This mushroom stuffed chicken breast recipe is loaded with tender veggies and served with a delicious creamy sauce. A tasty one-pan meal that’s easy to make.
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Here’s one way to get your veggies in for the day- stuff them into a juicy piece of chicken. I often make sauteed mushrooms or spinach as a side dish, both are high in moisture and cook very quickly when sauteed. The umami flavors are concentrated in the hot pan, making for a delicious filling to add to the poultry.
The chicken is seasoned with salt and pepper, then stuffed with the mushroom mixture. Everything is bound together with melty mozzarella cheese. The meat is seared on the stovetop for a golden brown surface, then baked until the cheese oozes out. But that’s not all! A delicious garlic cream sauce is made in the same pan.
Use brown mushrooms like cremini or baby portabello for a deeper mushroom flavor. They’re harvested later, so they have a more robust flavor. Other types of mushroom can be used, like mild white button, or mix in some rehydrated, dried porcini for a more intense flavor.
Rinse and dry the fungi well, then slice into ½-inch thick pieces. They contain between 85 to 95% moisture, so they will shrink significantly in size once cooked. The moisture release adds flavorful juices to the sauce.
Baby spinach has small tender leaves. It may seem like we start with many greens, but it quickly loses their volume when added to the mushrooms. Saute until the leaves just wilt. It will cook more in the oven. Other types of leafy greens like kale would add a nutrient-dense ingredient to the filling. I recommend baby kale because it’s easy to chew and less bitter or try sliced red or curly kale.
Saute the vegetables
To build the flavor of the filling, saute shallots, minced garlic, and concentrated dried Italian seasoning in olive oil. Other herbs like rosemary, oregano, or thyme would complement the dish. Cook the sliced mushrooms with salt and black pepper until some of the liquid seep into the pan and become tender.
I add a splash of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to boost the umami flavor of the fungi. Add the spinach leaves right on top, and cook until they wilt. This process will only take a minute.
Use a melting cheese like mozzarella for the filling. I recommend slices of whole milk low moisture mozzarella, or shredded works well. Fresh mozzarella also has a nice gooey texture when heated. Provolone, swiss, gruyere, or gouda are delicious substitutions.
Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on the vegetables for a more robust aged flavor. The mozzarella is layered on top before sealing the sides of the chicken.
Use boneless skinless chicken breasts between 8 to 12 ounces in weight. This size gives enough protein to butterfly open and add the filling. Closely monitor the final bake time, as larger pieces need more baking to ensure that the meat thoroughly cooks.
Butterfly the chicken
Butterfly the chicken to make it easier to stuff the meat with a hearty amount of mushroom filling. This technique involves simply cutting the breast open lengthwise, like a book. Use a sharp knife, such as a utility or paring knife, to cut. Leave one side intact to keep the stuffing inside. After cutting the pieces, I like to season both sides with salt and pepper.
Stuff the chicken
The mushroom spinach mixture makes about 1 cup of filling. Add about ¼ cup inside of the pocket. Layer the mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top to lock the filling in place. Use toothpicks to close the edges to reduce the filling that seeps out and makes it easier to flip.
If you don’t have a toothpick, that’s okay. However, the protein in the chicken shrinks as it cooks and will push out some of the filling to the open side. Just add it back into the chicken before serving, don’t let any of the deliciousness go to waste.
How to cook mushroom stuffed chicken breast
Use a 12-inch oven-proof skillet, like a wide dutch oven or cast iron skillet. These materials allow you to sear the chicken, bake it, then make the sauce all in one pan. Cook the breast in hot olive oil for about 5 minutes to achieve a golden brown surface. Give it a flip to sear the other side for 3 minutes.
I cook it for less time on the other side because it will still have contact with the hot pan when it goes into the oven. Bake the stuffed chicken breast in a 375ºF (191ºC) oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. This temperature gently finishes the cooking process for succulent pieces.
Checking for doneness
The mushroom and cheese filling will be hot and melty. Check the top and bottom pieces of chicken for doneness. The meat will be opaque and, when checked with an instant read thermometer, will reach between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC). Let the chicken rest on a clean plate, covered with foil to keep it warm while making the cream sauce.
Make the sauce
This garlic cream is optional, but it only takes a few extra minutes to prepare. There is a lot of fond (flavorful bits from searing the chicken) and juices from the meat and mushrooms to flavor the sauce. Add some freshly minced garlic to the pan and briefly saute to take out the raw, pungent notes. Add in heavy whipping cream, and let it simmer over medium heat until it thickens in consistency. It contains around 36% milkfat, creating a rich sauce with no extra thickening agents needed.
Stir in the parsley to add some freshness to the sauce. Basil, chives, dill, or thyme would also add a pleasant herbaceous note. Now you can add the chicken back to the pan to warm it up before serving, or drizzle the sauce on top of each piece if you’re ready to plate up.
Serve this with
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted red potatoes
- Glazed carrots
- Roasted carrots
- Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
- Steamed white rice
White button, sliced portobello, shiitake, or a mix of fresh mushrooms would work well in the filling. Adding in rehydrated and dried mushrooms like porcini mixed with fresh will boost the intensity of the fungi flavor.
Provolone, gouda, smoked gouda, swiss, gruyere, or brie would be delicious melting cheese to add to the stuffing. Pecorino romano is a more intense and nutty substitute for parmesan.
Using frozen spinach
Frozen spinach is a convenient substitute for fresh leaves. It’s already been blanched, so it doesn’t need to be cooked down. Defrost in the microwave on medium power just to melt the ice. You don’t want the spinach to overcook and become mushy. Mix about ¼ cup (2.5 ounces) into the mushroom mixture.
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Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 8 ounces brown mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup shallots or red onion, ⅛” dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, about 2 ½ to 3 pounds total
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Prepare the Mushrooms – Rinse and dry the mushrooms, or wipe the surface with a damp paper towel. Trim the stems and cut them into ¼-inch thick pieces. There should be about 2 ½ cups of sliced mushrooms.
- Saute the Aromatics – Heat a large oven-proof skillet or wide dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once warm, add the shallots. Saute until translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic and Italian seasoning, and saute for 30 seconds.
- Saute the Mushrooms – Increase the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms, then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Saute until they just start to release their moisture, occasionally stirring, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, stir and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
- Saute the Spinach – Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool down slightly. Wipe the pan clean with paper towels or wash if needed.
- Prepare the Chicken – Butterfly the 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 – Inside each chicken breast, evenly divide the mushroom filling. Top with 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese and a slice of mozzarella, halved to fit if needed. Close the opening on the side with toothpicks to secure the filling.
- Sear the Chicken – Heat the same pan used to cook the filling over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of 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 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 and 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. Transfer chicken to a clean plate, and cover with foil to keep warm. Leave the juices in the pan.
- Make the Sauce – Heat the pan with the chicken juices over medium heat. Add 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Add the cream and continuously stir, scraping any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce until lightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped parsley.
- To Serve – Remove the toothpicks from the chicken. Serve while still hot with the cream sauce.
- Filling: Makes 1 cup of filling
- Storing: Cool completely and store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high heat in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
- Using Frozen Spinach: Defrost 2.5 ounces of frozen chopped spinach, about ¼ cup, and drain well. Stir the spinach in with the mushrooms.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- 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 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.
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