Bacon-wrapped chicken breast brings excitement back to the dinner table. The recipe is easy: season the meat, cover it with slices of cured pork, and roast until tender and juicy.
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Serving chicken breast every week can get boring and sometimes unbearable if it dries out. One tasty idea is to wrap it in smokey, cured pork, which renders its flavor onto the chicken. The bonus is that each serving stays super juicy when covered with the bacon layer.
I have a simple seasoning blend to coat the chicken and a maple syrup glaze that yields a caramelized crust. The key is thoroughly cooking the bacon and poultry at the same time. The chicken’s size and the pork’s thickness are crucial for optimal doneness.
“This recipe is AMAZING!! The chicken comes out so moist and yummy! My husband loved it tonight!”—Stephanie
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts about 8 ounces in size. They are a leaner cut and benefit from being wrapped in fatty bacon. They must be similar in weight and thickness for even cooking.
- Bacon: Grab your favorite type of bacon. Avoid thick cut bacon as it takes too long to render the fat and thoroughly cook. American-style bacon has a high fat-to-meat ratio, which yields crispy sections full of flavor. The slices of bacon are thin and pliable, making it easy to stretch and wrap. The fat coats the chicken, creating a protective layer to lock in the moisture.
- Seasoning: The chicken is seasoned with a mixture of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Sweetener: The bacon is brushed with maple syrup to balance the savory flavor.
See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven to 400ºF (204ºC). This ensures that it’s hot once the chicken is prepped. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Make the seasoning
Step 2: It’s essential to season the chicken for the best results. I use my go-to savory blend; in a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried Italian seasoning. I often sprinkle it onto my baked chicken breast to make it instantly more flavorful.
Season the chicken
Step 3: Look for breasts that are even in size. Pat dry the surface with a paper towel. Evenly season both sides with the seasoning mix.
Chef’s Note: My grocery store often sells jumbo pieces of chicken, so I usually trim off the tenders to get closer to half a pound. You can always use them later to make baked chicken tenders.
Wrap with bacon
Step 4: Start at the widest and thickest part of the breast, and wrap the bacon around and down towards the tapered end. Slightly overlap the edges and make sure the ends of the bacon are covered so they don’t unravel during the roasting process.
Depending on the size, you’ll need at least two or three pieces of bacon. The strips of bacon are stretchy, so I recommend trying your best to cover the chicken with just two pieces so the pan doesn’t get too greasy.
Meal Prep Tip: To save time, you can do this step a few days ahead and place it in the refrigerator covered until you’re ready to cook.
Brush on the glaze
Step 5: Place the bacon-wrapped chicken pieces on the foil-lined sheet pan. I find this is the most straightforward clean-up. For maximum flavor, I like to brush maple syrup on the wrapped bacon chicken breast. It balances the bacon’s super smokey and savory flavor.
The sweetener is sticky, and as it cooks, it concentrates and caramelizes, creating a delicious glaze. You can even add a little more syrup right before serving. If you prefer an unsweetened meal, it’s okay to skip this step.
Roast the chicken
Step 6: I typically bake bacon at 375ºF (190ºC), but I increased it to 400ºF (204ºC) for this recipe. The chicken will release moisture as it cooks, so slightly elevating the oven temperature ensures the bacon is crisp instead of soft from steaming. The bacon will have rendered most of the fat, and the meat will be a deep, brownish-red color.
Pro Tip: If you want the bacon to be more crispy, then once the chicken reaches 160ºF (71ºC), broil it on high for about 2 to 4 minutes. But don’t overcook!
Now that you know how to cook bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, it’s easy to customize! Try these tasty options:
- Chicken: If desired, you can use chicken thighs, but keep an eye on the cooking time as they are much smaller. Make an appetizer using chicken tenders and one slice of bacon.
- Seasoning: Modify the seasoning is easy with sweet or spicy paprika. Add other dried herbs or spices you have on hand, like herbs de Provence, basil, oregano, rosemary, or thyme.
- Spicy: Add heat with cayenne, chipotle, or chili powder to the seasoning or the maple glaze. Place fresh jalapeno under the bacon wrap.
- Sweetener: Honey and brown sugar make good swaps. You can sprinkle on dark brown sugar for extra molasses flavor and let it dissolve on top of the bacon.
- Homemade barbecue sauce
- Buffalo sauce
- Ranch dressing
- Mushroom gravy
- Steamed broccoli
- Mashed potatoes
Frequently asked questions
If you like a crispier bottom, you can cook the bacon-wrapped chicken on a wire rack set on top of the pan. This process helps the fat and juices drip down but not directly contact the moisture.
Yes! Just make sure to use regular-cut bacon for wrapping the poultry. Thick-cut products will take too long to cook, causing potential dried-out chicken if done before. If needed, you can broil the pieces at the end of cooking to render more fat and create more crisp bacon if thick-cut is your only option.
Sure! Just don’t overfill the center with stuffing so it stays inside instead of oozing out. You may need a longer cooking time since the filling will be cooler. Make sure to test both the top and bottom of the chicken for doneness.
Why is the fully-cooked chicken still pink?
If you notice a slight pink hue on the chicken and juices after cooking, it can be caused by a few things. When hemoglobin in the muscle proteins reacts with oxygen in the environment, this can cause a pinkish tint. The nitrites and nitrates in most bacon products, used for curing and as a preservative, can slightly color the meat as it cooks.
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 400ºF (204ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Make the Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Season the Chicken – Thoroughly dry each chicken breast with a paper towel. Evenly sprinkle both sides with the seasoning mixture.
- Wrap with Bacon – Start at the wider end of the chicken. Gently stretch and wrap a piece of bacon around and down towards the middle. Slightly overlap the edges to secure it on the chicken. Use the second piece of bacon to finish wrapping down towards the tapered end. The seams should be beneath the breast to prevent unraveling. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Transfer to the foil-lined pan.
- Glaze (optional) – Brush the surface of the bacon-wrapped chicken with maple syrup if using. Sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.
- Roast – Cook until the internal temperature reaches between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC) on a meat thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness. The bacon should be fully cooked. If desired, brush with the rendered bacon grease and maple syrup.
- Serve – Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess grease on the bottom. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- For a Crispier Surface: Broil on high after the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF (71ºC) until the surface is crisp, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Large Chicken Breasts: Three pieces of bacon may be needed for wrapping.
- Storing: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Reheat in the microwave on high in 30-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, bake on a foil-lined sheet pan at 350ºF (177ºC) until warm.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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