Chicken kokkinisto with pasta (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με μακαρόνια)

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta is simple ingredients slow-cooked to create the perfect Greek comfort food

There is a whole world of Greek food called kokkinista (κοκκινιστά), and we love them all.  The term kokkinista means reddened, and the concept behind these dishes is simple; take a protein or vegetable, cook it slowly in a rich tomato sauce, serve it over something that can help sop up this lovely sauce, and realize that great food does not need to be fancy or complicated.

We have already posted some classic kokkinista dishes like chicken kokkinisto served with french fries and veal kokkinisto served with rice.  Both of these meals are incredibly comforting, filling and very easy to put together. Because you can never have too much of a good thing, today, chicken kokkinisto with pasta joins the party.  This recipe uses enough tomato sauce to not only stew the chicken, but to also to coat the pasta.  When  grated mizithra gets added, this meal is one of the greatest things you can possibly eat.  Seriously.  We’re not kidding.  Not even a little bit.

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

Helpful hints

Our parents use their homemade tomato sauce for their kokkinisto; you can find the recipe for their sauce here.  However, if you don’t have any homemade tomato sauce handy, and aren’t planning to make some any time soon, simply use the best quality jarred or canned tomato sauce that you can find.

The olive oil listed in the ingredient list is an approximation.  You will fry your chicken in 1/2 cup of olive oil and then your sauce will take a total of 1/2 cup of olive oil.  You will use the oil that you used to fry your chicken, but you might have to top it off as described in the recipe.


Simple foods such as this really benefit from using the best quality ingredients.  Along with using a homemade tomato sauce if possible, try to find organic, free-range chicken.  The price is usually higher, but the taste is also so much better.

The cloves listed in this recipe are optional.  According to our parents it is quite traditional to use cloves in this recipe, but one of us hates cloves and so they tend not to include them.  If you are going to use this vile ingredient cloves, be sure to pluck them out of your sauce before you serve the meal.  Have you ever bitten into a clove?  It’s nasty (says the clove hater)!

The pasta you use is totally up to you but for this dish our parents almost always use some variation of long Misko pasta, which is a popular Greek pasta.  If you can find it where you live, go ahead and use it.  If not, you can either be really committed to authenticity and order it online, or use another brand of pasta.

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

The amount of mizithra listed is an approximation. Truth is, one of us loves mizithra so much that one plate of dinner alone can use up 1/2 cup of cheese.  More reasonable people however will use much less, so the 1/2 cup listed is probably reasonable for 4 – 6 servings.

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

If you cannot find mizithra, you can substitute a combination of grated romano and grated parmesan cheeses.  Or, you can order your mizithra online; if you’re going to do that, you may as well order the Misko pasta too!

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta
Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

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Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

Simple ingredients slow-cooked to create the perfect Greek comfort food
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 817kcal
Author: Mia Kouppa



  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus an additional 1/4 cup (60 mL) if needed
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 whole cloves, optional
  • 500 grams pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated mizithra cheese or a combination of Parmesan and Romano cheese


  • Butcher your chicken to give you 8 serving pieces; you should end up with 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 breasts.  If your chicken breasts are large, you can cut them in half and therefore end up with a total of 10 pieces.  Remove any excess fat, but leave the skin on the chicken.  Sprinkle the salt evenly over your chicken and set aside.
    1 whole chicken, 1 tbsp salt
  • In a deep frying pan heat 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium heat.  Add your chicken to the pan and begin frying it.  Do not overcrowd your pan as this will reduce the heat; it is better to fry your chicken in two batches if your pan is not large enough to fit it all in at once.
    1/2 cup olive oil
  • Fry your chicken for approximately 5 – 7 minutes per side, until golden brown.  As your chicken cooks, place it in a large pot.
  • After all of your chicken is fried and has been transferred to the pot VERY CAREFULLY transfer the hot oil to a glass measuring cup.  Add enough extra olive oil to bring the total volume to 1/2 cup.
  • Pour this oil into the pot over the chicken.  Add the tomato sauce, water, cinnamon, pepper and cloves if you are using them.
    4 cups tomato sauce, 1 cup water, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 whole cloves, optional
  • Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then reduce to medium heat.  Cook, covered, for 45 minutes.  Remove cover and check sauce; it should be relatively thick and coating the chicken pieces nicely.  Cook uncovered for another 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the packaging directions.
    500 grams pasta
  • When the pasta is done, drain it well and get ready to serve. Toss your pasta with mizithra cheese (at least 2 tablespoons per serving) and then ladle on some chicken and accompanying sauce. Be sure to remove the cloves from the sauce if you used them.
    1/2 cup grated mizithra cheese
  • Enjoy!



