This easy 5-ingredient caprese chicken is everything you want in a one-pan meal. It’s wholesome, healthy, delicious, hearty, total comfort food, and a family favorite. The best part is this gluten-free dinner recipe requires only 5 ingredients!
Proudly boasting juicy chicken breast with bold balsamic glaze and melted mozzarella cheese, this one-pan meal will become a part of your regular meal rotation. It’s a great way to dress up monotonous chicken breasts and make them into a satiating, healthy, and delicious meal.
This easy Caprese chicken recipe is a hit with my family because it’s an Italian comfort food. And I love easy dinners that can be quickly whipped up on busy weeknights.
A bonus perk is that this chicken breast recipe tastes better the next day, so feel free to double it for easy meal prep tomorrow. It’s great for work or school lunches. This dish is packed with the classic flavors of a Caprese salad but in a hearty, satisfying form you’ll love.
Give this recipe a try, and you’ll know exactly why it’s one of my go-to chicken dinner recipes!
If you’re looking for more chicken recipe inspiration, check out my list of 45 Gluten Free Chicken Dinners. But if you’re ready to make this easy caprese recipe.
Why You’ll Love This Caprese Chicken
- Quick and Easy: This caprese chicken recipe is incredibly easy to whip up. With only a few steps and a cooking time of about 15 minutes, you'll have your meal on the table in no time.
- Gluten-Free: This recipe is entirely gluten-free, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions. Plus, it is so delicious, everyone will love it, gluten-free or not!
- Simple Ingredients: With just 5 ingredients, this recipe is as straightforward as it gets. Chicken, tomatoes, cheese, balsamic syrup, and basil are all you need to create this flavorful dish.
- Family-Friendly: This caprese chicken is popular with kids and adults alike. The combination of juicy chicken, melted cheese, and sweet balsamic syrup is hard to resist!
- Versatile: While this dish is perfect as is, it is also easy to customize. Add some sliced olives or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a delicious twist. You can even serve it over pasta or with a side of garlic bread for a complete meal.
This simple chicken dinner comes together with five simple ingredients plus oil and salt, and pepper. It is conveniently made in one pan, so clean-up will be a breeze.
- Chicken Breasts: The star of our caprese chicken, chicken breasts are lean, high in protein, and a versatile ingredient that takes on the flavors it is cooked with. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are best, but chicken tenders will work, too; you can try chicken thighs if you’re going for dark meat flavor.
- Roma Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are firm and less juicy than other varieties, making them perfect for this dish. They will add a fresh, slightly tangy flavor to compliment the chicken without releasing too much liquid.
- Mozzarella or Goat Cheese: Either cheese will add a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture to our caprese chicken. Mozzarella is mild and slightly sweet, while goat cheese offers a tangy twist.
- Balsamic Syrup: This syrup will give our dish a sweet and tangy flavor profile. It pairs beautifully with the tomatoes and cheese, creating a rich, bold glaze over the chicken. It’s also referred to as balsamic syrup and is a reduction of balsamic vinegar. You may also find it labeled as balsamic reduction. It has a bold flavor often used in recipes with tomatoes and fresh basil.
- Basil: Fresh basil leaves will add a sweet, peppery flavor to our caprese chicken. This herb is a staple in Italian cooking and will give the dish that authentic touch.
- Salt and Pepper: These two simple seasonings will enhance the natural flavors of the other ingredients. Don't be shy with them!
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is a great option for Italian recipes like this one, and I get mine from Costco, but you can use another oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil.
How to Make Caprese Chicken
Craving for a gluten-free, healthy, and delicious meal? Here's how to make caprese chicken in a few simple steps! For more detailed instructions and nutrition facts, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Prepare the Chicken: Start by placing your chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them until thin. Trim off any fat to ensure a lean piece of meat.
Cook the Chicken: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and place them in the hot skillet. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side to guarantee a good browning on each side.
Add the Toppings: Once the chicken is cooked through, drizzle it with balsamic syrup. Top it with slices of mozzarella and tomato.
Melt the Cheese: Turn off the heat, cover the skillet with a lid, and let the cheese melt for a minute or two.
Serve: Serve your delicious caprese chicken with additional balsamic syrup if desired. Don't forget to top it with plenty of fresh basil for an extra burst of flavor. Enjoy your healthy, gluten-free meal!
- Spicy: If you enjoy a bit of heat in your meals, try adding some crushed red pepper flakes to the chicken while it is cooking. This will give your caprese chicken a spiciness that compliments the sweet balsamic and creamy mozzarella beautifully.
- Basil Pesto: For an extra layer of flavor, spread a tablespoon of basil pesto on each chicken breast before adding the mozzarella and tomato. The pesto adds a deliciously herby note to this already flavorful dish.
- Vegan Version: For a vegan version of this dish, swap the chicken for firm tofu and use vegan mozzarella cheese. It's a great way to enjoy the flavors of Caprese in a plant-based meal.
