One-Pan Caprese Baked Chicken

published Jun 10, 2024
Dinner Therapist
One-Pan Caprese Baked Chicken Recipe

This one-pan dinner has it all — juicy chicken, burst tomatoes, and melted mozzarella — and it cooks in under 30 minutes.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 30 minutes

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overhead photo of baked chicken with melted cheese, grape tomatoes, chiffonade basil, and balsamic glaze in a baking dish
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Dear Dinner Therapist: I struggle with finding recipes that use fresh ingredients that are also affordable, healthy, and can be thrown together quickly. Most of my quick meals use prepared ingredients (i.e., Hamburger Helper kits, pasta with jarred sauce, etc.). I’m looking for a dinner recipe that’s quick and nutritious without involving too much time or too many dirty dishes. —Cescile

Cescile: As we head into summer, all I can think about is fresh seasonal produce. My mind immediately jumps to fresh tomatoes, which then naturally leads me to Caprese salad. The combination of sweet, juicy tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic just can’t be beat. Here, I’m coupling that with lean, boneless chicken breast, which is one of my favorite options for a quick-cooking dinner that’s easy, nutritious, and doesn’t leave you at the sink all night washing dirty dishes. 

The beauty of this dinner is that even if you have lackluster tomatoes that don’t have a ton of flavor, roasting concentrates their natural sweetness and turns them into something special. In under 30 minutes, you have the most tender, juicy chicken covered in a blanket of melty mozzarella and nestled in sweet, jammy tomatoes. I recommend serving this with couscous, pasta, roasted potatoes, or a loaf of bread so you can mop up every last drop of the delicious sauce. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • This one-pan dinner is super fresh. It’s also comforting, yet doesn’t feel heavy.
  • It keeps everything to a minimum. You need just one piece of cookware (a trusty 9×13 casserole dish) and fewer than 10 ingredients, and it cooks in under 30 minutes.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Key Ingredients in One-Pan Caprese Baked Chicken

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast: I recommend sticking with medium-size chicken breasts (it’ll be about two pounds total for four pieces). Because this lean protein has a mild-mannered flavor, the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic really shine.
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes: Both options work equally well, so use what’s available to you and looks best. You’ll need one pint or about 10 ounces total.
  • Balsamic glaze: There are a lot of great store-bought bottled options. If you have some time and are up for a tiny project, you can make your own balsamic glaze.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese: There are so many types of mozzarella, but fresh is the go-to for any version of caprese.  

How to Make One-Pan Caprese Baked Chicken

  1. Pound the chicken. Place the chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag one at a time and pound to 1/2-inch thick. (If you don’t have a meat mallet, a rolling pin works well here.) An even thickness ensures that all the pieces cook evenly. 
  2. Coat with balsamic mixture. Coat each piece of chicken with the balsamic glaze and olive oil in the baking dish and arrange in an even layer.
  3. Roast the chicken and tomatoes. Roast until the chicken is cooked through at the thickest part. The tomatoes will also be split and jammy.
  4. Melt the mozzarella cheese. Top the chicken with thin slices of fresh mozzarella and place the baking dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted. This will only take a minute or two, so keep a close eye.
  5. Garnish and serve. Drizzle a little more balsamic glaze over the chicken and top with fresh chopped basil.

Helpful Swaps

  • An equal amount of low-moisture mozzarella cheese will work in place of fresh.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs will also work. I recommend using two pounds (six to eight pieces total). There’s no need to pound the thighs and you can follow the same cooking instructions and timing. 

Dinner Therapist is my column dedicated to solving your dilemmas around the most important — but let’s be honest, sometimes most dreaded — meal of the day. Prepping dinner night after night can be so hard. Here, I deliver practical and hopefully fun advice to make cooking less complicated and more enjoyable. Follow along for all the recipes. Got your own dinner struggles? We want to hear from you! Fill out this super-quick form for your chance to be featured in an upcoming column.

One-Pan Caprese Baked Chicken Recipe

This one-pan dinner has it all — juicy chicken, burst tomatoes, and melted mozzarella — and it cooks in under 30 minutes.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 pint

    grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    balsamic glaze, plus more for serving if desired

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4

    medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 ounces

    fresh mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 small bunch

    fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425℉.

  2. Mince 3 garlic cloves and add to a broiler-safe 9x13-inch baking dish. Add 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze, and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Stir to combine.

  3. Pound 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Working with 1 piece at a time, place in a large resealable bag and pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Season all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  4. Add the chicken to the baking dish 1 piece at a time, turning to coat all over with the balsamic mixture. Push the tomatoes to the edges of the baking dish and nestle the chicken in a single layer in the middle.

  5. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese. Pick the leaves from 1/4 small bunch fresh basil and thinly slice until you have 2 tablespoons.

  6. Remove the chicken from the oven. Heat the oven to broil. Spoon the tomatoes over the chicken. Place the mozzarella over the chicken and tomatoes in a single layer. Broil until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle with more balsamic glaze if desired and garnish with the basil.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.