Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

5 from 17 votes
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This easy and delicious broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast is made all in one pan! Each piece of protein is filled with tender florets and melty sharp cheddar for a hearty, low-carb meal.

For more chicken recipes filled with goodness, give my stuffed parmesan chicken and spinach artichoke stuffed chicken a try.

Four pieces of broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast in a skillet.

Making the typical chicken dinner more exciting while getting your greens in for the day can be a challenge. Stuffing chicken with broccoli is the answer! Simply cut a pocket into the meat, add the vegetable cheddar filling, and cook. It’s an easy recipe that you can even prepare in advance for those busy weekdays. It cooks in less than 30 minutes!

Broccoli is a hard and fibrous cruciferous vegetable. Cutting the head into small florets tenderizes quicker when added to the filling. The meat sears on the stovetop to develop a golden crust and then finishes cooking inside the oven. This method delivers flavor from the surface to the hot and bubbly center. 

Recipe ingredients

  • Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for the recipe—select between 8 and 12 ounces in weight. The larger size best handles the filling, giving an excellent meat-to-filling ratio.
  • Vegetables: Purchase a large head or pre-cut packaged broccoli florets to make the filling.
  • Cheese: I use two types of cheese for stuffing the chicken breast. Cream cheese adds a rich, tangy flavor and helps bind the florets into the mixture, making filling easier. I use shredded sharp cheddar cheese for its aged taste and meltability.
  • Aromatics: Minced garlic and sliced green onions add a subtle allium flavor to the filling.
  • Seasoning: Use a savory mix of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Step 1: The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 375ºF (218ºC). The moderate heat in the oven will prevent the chicken from drying out.

Prepare the broccoli

Broccoli florets, grated cheddar cheese, and seasonings in a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Fresh broccoli is very fibrous and needs to be broken down into smaller pieces, about 1 inch or smaller. This size will make it easier to tenderize when cooked inside the meat. You can add the stalk, but peel the outer fibrous layer, then chop.

Make the filling 

Spatula mixing broccoli and cream cheese filling being in a bowl.

Step 3: Use softened cream cheese to make it easier to mix the filling ingredients thoroughly. Combine it with the broccoli pieces, shredded cheddar cheese, minced garlic, green onions, salt, and pepper. I like to add garlic powder and onion powder for a full-bodied, roasted allium taste. 

Make Ahead Tip: You can prepare the filling three days before and cover it with plastic wrap. Just stuff it in the chicken when you’re ready to cook. 

Prepare the chicken

Person slicing the side of a chicken breast to make a pocket for filling.

Step 4: Place the chicken down on the cutting board. Use a sharp utility knife or paring knife to create the pocket, making about a 5-inch slice down the thickest side of the meat. Make the pocket about 2 to 3 inches deep, depending on the width. Keep the other side of the chicken intact, not cutting through.

Person sprinkling salt and pepper over the top of a raw chicken breast.

Step 5: I like to keep the seasoning on the surface simple. In a small bowl, combine salt and pepper. Evenly sprinkle both sides of the surface of the meat with the mixture.

Stuff the chicken

Person adding broccoli cheese filling into the chicken breast pocket.
Person using a toothpick to seal the stuffed chicken breast.

Step 6: The broccoli-cheddar mixture makes about 1 ½ cups of filling. Use about ⅓ cup, depending on the size of the pocket. If you have toothpicks, use a few to seal the edges closed. This technique reduces the amount of filling that may seep out as the cheese melts and becomes fluid. 

The proteins in the chicken will contract as it cooks, causing the pieces to shrink. If you don’t secure the side, that’s okay, although you may see some filling ooze out. I scoop it up with the chicken. I don’t like to waste any of that delicious stuffing!

Sear the surface

Chicken breast cooking in a pan with golden sear on the surface.

Step 7: Use a 12-inch oven-proof skillet, like a cast iron pan or wide Dutch oven. That way, you can sear and cook all in one place for less cleanup. For a golden brown crust, sear the breast in hot olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Flip to sear the other side for about 3 minutes. Finish cooking the chicken in the oven.

Finish in the oven

Step 8: When it goes into the oven, both sides have had a chance to kick-start the cooking process and develop more flavor on the surface. To gently finish cooking, transfer to the oven and bake at 375ºF (191ºC) for 10 to 15 minutes. This temperature prevents the chicken from drying out for succulent, juicy pieces.

Checking for doneness

The broccoli should be tender, with a hot, melted cheese filling. Check the thickest parts of the chicken, at the top and bottom. The meat should be opaque, with light pink or clear juices.

When using an instant-read thermometer, place it parallel to the thickest areas. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC). 

Rest then serve

Chicken in a skillet with cheese oozing into the pan.