Making caprese chicken is easy, especially when you have a few handy tips up your sleeve. Here are some insider cooking secrets that will help you whip up this delicious, gluten-free dish in no time.
- Pound the chicken: When pan-frying chicken breasts, I always trim any visible fat and flatten them with a meat mallet. That way, it will cook evenly and produce the most tender chicken.
- Season well: Don’t forget to season your chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper before cooking. This simple step can elevate the flavor of your chicken significantly.
- Perfect the browning: For a beautifully browned chicken, cook each side for about 4-6 minutes depending on thickness. Wait until the chicken releases easily from the pan to achieve a golden crust.
- Melt the cheese properly: After topping the chicken with mozzarella and tomato, turn off the heat and cover the pan. This allows the cheese to melt perfectly without overcooking the chicken.
- Don’t overcook the chicken: To avoid dry, rubbery chicken, make sure not to overcook it. The chicken is done when it is no longer pink in the middle and juices run clear.
This caprese chicken recipe is already naturally gluten-free and keto-friendly, but with a few simple tweaks, it can also be adapted to suit vegan, dairy-free, paleo, and whole30 diets. Here's how:
- To Make This Recipe Vegan and Dairy-Free: To make this recipe vegan and dairy-free, replace the chicken breasts with a plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh. Instead of mozzarella or goat cheese, use a vegan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
- To Make This Recipe Paleo and Whole30 Compatible: This recipe is almost there for paleo and whole30 diets. Just make sure to use a balsamic syrup that doesn't contain any added sugars or sulfites. For the cheese, opt for a dairy-free cheese substitute or omit it altogether.
- To Refrigerate: If you have any leftovers of this tasty caprese chicken, simply store them in an airtight container. They will keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- To Freeze: Unfortunately, due to the delicate texture of the mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, freezing this caprese chicken dish is not recommended. The freezing process can cause these ingredients to become mushy and lose their vibrant flavors.
- To Reheat: When you're ready to enjoy your caprese chicken leftovers, reheat them gently in a microwave or on the stovetop. If using the microwave, use a lower power setting to prevent the chicken from becoming tough. If reheating on the stovetop, do so over low heat and consider adding a splash of chicken broth to keep the dish moist and flavorful.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Caprese chicken made of?
Caprese chicken is an Italian-inspired dish that uses the same ingredients as a classic caprese salad. This includes ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. The addition of chicken to these traditional ingredients provides a protein boost, making it a wholesome and easy dinner recipe.
What is the best mozzarella cheese to use in Caprese chicken?
For hot dishes like the caprese chicken recipe, shredded mozzarella cheese is the best choice as it melts easily due to its low moisture content. Fresh mozzarella cheese, on the other hand, is best enjoyed fresh or raw. You can still use it in this recipe by topping the chicken breasts with slices of fresh mozzarella, but keep in mind it won't melt as much as shredded mozzarella would.
How long should I cook the chicken breast on the stovetop?
Chicken breasts should be cooked in a large frying pan over medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked through. Thinner chicken breasts will cook more quickly, so it is a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure they're done. The thermometer should register at 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the meat to ensure safety and avoid food-borne illnesses.
Can I use a different type of chicken for this recipe?
Yes, you can. While the recipe calls for chicken breasts, you can also use chicken thighs or drumsticks. Just be aware that the cooking time may vary depending on the cut of chicken you choose.
Let's take your caprese chicken to the next level with these versatile serving suggestions. This tasty dish can be paired with a variety of sides, salads, and mains:
- Salads: A fresh caesar salad or a tossed garden salad would be a perfect accompaniment to this caprese chicken. If you're looking to add a bit of crunch, try a roasted almond and spinach salad.
- Mains: Caprese chicken can be served as a main dish itself, but if you're looking to mix things up, try pairing it with gluten-free pasta tossed in olive oil and garlic.
- Sides: Pair this caprese chicken with sides like roasted green beans or easy roasted broccoli for a wholesome dinner. A side of gluten-free garlic bread can also complement the flavors of the chicken.
- Perfect Side For Sandwiches: For cold chicken Caprese, try dicing up leftovers and adding them to your lunch salad served over kale or spinach for a well-rounded protein with greens meal. It also pairs well with a variety of wraps and paninis.
- With Grain Bowls: For a protein-packed lunch, add diced caprese chicken to a grain bowl made with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. Don't forget to drizzle some extra balsamic syrup on top!
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or goat cheese
- ½ cup balsamic syrup
- 2 tablespoon basil
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Start by pounding your chicken breasts thin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Trim off any fat.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high and drizzle with olive oil.
- Salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides and place in hot skillet. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side depending on how thick they are. You want to get some good browning on each side.
- When chicken is cooked through drizzle with the balsamic syrup, top with the mozzarella and tomato. Turn off heat, put lid on and let the cheese melt for a minute of two.
- Serve with more balsamic syrup if desired. Top with basil. I like lots!