Chicken breasts are such a supper staple that it's often hard to think of them as anything special, but let me tell you this: Splitting chicken breasts and filling them with your favorite flavors makes them anything but ordinary. Here spinach, two kinds of cheese, and garlic come together to stuff golden chicken breasts with a flavorful, cheesy filling.
Why Stuff a Chicken Breast at All?
Chicken breasts have become such a ubiquitous dinner staple that they run the risk of getting boring week after week. Stuffing a chicken breast is beyond fun and flavorful. Splitting the breast helps both sides cook more quickly and evenly, and the filling adds moisture and flavor to the meat. Besides being easy, stuffing chicken breast is also impressive enough to serve to guests.
Read more: How To Split a Chicken Breast
For Your Information
- This recipe calls for four large boneless, skinless breasts in the six-ounce range, a total of 1 1/2 pounds approximately.
- You'll need a block of frozen spinach thawed according the package instructions and a block of cream cheese too.
- The recipe below calls for mozzarella for the filling, but any dry, semi-soft cheese like cheddar, provolone, or Gouda can be used too.
Filling Chicken Breast: The Step-By-Step Guide
- Split the breast and season with salt. Use a sharp knife to make a pocket in each breast, then season each breast inside and out with salt.
- Make the filling. Grate the cheese and onion. Mix together the cream cheese, spinach, and garlic and add the grated cheese and onion.
- Fill the breast. Use a soup spoon or your hands to scoop the filling into the pocket of each breast.
- Pin the breast closed. Use a toothpick to hold each pocket closed by inserting it on either side of the pocket.
- Brown the breasts. Brown the breast in a large skillet until golden on each side and the breast reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast.
Serving Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
I like to serve filled chicken breasts sliced; this shows off your hard work and also prevents diners from squishing all the filling out with their fork. After you've rested the breast for five minutes after cooking, slice the breast with a clean knife and serve immediately.
How To Make Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach & Cheese
What You Need
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 (10-ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1/2 small sweet onion, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
Measuring cup and spoons
Chef's knife and cutting board
12-inch skillet or cast iron pan
Small mixing bowl
- Make a pocket in the chicken breasts and season. Place a chicken breast on a cutting board. Press a hand on top of the breast and carefully insert the tip of a chef's knife into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Cut an opening about 3 inches wide, then cut 3/4 of the way through the breast to create a pocket without cutting all the way through. Repeat with the remaining breasts. Thoroughly dry the chicken on all sides with paper towels. Season with the salt on all sides and inside the pocket.
- Make the filling. Combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, onion, garlic, and remaining salt in a small bowl and mix until well-combined.
- Stuff the chicken breasts with the filling, spooning a quarter of the filling mixture into each breast.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Heat the oil in a 10-inch or larger skillet (preferably straight-sided and not nonstick; cast iron is a great option) over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes.
- Carefully add the chicken to the hot pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Swirl the pan just before adding the breasts to evenly distribute the oil. Carefully add the chicken one at a time and do not touch, poke, or move the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes. If you try to turn the chicken and it feels stuck, it isn't golden and crispy or ready to flip.
- Flip the chicken and cook until it reaches 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes more. Flip the breasts over and add the butter right between them. Pick up the pan and give it a gentle swirl to distribute the melting butter. Cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes more.
- Slice and serve. Remove the chicken breasts to a plate or clean cutting board. Let rest for 3 minutes before slicing and serving.