The aroma of this easy mozzarella chicken skillet is enough to have your whole family drooling! Crispy breaded chicken submerged in a rich homemade tomato sauce then smothered in melted mozzarella. This simple weeknight recipe is surprisingly easy to make using simple kitchen staples and is ready to serve with fettuccine in under 1 hour!
Mozzarella chicken is an easy dinner idea when you’re looking for something simple to make while keeping it budget-friendly, and without a ton of ingredients to deal with. Juicy chicken, saucy, cheesy, and bubbly are all the buzzwords you need to get on board, because this recipe checks all the boxes and more!
If there are opportunities to find new ways to cook chicken breast, I know we home cooks are the first to jump on the bandwagon. This is one you and your whole family will love!
The butterflied chicken breasts are seasoned, breaded, then pan-fried until golden and crispy. Simmered in a rich and flavorful homemade sauce smothered in melty mozzarella, this Italian-inspired family meal idea comes together in one skillet, so you’re looking at easy cleanup afterward too!
Why you’ll love this easy Mozzarella Chicken recipe
Easy Dinner Recipe – There’s only about 10 minutes of prep time and simple ingredients that goes into preparing mozzarella chicken. The rest is mostly simmering time and it’s ready to serve in under 1 hour.
One Skillet – Not only is it fuss-free and easy to clean up, but you’re getting the flavors from cooking the meat first, right into the sauce giving it even more flavor.
Everyone Loves It – It’s the kind of meal that you’ll put in regular rotation because it’s such a favorite.
Tools you’ll need
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.
- Chicken Breasts – You’ll need to butterfly 6 skinless boneless chicken breasts to make 6 thinner cutlets. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice each breast in half horizontally so they open up to make thinner, flatter, butterfly-shaped breasts. If some parts are still quite thick, use a meat mallet to even them out.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that is large & crispy and gives the chicken a nice crunchy, golden coating.
- Seasoning – Montreal chicken seasoning, salt, and black pepper will be added to the breadcrumbs for flavor. Keep some salt and pepper on hand for seasoning to taste at the end, too.
- Butter & Oil – I use both to sear the breasts. The butter gives it great flavor and using both helps to brown the breaded cutlets without burning them.
- Onion & Garlic – The aromatics that start off the base of the beautiful sauce.
- Chicken Stock – The liquid base of the sauce that will cook down as it simmers. I use homemade chicken stock for flavor but you can use vegetable or chicken broth if that’s what you have on hand.
- Crushed Tomatoes – An important ingredient in any homemade tomato sauce! You’re going to use a full 28oz can. I like the texture of crushed tomatoes, but if you want yours completely smooth, use pureed tomatoes instead.
- Sugar – Mellows out the acidity from the tomatoes and balances the flavors.
- Parsley – Livens up the sauce with fresh herbs! Parsley adds a peppery, earthiness flavor. Dried can be used if that’s what you have.
- Mozzarella – Grate your own fresh mozzarella so that it is fresh and melts evenly.
- Fettuccine – This is the pasta I serve with this mozzarella chicken, but of course, you can use whatever shape you prefer.
How to make Mozzarella Chicken
This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Step One: Dredge each piece of seasoned butterflied chicken breast into the seasoned breadcrumbs. Make sure they are fully coated. Then, set them aside.
- Step Two: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and heat the olive oil. Cook the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary so you’re not overcrowding the pan. Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and set them aside again.
- Step Three: To the same pan, add the garlic and onion. Pour in the stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom bits off the pan. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until it reduces down to about half.
- Step Four: Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Do a little taste test as it cooks, then add extra salt and pepper if needed. Let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, cook the fettuccine according to package directions.
- Step Five: Once the sauce has been cooking for about 30 minutes, stir in some fresh or dried parsley. Place the chicken in the sauce and top each piece with mozzarella. Put a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down low until the cheese melts.
Plate your pasta, top with sauce, and a single chicken breast. Enjoy!
What to serve with it
You can choose to serve mozzarella chicken with fettuccine pasta or on its own with a side of oven roasted potatoes or rice instead. Or, do like the Italians do, and serve it completely on its own!
Tips & Suggestions 🍝
- For a shortcut, you can buy already butterflied chicken breasts.
- If you prefer dark meat, use boneless chicken thighs instead.
- To add a bit of creaminess to your sauce you can pour in a little half-and-half or heavy cream.
- Add some heat with a dash of red pepper flakes.
- If you don’t have any parsley, you can substitute Italian seasoning.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves to add extra flavor.
- For a low-carb version, skip the breadcrumbs. Season the breast itself and then brown it on both sides.
- Swap the fettuccine noodles for linguine, spaghetti, penne, or rotini. Any medium or long pasta will do!
How to store leftovers
Keep leftover mozzarella chicken in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you’re looking for a delicious way to use leftovers, sandwich the chicken breast in a bun, sauce included, and make a mozzarella chicken breast sandwich!
How long will chicken mozzarella last in the fridge?
It will stay fresh for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Make sure to allow it to cool completely before covering it so you’re not capturing heat which turns into moisture.
Can I freeze it?
You can freeze leftovers for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as desired.
How to reheat it
A quick zap in the microwave is all it takes. Just be careful not to overheat it, otherwise, it will dry out the meat. You could also reheat it in the air fryer or the oven on medium-low.
What is the difference between mozzarella chicken and chicken parmesan?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed that there isn’t much difference at all! They’re comprised of breaded butterflied chicken breasts, sauce, Italian-inspired herbs, seasoning, and of course, melted mozzarella.
Traditionally, chicken parmesan, or chicken parmigiana as it’s also known is baked. Our mozzarella chicken is made in one skillet on the stovetop instead.
How do I know when my chicken is done?
Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast. It should be at 165 degrees to be safe to eat.
Should I wash chicken breasts before using them?
This seems to be a hot topic among home cooks, and depending on who you ask, there’s definitely a line down the middle.
Most often, those who wash their meat, do so because of learning from generations past, and perhaps it’s as much a cultural practice as it is a personal preference.
Then some choose not to because it is said to spread bacteria in and around your kitchen sink [see what the USDA says about it.
So, no, it’s not necessary, I don’t do it, but in your kitchen, do you 🙂
Skillet Mozzarella Chicken Breast
Need more cheesy chicken recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of chicken recipes.
Originally published October 17, 2013