Black Folks Soul Food Southern Smothered Chicken

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There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned soul food meal, especially when prepared the Black way!

What is Southern smothered chicken?

Smothered chicken is a staple in Southern soul food cuisine. Whether you call it smothered chicken, chicken smothered with gravy, or gravy chicken. It’s a dish that will always bring back memories for those who grew up eating it in the South. 

Black Folks Soul Food Smothered Chicken

What is Black folk’s soul food smothered chicken?

It’s a very popular dish in the African-American community. Very similar to the Southern recipe for smothered chicken, but made the Black way with super savory seasonings and spices. 

Like the Southern recipe, Black folks’ Southern smothered chicken is a comfort food staple for holidays and family gatherings. 

How To Make Soul Food Smothered Fried Chicken

How do you make soul food Southern smothered chicken?

Soul food Southern smothered chicken is a finger-licking delicious one-pot comfort meal that you’ll want to make and eat again and again! 

Tender and juicy chicken pieces are smothered in a creamy gravy medley after it’s seasoned with a combination of sensational soul food chicken spices

The gravy recipe is made with chicken broth, chicken bouillon, heavy whipping cream, onion, garlic, paprika, and red pepper. 

Southern Black Folks Soul Food Smothered Chicken

What is smothered Southern fried chicken?

Smothered chicken is also known as stove-top chicken, smothered fried chicken, or Sunday chicken. That’s because the chicken is skillet fried or air fried first.

The combination of the chicken and gravy is sweet and savory. The flavor is addictive, and the recipe is ideal for a quick weeknight meal. Even after a long workday, soul food smothered chicken is delicious, comforting, and effortless to make!

The ingredients are universal and available at any grocery store, and it’s budget-friendly! 

And don’t worry about cooking skills – this Instant Pot recipe is as easy as it gets with just basic steps from start to finish.

Ingredients for the soul food smothered chicken gravy

Kitchen equipment for soul food Southern smothered chicken

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Black Folks Smothered Chicken Thighs

Ingredients for the air fryer smothered Southern fried chicken

  • 6 pieces of chicken (I used boneless chicken thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons of Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning (or similar) 
  • 2 teaspoons of Weber Seasoning, Roasted Garlic & Herb(or similar) 
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon of red pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Peanut oil or vegetable oil cooking spray (for brushing or spraying on the chicken)
  • ½ cup of buttermilk (½ cup of buttermilk = ½ cup of milk & ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar)

Buttermilk for this recipe: ½ cup of buttermilk = ½ cup of milk + ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. 

Smothered Chicken Recipe

Instructions for the air fried chicken 

  1. Combine the chicken seasoning and the garlic & herb seasoning in a small bowl.
  2. Then rub the seasoning mixture onto the chicken pieces, and set the chicken aside.
  3. Place 1 cup of the divided flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper in a medium-size mixing bowl or 1-gallon resealable food storage bag. 
  4. Shake (or mix) the sealed bag to combine the ingredients for a homemade floured poultry seasoning, and set the flour mixture aside.
  5. Pour the second cup of flour into a second resealable bag (or medium-sized mixing bowl) and set it aside.
  6. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, and set that mixture aside too.
  7. The chicken will go through a 3-step process from here.
  8. First, place the chicken in the bag (or bowl) of seasoned flour and shake or toss to coat the chicken evenly. 
  9. Second, shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture.
  10. Third, transfer the chicken to the last bag (or bowl) of flour and shake or toss until it’s very well coated. 
  11. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag (or bowl) and lightly brush or spray the chicken with peanut oil or vegetable oil.
  12. If using an air fryer with a basket, spray the basket with peanut oil or vegetable oil. 
  13. Place the chicken into the air fryer, making sure it’s skin-side up. It’s okay if the chicken pieces touch; don’t overcrowd them.
  14. Air fry at 360 degrees for a total of 20 minutes.
  15. Halfway through, after about 10 minutes have passed, flip the chicken over in the air fryer and return to cooking.
  16. Air fry at 360 degrees for the remaining 10 minutes or until the chicken is golden-brown and crisp all over.
  17. Keep the chicken in the air fryer on the ‘warm’ setting until the smothered chicken gravy is ready.
How do you make soul food smothered chicken gravy?

