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This simple baked ricotta chicken recipe is an ultra comforting, cheesy meal after a busy day! Your oven does all the work in this easy chicken dinner with minimal prep.
Why you’ll love it
If you’re one of those people that enjoys recipes with a lot of sauce, I think you’ll find a new favorite in this easy ricotta chicken bake. We’re sauce people over here at S&L, and there’s more than enough for a generous amount to drizzle over potatoes, rice, or veggies.
Mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan make this baked chicken recipe extra special. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a hit for busy families that happen to have a finicky eater. I mean, who can resist tender chicken with three kinds of cheese and marinara sauce? Comfort food bliss!
What you’ll need
- Chicken – we’re slicing chicken breasts in half lengthwise so it cooks faster, more evenly, and doesn’t overcook. The cutlets are seasoned with salt & pepper to bring out the flavors.
- Ricotta – whole milk ricotta gives the creamiest result
- Parmesan – our second delicious cheese. Definitely grate your own.
- Garlic – we’re pretty generous, but garlic is measured with your heart
- Italian seasoning – it’s a tantalizing blend of aromatic herbs that has a burst of flavor. Conveniently, it comes all in one jar!
- Marinara sauce – use your favorite brand. I like Mezzetta or Rao’s.
- Mozzarella – since it’s such a good melting cheese, it’s ideal to top off this chicken bake
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I use a 9×13 casserole dish for this chicken bake and others.
- Use a large glass mixing bowl to comfortably make the ricotta mixture.
- A chef’s knife makes it easy peasy to cut the chicken effortlessly.
- This Microplane zester is perfect for the parm.
- An instant read thermometer ensures your chicken is cooked to 165F.
How to make baked ricotta chicken
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cut the chicken in half to make the four smaller cutlets, and generously season with salt & pepper. In a bowl, add the ricotta, parm, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Mix together. Meanwhile, evenly spread half the marinara in a baking dish.
Add the chicken to the baking dish, and spread the ricotta mixture over top each piece. Spoon the remainder of the marinara sauce over the chicken. Cover tightly with foil, and then bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil, top with the mozzarella, and bake uncovered until the chicken is cooked through. Broil for a minute or two if you want. Let it rest for a few minutes, and garnish with fresh basil if desired.
- I would definitely recommend using whole milk ricotta if possible. It’s way creamier and not grainy/crumbly like other varieties can be.
- As chicken breasts can vary a lot in size, to ensure chicken isn’t overcooked or undercooked, use a meat thermometer.
- Grate your own parmesan for best meltability and flavor. It makes a big difference!
Substitutions and variations
- Try adding a cup or two of chopped spinach to the ricotta mixture to get your greens in.
- If you want a little heat, add some crushed red pepper flakes on top of the marinara sauce or into the ricotta mixture.
- This baked chicken recipe is meant to be fast, but if you’re in the mood for making my Homemade Marinara Sauce, go for it!
What to serve with this chicken bake
- To balance everything out, try a salad with my homemade Olive Garden Salad Dressing. Easy, quick, and you know all the ingredients going into it.
- This makes a lot of sauce! It’s great with plain pasta or my Buttered Noodles, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, your favorite kind of rice, or steamed green beans or broccolini.
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftovers of this chicken bake for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- Reheat slowly over a low heat in a saucepan for best results so it doesn’t dry out.
- I don’t recommend freezing cheesy and creamy recipes like this one.
If you made this cheesy chicken bake recipe, please leave a star rating and review! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram. Questions the post didn’t answer? Talk to me below.
Baked Ricotta Chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup ricotta cheese whole milk preferred
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- Fresh basil optional, for serving
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cut the chicken in half lengthwise to make four thinner cutlets, then season the chicken with salt & pepper.
- To a medium bowl, add the ricotta, parmesan, garlic, and Italian seasoning, and mix together.
- Pour half of the marinara sauce into a 9×13 casserole dish, and then spread it out evenly.
- Arrange the chicken side-by-side in the casserole dish, and spread the ricotta mixture on top of each piece of chicken.
- Spoon the rest of the marinara sauce over each piece of chicken.
- Tightly cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the casserole dish out of the oven, and remove the foil. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top of the chicken, and return it to the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165F).
- If desired, broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese (watch it doesn't burn).
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes prior to serving. Season with extra salt & pepper if needed, and top with fresh basil if using.
- This recipe makes a lot of sauce. It’s great over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
- Ovens and chicken breast sizes vary considerably, so keep in mind timing is just a guideline and it’s always a good idea to use an instant read thermometer.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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