Elevate your next chicken dinner with this caprese stuffed chicken recipe! Juicy and tender chicken breasts filled with fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil leaves. Served with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze.
Table of Contents
This Caprese stuffed chicken combines fresh Italian flavors into one protein-packed dish! It’s easy to elevate a simple piece of poultry using simple yet flavorful ingredients. You only need some juicy and ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil.
To maximize the dish’s flavors, the chicken is sliced open to fill. It’s ready to cook once stuffed with fruit, cheese, and herbs. I use two methods for maximum flavor: a brief sear on the stovetop to develop a golden crust, then finish in the oven. A homemade two-ingredient balsamic glaze is drizzled on top. It’s a gourmet meal that’s surprisingly easy to make.
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts between 8 to 12 ounces in size. Smaller pieces will cook quicker, so keep an eye on doneness.
- Cheese: Use fresh mozzarella cheese that is round and soft. The cheese is delicate, with a slightly sweet and milky taste. It’s a must when making a Caprese salad. You’ll need 8 ounces.
- Tomatoes: Any type of tomato can be used for the recipe, but I prefer Roma tomatoes for their balanced sweet and tangy flavor and firm texture that holds up well when cooked.
- Herbs: Fresh basil leaves add an aromatic minty, anise, and slightly peppery flavor.
- Balsamic Glaze: A simple balsamic reduction using fermented sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar and honey. Start the process at the beginning so that it turns into a thick glaze when the chicken is done cooking.
Make the balsamic glaze
With only two ingredients, a quick balsamic glaze enhances the flavor of the caprese stuffed chicken. The process is easy! Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-low heat until the moisture evaporates and concentrates the mixture to about ¼ to ⅓ cup.
Once cooled down slightly, you’ll notice it will have a maple syrup-like consistency. Reduce it for a few minutes longer if it’s not thick enough. The process takes about 20 minutes, so make the balsamic glaze first. It’s great to add to salads or a fig pizza.
Prepare the chicken
Use a sharp chef’s knife to butterfly the chicken open. Slicing the meat horizontally creates a pocket to add the cheese and tomato filling. Be careful not to cut all the way through, or you’ll make separate cutlets! Keep one side intact to hold everything together. Season the surface of the chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Stuff the chicken
Stuff the chicken breasts with two slices of tomato and season with salt and pepper. This enhances the flavor of the fruits. Layer the mozzarella cheese on top, then the basil. That’s it, so simple!
I like to secure the edges with toothpicks so the cheese doesn’t ooze out as much. Just remember to remove them before serving! It’s okay if you fold the chicken over, but the filling will protrude more as the protein in the meat cooks.
Sear the chicken
Use a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pan or Dutch oven to sear the chicken. Pan-searing the pieces in hot olive oil creates a delicious golden brown crust. The process takes about 5 minutes per side.
Smaller 8-ounce pieces may be done cooking on the stovetop, but larger pieces must be further baked. This will gently finish cooking the lean chicken breast to prevent dried-out bites.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC). Take the temperature of the chicken in the thickest part. If it hasn’t reached 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), then continue to bake in the oven. If you don’t have a pan that can be placed in a hot oven, no problem! Transfer the pieces to a foil-lined sheet pan after searing, then place them in the oven and bake.
It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to thoroughly cook the meat, especially for larger 10 to 12-ounce portions. Immediately transfer to a cutting board or serving platter, and remove the toothpicks. Before serving, add a generous drizzle of the sweet and tangy balsamic glaze on top. I like to add fresh basil for garnish and a pop of green herbaceous aroma.
Now that you know how to make stuffed chicken caprese, it’s easy to customize the next dish! Try these delicious suggestions:
- Cheese: Use slices of firm mozzarella or grate into shreds. Add smoked mozzarella for dimension or soft buffalo mozzarella. Brie is a delicious swap for a buttery taste. Sprinkle parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or Parmigiano Reggiano for a nutty and salty flavor. Try adding ricotta cheese for a lasagna-stuffed chicken option.
- Herbs: Add to the basil freshly chopped oregano, parsley, rosemary, or thyme. Sprinkle on Italian seasoning on the cheese for a concentrated herb flavor. Add basil pesto sauce to the filling. It’s delicious!
- Vegetables: Fill with sun-dried tomatoes for a concentrated, sweet flavor. Add sauteed spinach, kale, mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, or caramelized onions.
- Sauce: Instead of a balsamic glaze, try a classic marinara sauce or alfredo sauce.
- Any type of pasta like spaghetti, angel hair, or penne
- Garlic bread
- Rosemary focaccia
- Caesar salad
- Spaghetti squash
- Zucchini noodles
- Roasted mushrooms
Frequently asked questions
The flavors of a caprese salad inspire this Italian dish. Lean chicken breasts are stuffed with ripe and juicy tomatoes, slices of fresh mozzarella, and basil. It’s pan-seared, baked, then topped with a balsamic glaze.
Fresh mozzarella is my top choice. It’s soft and stretchy, with a nice melt that still holds its shape. Firmer grating mozzarella can be used, sliced, or shredded. It contains less moisture, so it will flatten and spread more. Burrata can be added but has a softer texture with a runner center, so scoop it out.
Yes! Add the pieces to a greased, foil-lined baking sheet if you prefer to bake the chicken. Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness. Since the meat is not seared, it will not be as golden brown.
What’s the difference between fresh and processed mozzarella?
Fresh mozzarella is pulled and then packed in water. This creates a softer texture due to extra retained moisture. It has a creamier taste and is gooey when heated, yet holds its structure better. It has a shorter shelf-life, so it should be used quickly. Processed mozzarella is further pressed and aged to have a low moisture content. This makes it easier to shred. When it melts, it coalesces together, losing its structure.
Pin this recipe to save for laterPin This
Caprese Stuffed Chicken
- Make the Balsamic Glaze – Add balsamic vinegar and honey to a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer over medium-low heat with some bubbling. Reduce to ¼ to ⅓ cup, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the stuffed chicken as the sauce reduces. Allow the balsamic reduction to cool slightly. It should have a maple syrup consistency. Do not touch or taste the glaze; it will be hot! If the glaze gets too thick as it cools, add a small amount of water, stir, and warm over low heat.
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Prepare the Chicken – Butterfly the chicken breast in half lengthwise, leaving about a ½-inch uncut area on the other side. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Season the Meat – In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Evenly season each side of the chicken with the mixture.
- Stuff the Chicken – Add 2 slices of tomato to the chicken pocket, then season with salt and pepper. Add 2 slices of mozzarella and 2 basil leaves on top. If available, close the opening with toothpicks to secure the filling inside.
- Sear the Chicken – Heat a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add the chicken, presentation-side down, and lightly press the meat to make contact with the pan. Cook until golden brown on the surface, about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook for 5 minutes.
- Bake the Chicken – Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the meat is no longer pink. and the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Immediately transfer to a serving plate.
- To Serve – Remove the toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze. If desired, garnish with basil.
- Make Ahead: The chicken can be stuffed 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Balsamic Glaze: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Gently reheat if needed. Dilute with warm water if very thick.
- Storing: Cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high heat in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
- Baking 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.
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.
Tried this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!