Chicken breast is having a moment, and that moment is Stuffed Chicken Breast. Lean chicken breast with a creamy, cheesy, and herby spinach filling tucked inside, it’s surprisingly easy to make and will instantly upgrade your night.
It can also be dry and a total snooze fest.
Three methods to cook a juicy chicken breast that is NOT DRY are brining (like in this Baked Chicken Breast), marinading (like this Chicken Marinade), and stuffing (ahem, this tasty recipe right here!).
I especially love stuffing chicken breast.
- The filling insulates and flavors an otherwise fairly bland cut of meat.
- It gives you many delicious possibilities for your weeknight dinner.
The Best Stuffed Chicken Breast
You can stuff boneless skinless chicken breasts with any combination of cheese, sautéed vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes all work well), herbs, and even meat if you like.
This Greek-meets-Italy feta, spinach, and Parmesan recipe is simple, tastes fresh, and is the best stuffed chicken breast I’ve ever had.
In addition to being ultra tasty, the very idea of a cheesy filling waiting inside each piece turns it into a present on your plate (just like the ham and white cheddar cheese stuffed Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu!).
What also makes this recipe especially good is searing the chicken breasts on the stove before finishing them in the oven.
Searing gives the chicken a golden, lightly crisp outside, a more robust flavor, and it jump-starts the melty filling.
How to Make Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cheese
Stuffing chicken breast sounds tricky, but it isn’t!
You cut a small pocket in the chicken with a sharp knife (I like to place my hand on to so I can feel where the knife is), tuck in the filling with your fingers or a small spoon, then secure it with toothpicks.
For this filling, I took loose inspiration from spanakopita and used feta cheese. Its creamy texture and salty touch were just right.
For a more mild option, try mozzarella cheese stuffed chicken, or one of the below suggestions.
- Chicken Breast. Approved by adults and kids alike. It’s a protein-packed, tender blank canvas that’s ideal for pairing with a wide range of flavors (like those in the stuffing).
- Baby Spinach. Rich in fiber, calcium, and vitamins, fresh spinach is an ultra nutritious addition to the stuffing. Its mild flavor makes it kid-friendly. Love and want more spinach? Check out my Sautéed Spinach.
- Shallot. Onion’s milder cousin, it builds an aromatic filling base.
- Spices. Dried sage, dried oregano, pepper, and nutmeg pump up the flavor in our stuffing and give it depth. If you have fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, or thyme, feel free to add them too.
- Feta. Salty, tangy, cheesy goodness that pairs beautifully with the other flavors in the stuffing.
- Parmesan. The other can’t-miss, crowd-pleasing cheesy component in our stuffing.
- Walnuts. Walnuts add a spectacular nuttiness that gives the filling a gourmet taste you’ll feel proud of yourself for cooking.
- Butter. Helps create a delicious sear on the chicken breasts and adds rich flavor.
- Lemon. Adds wonderful brightness and acidity to the chicken.
- Cut slits in the chicken breasts. Dry the chicken and sprinkle salt over the top.
- Saute the shallot on the stove-top.
- Stir in the spinach. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add the walnuts and cheeses (no need to put them in a separate bowl).
- Use your fingers or small spoon to place the stuffing mixture into the chicken breast pockets.
- Seal the openings with toothpicks.
- Sear the chicken with butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Bake stuffed chicken breast at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest (the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken should be 165 degrees F). Finish with lemon juice and ENJOY!
Serve spinach stuffed chicken with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir.
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Stuffed chicken breast can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
You can prepare stuffed chicken breasts in advance! Cook the stuffing ingredients and prepare the chicken pocket up to 1 day in advance. You also can fully stuff the chicken, then refrigerate it for up to 6 hours. Sear and bake just before serving.
Serve leftovers over pasta with red sauce, or try this spinach stuffed chicken breast with cream sauce (like in this Chicken Alfredo Bake). This stuffed chicken would also be tasty over a bed of simple Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan, cooked brown rice, or mashed potatoes.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Oven-Safe Skillet. Seamlessly transitions from stovetop to oven.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. The extra space is critical for prepping the chicken breasts.
- Instant Read Thermometer. A foolproof way to check your chicken for doneness.
This baked stuffed chicken breast is a bit of mealtime magic.
If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken is considered safe to eat when an instant read meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part registers 165°F. THAT SAID, the internal temperature of chicken will rise as it rests. To keep it from becoming dry, I remove my chicken between 155 and 160 degrees F, then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. It works perfectly.
Yes, you can cook stuffed chicken breast in the air fryer, although if you are cooking more than two, a regular oven is easier, since no more than 2 chicken breasts fit in a typical air fryer basket. If you would like to experiment with cooking this stuffed chicken in the air fryer, instead of transferring the skillet to the stove, place the breasts in an air fryer basket and air fry at 375 degrees F for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through. See my Air Fryer Chicken Breast for more tips to air fry chicken.
Thread a toothpick down and then back up through the cut side of the chicken to pinch the opening closed. It is OK if some of the filling is peeking through. You will need about 2 toothpicks per breast. Be sure to remove the toothpicks prior to serving.
Secure your pocket with several toothpicks and make sure not to overstuff the chicken breast so it doesn’t leak. With cheesy fillings, it’s more likely some will escape as the cheese melts, so be sure to cook your chicken on a surface where this will not be an issue, such as the ovenproof skillet suggested in this recipe.
You can try using raw spaghetti instead of toothpicks, or use cocktail skewers.
Stuffed Chicken Breast Video
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Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 4 6-to 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut pockets in the chicken breasts: Place a cutting board on the counter, making sure that it is steadily in place and doesn't slide around (if it is slipping, place a damp paper towel underneath). Lay a breast on the cutting board and press your hand on top to hold it into place. Insert the tip of a sharp chef’s knife into the center of the thickest part of the breast. First, cut a slit that is 4 inches wide in the thickest part (leave the thin end uncut). Then, use the knife to make the opening deeper, cutting 3/4 of the way through the breast towards the other side. Do not cut all the way through. Repeat with the remaining breasts. With paper towels, pat the chicken dry, then sprinkle the outsides with 3/4 kosher salt.
- In a large, oven-safe, non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that the shallot softens but does not burn.
- Stir in the sage, oregano, pepper, nutmeg, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and last the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until it wilts. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the feta, walnuts, and Parmesan.
- Stuff the filling inside the breast, dividing it evenly between each.
- Secure the opening with toothpicks, threading the toothpicks so that they are parallel to the counter (you'll need 1 or 2 toothpicks per breast).
- With paper towels, carefully wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the butter.
- Once the butter melts, add the chicken (be careful to lower it into the pan away from you) and sear on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until light golden.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chicken registers 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Transfer to a plate, cover and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy, with a squeeze of fresh lemon over the top.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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