Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee is French for “browned and served with sauce.” It’s a simple dish, very filling and delicious. It happened to be Abraham Lincoln’s favorite dish, and when his wife would fret about his habitual forgetfulness when it came to eating, she’d have the White House staff cook up a nice batch of Chicken Fricassee. It’s a simple recipe, and from the very first bite it tastes like comfort.

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Chicken Fricassee


I chose chicken thighs for this recipe, but the traditional preparation takes the whole chicken. The chicken is then cut to pieces and the legs, wings, thighs, and breasts are all simmered in the sauce.

Did you know?: Honest Abe liked the kitchen staff to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and simmer it, so he’d have more sauce in each bite.

If you’re buying chicken thighs, choose a cut that is already de-boned and skinless.

The Spices

This is a very classic recipe, and I’m going to keep it as close to the old-fashioned as I can. That being said, I always include a little ground mustard when I’m making chicken. You’ll need ground mustard, marjoram, mace, coarse ground black pepper, Original Seasoning, and grated nutmeg.

Mix all of the spices together and generously season on both sides of the chicken. Save the remaining seasoning for later.

Chicken Fricassee in a Dutch Oven on a Wood Stove

In the 19th century, this would have been cooked over a wood stove in a skillet with a lid. For today’s purposes, a Dutch oven is going to do you just fine, as is any skillet that works well on an open fire.

Tip: If you’re cooking inside the home, any skillet with a lid or enameled cast iron with a lid will also work well.

Start by melting the butter in the skillet. Then, pour the heavy cream over the top. If you don’t have heavy cream, half & half is fine. Set the chicken pieces down and flip them over, coating with cream and butter.

Simmer on Medium Low until the chicken becomes fork tender. If you keep it boiling, the milk will scorch. Stir frequently.

Did you know? Abe Lincoln had a Studebaker wagon, just like the Cowboy. Watch our restoration of our 1876 Chuck Wagon here.

The chicken is ready when the internal temp is 165 Fahrenheit.

As Seen in This Recipe

Make the Gravy

There is so much flavor in the cream already from the spices and the chicken. Add about 4 tbsp of flour and stir until thickened. Add more flour as needed.

Tip: If the gravy is too thick, you can thin it out with a bit more cream. If too thin, add another spoonful of flour.

When the gravy is finished, coat the chicken pieces all over and simmer them for a few minutes while you plate up the biscuits. You can serve anything you want on the side, but the biscuits to sop up the gravy are mandatory! Try our Angel Flake Buttermilk Biscuits or our 2-Ingredient Biscuit recipes.

Chicken Fricassee simmering in a cast iron Dutch oven over a wood stove.

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Latest Recipes from Cowboy Kent Rollins


Chicken Fricassee - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons marjoram
  • Kent’s Original seasoning to taste (optional)
  • 8 chicken thighs skinless and boneless
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  • Combine the salt, pepper, nutmeg, mace, mustard, and marjoram together in a small bowl. If you wish, add the Original Seasoning. Generously season the chicken on all sides with the mixture.
  • Add the butter to a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet. Melt the butter. Place the chicken in the dish and pour in the cream. Turn the chicken thighs over to coat both sides with the cream.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender and an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm.
  • Whisk the flour into the cream remaining in the skillet, until it thickens slightly into a gravy consistency.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!