Ingredients for the soul food smothered chicken gravy

  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken gravy (or one 12 oz. jar)
  • ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • Optional – chopped parsley or green onion to garnish

Instructions for the soul food smothered chicken gravy

  1. Add all the ingredients: chicken broth, chicken gravy, whipping cream, flour, chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper in a large pot on low (I used my Instant Pot, with the lid off on the ‘slow cook’ setting).
  2. Whisk the ingredients to combine until the gravy mixture is lump-free and the bouillon dissolves.
  3. Allow the mixture to heat for 3-5 minutes before it’s ready to serve with the chicken.
  4. Serve this Black folks’ soul food Southern smothered chicken recipe with the chicken and gravy in separate serving bowls for each dinner guest to combine on their plate. Or combine the chicken and gravy in one serving bowl. 
  5. Optionally, garnish with fresh parsley or green onion and enjoy!
Soul Food Smothered Chicken

What do you serve with Black folks soul food Southern smothered chicken?

What goes with smothered chicken?

Soul food smothered chicken is often served with cornbreadmashed potatoes, Southern cabbage, or soul food collard greens

Because the gravy is so fulfilling, you won’t need any hot sauce or condiments. Some people like eating smothered chicken like a soup, so it’s not uncommon to see folks eating it with a spoon.

Black folks’ soul food Southern-style smothered chicken FAQs

Where did smothered chicken come from?

Smothered chicken is a dish that goes back to Louisiana. It’s often made of chicken, onions, and bell pepper. Cooked in a large skillet with garlic, butter, and flour, then topped with cream at the end. 

Smothering, a cooking technique derived from Native Americans, involves cooking with a large amount of liquid uncovered in a pot. The liquid is usually a mixture of chicken broth and vegetables. 

The Louisiana Cajun and Creole versions of smothered chicken ends up being a type of stew. Very trendy in Southern Louisiana, particularly New Orleans.

How long does it take to make soul food smothered chicken and gravy?

Do you crave smothered chicken on hectic weeknights? Want a great hack for smothered chicken on busy days?

Then you’ll love making this soul food smothered chicken recipe in the Instant Pot! It only takes 20 minutes to air-fry the chicken and less than 5 minutes to make the gravy.

Soul Food Smothered Chicken Thighs Recipe

How would this recipe turn out with chicken thighs?

How do you make smothered chicken thighs?

Thighs (dark meat chicken) hold flavor and juiciness the best compared to other white meat chicken parts (chicken breast or chicken wings). That’s why chicken thighs are used in this soul food recipe.

Chicken thighs also hold up well in both skillets and the Instant Pot

Would it be the same with wings?

You could use chicken wings, chicken breast, chicken drumsticks, or your favorite chicken pieces for this recipe.

How long to store leftover smothered chicken?

How long does smothered chicken and gravy last in the fridge?

Smothered chicken is a beautiful meal option because it’s loaded with flavor and easily reheated. For leftovers or to prepare ahead of time, refrigerate smothered chicken in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Can you freeze smothered chicken and gravy?

You can also prepare it in advance and freeze it for later use. If you’re not yet ready to eat it, you can freeze the smothered chicken for up to 2 months.

How to make chicken gravy?

Chicken gravy is simple and easy to make. It’s basically chicken brock thickened with flour, chicken bouillon, and heavy whipping cream. You can also use half the amount of cornstarch in place of flour.

What can you season the chicken with?

Before cooking chicken, I like to season it with poultry seasoning, garlic, and herbs. A good season-all or poultry seasoning will incorporate blends of black pepper, salt, paprika, onion, and garlic powder, among others. 

Soul Food Smothered Chicken Thighs

Is boneless, skinless chicken suitable for this recipe?

