closeup of a cast iron skillet filled with Southern smothered chicken

Southern Smothered Chicken

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 13 servings 1x


Southern smothered chicken with homemade gravy is a popular low carb comfort food served in the South.  Traditionally made in a cast iron skillet, it will quickly become a family dinner favorite.  Use drumsticks, thighs, or backs to make this simple meal idea.



  • 13 chicken pieces with skin (5 backs and 8 drumsticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided between two skillets
  • 4 cups yellow onion, diced (roughly 3 large onions)
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3 jumbo cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock (reserve 1 cup)
  • 12 thyme sprigs, divided between two skillets
  • 6 sage leaves, divided between two skillets
  • 4 thyme sprigs, for garnish


  1. Rinse the chicken pieces in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside on two large plates.
  2. In a 9×9-inch pan, place the flour and seasonings.  Mix well.
  3. Chop up the onions and celery, then mince the garlic.  Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in two large skillets over medium high heat.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour-spice mixture and shake off the excess flour.  Reserve the leftover flour mixture for making the roux.  Place 6 or 7 pieces of chicken in each skillet, making sure they aren’t touching.
  5. Brown the chicken by cooking it for 5 minutes per side, until the skin is golden brown.  Adjust the temperature if necessary.  Drain chicken pieces on paper towels.
  6. Pour off the fat from the two skillets into a bowl, then add 4 tablespoons back into each skillet.
  7. Divide the onion and celery between the two skillets.  Saute with a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper for a 5 to 7 minutes, then add the garlic.  Cook until fragrant, roughly 2 minutes.
  8. Lower the heat to medium.  Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved flour mixture to each skillet to create a roux.  Whisk the flour with the fat and cook for a minute.  Slowly add the 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth to each skillet while constantly whisking to prevent lumps.  Cook the gravy for two minutes.
  9. Add the browned chicken pieces back to the skillets and coat each piece with the gravy.  Cover the skillets with lids to speed up the cooking time and to prevent the gravy from reducing.  If you don’t own a lid big enough to cover your cast iron, cover your skillet with aluminum foil.  Turn the chicken once while the chicken is simmering on top of the stove.  If necessary, add 1/2 cup chicken stock to the gravy in each skillet.  Over medium low heat, cook for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is falling off the bone.  The meat thermometer should read 165 F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.  If you prefer, you can place your covered cast iron skillet in a 350F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
  10. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.  Serve warm over rice, mashed potatoes, or with a crusty bread to sop up the gravy.


  • The pleasure of a 5 star review of this Southern smothered chicken recipe would greatly be appreciated.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: southern, soul food

%d bloggers like this: