Chicken à la King is one of those quick and easy dishes that can be made anytime, has a million different ways to serve it, and 100% satisfies your desire for a big plate or bowl of comfort food.
This Chicken à la King recipe uses chicken breasts that have already been cooked, which definitely speeds up the process and I serve it in puff pastry shells for a delicious combination of flavors and textures. It's simply perfect for a busy weeknight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, it is a dish that uses chicken breasts, but you can certainly use chicken thighs if you like. I sous vide my chicken breasts for the most tender chicken, but you can use leftover shredded rotisserie chicken or you can cube raw chicken and cook it in the sauté pan before you add the cream.
This is one of those dishes that goes well over just about anything! Many people like it with egg noodles or another type of pasta. You can serve it with rice or over buttermilk biscuits or toast. I like it best served in puff pastry shells because I love the creamy texture of the chicken à la king with the crunch of a perfectly cooked puff pastry shell.
Yes, it can be frozen, but I find it better when served fresh. If you want to freeze leftovers, make sure they cool in the refrigerator overnight and then place the leftovers in a freezer container or freezer bags and try to get as much air out as you can to prevent ice crystals from forming. Use within 3 months for the best results.
What Can I Do with Leftover Chicken à la King?
There are so many different ways to turn your leftover Chicken à la King into something different for a second meal.
You can add some frozen mixed vegetables, warm them up in the leftovers and pour into a pie dish and cover with a pie crust and bake until the pie crust is golden brown for a chicken pot pie.
If you wanted to make a crustless chicken pot pie, simply put the leftovers in a small baking dish and top with parmesan cheese and bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving so the filling thickens up.
Turning it into a chicken corn chowder is another option. Add some cooked cubed potatoes, corn, and crumbled bacon to the leftovers and warm on the stove. Add more chicken broth and cream until you get the consistency you like.
Add your favorite cheeses and combine with macaroni noodles or another pasta for a cheesy, creamy chicken dish for the ultimate comfort food!
Ingredients & Substitutions
I sous vide chicken breasts for this recipe because I absolutely LOVE the texture of the chicken that way, but you can use any leftover chicken or quickly sauté the chicken before adding the rest of the ingredients.
If you didn't want to use chicken, you could use thawed shrimp added at the end and some people like to use canned tuna. You can certainly skip the chicken all together and make a vegetarian à la king.
The vegetables in this dish are very simple, fresh mushrooms, peas, and pimentos. However, you can omit or add any kind of fresh veggies you like. I've seen versions with diced onions, bell peppers ( red and/or green pepper), or even some roasted or minced garlic. You can even garnish with green onions if desired.
If you don't like pimentos, leave them out or replace them with diced red pepper. If you don't like peas, consider swirling in some fresh spinach just before serving for color and texture in the dish.
Always remember, contrary to what many people try to tell you, there aren't any rules when it comes to cooking. Make the dish how you and your family like it, it might not fit the "classic" way of making something, but it's always going to be delicious!
This recipe uses a combination of chicken broth, half & half, and heavy cream to create the cream sauce. You can certainly switch the chicken stock to a vegetable broth or use a combination of chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon cubes and water, if desired. I did try using whole milk instead of the half & half and the sauce ended up being a little thinner than I like. So, if you don't have half & half and need to use milk and cream, I would try 1¼ cup cream with ¾ cup of whole milk for a rich creamy sauce.
The dry sherry really adds a nice flavor to the dish, but is totally optional. You can certainly use white wine instead or simply omit it and no other changes are needed to the recipe.
Spices & Other Ingredients
The spices I used are very simple salt and black pepper with a touch of nutmeg. If you haven't tried adding a touch of nutmeg to a creamy white sauce, I hope you give it a try! It adds a layer of flavor without being overwhelming.
You can add any seasonings that you like to create delicious recipe that your whole family will love!
The roux is made with butter and all purpose flour, this is what thickens the cream sauce. However, if you are trying to make a low carb version and what to skip the flour, you absolutely can. I'll go into detail about how to make a Keto Chicken à la King below.
