This spinach artichoke stuffed chicken breast recipe is loaded with melty cheese and vegetables. It’s an easy one-pan entree you can serve with your favorite sides for a complete meal.
Table of Contents
- Spinach selection
- Artichoke selection
- Cheese selection
- Make the spinach artichoke filling
- Chicken selection
- Cutting the pocket
- Stuff the chicken
- How to cook spinach artichoke stuffed chicken breast
- Checking for doneness of the stuffed chicken breast
- Serve this with
- Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Recipe
Are you a fan of spinach artichoke dip? Instead of enjoying it as an appetizer, I’ve turned the ingredients into a hot and oozy filling to stuff into tender and juicy chicken breast. Just chop up the tender greens and marinated hearts, and mix with three types of cheese. It’s a quick and easy one-pan dish to make any day of the week.
The lean meat is seasoned with salt and pepper just to enhance the savory taste. A generous amount of vegetable filling is added to the center to deliver a burst of flavor. It’s seared in a hot pan to develop a flavorful, golden brown crust. Then baking in the oven ensures that the meat is fully cooked and doesn’t dry out. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, a fresh green salad, or green beans for a hearty meal.
Fresh baby spinach is exceptionally tender. I find it easy to grab 3 cups and chop them down fine with a chef’s knife to yield 1 cup. If you have frozen chopped spinach, that’s a great substitute. Just defrost, then squeeze out excess moisture. Measure out 1 cup to add to the recipe.
I used jarred marinated artichoke hearts to make this recipe easy. They have already been cooked and seasoned with oil, vinegar, and spices so that it’s slightly tangy. It adds a lot of flavor to the filling. Frozen, canned, or fresh artichoke hearts can be used. However, after tasting the filling mixture, you may need to add some additional seasoning or vinegar.
I use three types of cheeses in the filling to enhance the taste and texture. Cream cheese is used as the base. It’s tangy, super rich, and has a hint of sweetness. The stickiness helps to bind all of the ingredients together.
Shredded mozzarella is a young cheese with enough moisture to give a nice melty consistency when the filling is heated. The flavor is mild, so I pair it with grated parmesan cheese. This aged variety gives a nutty and salty taste that’s delicious when stuffed in the chicken breast.
Make the spinach artichoke filling
Make sure that the cream cheese is softened to about room temperature. Doing so will make it much easier to mix all of the ingredients. Combine the chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, parmesan, minced garlic, sour cream (or plain greek yogurt), salt, and pepper.
You want the mixture to be thoroughly mixed for even distribution of the seasonings. If you want to meal prep, you can store the filling for three days in the refrigerator so it can be quickly stuffed the day of serving.
Use boneless skinless chicken breast about 8 to 12 ounces in weight. This size provides a large enough pocket for filling the chicken and delivering hearty portions. If you use larger pieces, closely monitor the bake time and add a few more minutes to ensure the meat thoroughly cooks.
Cutting the pocket
Grab a sharp paring or utility knife to create a pocket in the chicken breast. Cut a slit on the thickest side, about 4 to 5-inches long. Cut a pocket about 2 to 3-inches deep, keeping the other side intact. Simply season the surface with salt and pepper.
Stuff the chicken
The spinach artichoke mixture makes about 2 cups of filling. Use about ½ cup, depending on the size of the pocket. If you have toothpicks, secure the open side and seal the edges to prevent the hot and cheesy filling from oozing out too much. As the chicken cooks, the proteins will shrink, pushing out some of the filling. If you don’t have a toothpick it’s okay. Just scoop any filling back in the pocket before serving or on the top as an extra sauce.
How to cook spinach artichoke stuffed chicken breast
Use a 12-inch oven-proof pan like a cast iron skillet or wide dutch oven. This allows you to go from searing on the stovetop to going directly into the oven to finish cooking the meat. No extra dishes! The chicken is first cooked in hot olive oil over medium heat.
The direct contact with the pan will develop a beautiful golden crust in just 5 minutes. It’s flipped over and cooked for another 3 minutes to kickstart the browning on the bottom. The breast is thick, so to prevent dried chicken, transfer it to an oven set at 375ºF (191ºC) for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Checking for doneness of the stuffed chicken breast
The spinach artichoke filling should be hot, bubbly, and melted. The meat will be opaque and from pink to off-white color. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the top and bottom pieces of the chicken for doneness.
Look for an internal temperature of between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC). The chicken is ready to serve! Check out this easy cream sauce recipe if you want to make a quick sauce to serve with the chicken!
Serve this with
- Mashed potatoes
- Crispy garlic roasted potatoes
- Roasted mushrooms
- Grilled zucchini
- Bacon wrapped asparagus
- Mushroom gravy
The stuffed chicken breast is first cooked on the stovetop over medium heat to create a flavorful crust, which takes about 8 minutes. The chicken is then transferred to the oven at 375 degrees to cook the meat thoroughly. This process takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness—plan for about 20 to 25 minutes of total cook time.
Yes! Make sure to defrost and drain the vegetables before making the filling mixture. The artichoke hearts will need to be roughly chopped before adding. Taste the filling and adjust the seasoning for extra flavor, as the artichoke hearts won’t be marinated.
Using fresh artichokes
When artichokes are in season in the spring and fall, feel free to prepare them freshly. Simply cook the artichokes by boiling or steaming, remove the artichoke heart, and enjoy the leaves with your favorite dipping sauce. You’ll need ¾ cup of chopped hearts for the recipe. If you’d like, you can add some wine, red wine vinegar, or lemon juice to the filling for a hint of tartness.
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Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken
- 1 cup finely chopped spinach
- ¾ cup roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, about 2 ½ to 3 pounds total
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Make the Filling – In a large bowl, combine spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, sour cream, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate if not stuffing the chicken immediately.
- 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 side connected. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Season the Chicken – 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 the filling into the pocket of each chicken breast, about ½ cup, do not overfill. If available, close the opening with toothpicks to secure the filling inside.
- Sear the Surface – Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add the chicken, presentation-side down, and lightly press 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 breasts, check for doneness, as baking may not be necessary.
- Transfer 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.
- To Serve – Transfer to a serving dish and rest for 5 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and serve while still hot. Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Filling Yield: Makes about 2 cups.
- 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 and drain 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach.
- 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.
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