30-Minute Dinner/ Chicken Recipes/ Dinner

Easy Chicken Caprese

12 June 2021 By Aleksandra

Caprese chicken is a quick and delicious dinner idea. Chicken is dressed with Caprese salad ingredients – mozzarella cheese, fresh juicy tomatoes, and fragrant basil. I served it drizzled with easy balsamic sauce. You’ve got to try this quick, 30-minute dish!

Caprese chicken on a wooden board is being drizzled with balsamic glaze.

What is Chicken Caprese?

Caprese salad or Insalata Caprese (literally, salad from Caprese) is an Italian salad consisting of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil. This dish is a spin on the salad – chicken breasts are cooked with Italian herbs, and topped with melted mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil. This easy dish is finished with a drizzle of balsamic glaze that is made from balsamic vinaigrette and pan juices left from cooking the chicken.

Ingredient notes

Here’s what you need to make Caprese chicken:

  • chicken breasts (chicken or turkey tenderloins can also be used, baking time will vary), I seasoned the chicken with Italian herbs and garlic powder, you could also use just basil or oregano
  • fresh tomatoes – the best would be good-quality summer tomatoes but if you’re making this dish out of tomato season, the best substitute are cherry tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves – you could use basil pesto instead (if using pesto – spread it over melted cheese and top with tomato slices, refrigerated pesto tastes better than jarred)
  • mozzarella cheese – use regular fresh mozzarella that comes in a package (in water), not low-moisture ‘yellow’ mozzarella (pre-shredded or sliced) and not mozzarella di bufala, which is amazing for a salad but too watery for this dish
  • balsamic vinegar – you can make your own balsamic sauce/reduction or use store-bought, making your own is very simple, though!

balsamic vinegar vs balsamic glaze

These two ingredients are not the same. Balsamic glaze is made from balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is being cooked until it reduces its volume and is very thick and flavorful. Balsamic glaze is mostly sour with a hint of sweetness, while balsamic glaze is mostly sweet and savory with a hint of sourness.

Labeled ingredients for Caprese chicken.

How to make it step by step

Chicken breast is being pounded with a rolling pin.

STEP 1 + 2: Pound the chicken breasts slightly, so that they are of even thickness (do not pound them completely flat like for chicken cutlets). To do that place a piece of baking paper or thick plastic foil over the meat and pound them lightly with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

You could also cut each chicken breast horizontally into thinner cutlets – they will cook more evenly and quicker but I find the presentation of the dish is a little bit better when using whole breasts and pounding them slightly. Thinner cutlets will cook faster than whole breasts.

Chicken breasts seasoned with spices on a plate. Seared chicken breasts in a black pan.

STEP 3: Season the chicken with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder on both sides.

STEP 4: Heat the oil on a frying pan over high heat. Place the chicken in the pan. Cook until golden browned on one side, then flip over.

Seared chicken in a black pan topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato slices.

STEP 5: Place mozzarella slices on top. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-low heat until the cheese is lightly melted and the chicken is cooked through.

STEP 6: Take the pan off the heat, place tomato slices on top and let stand for 5 minutes.

Balsamic vinegar is being added to a black pan. Balsamic sauce in a pan.

STEP 7+8: Make the balsamic sauce (balsamic reduction): To make the balsamic reduction you need to cook the balsamic vinegar until it reduces its volume and it’s thick and syrupy. Whisk it constantly making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You can do that in a small saucepan or just directly in the pan where you were cooking your chicken. This way the sauce will be more flavorfull (juices from the chicken + brown bits from the bottom of the pan) but the sauce needs to be strained through a sieve.

Cut the basil leaves into slices and sprinkle them over the tomatoes.
Drizzle the chicken breast with balsamic reduction.
Enjoy!

Caprese chicken on a wooden board.

What to serve with caprese chicken

I served this dish with boiled potatoes and green beans, I think it’s the simplest and best side for this dish.

Other great options are:

Other preparation methods

  • Grilled Caprese Chicken – cook it in a grill pan or an outside grill – preheat the grill to medium-high and make sure the grates are oiled so the chicken doesn’t stick.
  • Baked Caprese Chicken – instead of finishing the chicken in a pan covered with a lid, you can finish it in an oven preheated to 350°F/180°C. You can also prepare this dish just in the oven, without using the stovetop – pound the chicken breasts slightly and top with pesto (it will prevent the chicken from drying out), bake for 25-40 minutes at 350°F/175°C depending on the size of the breasts. 5 minutes before the end of baking time, top the chicken with mozzarella slices, bake until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted. Take out of the oven and top with tomato slices and sliced basil leaves.
  • Hasselback Caprese Chicken – make crosswise cuts in the chicken breasts like for Hasselback potatoes (from top to the bottom of a breast, not cutting all the way through), place tomato slices, mozzarella slices, and basil leaves (or pesto) in the slits and bake.
  • Stuffed Caprese Chicken – cut a slit horizontally in the middle of the breast creating a pocket (check out this post for mushroom stuffed chicken if you need a visual, there are step by step photos there), stuff the pocket with tomatoes, cheese, and basil (or pesto). Close the pocket with toothpicks, sear the breasts on both sides, and cook covered with a lid until done.

