This chicken Caprese recipe comes together fast and is irresistible with tender chicken, juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, plenty of cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
What is chicken Caprese?
"Caprese" is an adjective that simply means from the island of Capri, Italy. In food terms, it denotes a recipe that has a classic flavor profile of mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and sweet basil. This Caprese chicken is a riff off the popular Italian Caprese salad, and it's so cheesy and flavorful! The flavors perfectly complement one another.
This is the ideal warm weather meal since you can use up fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden or local farmers' market. It's made all in one skillet and seamlessly goes from stovetop to your oven for an effortless 30-minute dinner. And who can resist all that melty mozzarella in this simple chicken Caprese?
What goes into it
- Chicken breasts - we're using two cut into four smaller cutlets so they cook faster
- Garlic powder - along with salt & pepper, we're seasoning the cutlets directly to infuse savory flavor
- Olive oil - for pan frying
- Chicken broth - makes the tasty base of the sauce
- Spinach - a bed of spinach gives some freshness
- Mozzarella - it's a great melting cheese
- Tomatoes - use whatever kind looks best that you can find and is ripe and in season! I don't have a particular variety I use for this recipe.
- Basil - there's nothing better than fresh basil in the summer
- Balsamic glaze - for that tangy sweetness. I use Nonna Pia's brand of balsamic glaze. It's much thicker than balsamic vinegar, almost like a syrup consistency, and has a much more mellow taste. You can find balsamic glaze in the oil and vinegar aisle, or try the salad dressing section if you can't find it there. Or whip up a homemade balsamic reduction.
How to make chicken Caprese
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the chicken in half lengthwise and season it. Sear the chicken in the oil for about 5 minutes/side until golden. Transfer it to a plate, then add the chicken broth and spinach to the skillet and cook for about a minute until it starts to wilt.
Place the chicken back in the skillet and top with mozzarella, then transfer it to the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and the chicken is cooked through. I like to broil it too for a bit of browning.
Take the pan out of the oven and top the chicken with tomato slices, fresh basil, and a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze!
Tools for this recipe
- Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Use an instant read digital thermometer to ensure it isn't overcooked or undercooked. Keep in mind that it continues to cook as it rests, so if it's around 160F when you take it out of the oven, it should be perfectly done by the time you've topped the chicken with the tomatoes/basil/balsamic.
- I love my Le Creuset skillets and use them all the time. I highly recommend adding an oven-proof skillet to your collection if you don't have one.
- I use cooking tongs to easily turn the chicken while searing it and transferring it between the skillet and plate.
Substitutions and variations
- Omit the spinach if you wish. It's an easy way to get more greens and the flavors go well together, so I added it. If you don't want the spinach, I'd skip adding the chicken broth as well, leave the chicken in the pan, and go straight to step 6.
- You can use fresh mozzarella (the kind that comes in balls and you slice) if you prefer, but I like the way the shredded stuff melts past just the chicken and onto the spinach.
- To amp up the flavor even more, try adding in a layer of my Easy Homemade Pesto Sauce!
What to serve with it
- The bed of spinach can count as a side vegetable, but for a more hearty meal try serving this chicken Caprese with my Creamy Penne Pasta or Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Rice works too.
- For something a bit lighter, try a side salad with mixed greens and my Copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing. This Creamy Cucumber Salad is also a refreshing pairing.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this chicken will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep in mind the spinach and basil will wilt, though.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat until warmed through. You could also give it a bit of time in the oven to melt the cheese again.
- I wouldn't recommend freezing leftovers of this one because of the dairy.
Questions about this balsamic chicken Caprese recipe? Made it? Leave me a comment/review below!
Easy Chicken Caprese
- 2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 3 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 medium tomatoes sliced
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil or more, to taste
- Balsamic glaze to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so you have 4 thinner pieces. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with the garlic powder and salt & pepper (be generous).
- Add the oil to an oven-proof skillet and let it heat up for a few minutes so it's nice and hot. Add the chicken and cook for about 4-5 minutes/side or until it's golden but not quite cooked through (chicken will finish cooking in the oven). Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Add the chicken broth to the skillet and scrape up any brown bits. Add in the spinach and toss with the broth for about a minute or so (it'll start to wilt).
- Turn the heat off and add the chicken back into the pan, on top of the spinach.
- Top the chicken with the mozzarella.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 5 minutes, then broil for a few minutes until the cheese has browned lightly (watch it carefully). If you don't want to broil, bake the chicken for 6-8 minutes or so, or until the cheese has melted and the chicken has cooked through. Take care not to overcook the chicken.
- Take the skillet out of the oven and top the chicken pieces with the tomato slices, basil, and drizzle the balsamic glaze on (I add about a teaspoon or so to each piece of chicken). Serve immediately with the spinach and pan juices. Season with extra salt & pepper as needed.
- If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, keep them intact and use 4 of them. Cook time may need adjusting a bit. Chicken is safe to eat at 165F. Use an instant read thermometer for perfect chicken every time.
- If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, transfer the chicken to a baking dish just prior to putting it in the oven.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.