Step 9: Rest the meat for 5 minutes before serving. This period allows the juices to redistribute in the flesh and not all over the plate. If some of the cheese oozes out into the pan, mix it with the juices from the meat and drizzle it on top as a sauce.

Flavor variations

This stuffed chicken breast with broccoli and cheese recipe is easy to customize. Try these tasty options:

  • Cheese: Mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella are suitable substitutes for a milder flavor with the same gooeyness when cooked. Add blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese for a tangier taste.
  • Spices: Add more flavor to the surface with cumin, paprika, coriander, garlic or onion powder, or spicy cayenne. For a hot kick, feel free to try my cajun seasoning.
  • Herbs: Add fresh or dried basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, or dill to the filling.
  • Vegetables: Sundried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, artichoke hearts, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, or kale would be delicious additions to the stuffed chicken breast recipe.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

How do you keep the cheese from melting out of stuffed chicken?

After cutting the pocket in the chicken and adding the stuffing, use toothpicks to close the cut side. Pinch the top and bottom edges together, then secure it with a few toothpicks to ensure it doesn’t open while the chicken cooks. Don’t overstuff the meat unless you’re okay with some seeping out.

Can I use a different cheese for the stuffing?

The cream cheese can be substituted with mascarpone, whole milk ricotta cheese, or spreadable cheese like Boursin. Shredded gruyere, gouda, Monetary jack, or mozzarella are tasty swaps for cheddar.

Can I bake the stuffed chicken breast?

Yes, but the surface will not be as golden brown. Place the chicken on a greased aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet—Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Chicken breast cut in half to show the broccoli and cheese filling inside.

Substituting frozen broccoli

Frozen chopped broccoli pieces are convenient and affordable substitutes for fresh when making stuffed chicken breast. It’s already been washed and cut to reduce prep time. Make sure to defrost thoroughly and drain well. Cut them down into smaller, ½-inch pieces if needed. The vegetable has already been blanched before freezing, meaning it’s partially cooked to be softer in texture than fresh broccoli.

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Delicious broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast made all in one pan! An easy weeknight meal the family will want you to make again.
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1" pieces
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, about 2 ½ to 3 pounds total
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions 

  • Preheat Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 375ºF (218ºC).
  • Prepare the Broccoli – Wash and thoroughly dry. Trim off long stem pieces and cut them into no bigger than 1-inch pieces.
  • Make the Filling – In a large bowl, combine broccoli, softened cream cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, minced garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate if not stuffing the chicken right away.
  • Prepare the Chicken – On the thickest side of the chicken breast, cut about a 4 to 5-inch long slit. Continue to cut a 2 to 3-inch deep pocket, leaving about a ½-inch uncut area to keep the other sides connected. Make sure not to cut through the bottom. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
  • Season the Meat – In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Evenly season each side of the chicken with the mixture.
  • Stuff the Chicken – Evenly add the filling into the pocket of each chicken breast, about 5 to 6 tablespoons, do not overfill. If available, close the opening with toothpicks to secure the filling inside.
  • Sear the Chicken – Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken, presentation-side down, and lightly press to make contact with the pan. Cook until brown on the surface, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 minutes.
    If using smaller chicken breasts, check for doneness, as baking may not be necessary.
  • Transfer to the Oven – Place the pan in the oven. Bake until the meat is no longer pink, and the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC) on a meat thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  • To Serve – Transfer to a serving dish and rest for 5 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and serve while still hot.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Filling: Makes about 1 ½ cups
  • Storing: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high heat in 30-second increments until hot.
  • Using Frozen Broccoli: Defrost and drain the florets. Cut larger florets into ½-inch pieces. You will need 2 cups.
  • Make Ahead: The filling can be made separately, 3 days in advance. The chicken can be stuffed, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before cooking.
  • Baking-Only Directions: Place stuffed chicken on a greased foil-lined sheet pan. Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 413kcal (21%)Carbohydrates 7g (2%)Protein 35g (70%)Fat 27g (42%)Saturated Fat 15g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 144mg (48%)Sodium 1337mg (56%)Potassium 654mg (19%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 1174IU (23%)Vitamin C 42mg (51%)Calcium 274mg (27%)Iron 1mg (6%)

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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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy Caywood says

    This looks mouth watering. Look at all the protein too. 35g. Excellent. I can’t wait to try this Jessica.

  2. amanda stone says

    I absolutely loved this recipe, I actually wrapped a slice of bacon around the chicken breast and pan fried, then baked! I love this recipe and will make it over and over again!

  3. Juliana says

    This looks super delicious! Can you assemble the whole thing uncooked and freeze it as a freezer meal? I can’t wait to make this! Thanks, Jessica! Happy Holidays!