Other variations of this dish

  • Caprese Pasta (quick and easy pasta dish made in 20 mins!), you can also add your Caprese chicken leftovers to this dish.
  • Caprese chicken sandwich – season the chicken with spices and cook on a pan on both sides until cooked through. Spread some pesto on two slices of bread, put sliced chicken, cheese, tomatoes, and basil on top. Close the sandwich and grill in a panini press until the cheese is melted.
  • Caprese chicken salad – cooked Caprese chicken, tomato slices, and basil served over a bed of greens, you could also make a basil vinaigrette.

Storage

This dish is best freshly made but it can be reheated in a pan covered with a lid. Keep it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. The tomato and basil won’t look so good when reheated so I would recommend adding them just before serving.
You can use Caprese chicken leftovers to make Caprese chicken sandwich, salad, or pasta.

Top tips

  • Instead of using whole chicken breasts, you could also cut each chicken breast horizontally into thinner cutlets – they will cook more evenly and quicker but I find the presentation of the dish is a little bit better when using whole breasts and pounding them slightly.
  • The balsamic reduction will thicken as it cools so you don’t want to let it reduce too much.
  • How to know if the chicken is cooked: the best way to check if the chicken is cooked through is to measure its temperature with a thermometer. Insert it in the middle of the thickest section of the meat, it should register 165°F (74°C). You can use an instant-read thermometer or a grill thermometer (this is my preference). If I’m using a grill thermometer: I insert the probe into the chicken, then cover the pan with a lid (the cable of the probe is very thin so it’s possible to cover the pan completely) and set the thermometer to 160°F (71°C). The thermometer is ringing when the chicken has reached the temperature that I have set so I don’t have to check on it constantly. The chicken should then come to the safe temperature of 165°F (74°C) while resting.
Caprese chicken with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil on a green plate with a side of green beans and potatoes.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Caprese Chicken

Caprese chicken is a quick and delicious dinner idea. Chicken is dressed with Caprese salad ingredients – mozzarella cheese, fresh juicy tomatoes, and fragrant basil. I served it drizzled with easy balsamic sauce.
Pin This Recipe! SAVE THIS RECIPE
Caprese chicken on a wooden board is being drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 506kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1 small tomato
  • 3.5 oz (100g) fresh mozzarella cheese, 4 slices
  • 10 leaves basil or basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pound the chicken breasts slightly, so that they are of even thickness (do not pound them completely flat like for chicken cutlets). To do that place a piece of baking paper or thick plastic foil over the meat and pound them lightly with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder on both sides.
  • Heat the oil on a frying pan over high heat. Place the chicken in the pan. Cook until golden browned on one side then flip over and place mozzarella slices on top. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-low heat until the cheese is lightly melted and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Take the chicken off the pan, place tomato slices on top and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Make the balsamic sauce (balsamic reduction): To make the balsamic reduction you need to cook the balsamic vinegar until it reduces its volume and it’s thick and syrupy. Whisk it constantly making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You can do that in a small saucepan or just directly in the pan where you were cooking your chicken. This way the sauce will be more flavorfull (juices from the chicken + brown bits from the bottom of the pan) but the sauce needs to be strained through a sieve.
  • Cut the basil leaves into slices and sprinkle them over the tomatoes.
  • Drizzle the chicken breast with balsamic reduction.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You could also cut each chicken breast horizontally into thinner cutlets – they will cook more evenly and quicker but I find the presentation of the dish is a little bit better when using whole breasts and pounding them slightly.
  • Balsamic reduction is optional (you can also use store-bought instead of making your own). If you’re not making it, I would highly recommend using basil pesto to add more flavor. Spread the pesto over melted mozzarella and top with tomato slices. 
  • The balsamic reduction will thicken as it cools so you don’t want to let it reduce too much.
  • If fresh, delicious tomatoes are out of the season, use chopped cherry tomatoes which are good all year round.
  • Use regular fresh mozzarella that comes in a package (in water), not low-moisture ‘yellow’ mozzarella (pre-shredded or sliced) and not mozzarella di bufala, which is amazing for a salad but too watery for this dish.
  • How to know if the chicken is cooked: the best way to check if the chicken is cooked through is to measure its temperature with a thermometer. Insert it in the middle of the thickest section of the meat, it should register 165°F (74°C). You can use an instant-read thermometer or a grill thermometer (this is my preference). If I’m using a grill thermometer: I insert the probe into the chicken, then cover the pan with a lid (the cable of the probe is very thin so it’s possible to cover the pan completely) and set the thermometer to 160°F (71°C). The thermometer is ringing when the chicken has reached the temperature that I have set so I don’t have to check on it constantly. The chicken should then come to the safe temperature of 165°F (74°C) while resting.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/2 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, international
Keyword balsamic caprese chicken, Caprese chicken, glazed caprese chicken

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




The maximum upload file size: 1 MB. You can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded.