Sweet Paprika Chicken

Not that anyone really cares, but if I had to choose my most favorite of all favorite fruits, I’m pretty sure I’ve finally decided that it would be mangoes. I’ve waffled back and forth over the years (because, you know, it’s like, such a big decision to make; you have to be prepared when someone asks you what your favorite fruit is and I’m always paranoid that when it comes up in conversation, I’ll choke and say something like “kiwi?” and then regret it for days) but just recently, I’ve decided to finally commit. And I feel good about it. Mangoes. Mangoes forever.

My kids love them also but have learned that if I’m slicing a mango for after school snack, they better get their little fingies in there and grab fast, otherwise, none of that mango deliciousness is making it to the table. I just can’t resist. It’s like one piece and then 12 more and then…howdidthishappen…the mango is gone.

You might be wondering what mangoes have to do with anything today. That’s a valid question. Never fear, I have an answer: this sweet paprika chicken, while magnificent on its own, is simply amazing served with fresh mangoes. The flavor balance is impeccable and the bright, juicy mangoes are so tasty with the lightly sweet and spicy, golden chicken.

Sweet Paprika Chicken

Of course, if you choose to also serve it with the cilantro lime rice, you’ll probably be in food heaven. Even Brian, who admittedly has been watching a few too many episodes of the Triple D on Food Network over my shoulder, was throwing around phrases like “this is off the chain.” And it really is.

Not only is it super, super fast (20 minutes easy), it really is crazy good in the flavor department. Definitely one of our best meals this month so far. I know, it’s only the 8th and there’s a lot more month to come, but I have a feeling it’s going to keep it’s standing for a while. A truly fabulous meal to start off the week.

What To ServeCilantro Lime Rice
Fresh mango slices
Lime wedges

Sweet Paprika Skillet Chicken

Yield: Serves 4-6

Sweet Paprika Skillet Chicken

I almost always cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts lengthwise into two thinner chicken cutlets (slicing it like you would a hot dog bun but all the way through). This means that often I can get away with using 2-3 thicker chicken breasts and still feeding our family of 7. If you don't choose to do that or the chicken isn't thick enough to cut that way, you may want to pound slightly to flatten to a more even thickness.


  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to flatten slightly or cut in half to form two thinner chicken cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
  • Cilantro Lime Rice, fresh mango slices, lime wedges for serving (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and pat the spice mixture onto the chicken breasts, rubbing it into the chicken to create an even coating.
  2. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the coconut oil (or other oil) over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the chicken in a single layer (you may need to do separate batches) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on how thick the chicken pieces are (the chicken will register 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer when cooked fully). The chicken will darken quite a bit due to the brown sugar in the spice rub. Adjust the heat if you feel the chicken is burning or overcooking - it will be dry if it overcooks so cook it just until cooked through so it stays juicy and tender.
  3. Remove the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, if needed.
  4. Let the chicken rest 5 or so minutes before serving. Serve with cilantro lime rice, fresh mangoes and lime wedges for the ultimate dining experience.

Recipe Source: adapted from Creme de la Crumb

62 Responses to Sweet Paprika Skillet Chicken

  1. Lane says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! Thank you for the great recipe! We all loved it!

  2. Gilliane says:

    Quick, easy, and delicious! My family loved it! I loved the flavor from the spice combination, but it was not too much for my kids. Once again a fantastic recipe!

  3. Christie says:

    Made this tonight and it was great, although my heat was too high like another reader and I got some black-ish spots where the sugar overheated. It looked like I had just grilled it and tasted great though. I’ll be more careful about the heat next time though.

  4. Kali says:

    My new favorite!!! I made it tonight and I’m already planning on making it again on Saturday. The flavor combination is truly a beautiful gift to mankind.

  5. Kris Jeffery says:

    I dream about this chicken sometimes it is so amazing! Without fail, the day after pork barbacoa salads for dinner, we are eating this chicken with the leftover cilantro lime rice. Thanks again for another great one!

  6. Laura says:

    Going on the ‘better late than never’ theme, I’ve found a video on how to choose a mango and how to cut it properly-and not end up with mango mush on your hands!


    Fun fact of the day: the large sections of mango cut off the sides of the mango are called ‘cheeks’ in Australia! We have very cheeky mangoes here! LOL!

  7. Annalisa says:

    Do you think this recipe would work being broiled, like your parmesan lemon chicken? I love cooking chicken that way, and we are feeding a crowd on Sunday… thought the broiling would be easier.

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I definitely think that could work. Make sure to grease your pan (maybe line with foil first) really well as the sugar can be sticky.

      • Annalisa says:

        It worked out perfectly under the broiler! Everyone loved it! I also made the cilantro lime rice, and your brown sugar crinkle cookies. Thanks for always sharing such great recipes!