How to Make Keto Chicken a` la King
Chicken à la King is super easy to turn into a Keto recipe with simply switching two ingredients, the flour and the peas. Without the peas, it won't be a classic chicken à la king, but no worries, it doesn't have to be classic to be delicious!
While you can certainly use all cream to create the sauce, that might not be as thick as you like. So, what I suggest is some melted butter, or any liquid fat would work, combined with a little xanthan gum. It is very important that you mix the xanthan gum with the melted butter or fat before adding to the cream sauce or it will clump and not be appetizing. Unlike corn starch, xanthan gum doesn't need to be heated to thicken. However, I prefer to add it at the end when the sauce is hot. Adding it to the cream before you heat it can lead to the cream getting very thick and paste-like.
A little xanthan gum goes a long way, so I would start with just ½ teaspoon mixed in 2 Tablespoons of butter (melted works best) or other melted fat (bacon grease works great). Make sure to mix it very well so you don't see any lumps and then add it after you have all the other ingredients in the pot or pan. You can always add more if you like.
Instead of the peas, which are higher in carbs, you can swirl in some spinach at the end and let it wilt in the hot cream sauce.
Obviously, you will want to skip the puff pastry, rice, or pasta. To serve Keto Chicken a la King, simply pour it over some zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, or my favorite: spaghetti squash!
Here is an easy way to prepare your spaghetti squash and it works perfectly for this recipe.
How to Make Vegetarian Mushroom à la King
If you want to skip the chicken for a vegetarian friendly recipe, it's super easy to make a veggie-loaded à la king! Simply omit the chicken and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth or stock. Add in any other vegetables that you enjoy and make your own
I would double or even triple the mushrooms, but besides that, everything else can stay the same.
You can even add in some tofu for extra protein if desired.
Do I need any Special Equipment to Make Chicken à la King?
Not at all. I chose to make it in my Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper, but you can use a skillet on the stove and it will work exactly the same. Just make sure your skillet is large enough to hold the ingredients. Depending on the type of stove you have, you may need to decrease your heat to a medium-low heat to avoid boiling the cream sauce.
If you have a sous vide machine, I hope you give my Sous Vide Chicken a try. It's absolutely amazing in this recipe! If not, no worries. Simply cook your chicken however you usually do and then add it to the dish. Leftover Rotisserie chicken works great as well! *I don't sear the chicken after sous vide cooking for this recipe.
How to Make Puff Pastry Shells
While you can buy puff pastry shells, the grocery stores where I live don't stock them. If you are in the same boat, try this technique to make your own at home. It's super easy.
Take the sheets of puff pastry out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to make the puff pastry shells.
Preheat your oven on 425℉/220℃
Grab a muffin/cupcake tin, dried beans, and cupcake liners.
Flour a flat surface and roll out the thawed puff pastry into a 12x12 square. Cut 9 equal squares. Place one square into every other hole on the muffin tin and press down to form a cup.
Place a cupcake liner on top of the puff pastry and add about 2-3 Tablespoons of dried beans to the cupcake liner to hold down the puff pastry.
Place the other three squares into any of the remaining open areas and press down to form a cup. Place a cupcake liner on top and fill with dry beans.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the cupcake liners and bake another 6-8 minutes or until the pastry cups are golden brown.
Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Don't place them on a solid surface or the heat will steam the bottoms and make them soggy.
How to Make Chicken à la King
Cube up your pre-cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. If you need to cook the chicken, you can do it a few different ways. In this type of recipe, the more tender the chicken, the better. Sautéing or baking will create a sear on the outside, so if you want to do that, I would not cut the chicken first. That way less pieces will have the tougher area on the outside.
One option and probably the easiest is to sauté the mushrooms in the butter and add the extra butter and flour to coat. Cook for a few minutes and remove from the pan. Add the raw, seasoned (salt and pepper) chicken cubes and chicken stock to the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Then add the mushrooms and roux back into the skillet or inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and proceed with the recipe.
