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This cheesy mozzarella chicken bake recipe is simple to make with just six ingredients. Tender chicken is smothered with melty cheese and marinara sauce in this cozy meal!

Try my Baked Ricotta Chicken or Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce next.

a casserole dish with cheesy mozzarella chicken

Why you’ll love it

My Chicken Parmesan recipe inspired this one, but I wanted something faster and easier for busy weeknights since there’s no breading involved here. This warm and inviting mozzarella chicken bake is the perfect balance between ease, affordability, and being comforting!

We’ve got juicy pan-fried chicken, marinara, and the irresistible duo of parmesan and mozzarella along with a couple of pantry staples. Then it’s baked to perfection. This easy chicken bake is family friendly, and I think it’ll become a go-to dish after a hectic day.

What you’ll need

  • Chicken – we’re using boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil – for pan frying
  • Garlic powder – along with salt & pepper, it infuses the chicken directly with savory flavor
  • Marinara sauce – I used an organic marinara sauce from my local grocery store. Use your favorite jarred brand or even Homemade Marinara. Keep in mind that the better quality the marinara sauce, the better this recipe will taste since it has very few ingredients!
  • Cheese – we’ve got shredded mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan
ingredients for cheesy chicken bake in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

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How to make cheesy baked chicken

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

pan frying chicken in a skillet and then adding to a baking dish with marinara sauce

Preheat the oven. Season the chicken with the garlic powder and salt & pepper on both sides. In a skillet, pan sear it until golden. Place in a baking dish, then pour the marinara over top.

mozzarella chicken in a casserole dish before and after baking

Sprinkle the parmesan over the chicken, followed by the mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, until cooked through. Broil (carefully) so the cheese gets lightly browned. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Helpful tips

  • Feel free to use a large oven-safe skillet for convenience instead of transferring the chicken to the baking dish.
  • If you find the chicken is sticking to the pan during the searing step, cook it a bit longer so it releases naturally. Ensuring the pan is very hot prior to adding the chicken will help prevent the chicken from sticking.

Substitutions and variations

  • Depending on what you have on hand, feel free to switch up the cheeses if needed. You can skip the parm if you need to, and this recipe would be delicious with any cheese that melts easily. Try cheddar or even a Mexican blend if you want a little heat.
  • To make this recipe even easier, skip the searing part (I like it because it yields more flavor, but the recipe also works without that step). Place the raw chicken in the baking dish, season, then continue from step 4. Cook the chicken for at least 30 minutes, or when it’s 165F internally.

What to serve with mozzarella chicken

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftovers of this oven baked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat in a saucepan or the microwave.
  • I don’t recommend freezing it due to the cheese.
a plate with cheesy mozzarella chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes

Did you make this baked chicken recipe? Please leave a star rating and review below! You can also tag me on Instagram if you made any of my recipes.

a casserole dish with cheesy mozzarella chicken
5 from 20 votes

Cheesy Mozzarella Chicken Bake

This cheesy mozzarella chicken bake recipe is simple to make with just six ingredients. Tender chicken is smothered with melty cheese and marinara sauce in this cozy meal!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 large chicken breasts boneless skinless
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375F and move the rack to the middle position.
  • Season both sides of each piece of chicken with the garlic powder and salt & pepper.
  • Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, sear the chicken for 5 minutes/side. Add the chicken to a greased baking dish (I used a 9×13) once both sides are seared.
  • Pour the marinara sauce over the chicken and use a spoon to spread it evenly over and around the chicken.
  • Sprinkle the parmesan over the chicken breasts, and then do the same with the mozzarella.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, I suggest doing 15 minutes.
  • Broil the chicken for a few minutes or so until the cheese is lightly browned (watch it closely). Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes prior to serving (this will ensure it's juicy). Chicken is safe to eat at 165F.

Notes

  • You can skip the step where you sear the chicken if you wish. Just place the raw chicken breasts in the baking dish, season them, and continue the recipe from step 4. I’d then cook the chicken for at least 30 minutes (or when a meat thermometer indicates it’s 165F in the thickest part). 
  • Timing on this recipe largely depends on the size of the chicken breasts, so I highly recommend using an instant read meat thermometer so you don’t under or overcook the chicken.
  • If you have a large oven-safe skillet, feel free to use it and skip the baking dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 60g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 178mg, Sodium: 1111mg, Potassium: 1177mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 763IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 303mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on March 29, 2020. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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5 from 20 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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61 Comments

  1. Linda Kay says:

    5 stars
    Very easy and tasted really good. I used thinly sliced chicken breasts cut into medium portions. I used a full jar of marinara sauce (2 cups). Served with garlic bread; sweet corn and buttered noodles.

    1. Natasha says:

      Glad you liked it, Linda!!

  2. Veronica says:

    5 stars
    My teenage boys really enjoyed this meal and asked me to make it part of our regular family meals.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear!! 😀 Thanks for your review, Veronica!

  3. Nancy says:

    5 stars
    This was super yummy. I had slices of mozzarella to use up. I cut the chicken with a slit and then seared. Then I stuffed the cheese rounded mozzarella into the chicken and smothered with the marinara sauce. A good way to use up what we had on hand. Can’t wait to try your other recipes!

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      Thank you so much! Happy you liked it, and be sure to let us know what else you try, Nancy. 🙂

  4. LouAnn Mesa says:

    I thought the recipe was easy, but mine turned out watery. What did I do wrong?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe the brand of marinara was just more watery? Did you cook it uncovered?

  5. Dolly says:

    love this recipe!! So easy and quick. I serve it over pasta…yummy!!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it!!

  6. Kirstin says:

    5 stars
    Excellent and easy weeknight recipe. I have made it several times, and it is always a hit.

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic!! 🙂

  7. Kameryn says:

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it turned out amazing! Everyone enjoyed it and gave several compliments. After searing the chicken I sautéed some diced onion and garlic and deglazed the pan a little bit to add a little more flavor. Definitely something I’ll be making again! Thanks for such a quick, simple and delicious recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic!! 😀 Appreciate your review!

  8. Cheryl says:

    Can you freeze this?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Hmmm… I’m a bit hesitant on how the cheese will thaw. You could try with leftovers, but I am not sure if freezing the whole thing, for example, would work too well.

  9. craig says:

    5 stars
    I made a few changes and it came out great. For the chicken breast I stuffed with black olives, artichoke hearts and parmesan cheese. For the sauce I used Rao’s Arrabbiata and it came out great.

    1. Natasha says:

      Sounds good to me!!

  10. Kelley says:

    This recipe was one of the easiest to make! It was also so delicious! Thank you again.

    1. Natasha says:

      Fantastic! You’re very welcome!!