  8. Ashley says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was great! I loved how the chicken stayed so juicy and moist, and there was a ton of flavor! I can’t wait to make it again with the mango slices on the side and cilantro rice like you suggested. I had radishes on hand so I sauteed those in a little butter, salt and pepper and it made a perfect quick weeknight meal. Thanks for another great recipe!

  9. SBakes says:

    It kills me to say this, but this is your first recipe that I’ve made (and trust me, I’ve made a lot of them!) that I wouldn’t make again. Not horrible by any means, but it wasn’t anything special and didn’t get the “yum, this is good” and “make this one again” comments from my family – which is what I’ve gotten from all of your other recipes. We love so many of them that there’s no reason to repeat this one. I made your glazed mini meat loaves last night, have the crispy southwest chicken wraps on tonight’s menu and the cheesy basil stuffed chicken is coming later in the week! Love, love, love your recipes!!! Keep them coming, please!

  10. Christina says:

    How did you get such a nice color on your chicken? Mine was black on each side after cooking 5 min on each side

    • Mel says:

      Sounds like you might need to adjust the heat lower a bit. Because of the sugar in the rub mixture, the chicken can blacken easily especially if the heat is too high.

  11. Jocelyn says:

    The spice mixture on this chicken is delicious! I used it on baked chicken, which I first brushed with a little butter. Yum! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  12. Lisa says:

    I made this the other night and it was delicious!! Thank you for a wonderful and easy recipe! I will be definitely be adding it to my regular recipe rotation. The only drawback is that the brown sugar really stuck to the pan and was nearly impossible to get clean after (I had to soak the pan for 48 hours). Any tips on how to not have the glaze stick so badly to the pan?

  13. Ruth Heggenes says:

    This was wonderful! I made it all for dinner with cilantro lime rice and mango. My husband commented on how well the mango went with the chicken. It was a great marriage of flavors and the next day I combined it all with mixed greens, cranberries, nuts and a light dressing and it made a very yummy salad!

  14. Rhonda says:

    I had no chicken (or mangos just terrible) but this looked so good I had to try it and didn’t want to wait until I got chicken so I used pork chops. Fried them just a little and then because I’m lazy and always behind with home school and house cleaning I threw them in the crock pot and let them finish until supper. They. were. amazing!! So good We had two left over so the next nite I sauteed some mushrooms, onions and peppers diced them up and we had the most wonderful salad ever. Fresh tomatoes, black beans, rice, corn chips, cheese, lettuce, and the sauteed leftover chop mixture. It was the best salad ever. Love your recipes……

  15. Jana says:

    I made this tonight… it was incredible. Amazing. Lip smackin’ tasty. Delectable. Yes, please. I’ll have it next week if I have my druthers. Etc. Etc. Etc. The mango was great. The squeeze of lime on top was great. The feeling of joy that washed over me as I became blissfully aware of the perfect marriage of paprika and brown sugar was also great. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe! PS Husband liked it, too. But I don’t think he considered the paprika/brown sugar marriage and such. That’s more my department. But he did devour it. 😉

  16. Gayla says:

    Yum! This might be my new favorite way to prepare chicken. A little spice and so juicy. Hmm, would tomorrow be too soon?

  17. Alisha says:

    I went to visit family in the Philippines last summer. The mangoes there are BEYOND amazing. So, so good. We had mango smoothies, fresh mango push-pops, and simply ate them by the dozen …. then I broke out in a rash. Did a little research and discovered that the mango tree is in the same botanical family as poison ivy (which I’m super allergic to). The fruit is totally fine, but I was reacting to the skin when peeling the mangoes. Now I know. I put my hand through a plastic grocery sack so I can pick my mangoes without touching them and either wear gloves when peeling or wash my hands thoroughly afterwards. Just thought I’d pass on the message in case anyone else out there is sensitive to urushiol oil.

  18. Ava says:

    Delicious! Next time I’ll try it with mangoes…

  19. Jessica L. says:

    LOVED this meal!!! Everyone ate, and it was too spice for my picky eatter. Thank for yet another AMAZING dinner. My family LOVED it 🙂

  20. Heather bell says:

    This whole post was so funny! I am not big on mangoes but give me a nectarine any day! Ps found a new trick to picking out watermelons and mine have all been perfect! Heavy one means more water with a nice yellow patch bc it’s sat in the sun long enough to get green. Then brown markings or lines on it means the bees pollinated it. Perfect every time!!

    • Kat says:

      That’s exactly how my mom taught me to pick watermelons: big yellow patch and those brown lines we call “bee stings.” Wonderful watermelons every time.

  21. Marta says:

    I made it yesterday and it was great! I don’tlike cooking with chicken too much, because I’m rarely able to kill the chicken-y flavour. But not with this dish. It was quick, easy to follow and so packed with flavour. I almost felt like eating in a fancy restaurant. I did it for 2 people, we gobbled the rice and the mango, some chicken was left for next day. Today it tasted even better. Thank you for the recipe 🙂 it was a huge success.

  22. Sheila says:

    We had this for supper last night. While I was preparing the chicken, my husband came in and exclaimed, “What smells so good?”. I gave him the eyeball, “Duh, Mel”. 🙂 It was delicious and so easy to quickly prepare and put on the table. I used some thick chicken tenders I brought from Sam’s Club which made it even more easy to prepare without cutting breasts in half. And you can’t get any better than your Cilantro Lime Rice. Thanks so much, Mel!

  23. Ava says:

    How spicy/kid friendly is this dish?

  24. EmilyF says:

    You saved me last night! Had chicken breasts and very little motivation. It was delicious and easy. Love your site!!!

  25. heather says:

    Any other suggestions for a side dish? Hubby hates cilantro, and I, of course, love it. Sigh. Not sure what would go with paprika chicken as I have never made it before.

  26. Emily says:

    I have to 2nd an earlier commentator…you can’t post something with mangoes with out a tutorial on how to cut the dog-on thing! I love mangoes but end up mutilating it or getting oddly shapped slices.

  27. Mangoes are a favorite for me too. And peaches. And plums. SIGH. There are too many to choose!

  28. Carisa says:

    Hi Mel! I have a love/hate relationship with mangoes. I LOVE the taste but HATE cutting them. I feel as though I pick ripe mangoes, but each time I try slicing them they turn into a sloppy mess. Mostly because I have a really hard time getting the seed out of the middle. I usually just end up eating it like an apple around the seed. Out of frustration I have avoided buying mangoes this season. This may seem silly, but do you have any tips to cutting a mango and removing the seed? Thanks!

  29. I’m so lucky that Mum and Dad have a mango tree in their backyard. When summer comes around it produces buckets of them and we have to freeze the flesh for later to stop them all going off.
    This chicken will be a welcome dinner come this summer time, and cilantro rice, yum yum sign me up!

  30. Bonnie N says:

    I love mangoes!!!!! I eat three or four every week. Just slice ’em and slurp all of that goodness down. I’ve seen recipes for mango salsa and such but I wouldn’t ever dare to adulterate all of that good stuff like that.

  31. Amanda says:

    This looks wonderful!! Putting this on the dinner menu for sure 🙂

  32. Oh Mel! This looks fabulous, tasty and juicy. Perfect timing as I’m getting ready to put together the grocery shopping list.

  33. I love mangos as well and am always waiting for them to appear in stores 🙂

  34. Brittany says:

    Hi Mel! Do you think coconut sugar would work as a replacement for brown sugar in this recipe?? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Brittany – Certainly worth a try! I haven’t used coconut sugar much and not in this recipe but I think substitutions like that are good ones to experiment with.

  35. I love mangoes too. I don’t think they’re my favorite, but they’re near the top for sure. So many people are nervous about how to cut into them and miss out of the wonderful flavor and texture. And I can already imagine them pairing wonderfully with this paprika chicken! What a yummy looking dinner!

    Luci’s Morsels – fashion. food. frivolity.

  36. Kathy M says:

    Did you use smoked or sweet paprika?

  37. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for deciding my dinner for tonight! I actually have all of the ingredients and was defrosting chicken but not sure what to do with it. If you like mangoes, you HAVE to try poblano, mango, black bean quesadillas. They are amazing!! Up there with your southwest chicken wraps. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/quick-and-easy-vegetarian-recipes/poblano-mango-black-bean-quesadillas

  38. This looks totally off the chain! I love everything about it from the smoky chicken to the rice!

  39. Heather says:

    Yes, how do you pick mangos???

  40. Trish says:

    Hi Mel,

    How do you pick a ripe, juicy mango? I’ve bought 3 mangoes in my life, and I didn’t like any of them, even though I know I like mango flavored things. I figured I’m just picking the bad ones…,

    • My advice: Go by smell! If none of the mangoes at the store have a strong mango scent, buy any of them. Then leave them on your counter until they give off a delicious perfume. It’s always worked for me. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Trish – That’s a good question! Here’s my very scientific approach: I pick up the mango (I try to go for the ones without large black marks and that have a nice swirl of green, red and orange color) and give it a very very light squeeze. If it has a bit of “give” without being squishy, I smell it and if it smells mildly sweet and mango-like, it’s mine. Sometimes all the mangoes are pretty solid so I just grab a couple that have a nice mixture of green, orange and red swirls on the skin (without any large black spots) and leave them on the counter for a few days. Hope that helps a teensy bit.

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