Caprese chicken is juicy and tender seared chicken baked in a balsamic reduction with sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil. It’s the perfect summer dish that’s easy to make for a quick weeknight dinner but elegant enough to serve for company.
This Caprese chicken recipe takes the classic caprese chicken salad or insalata caprese ingredients and reinvents them into a fresh summer dish with deliciously sweet and tangy flavors. Seared chicken and juicy cherry tomatoes are tossed in a balsamic sauce and smothered in melted fresh mozzarella cheese.
It’s a 30-minute meal that comes together quickly in a skillet before a quick pop in the oven to blister the tomatoes a little and melt the mozzarella cheese. Pair this tasty main dish with a starch and veggie side combo like mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, or crispy brussels sprouts.
If you’re looking for more quick and easy 30-minute chicken meals, try creamy lemon chicken piccata, baked Parmesan-crusted chicken, creamy Tuscan chicken pasta, or this chicken with creamy mushroom sauce.
Ingredients in Caprese Chicken
CAPRESE CHICKEN RECIPE TIPS
- Chicken – This recipe uses chicken breasts on the smaller side – about 5-8 ounces each. If you have particularly large chicken breasts, slice two of them in half lengthwise to yield four chicken cutlets. Next, place the chicken breasts between some plastic wrap and pound the chicken breasts to 1″ thickness with a meat mallet so they cook evenly.
- Two-hand seasoning method – The easiest way to minimize hand washing while seasoning meat is to use the wet and dry hand method. Use your dominant hand to sprinkle seasoning onto the meat and use your other hand to pat in seasonings and flip the chicken.
- Italian seasoning – Italian seasoning adds more flavor. Substituting it with dried basil and oregano will also work.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic compliments the balsamic glaze, mozzarella and basil. Adjust the amount of garlic to taste if you like things more garlicky. If you prefer using garlic powder, season the chicken breasts with it before pan-frying them.
- Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar – These two ingredients are what makes a balsamic reduction. The sweetness of the brown sugar balances out the acidity of the vinegar to create an addictive sweet and tangy sauce.
- Tomatoes – I use grape or cherry tomatoes for their burst of sweetness. You can substitute them with regular sliced tomatoes instead, or do a mix of both. To do this, top the chicken with thick-sliced regular tomatoes and add the smaller grape or cherry tomatoes to the pan to blister.
- Mozzarella – Caprese salad is typically made with fresh mozzarella cheese but you can top the chicken with shredded mozzarella if you don’t have any. Bocconcini or mozzarella balls/pearls are also an option to add to the pan with the tomatoes. I used an 8 oz. package of Boar’s Head fresh mozzarella cheese to get four 1/2″ thick slices.
- Basil – Fresh basil goes hand in hand with balsamic glaze and mozzarella in a Caprese-inspired dish. Dried basil will not taste the same! Serve with whole-leaf basil or roll them up and chiffonade them.
- Baking method – Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add chicken to a 9×13 casserole dish and top with sauce. Add tomatoes and bake uncovered at 400°F for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F. Add mozzarella slices in the last 5 minutes of baking.
- Add more flavor – Top chicken with some pesto before adding the mozzarella slices for more flavor.
- Add more sauce – Make two batches of the balsamic sauce for more flavor. Bake the chicken in one batch, following the original recipe. Use the second batch to drizzle with (simmer it a little longer to make a thick, balsamic glaze).
- Substitute tomatoes – Replace cherry or grape tomatoes with bigger sliced tomatoes to top on the chicken with mozzarella.
- Blister the tomatoes more – Toss grape or cherry tomatoes in olive oil and bake in a separate baking dish at 400°F for about 10 minutes. Then, add them to the skillet with chicken to bake for another 10 minutes.
What to Serve with Caprese Chicken
Caprese chicken pairs well with any starch that can absorb all that sauce like mashed potatoes or rice. Add a side of veggies to complete the meal such as crispy garlic Parmesan brussels sprouts, garlic butter mushrooms, lemon pepper asparagus, or roasted broccoli.
And that’s about it. Let me know how you liked it, what substitutions you made, or what you paired it with in the comments below.
This post was originally published on August 29, 2013 and updated on July 30, 2023.
MORE CHICKEN RECIPES TO TRY
- Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Breast
- Honey Garlic Butter Chicken
- Chicken Lazone
- Creamy Ranch Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy