9 Great Chicken Recipes That Can Be on the Table in 30 Minutes Flat
Chicken is the perfect dinner choice when you’re short on time. Higher in protein and lower in fat than many other meats, chicken helps enhance health and wellbeing as part of a balanced diet. It’s full of nutritious B vitamins and can promote muscle growth for weight trainers. About 85% of people in this country have eaten chicken in the past two weeks, making it one of the most beloved proteins around. And because it’s so wonderfully quick to cook, you can have a chicken main dish on the table in half an hour or less.
Read next: 25 Easy & Delicious Salmon Recipes
To bring you the best in fantastically fast chicken recipes, we’ve rounded up a collection of healthy favorites in a wide variety of flavor profiles and culinary traditions.
By pounding out chicken breasts, which can be done expediently with a mallet, you’ll have fiesta lime chicken with avocado salsa ready in a shocking 15 minutes from start to finish. Lime juice and zest pair with spices like cumin and smoked paprika for a highly flavored chicken breast, and the salsa is full of heart-healthy avocado, tomatoes, fresh corn, jalapeño pepper, and even more lime juice and cumin. Thanks to the healthy fats and high fiber from avocados, this dish is also surprisingly filling.
Gluten-free, high in protein, and full of fresh vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and bean sprouts, you can have healthy chicken pad Thai that tastes restaurant-quality, but is lower in sugar, fat, and sodium than the average takeout dish. Plus, it’ll be plated just a half hour after you begin prepping, which is quicker than any delivery driver can offer. If you don’t eat peanuts, try sunflower, almond, or cashew butter instead. With other seasonings such as sriracha, ginger, lime, fish sauce, and coconut sugar, the resemblance to the classic Thai dish can easily stand up to that substitution.
You’d be surprised how many 30-minute chicken pesto dishes want you to just open a container of pesto. Not so with this 30 minute chicken basil pesto pasta skillet, which includes a full recipe for fresh pesto that you make alongside the rest of the dish. Not interested in serving it with cooked pasta? We suggest an alternative pasta (the chickpea versions are healthier than you might think), an ancient grain, or a bowl of roasted vegetables for a more healthful take. For a vegan version, opt for nutritional yeast in lieu of parmesan cheese, or try a sheep’s cheese like pecorino.
Getting a stir fry as crispy in texture as a restaurant dish takes a lot of skill… or an air fryer, as in this air fryer chicken and broccoli. By cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces, it will cook extra quickly, and the broccoli can be added anytime during its cooking in the air fryer. That way, you can have it precisely as al dente — or as crispy — as you wish. To serve, consider quinoa, which cooks in just about 20 minutes.
Rounded out with bell peppers, carrots, garlic, and onion, these healthy ground chicken sloppy joes are a delicious take on the less-than-healthful version we grew up with. You’ll spend about ten minutes on prep, then everything comes together in a hearty mixture that includes lycopene-rich tomato sauce. Apple cider vinegar adds a punchy flavor along with digestive benefits. We’d recommend swapping out the brown sugar for honey or maple syrup, and opting for whole-grain buns, or better yet, serving as a bowl over prepared quinoa or black rice.
Flavorful lemon chicken alone is wonderful, but it’s made even better with green beans and mushrooms in this 30-minute lemon garlic one pan chicken breast recipe. We love how ingredients go in and out of the same skillet to save on dishes, and it all makes for a lovely presentation that could be brought directly to the table as-is. You can swap out the cornstarch for arrowroot if you avoid corn — and we think the green beans could be steamed for 3-4 minutes, rather than boiled for 10, to maintain more integrity and nutrition.
Fresh ginger and MCT-laden coconut milk provide depth and vibrance to this 30 minute Thai chicken curry, which can be served over any grain you love. In lieu of the curry paste many recipes resort to, you’ll use a mix of spices that includes coriander, turmeric, and paprika. Stewing the chicken in the rich coconut milk will enable it to pick up lots of flavor in a short amount of time. The recipe doesn’t note that you’ll want to cut the chicken breast into smaller pieces, but we suggest it to keep the cooking time low.
This one is a real crowd pleaser, and this honey garlic chicken stir fry takes a scant 25 minutes to prep and cook. Broccoli florets shift the dish from a protein-only main into one that comes with a vegetable prepped with it, and the simple sauce is built directly in the pan, giving you the ability to make it as thick or thin as you like. Serve this over cauliflower rice instead of white for an even more vegetable-filled meal.
Pare down the marinade time to a brief 15-20 minutes instead of the recommended hour, and you’ll have 20-minute Mediterranean chicken on the table in 30 minutes or less from start to finish. A marinade that includes balsamic vinegar and garlic gives the chicken depth of flavor, while the toppings such as feta cheese and Roma tomatoes tie in the Mediterranean flair. Basil ribbons sprinkled over the top are the piece de resistance to a whole food chicken dish from an area of the world where the cuisine is well known for improving longevity.
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