Calories: 817kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 2179mg | Potassium: 932mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 960IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 4mg

Thanks for sharing!


  1. This recipe looks like what mom and Yiayia would do to make Kapama. When they made it they used one small can of tomato paste and less sauce. The main taste that I remeber was cinnamon and the dish was sloooow cooked so as to permeate the house with the wonderful aroma.
    I have since turned into a WFPB vegan so I will not be making this with chicken but I have made it with flavored vital wheat gluten and it’s been heavenly.
    Really enjoy your recipes and please keep the Greek vegan recipes coming. Love

    1. miakouppa says:

      Yes! The cinnamon and slow cooking are what food dreams are made of 🙂 Your vegan variation sounds great! We hope that you have found the identification of our vegan recipes in our recipe list helpful; also, if you do eat honey (we understand that some vegans do, and other don’t), the recipes listed under “Nistisima” would be suitable for you too. We’ll keep those vegan recipes coming! Easy, because so much of Greek cooking is naturally free of animal products. Have a great day 🙂

  2. I have never heard of mizithra cheese. The recipe is so simple and looks very delicious. I have never cooked with lots of cinnamon powder, either. I am going to try this recipe during the week. I would probably reduce the amount of oil to 1/4 cup. Would it still taste nice? What can I substitute with homemade tomato sauce? Fresh tomatoes are very rare and expensive here.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Liz! If you can’t find mizithra cheese, you can substitute with a combination of grated parmesan and grated romano cheese. As for reducing the oil, you can do that – and it will probably taste very nice – you just have to be sure that you have enough liquid to prevent burning. As for the tomato sauce, you can use a good quality canned tomato sauce or even canned whole tomatoes that you puree. Hope that helps!

  3. P/S your photos are very nice!!!

    1. miakouppa says:

      Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Hi
    Where can I purchass mizithra online? When I asked about it at the grocery store they (of course) had no idea what I was talking about.
    I’m in Montana.
    I love your recipes and stories!
    Thank you
    – Lucy

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Lucy,
      We’re so happy that you enjoy our recipes and posts! Thank you for being here with us. We have found these online stores which sell mizithra like the one we use in many recipes (to note, there are 2 types of mizithra – the hard kind which is grated and used like a parmesan and the soft kind which is sometimes used in cheese pies – the latter is similar to a ricotta cheese). The links here are for the hard mizithra.
      Hope one of these helps.
      xoxo Helen & Billie

    2. I’ve read you can mix parmesan and Romano 1/2 and 1/2 mix if you can’t find mizithra cheese.

      1. miakouppa says:

        Hi Justin 🙂 Yes, we have suggested that substitution in a few of our recipes – not exactly the same, but a great alternative. Enjoy! xoxo Helen & Billie

  5. I learned to make this while living in Greece many years ago. I still make it, using only chicken thighs. My son grew up on this and refuses to eat pasta with meat sauce to this day. When I have out of town guests, they ask if I’ll be making my “Greek spaghetti”. The only differences between your recipe and the way I learned to make it is that I use tomato paste instead of sauce, lots of fresh oregano and garlic, no cloves, and a cinnamon stick instead of powder. I slow cook it until the sauce is greatly reduced and the house smells heavenly. On nice days when the windows are open, my neighbors comment on the wonderful aroma. I’m going to make your pastitsio recipe next week for my birthday. I can’t wait!

    1. miakouppa says:

      This has always been a favourite with our families as well. Love the reference to it as “Greek spaghetti” 🙂 Happy early birthday – we are so happy to be invited to your celebration through our pastitsio recipe 🙂 Hope you love it as much as we do!!! Let us know how you enjoy it 🙂 xox Helen & Billie

  6. Aside from the video… where is the written recipe?


    PS I love this website! It has turned me into a Greek mother… which horrifies my German mother, who wonders what happened to her son.

    1. miakouppa says:

      Hi Sacha, The recipe should be at the bottom of the post – possible it wasn’t there when you first checked. Since launching our new website we have had to deal with a few glitches…but it’s there now!! Hope you enjoy this meal – it is one of our favourites! Also, your PS had us laughing out loud!! Hopefully if your German mom eats some of the delicious Greek food you prepare she’ll be less horrified 🙂 🙂 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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