Chicken Creole is deeply flavorful and comforting, showcasing tomatoes, onion, celery, green bell pepper and warm spices.
Chicken Creole Recipe photo by Taste of Home

This chicken Creole recipe hits all the notes of our beloved comfort foods. It’s a simple, one-pot meal that’s rich and warming. And you can easily add more spice to taste if you like a little heat with your chicken.

Tender bites of chicken simmer in a luscious tomato sauce with onion, celery and green bell pepper, ingredients commonly used in Cajun and Creole food. The vegetables add a complex aroma, making this 30-minute sauce taste like it simmered all day. Creole chicken is often served over rice, but you can also spoon it over grits or your starch of choice.

Chicken Creole Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: It’s important to cut the chicken into uniform pieces. Otherwise, they’ll cook unevenly, and some of the chicken can turn out dry.
  • Onion, celery and green pepper: This combination is known as the “holy trinity.” These aromatic ingredients add depth to the tomato sauce.
  • Diced tomatoes: You can’t have a rich tomato sauce without tomatoes! Diced tomatoes are treated with calcium chloride, so the chopped tomatoes become extra firm. That means they won’t fall apart while the sauce simmers.
  • Paprika: While it isn’t as spicy as cayenne, paprika adds a spicy-without-the-heat flavor. It’s earthy, slightly sweet and somewhat smoky. This dish wouldn’t be the same without it.
  • Cornstarch: This gluten-free starch thickens the tomato sauce, giving it a rich consistency.
  • Hot cooked rice: Use your favorite method for cooking rice: the stovetop, a rice cooker or the microwave.


Step 1: Brown the chicken

Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken in oil. Remove, and set aside.

Step 2: Cook the sauce

In the same skillet, saute the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until tender. Stir in the tomatoes (and their juices), water, paprika, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Want to give the sauce a flavor boost? Use chicken broth instead of water.

Step 3: Simmer the chicken Creole

Return the chicken to the skillet. In a small glass, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the chicken mixture, and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. If desired, serve with rice.

Editor’s Tip: To give the recipe a pop of color, garnish with chopped fresh parsley or green onions.

Recipe Variations

Chicken Creole ready to eatTMB Studio

  • Include Creole seasoning: This dish does well with robust spices, so scale up on the spice with Creole seasoning to taste.
  • Add a little spice: Give Creole chicken a little zip! Increase the cayenne, add diced jalapenos, or substitute the diced tomatoes with canned diced tomatoes with green chiles. You can also finish the dish with a vinegary hot sauce like Louisiana-style hot sauce.
  • Use chicken thighs: Boneless skinless chicken thighs work just as well for this recipe. They have a higher fat content, so they stay juicy and moist.
  • Skip the chicken: Use tofu or peeled and deveined shrimp to make the dish vegan or pescatarian.
  • Thicken the sauce: Use tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes to make a thicker sauce. If substituting, increase the water or broth as needed to compensate for the liquid in the canned tomatoes.
  • Use precooked chicken: For an easy chicken Creole, use leftover or rotisserie chicken instead of the chicken breasts. Mix in the cooked chicken when you add the cornstarch slurry, and simmer until the chicken is warmed through.

How to Store Chicken Creole

Store leftover chicken Creole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat it in the microwave, or warm it over gentle heat in a skillet on the stovetop.

Can you freeze chicken Creole?

We don’t recommend freezing this chicken Creole recipe because it’s thickened with cornstarch. Sauces that contain cornstarch become spongy when thawed.

If you plan to freeze this dish, substitute another thickener such as arrowroot or flour. You can then freeze chicken Creole in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Chicken Creole Tips

Chicken Creole served with riceTMB Studio

What is sauce Creole made from?

Sauce Creole (sometimes called “red gravy”) is a spiced tomato sauce made with the Cajun holy trinity—onions, celery and green bell peppers. It can be used as a dipping sauce, spooned over grits or pasta, or simmered with chicken or shrimp to make dishes like this chicken Creole recipe.

What can you serve with chicken Creole?

Chicken Creole is traditionally served over hot cooked rice, but it would also taste fantastic over cheesy grits. Pair it with a crunchy salad or other southern dishes like collard greens and buttery cornbread. And don’t forget the beignets for dessert!

Chicken Creole

I like food that has a little zip to it, and this Creole chicken recipe hits the spot every time. It’s especially good served over rice. —Dolly Hall, Wheelwright, Kentucky
Chicken Creole Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Cook: 20 min.


4 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Hot cooked rice, optional


  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until tender. Stir in tomatoes, water, paprika, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Return chicken to skillet. Whisk cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into chicken mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until chicken is tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. If desired, serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/4 cups: 265 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 553mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 36g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 2 vegetable.