Are you looking for a delicious and impressive dinner idea? This lasagna-stuffed chicken recipe is a winner. Enjoy tender chicken breasts filled with classic lasagna flavors, from gooey melted cheese to rich tomato sauce and aromatic herbs.
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I’ve taken my classic lasagna with meat sauce and made it into a high-protein, low-carb chicken dinner. This recipe for stuffed chicken breast delivers all of the delicious cheese and sauce components of the famous casserole. It’s a simple meal to prepare, assemble, and bake.
To make this a quick and flavorful dish, I use lean chicken breasts filled with a savory ricotta cheese mixture, then topped with marinara sauce and melty mozzarella. In about 30 minutes, this Italian chicken dish will be hot, bubbly, and ready to eat! Serve with a crisp salad, pasta, or spaghetti squash noodles.
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts between 8 to 12 ounces in weight. This size gives generous portions to butterfly open and add the cheese and sauce filling.
- Tomato Sauce: Use my marinara sauce recipe or, for convenience, store-bought sauce. You’ll need at least 2 ¼ cups of tomato sauce.
- Cheese Filling: A combination of ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, grated mozzarella, egg for binding, chopped parsley, fresh basil, salt and pepper.
Make the cheese filling
Combine whole milk ricotta cheese, parmesan, grated mozzarella, chopped basil and parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl. I include an egg to help bind the ricotta mixture and give it a richer consistency. This can be omitted if preferred.
Prepare the chicken
To make a pocket on the side of the chicken for stuffing, use a sharp knife to butterfly the pieces. Keep one side intact to hold the meat together and prevent the filling from oozing out all the sides. Season the surface with salt and pepper to enhance the savory flavor.
Add about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the cheese mixture to the middle of each butterflied chicken breast, then top with 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce. Press the edges together to seal. You can use a toothpick to ensure it stays together.
Bake the chicken
Use a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish to bake the stuffed chicken. Add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the pan, making sure to spread it out evenly. Place the chicken on top of the sauce. Add ¼ cup of marinara sauce, followed by the remaining mozzarella cheese. I loosely cover it so that steam can escape to keep the cheese from hardening.
Bake at 400ºF (204ºC) until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 30 to 45 minutes. There will be juice in the pan from the chicken. If desired, you can broil the dish for a few minutes to lightly brown the cheese. I like to garnish with fresh herbs right before serving.
Customizing this lasagna-stuffed chicken breast is easy! Try these tasty options to switch up the flavor:
- Cheese: Instead of ricotta, use cottage cheese, crème fraîche, or cream cheese. Swap parmesan for Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Sauce: Instead of a traditional marinara sauce, make it creamy with heavy whipping cream. Alternatively, serve with alfredo sauce or basil pesto.
- Spicy: Add red chili flakes to the marinara sauce for a spicy kick!
- Vegetables: Add sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, or sundried tomatoes. Raw vegetables should not be added, or it will make the filling watery.
- Meat: Add extra protein to the filling or sauce with cooked sausage or ground beef.
- Herbs: If you don’t have fresh parsley and basil, use 2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning instead.
Frequently asked questions
Use three types of cheese to make the filling: whole milk ricotta, parmesan, and grated mozzarella. This will add a creamy texture, and the melted cheese will help hold it together.
Yes! For convenience, use a jar of your favorite store-bought marinara sauce. You will need 2 cups (16 ounces) for this recipe.
The uncooked stuffed chicken breast can be assembled with the sauce and cheese, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before cooking. Alternatively, cook, cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
The uncooked stuffed chicken with the ricotta mixture and marina sauce can be individually wrapped and frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month—Defrost before using.
The best cooking method for lasagna-stuffed chicken
The easiest cooking method is to bake the stuffed chicken breasts. Bake at 400ºF (204ºC) until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 30 to 40 minutes. Alternatively, the chicken can be cooked in the sauce on the stovetop. Cover and cook over medium heat, adjusting the heat to keep the sauce to a low simmer. Add the cheese at the end, 5 minutes before the chicken is done, and cover to melt.
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Lasagna Stuffed Chicken
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 large egg, optional
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, 2 to 3 pounds total
- 1 ¾ cups marinara sauce
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Make the Cheese Mixture – In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, parsley, basil, and egg (if using). Set aside.
- Prepare the Chicken – Butterfly a chicken breast in half lengthwise, leaving about a ½-inch uncut area on the other side connected. 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 – Add about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the cheese mixture into the center of each pocket; do not overfill. Add 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce on top. Fold the chicken over to close.
- Bake the Chicken – Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Evenly spread ½ cup of the marina sauce on the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the stuffed chicken breasts to the baking dish. Pour ¼ cup of sauce on each piece. Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top.Loosely tent the dish with foil, allowing steam to escape. Bake until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. If desired, broil for 2 to 4 minutes to brown the cheese.
- To Serve – Serve immediately while hot, or transfer to a serving platter to prevent overcooking. If desired, garnish with parsley.
- Filling: Makes 1 ½ cups of filling.
- Storing: Cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high heat in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
- Make Ahead: The filling can be made separately, 2 days in advance. The chicken can be stuffed, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before cooking.
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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