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cream chicken a la king ingrediemts
    The Spruce
  2. Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms and green pepper until tender.

    Mushrooms in frying pan
    The Spruce
  3. Stir in the chicken and pimiento and set aside.

    Stir in chicken and pimiento
    The Spruce
  4. In a saucepan, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter over low heat. Stir in the flour until smooth and bubbly.

    Melt butter
    The Spruce
  5. Gradually add the chicken broth and continue cooking and stirring until the sauce is thickened and bubbly.

    Gradually add chicken broth
    The Spruce 
  6. Add the chicken and sautéed vegetables to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Add chicken
    The Spruce
  7. In another saucepan, heat the cream until hot. Then quickly stir the cream into the beaten egg yolks.

    Heat milk
    The Spruce
  8. Add egg yolk mixture to the chicken mixture and heat thoroughly over low heat, but do not boil.

    Add egg yolk mixture
    The Spruce 
  9. Serve over toast points, inside pastry shells, or over rice and enjoy.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Tips

If you are really pressed for time, you can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken. But if you have time beforehand, you can poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts to use in this recipe. You can also bake chicken breasts for about 30 minutes at 350 F, or quickly sauté in a little oil in a skillet.

Canned mushrooms can be used instead of fresh, but be mindful not to use too many canned products in this recipe; one reason it lost favor over the years is that shortcut versions became the norm, producing a lower quality dish.

Recipe Variations

Although it won't be the classic recipe, you can add peas to this dish, and feel free to eliminate the pimientos if you don't care for them. As an alternative, swap out the chicken for chunks of tuna fish; just be sure to use a good quality tuna.

To lower the calorie count, use milk instead of cream, and eliminate the egg yolks.