When it comes to crowning America’s most popular meat, chicken is the clear winner. It’s economical, widely available, and an easy way to get some protein into your diet.

As we all know, chicken recipes can also be incredibly boring. If not treated properly, you’ll be left with a dry, tasteless main dish that no amount of salt, pepper, or Sriracha can remedy. However, these 21 creative recipes will prove that chicken deserves to be the star of your dinner table.

1. Caprese Chicken

chicken recipe

Photo by Megan Prendergast

Our favorite Italian appetizer gets a main course makeover in this simple and healthy dish that can even be made in a toaster oven. Here’s the recipe.

2. Quinoa Fried “Rice” with Chicken

chicken recipe

Photo by Amanda Shulman

Replacing the rice with quinoa isn’t just trendy, it also packs extra protein to provide even more staying power. Top with a fried egg to make it truly Insta-worthy. Here’s the recipe.

3. Braised Chicken Thighs

chicken recipe

Photo by Kirby Barth

The often-overlooked chicken thighs are actually cheaper and more flavorful than their white meat counterparts. Braising the thighs will keep them juicy and will leave you with a tasty sauce that can be drizzled on a side of rice or pasta. Here’s the recipe.

4. Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

chicken recipe

Photo by Max Faucher

Ground chicken meets game day in these spicy meatballs. While traditional Buffalo wings are deep fried, these balls are baked for a healthier and less messy alternative. Perfect for weeknights and Sunday afternoons alike. Here’s the recipe.

5. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

chicken recipe

Photo by Sarah Silbiger

Bring big BBQ flavor to your kitchen with these chicken sandwiches topped with coleslaw. The tang of the slaw balances the sweetness of the BBQ sauce, which makes for an irresistibly good dish. Just make sure to keep the napkins handy. Here’s the recipe.

6. Chicken Teriyaki

chicken recipe

Photo by Helena Lin

Skip the takeout and whip up this from-scratch chicken teriyaki in about an hour. A 30-minute marinade with a simple mix of honey, soy, ginger, and garlic ensures that the final result is anything but bland. Here’s the recipe.

7. Baked Chicken Chimichangas

chicken recipe

Photo by Tiare Brown

It’s time to get baked with these zesty chimichangas, AKA tortillas stuffed with seasoned and shredded chicken, then popped in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up. Top with guac or sour cream and you’ve got a Mexican meal faster than you can get through the line at Chipotle circa dinnertime. Here’s the recipe.

8. Thai Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

chicken recipe

Photo by Angela Pizzimenti

Diet got you down? Ditch the salads and get your daily serving of veggies with these Thai-inspired lettuce wraps. The homemade peanut sauce really sends them over top. Here’s the recipe.

9. Copycat Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

chicken recipe

Photo by Abigail Wilkins

This DIY version of TJ’s popular pre-made burger is surprisingly easy to make. Just mix the veggies with ground chicken, grill, and serve on buns piled high with guacamole. Here’s the recipe.

#SpoonTip: Storebought guac is fine, but if you have time, whip up a batch of this recipe that tastes just like the kind you get at Chipotle. 

10. Asian-Style Baked Chicken

chicken recipe

Photo by Sandy Huang

With just four ingredients and ten minutes of prep time, this chicken dish is the answer to your weeknight dinner prayers. Round out the meal with rice and microwave-steamed veggiesHere’s the recipe.

11. Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

chicken recipe

Photo by Parisa Soraya

Whether you’re eight or 98, chicken nuggets are one of the few special foods that almost everyone finds hard to resist. This version uses a unique secret ingredient that will make your nuggets taste just like Chick-fil-A’s. Here’s the recipe.

12. Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Chicken

chicken recipe

Photo by George Farah

Picture this: it’s a cold winter day, you’ve spent hours at work/school, and the last thing you want to do is make dinner. Luckily, you don’t have to because you’ve got flavorful honey-garlic chicken waiting for you at home in your Crock Pot. Here’s the recipe.

13. 3-Ingredient Tandoori Chicken

chicken recipe

Photo by David Cui

This recipe uses a pre-made Tandoori spice mix to easily add Indian flare to chicken. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, try making your own with this recipe. If you’ve got time, marinate the chicken in the yogurt and spice blend for a few hours for maximum flavor and juiciness. Here’s the recipe.

14. Healthy Chicken Burrito

chicken recipe

Photo by Bari Blanga

If you can’t make it to Chipotle, or would just rather not risk getting sick, make this easy burrito to satisfy your craving. Follow the recipe as is, or change it up by adding black beans or corn. Here’s the recipe.

15. Handheld Chicken Pot Pies

chicken recipe

Photo by Xinyi Liu

A little puff pastry and four other ingredients are all you need to turn the comfort food classic into a portable pocket. Not a fan of peas? Sub in carrots, corn, or other cooked and diced veggies. Here’s the recipe.

#SpoonTip: Freeze the pot pies before baking, then store for dinner or an after-school snack. Simply bake at 400°F for around 30 minutes or until golden. 

16. Chicken Tomato Soup with Cornbread Croutons

chicken recipe

Photo by Nicole Korolevich

There’s nothing that can warm the soul during the frigid winter months quite like a steaming bowl of soup. This recipe uses fresh, Southwestern-inspired ingredients and is topped with homemade cornbread croutons. Here’s the recipe.

17. Chicken Fajita Salad

chicken recipe

Photo by Megan Prendergast

Going low-carb doesn’t have to suck, especially if you have this salad in your recipe repertoire. With fajita veggies, baked chicken, brown rice, black beans, and corn, this is one salad that won’t leave you hungry 30 minutes later. Here’s the recipe.

18. Healthy Jamaican Chicken Curry

chicken recipe

Photo by Bonnie Wu

The next time you get a craving for spicy food, skip the tacos and try this recipe instead. While it might require a trip to the store to pick up curry powder and a hot pepper, this unique dish is well worth the effort. Here’s the recipe.

19. Jose Cuervo Margarita Chicken Quesadillas

chicken recipe

Photo by Beth LeValley

It probably sounds crazy to combine chicken and margarita mix, but trust us on this one. Plus, there’s bacon, cheese, and carbs, so you know it’s gonna be good. Here’s the recipe.

20. Avocado Chicken Salad

chicken recipe

Photo by Paige Pulaski

For those days when merely heating up the stove or oven seems like too much of a chore, this avocado salad is the perfect solution. Use leftover cooked and diced chicken, or use cooled rotisserie chicken to get dinner on the table in no time flat. Here’s the recipe.

Bonus: It’s mayo-free for all you mayophobes out there.

P.S. Check out these alternative sandwich spreads.

21. Garlic-Braised Chicken with Tomatoes and Feta

chicken recipe

Photo by Kate Mellinger

This Greek-inspired chicken dish is braised with garlic, tomatoes, and thyme for maximum flavor, then topped with feta and served on a bed of rice or orzo to soak up all that glorious sauce. Here’s the recipe.