You'll love this 20-minute chicken caprese recipe with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes. You can make it in a skillet or on your outdoor grill! Be sure to grab my tips and see the step-by-step and watch my video below!
What is caprese?
Classic caprese salad or insalata caprese is a favorite summer salad made of ripe fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and a splash of balsamic reduction or glaze.
This Chicken recipe goes just a little bit further, turning the beloved classic salad into dinner by adding chicken breasts for a quick dinner that's perfect for any night of the week, and honestly, good enough for company.
And now, with the first signs of farmer's market tomatoes, I've been alternating between this chicken caprese and my easy Italian baked chicken (another great one to try)!
How to make chicken caprese
This is super easy to make right in a pan or indoor griddle, but feel free to fire up the grill if you like. And to keep things quick, you can make basil pesto ahead and store it or use store-bought pesto. Same for the balsamic glaze. Here's how to make it:
- First, prepare and season the chicken
If you start with thicker chicken breasts, you can cut them horizontally through the middle to make thinner cutlets. Or, you can also use a kitchen mullet to flatten the breasts for even and quick cooking (I find the chicken to be more tender if you go the extra mile to do this.) Pat the chicken dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides.
- Sear the chicken
In your pan or griddle, heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat (alternatively, preheat outdoor grill on medium-high, make sure grates are oiled so chicken does not stick.) Add the chicken pieces and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Tip: the chicken is done when its internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.
- Add basil pesto and mozzarella
During the last couple minutes of cooking, spoon a bit of basil pesto over each piece of chicken and top with a slice of mozzarella (should melt just a little as the chicken finishes cooking. Mmmm so good!)
- Remove from heat and finish by topping each piece of chicken with basil leaves, tomato slices, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction (or balsamic glaze)
(TIP: if you want to make your own balsamic glaze, you can start with 2 cups of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer on low heat till it thickens and is reduced by ½ half. About 20 minutes or so. Let cool; it will thicken some more.)
What to serve with it?
Chicken caprese can be served with your favorite pasta or grain. For a starter, you can't go wrong with some delicious bruschetta (especially if you have more tomatoes to use). And even though a salad is technically incorporated, I still like to start the meal with something bright like this cucumber salad or this hearty Mediterranean three bean salad (the bean salad is hefty enough that you can probably just make it your side and skip the pasta/grain option).
Related recipes to try
Browse more chicken recipes. More Italian Recipes. Browse all Mediterranean Recipes.
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Easy Chicken Caprese
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Basil pesto, Homemade or store-bought
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, low sodium, (about ¼ to ½ inch in thickness each)
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 tablespoon Balsamic glaze or balsamic reduction, I used this one
- 8 Fresh basil leaves, leave 4 whole and slice the rest into ribbons
- If the chicken breasts are large and thick, cut them horizontally through the middle to make thinner cutlets or pieces. If you like, use a kitchen mallet to tenderize and flatten the chicken breasts before cooking. This helps them quick quickly and evenly.
- Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Add the chicken and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until done (chicken's internal temperature should register 165 degrees F).
- In the last couple minutes or so of cooking, top each piece of chicken with a bit of the basil pesto then add a mozzarella slice on top.
- Remove from heat. Add fresh basil leaves and tomato slices on top of each chicken piece and finish with a little balsamic reduction (or balsamic glaze). Finally, sprinkle fresh basil ribbons and serve!
- To use an outdoor gas grill: Oil the grates and preheat the grill on medium-high heat. Grill chicken on each side for 3 to 5 minutes or until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F. Follow rest of the recipe as written.
- To make your own homemade basil pesto: If you have fresh basil, you can make this pesto recipe in advance and keep it in the fridge to use with this chicken or other items.
- To Make Own Balsamic Glaze: pour 2 cups balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar thickens and is reduced to about ½ cup (20 to 25 minutes.) Set aside to cool for 10 minutes; it will continue to thicken.
- What to Serve Along? Chicken caprese works well with pasta or your favorite grain (check out this pesto pasta recipe, which will complement this chicken very well, since it uses the same elements). You can also just serve it with plain orzo or your favorite grain. I like to start the meal with something bright still like a bowl of this fresh cucumber salad or Mediterranean Three Bean Salad (the bean salad is hefty enough that you can probably just make it your side and skip the pasta/grain option.)
- Visit our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients, including olive oils and spices.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit.
Loved this recipe! My kids are asking for it again and again! Thank you Suzy!
So flavorful & beautiful presentation.
I often marinate the chicken in Evo & lemon juice with herbs if I have time.
I also like to add chopped sundried tomatoes . Deliscious & good enough for company!
A delicious dinner with an Italian salad (homemade dressing) and roasted veggies with a honey balsamic vinegar drizzle. So good. Thanks for all your delicious recipes’
Made this for dinner tonight. Super yummy and easy
Great to hear! Thanks, Angell!
Thank you for all of these resources. I am eager to try this meal plan. I do have a few questions: can I have popcorn, corn, corn tortillas. And tortilla chips? Thanks!
Hi, Carolyn! Sure! Technically speaking, no food groups are forbidden when eating the Mediterranean way. It's all about moderation. We have three great articles I recommend checking out for lots of great information on the Mediterranean Diet: What is the Mediterranean Diet and How to Follow it, What do you eat on the Mediterranean Diet, and Best Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan for Beginners.
Hi Suzy: I am so happy to find you. I just made my first recipe "Easy Chicken Caprese". It was over the delicious t. Prep and cooking time was quick and serving was ready in 15 minutes. (I only had thin chicken breast so cooking time was less but still delicious.
Thanks so much, Carol!
Nice and quick! Very yummy. Served it with some garlic toast and my husband poured out the oil left behind in the pan for dipping. Can’t wait to try more recipes!
Ooo! Great idea! Thanks, Erin!
Made this tonight after receiving it in my weekly meal plan email. I made my own balsamic glaze but would probably try store bought next time since all I had on hand was 18 year balsamic. Very much enjoyed this! Served it with a garden salad and roasted asparagus. Yum! Will add this to dinners to make next time I visit my daughter and her family! Thanks for another great recipe Suzy! Anxiously awaiting the new cookbook!
Thank you so much, Lynda! Can't believe we're just under 2 months until the cookbook is released! YAY!
Hi, thank you for these recipes, I'm a little new to cooking. What grill pan would you recommend.
Hi, Bryan. I have really been loving this Grill Pan lately. 🙂
This is a favorite of ours! Very easy to make and super delicious. I serve this with brown rice with sauteed chopped baby bellas and kalamata olives cooked in salt free chicken stock. I love when an easy recipe makes me look good! My husband had a stroke this past March and we decided that we needed to make some changes to our diet and exercise programs. We are both in our 60's and relatively fit and active but both could stand to lose a few pounds and make healthier food choices! We have been enjoying a Mediterranean style diet and have increased our exercise routine. I don't even like to use the word "diet" because this is more about lifestyle choices and changes that are very easy to make and you lose weight in my opinion without even trying. My husband has lost about 20 pounds and I have lost 10 in a rather short period of time. This recipe is just one of the many fabulous recipes I have discovered on this Website. I can't thank you enough for providing such an awesome selection of delicious and healthy recipes!
How wonderful, Lucia! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story!!
I've made this several times. I grilled the chicken. This recipe was delicious!
Your recipes are excellent! I've made several of your recipes. I haven't found one ! didn't like.
If I could give this 10 stars I would!!!!!!! It was absolutely amazing!!!!!! So flavorful and refreshing! We made your pesto recipe and and served it with your 3 bean salad. A perfect summer meal!!! And a new favorite! 💖 I cannot wait to get a copy of your cookbook!
Yay! Thank you so much, Cynthia!
Delicious and easy enough for a week night. Thank you for the recipe!
Oh my goodness! I just made this and it is absolutely delicious! I will be saving this one!!
Yay! Thanks, Alyssa!
We made this last night along with the bean salad. It was delicious!
Keeping this recipe close!
So glad you enjoyed it, Jeanne!
Absolutely delicious!!! I am loving your website. Thank you Suzy!
I'm so glad to hear that! Thanks, Penny!