This is a chicken recipe you’ll return to again and again; no matter when you make it, tomato and basil Caprese Chicken tastes like the height of summer. This recipe uses burst cherry tomatoes and a quick balsamic pan sauce; melted fresh mozzarella makes it irresistible. It’s one of the best one pot dinners you’ll ever have.
There is something so irresistible about a traditional caprese salad; which is why I have also used the key ingredients into my caprese pasta, margherita pizza recipe, and, for those who don’t like the cheese, my balsamic chicken and tomatoes.
How to make Caprese Chicken:
This how-to is for the visual learners who might be reading. For specific amounts and units, as well as an option to change the quantity of the recipe, please have a look at the recipe at the bottom of the page.
- To make Caprese Chicken, you will need a heavy skillet with a lid, like this one.
- Season the boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Then heat olive oil in the skillet until it it hot and shimmering. Add the chicken breasts in a single layer; try not to overcrowd them. Cook the chicken on one side until it is golden brown, then flip the breasts over, add water, and cover the skillet to continue cooking.
- Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, they should be finished cooking within 5 to 6 minutes. They should read 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Once they’re done, remove them from the skillet onto a plate and tent them with a piece of foil while you make the sauce.
- Now for the sauce! Sauté garlic and balsamic vinegar together. Then add the cherry tomatoes and bring the vinegar to a boil. Turn down the heat a bit and simmer until the tomatoes have softened–5 to 7 minutes.
- Next, stir in the fresh basil and season to taste. Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, nestling it down into the tomato balsamic mixture. Top each breast with slices of mozzarella, however much you like.
- Cover with the lid and simmer until the cheese is melted, another few minutes.
How do you make baked Caprese Chicken?
It takes a little longer to bake the chicken, but it’s still an absolutely easy and effortless situation. It’s an especially useful method for making larger quantities for big groups.
You can bake the chicken breasts in an oven-proof skillet or casserole (I’m looking at you, cast iron) for 22-25 minutes at 425 degrees. The tomatoes and balsamic are cooked together on the stove, and added back to the skillet.
Top with cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes–or broil!
How to make Caprese Chicken with pesto:
Out of season, fresh basil can be pricey. You can still make this dish, though, by spooning on a dollop of basil pesto right onto the cooked chicken–under the mozzarella–so that it melts along with the cheese.
Come to think of it, this sounds fabulous along with fresh basil. Do both if you like: double basil Caprese Chicken…delish!
Balsamic or Balsamic glaze?
This recipe is slightly different from others you may come across because the pan sauce is made from real balsamic vinegar and tomatoes, all cooked together. Other recipes call for using a balsamic glaze, a deeply rich and dark balsamic reduction, which is drizzled over the chicken at the last minute.
If you just can’t get enough balsamic vinegar in your life, use both, but sparingly: a little balsamic glaze goes a long way!
If the pan sauce sounds good to you, use real balsamic vinegar. It keeps the chicken juicy and tastes fabulous when served over a little pasta or mashed potatoes.
Let’s talk about tomatoes…
Not all tomatoes are created equal. Scientists have recently discovered that the majority of grocery store tomatoes are missing crucial flavor genes, causing them to taste bland. While that may not sound like new news to the cooks out there, it’s nice to finally know that there’s a better tasting tomato on the horizon. Hopefully.
If you have a surplus of home grown tomatoes (lucky!) by all means, chop them up and use them in this recipe!
But if you don’t, use the little cherry varieties–they’re nicely acidic and brightly flavorful almost anytime of the year. Same goes for the hothouse Campari toms, the cherry tomato’s larger cousin.
Last, but hardly least, sun dried tomatoes work for this recipe, too–especially the ones packed in olive oil.
Feel free to change things up according to your personal taste or what you may (or may not) have on hand. Then write a comment below talking about it!
Caprese Chicken Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves torn
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering.
- Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown on one side, about 6 minutes. Flip chicken, add water, and cover.
- Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees at the the thickest part of a breast, about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
- Add balsamic vinegar and garlic to skillet and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes have softened and opened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Return chicken to skillet, nestling among tomatoes. Top with mozzarella cheese and cover until cheese is melted, about 30 seconds.