You could also bake or boil the chicken separately and add to the dish. My preferred method is to sous vide the chicken and here is my recipe: Ninja Foodi Sous Vide Chicken
Once the chicken is cooked, making the Chicken à la King is quick and easy.
Grab a large skillet or if you have the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot, use the inner pot and sear/sauté to make the recipe. It works out perfectly either way.
Slice the mushrooms into about ¼" slice. Heat the skillet on medium-high or Ninja Foodi on high sear/sauté and add 4 Tablespoons of salted butter and when it begins to sizzle, add in a single layer of mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for about 2-3 minutes on one side and flip, sauté another 2-3 minutes on the other side for golden brown mushrooms.
While it takes a little more time to sauté in batches, it prevents the mushrooms from steaming and allows them to brown and keep their texture. It is definitely worth the time! When the first batch is done, move them over to the side and add in the second batch in a single layer, season with ¼ of the seasoning mix and repeat the sautèing process.
When the mushrooms are golden brown, sprinkle over 4 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir. If you see flour, add a little more butter.
Cook for about 3 minutes and then deglaze the pot with the chicken stock and the sherry if using. Stir and you will see the mixture start to thicken.
Add in the pimentos, frozen peas, and chicken.
Add in the half & half and heavy cream. Stir and add ½ of the remaining seasoning blend and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasonings and add the remaining seasoning blend, if needed.
If your sauce isn't thick enough, combine 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water and mix well so there isn't any lumps and add to the Chicken à la King. Stir and it will thicken.
Pour the Chicken à la King over the puff pastry shells. Serve & Enjoy.
Chicken a la King Recipe with Puff Pastry
Chicken a la King
- 4 Tablespoons butter salted
- 8 ounces mushrooms I used baby portobello
- 4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- ¼ cup dry sherry or white wine optional
- 20 ounces cooked chicken
- ¼ cup pimentos
- 6 ounces peas frozen
- 1⅓ cups half & half
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons fine grind sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Puff Pastry Shells
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- flour for surface
Supplies for baking pastry shells
- 12 cup muffin tin
- 1 cup dry beans
- 9 cupcake liners
Puff Pastry Shells
- Remove the puff pastry sheet from the freezer at least 60 minutes before making the shells.
- Preheat the oven 20 minutes prior to baking the shells.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and lay out the puff pastry sheet. Roll it out until it is about 12"x 12". Cut 9 equal squares.
- Place 6 of the squares into every other cup on the muffin tin and press in to form a cup. Place one cupcake liner on top of each puff pastry cup and fill each one with 2-3 Tablespoons of dry beans. This keeps the pastry from puffing up when baked. Once the 6 are done, you will have room to do the other three the same way.
- Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the cupcake liners with the beans and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the puff pastry shells and place on a cooling rack until use.
Chicken a la King
- Slice the mushrooms into about ¼" slices. Cube the chicken into bite size pieces (see post if you are using raw chicken instead of cooked), measure out the other ingredients. Mix the salt and pepper together in a small container.
- Place 4 Tablespoons of butter into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi or into a large skillet on the stove. Heat on medium-high or high until melted and sizzling. Place one layer of mushrooms into the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Flip the mushrooms, and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Push the browned mushrooms over to the side, add the second layer and repeat. Season with ¼ of the salt and pepper blend
- Sprinkle 4 Tablespoon of flour over the mushrooms and stir. If you can see flour, then you don't have enough butter for the flour to absorb. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of extra butter in this instance and stir. Once you can no longer see flour, cook for 3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock and sherry, stirring frequently. You will see the liquid start to thicken.
- Add the cubed chicken, frozen peas, pimentos and stir.
- Add the half & half, heavy cream, and ½ of the remaining salt and pepper. Stir and taste the sauce. Add the remaining salt and pepper if needed. Add the nutmeg and stir.
- Serve over the puff pastry shells & Enjoy!
- If you need to thicken the sauce, mix 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2-3 teaspoons of water until smooth. Add to chicken a la king and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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