You can use boneless, skinless, or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this smothered chicken recipe. Traditionally, boneless skinless thighs are used for this dish. This is because boneless skinless thighs are the easiest to prepare.

To make them, remove the skin from a few chicken thighs and place the meat under cold running water to remove excess fat. To ensure that no moisture remains on your thighs, pat them dry with a paper towel. Boneless or bone-in and skin-on thighs both cook at about the same time.

Southern Soul Food Southern Smothered Chicken

What do you think of this soul food Southern smothered chicken recipe?

If you like this recipe, you’ll love these best chicken soul food recipes and best soul food cornbread recipes.

With so many African American recipes to choose from, which one is your favorite?

Leave you answer in a comment below!

The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
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Black Folks Soul Food Southern Smothered Chicken
Black Folks Soul Food Smothered Chicken

Black Folks Soul Food Southern Smothered Chicken

What makes a delicious soul food smothered chicken recipe?
Tender, juicy chicken seasoned with soul food spices and smothered in a flavorful, creamy gravy medley. That's Southern comfort food at its finest!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 6
Calories: 295kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Ingredients for the air fryer smothered fried chicken

  • 6 pieces chicken I used boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning (or similar)
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (or similar)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk ½ cup of buttermilk = ½ cup of milk & ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • cooking spray Peanut oil or vegetable oil for brushing or spraying on the chicken

Ingredients for the soul food smothered chicken gravy

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups chicken gravy or one 12 oz. jar
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup parsley Optional – chopped parsley or green onion to garnish

Instructions

Instructions for the air fried chicken

  • Combine the chicken seasoning and the garlic & herb seasoning in a small bowl.
  • Then rub the seasoning mixture onto the chicken pieces, and set the chicken aside.
  • Place 1 cup of the divided flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper in a medium-size mixing bowl or 1-gallon resealable food storage bag.
  • Shake (or mix) the sealed bag to combine the ingredients for a homemade floured poultry seasoning, and set the flour mixture aside.
  • Pour the second cup of flour into a second resealable bag (or medium-sized mixing bowl) and set it aside.
  • In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg, and set that mixture aside too.
  • The chicken will go through a 3-step process from here.
  • First, place the chicken in the bag (or bowl) of seasoned flour and shake or toss to coat the chicken evenly.
  • Second, shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Third, transfer the chicken to the last bag (or bowl) of flour and shake or toss until it’s very well coated.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag (or bowl) and lightly brush or spray the chicken with peanut oil or vegetable oil.
  • If using an air fryer with a basket, spray the basket with peanut oil or vegetable oil.
  • Place the chicken into the air fryer, making sure it’s skin-side up. It’s okay if the chicken pieces touch; don’t overcrowd them.
  • Air fry at 360 degrees for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Halfway through, after about 10 minutes have passed, flip the chicken over in the air fryer and return to cooking.
  • Air fry at 360 degrees for the remaining 10 minutes or until the chicken is golden-brown and crisp all over.
  • Keep the chicken in the air fryer on the ‘warm’ setting until the smothered chicken gravy is ready.

Instructions for the soul food smothered chicken gravy

  • Add all the ingredients: chicken broth, chicken gravy, whipping cream, flour, chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper in a large pot on low (I used my Instant Pot, with the lid off on the ‘slow cook’ setting).
  • Whisk the ingredients to combine until the gravy mixture is lump-free and the bouillon dissolves.
  • Allow the mixture to heat for 3-5 minutes before it’s ready to serve with the chicken.
  • Serve this Black folks’ soul food smothered chicken recipe with the chicken and gravy in separate serving bowls for each dinner guest to combine on their plate. Or combine the chicken and gravy in one serving bowl.
  • Optionally, garnish with fresh parsley or green onion and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Black Folks Soul Food Southern Smothered Chicken Recipe

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 645mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 801IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 5mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Juicy chicken + creamy gravy is the best!

    1. 5 stars
      Right! Soul food smothered chicken is one of the ultimate chicken comfort food recipes.