An absolute classic! I’ve been making this chicken ala king for years. The recipe was handed down to me from my mum, who used to make it for me when I was growing up. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken (or you can use rotisserie chicken).
I’ve always loved the way the sauce sinks into the rice, making every bite taste creamy, savoury and delicious.

Chicken ala king with rice on a dark blue plate. Further plate in the background.
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I was amazed when I first learned that the recipe called for milk and sherry.

I mean eugh!


Up until the last couple of years, I think the only times I’d ever had sherry have been:

  • Mixed with a blue WKD alcopop as a teenager (I think it was called a Cheeky Vimto – quite nice actually, but anything that’s alcoholic, full of sugar and blue in colour is going to be nice when you’re first experimenting with after college pub crawls!). Actually, that could be Port.  Falls into the same category though…
  • In my Nanna’s trifle. Mmmm sherry trifle – sooo 80’s.

In the past couple of years I’ve found it’s a great staple for using in Chinese recipes like Sticky Chicken Stir Fry and Beef and Broccoli (I use sherry instead of rice wine sometimes).

Mixing the sherry in the milk-based sauce does sound a little bizarre I know, but without it, the whole dish just tastes bland. The sherry seems to cause some kind of reaction that just lifts the whole flavour. You don’t even need much (in fact too much is horrible), but you do need it.

What do we need?

Ingredients for making chicken ala king
  • Chicken – I use 2 large cooked chicken breasts to serve 4 people. You can use any of the leftover chicken from cooking a roast chicken, or you can use rotisserie chicken if you like.
  • Mushrooms – I use baby chestnut mushrooms, but you can use cremini, baby portobello or white mushrooms. I find white mushrooms have the least flavour, so use brown mushrooms if you can.
  • Chicken stock – homemade is good, but hot water and a couple of stock cubes works great too.
  • Milk – you can use full-fat or semi-skimmed.
  • Dry sherry – you only need 2 tablespoons for plenty of flavour.

How to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Fry off some chopped mushrooms in a little oil, then transfer to a bowl.
  2. Soften sliced onion in a pan with oil, then stir in flour and cook whilst stirring for one minute.
  3. Add in a splash hot stock and mix into the onion/flour with a whisk. It should form a thick paste. Add the rest of the stock a large splash at a time, keep stirring with the whisk to ensure your sauce doesn’t go lumpy.
  4. Once all the stock is incorporated, add in milk and thyme. Stir until thickened.
  5. Add sherry, salt and pepper, then add in cooked shredded chicken and mushrooms and heat through.
Collage of 8 images showing the process of making chicken al a king

What to serve it with

Close up of Chicken ala king on a dark plate with rice.

Can I make it ahead?

I don’t recommend making this recipe ahead. The recipe uses cooked chicken that is essentially being reheated in the ala king sauce. It’s not recommended to reheat food more than once.

Ingredient swaps

You can swap out the shredded chicken breast for cooked thigh meat.
Try adding peas or chopped green peppers to the dish (fry them up with the mushrooms, then add them back into the sauce with the mushrooms at the end).

How to scale up and scale down this recipe

You can halve or double this recipe using the same ingredient ratios.

Watch how to make it

YouTube video

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4.84 from 12 votes

Chicken ala King

Leftover (or rotisserie) chicken in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and a hint of sherry. A rich, comforting and easy dinner.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, British


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 baby chestnut mushrooms sliced in half (you can swap for button mushrooms, or 5-6 regular-sized sliced mushrooms)
  • 1 large onion peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 280 ml (1 cup + 3 tbsp) hot chicken stock hot water and a couple of stock cubes is fine
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) semi-skimmed or full-fat milk
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or a tsp of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry *carefully measured (too much will make the sauce taste of sherry)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 large cooked chicken breasts chopped into bite sized chunks (about 250g/9oz)

To Serve:

  • chopped fresh parsley
  • boiled rice or pasta
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  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium-high heat.
    3 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms are golden brown. Scoop out of the pan, and put in a bowl.
    12 baby chestnut mushrooms
  • Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in the pan and add the onion. Fry for 5-6 minutes on a medium-high heat until the edges of the onion wedges start to brown slightly. Move the onions around the pan to ensure they don’t burn.
    1 large onion
  • Stir in the flour and cook whilst stirring for one minute.
    2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • Add in a splash of the hot stock and mix into the onion/flour with a whisk. It should form a thick paste. Add the rest of the stock a large splash at a time, keep stirring with the whisk to ensure your sauce doesn’t go lumpy.
    280 ml (1 cup + 3 tbsp) hot chicken stock
  • Once all the stock is incorporated, add in the milk and the thyme. Keep stirring and the sauce will thicken as it heats up.
    200 ml (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) semi-skimmed or full-fat milk, ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Once thickened, add the sherry, salt, and pepper. Give it a taste and add a little more seasoning if needed.
    2 tbsp dry sherry, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Add the cooked chicken and mushrooms and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes to ensure the chicken is hot throughout.
    2 large cooked chicken breasts
  • Serve on top of some fluffy white rice and finish with a sprinkling of parsley.
    chopped fresh parsley, boiled rice or pasta


YouTube video


Nutritional Information is per serving, not including serving suggestion of rice.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 952mg | Potassium: 604mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This recipe was first published in January 2015. Updated in January 2021 with new photos, video and tips.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Gilbert H says:

    4 stars
    Greetings. 1st time with this recipe, hence 4 stars.
    My wife commented with a smile, “hmm, very tasty”. I agree. For myself, I added Tabasco Green pepper sauce, and that left me smilin’! Appreciate you, thanks.

  2. Susan Montoya says:

    This recipe for Chicken A’la King sounds delicious, but is there a substitute for the Sherry?

  3. Lesley P says:

    5 stars
    Very good.Make sure that you use full fat and not semi skimmed milk I had to add cream.Just check the sherry before you add and if you half the ingredients be careful that it’s not too salty if using stock cubes for the sauce. I used lemon to rectify.

  4. Lynn Mcgaughran says:

    5 stars
    The sherry really does lift this recipe.

  5. Marissa Petersen says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I tend to only make it a couple times a year, after a holiday meal to use up the turkey. I serve it over toast or biscuits usually… I think crescents would be delicious as well! One other trick I learned a.ouple of years ago was to beat an egg yolk in a separate bowl, add about 1/4 cup of the hot creamy sauce (before adding all the meat and veggies) mixture 2 I’m that bowl and then slowly incorporate it to the entire creamy sauce and then finish with adding the meat and veggies. It adds such a richness to it that you won’t want it any other way.

  6. Kurium says:

    5 stars
    A quick and easy recipe that uses simple ingredients. The outcome was wonderful. Clean up was hassle free. Will make this again.

  7. Lynn Gordon says:

    4 stars
    Good day My name is Lynn Gordon
    I made the chicken ala king, you recipe is easy and so tasty, This will be the only recipe I’ll use for chicken ala king
    Thanks for the wonderful wonderful recipes. I Love, love, love it

  8. John says:

    Hi Nicky my name is John some time ago I cooked one of your chicken recipes ,when the chicken had a sauce of some description was cooked and finished under the grill and I have so many of your recipes I can’t remember which recipe it was can you help and jog my memory thanks John

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi John, it could be the chicken tikka masala? Or possibly the Tuscan chicken (although the chicken is finished in the oven rather than under the grill).

  9. Carl Holt says:

    This is a fantastic website, love your easy to follow recipes.