Chicken à la King

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Chicken à la King
Chicken à la King prepared with egg noodles
Place of originDisputed
Main ingredientschicken, cream sauce, and often with sherry, mushrooms, and vegetables

Chicken à la King (Franglais; 'King-style chicken') is a dish consisting of diced chicken in a cream sauce, and often with sherry, mushrooms, and vegetables, served over rice, noodles, or bread.[1]


A 1900 cookbook containing a chicken à la King recipe.

Several competing accounts about its origin have circulated:

  • One claim is it was created by Delmonico's chef Charles Ranhofer as Chicken à la Keene in the 1880s, named after Foxhall Parker Keene.
  • Another version claims it was created in 1881 at Claridge's Hotel in London and named for James R. Keene, father of Foxhall.
  • Another account claims chef George Greenwald of the Brighton Beach Hotel in Brighton Beach created it in 1898, naming it after patron E. Clarke King II and his wife.[2][3][4]
  • Another account is that chicken à la King was created in the 1890s by hotel cook William "Bill" King of the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Several obituaries in early March 1915 credited King after he died on March 4, 1915.[5][6] A New York Tribune editorial at the time of King's death stated:

    The name of William King is not listed among the great ones of the earth. No monuments will ever be erected to his memory, for he was only a cook. Yet what a cook! In him blazed the fire of genius which, at the white heat of inspiration, drove him one day, in the old Bellevue, in Philadelphia, to combine bits of chicken, mushrooms, truffles, red and green peppers and cream in that delight-some mixture which ever after has been known as "Chicken a la King."[7]

The recipe was mentioned in the New York Times in 1893,[8] and early published recipes appeared in 1900[9] and 1905.[10] Fannie Merritt Farmer included a recipe in her 1911 publication on catering.[11] The Fannie Farmer Cookbook includes a recipe for Chicken à la King in the 1906 update.[12] It became a popular dish during the middle to late 20th century.


  1. ^ D'Amato, Luisa (October 17, 2007). Delicious, easy to make and oddly addictive. The Waterloo Record (via Internet Archive)
  2. ^ Allen, Beth and Susan Westmoreland (2004). Good Housekeeping Great American Classics Cookbook. Hearst Books, ISBN 978-1-58816-280-9
  3. ^ Gilbar, Steven (2008). Chicken a la King & the Buffalo Wing: Food Names and the People and Places. Writers Digest, ISBN 978-1-58297-525-2
  4. ^ George Leonard Herter and Berthe E Herter, (1971) Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, p31
  5. ^ Staff report (March 5, 1915). "Chicken a la King" inventor dies. New York Tribune, p. 9, col. 5
  6. ^ Via Philadelphia Ledger (14 March 1915). A name on all men's tongues. Washington Post, pg. M4
  7. ^ Editorial (7 March 1915). Chicken a la King. New York Tribune, pg. 8, cols. 1-2
  8. ^ Staff (14 December 1893). Alumni of Princeton College luncheon. New York Times, p. 3.
  9. ^ A Book of famous old New Orleans recipes used in the South for more than 200 years. Peerless Printing Co., 1900
  10. ^ Staff report (3 February 1905). Chicken a la King. Washington Times, p. 7, col. 1
  11. ^ Farmer, Fannie Merritt (1911). Catering for special occasions. D. McKay
  12. ^ Marion Cunningham, Fannie Merritt Farmer, Lauren Jarrett (1996). The Fannie Farmer cookbook. Random House, Inc., p. 250. ISBN 978-0-679-45081-8

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