Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach & Cheese

updated Apr 25, 2024

These cheesy chicken breasts prove it's what's on the inside that counts.

Serves4

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Chicken is an all-time favorite for dinner at my house. Chicken is the star many one-pot pasta dishes, grain bowls, cozy soups, and salads. Its applications are seemingly endless. Typically, though, I reach for chicken thighs rather than breasts. They’re fattier and more forgiving, so I don’t have to worry about drying them out when cooking. That extra fat does double duty, adding not only moisture, but flavor. However, I recently discovered my new favorite technique, that has put chicken breasts back in the rotation: stuffing. You can stuff chicken breasts with anything from grapes and hazelnuts to goat cheese and garlic. These spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breasts are the perfect answer to my “boring, dry chicken breast” woes. 

Filling chicken breasts with spinach, two kinds of cheese, and garlic is a simple way to bring big flavor to the dinner table. Splitting the breast helps both sides cook more quickly and evenly, and the filling adds moisture and flavor to the meat. Besides being easy, spinach-stuffed chicken breasts are also impressive enough to serve to guests.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Why You’ll Love It

  • Two kinds of cheese, frozen spinach, onion, and garlic come together for a quick but absolutely delicious stir-together filling.
  • It’s customizable, you can swap in your favorite cheeses, add herbs to the filling, or even a little bacon if you’re feeling decadent.
  • It comes together quickly. The chicken breasts cook in one-pan on the stovetop and are done in under 30 minutes. Add an easy pasta or a big salad and you’ve got an easy weeknight win.

Key Ingredients in Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • Chicken breasts: You’ll need four large-sized (about 6 ounces each) boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, which should weigh about 1 ½ pounds. 
  • Cream cheese: Cream cheese adds creaminess and tang to the filling while also helping to bind it together.
  • Mozzarella cheese: You’ll need 2 ounces, or about ½ cup of mozzarella to fill the chicken breasts. You can shred your own from a block, or opt for pre-shredded.
  • Spinach: One (10-ounce) block of frozen spinach is all you’ll need for the filling, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible.
  • Onion: Grating a small onion adds flavor without having chunks of onion in the filling.
  • Garlic:  A little bit of fresh garlic packs a flavorful punch.

How to Make Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  1. Make the filling. Mix the cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, onion, and garlic together until well combined.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts.  Use a chef’s knife to cut a pocket in each chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff the chicken breasts. Divide the filling evenly among the chicken breasts.
  4. Cook the chicken. Cook the stuffed breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  5. Slice and serve. Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and slice. Serve.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Helpful Swaps

  • The recipe calls for mozzarella for the filling, but any dry, semi-soft cheese like cheddar, provolone, or Gouda can be used too.
  • Get creative with the filling! Try swapping out 2 ounces of spinach for an equal amount of chopped cooked bacon or sun-dried tomatoes. You can also add herbs like chopped parsley or oregano.
  • Spice it up! Try adding a pinch of crushed red pepper, a little paprika, or dried herbs like basil or oregano to the filling for an extra hit of flavor.

What to Serve with Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach & Cheese

These cheesy chicken breasts prove it's what's on the inside that counts.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    small sweet onion

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1 (10-ounce) box

    frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 ounces

    shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4

    small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Equipment

  • Measuring cup and spoons

  • Chef's knife and cutting board

  • 12-inch skillet or cast iron pan

  • Small mixing bowl

  • Paper towels

  • Spatula

Instructions

Show Images
  1. Use the large holes of a box grater to grate 1/2 small sweet onion. Mince or grate 1 garlic clove on the small holes of the box grater. Place both in a medium bowl.

  2. Add 10 ounces spinach, 4 ounces cream cheese, 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and mix until combined.

  3. Place 1 boneless, skiness 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 side 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 3 breasts. Thoroughly dry the chicken on all sides with paper towels. Season on all sides and inside the pockets with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  4. Use your hands to transfer the filling into the pocket of each chicken breast.

  5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive 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.

  6. Swirl the pan just before adding the breasts to evenly distribute the oil. Carefully add the chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 5 to 7 minutes. If you try to turn the chicken and it feels stuck, it isn't ready to flip.

  7. Use a spatula to flip the breasts over and add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the center of the pan. Pick up the pan and give it a gentle swirl to distribute the melting butter. Cook until the breasts reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F, 5 to 7 minutes more.

  8. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate or clean cutting board. Let rest for 3 minutes before slicing and serving. Season with freshly ground black pepper if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.