This quick and easy skillet chicken margherita is perfect for weeknight dinner. It’s delicious, simple, and fresh. Plus, it is all made in one pan for easy clean-up!
The chicken margherita is made with juicy pan-seared chicken, topped with delicious pesto, mozzarella, tomato slices, and fresh basil. It’s so tasty and perfectly melty on top!
This easy chicken recipe takes 30 minutes to make, and there’s minimal clean-up involved. I promise, everyone will love it!
Life is BUSY. Today is one of those days I just want to make a quick, 30-minute dinner with minimal clean-up. On days like today, I love making this easy skillet chicken margherita dinner!
It comes together in 30 minutes or less, and it’s all made in one pan so you don’t have to spend much time cleaning up afterwards.
It’s so delicious! Juicy and moist pan-seared chicken breasts, topped with basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, and fresh tomato slices. It’s baked until nicely melted and then topped with fresh basil.
It’s absolutely dreamy! This skillet chicken margherita is on my regular dinner rotation. I mean, it’s definitely a popular recipe at my house.
Let me show you how to make it!
Ingredients You’ll Need
You need only a handful of ingredients to make this skillet chicken margherita!
This chicken dinner is fresh and delicious, perfect for a spring or summer night. Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil! It’s so vibrant, and it’s even better if you can make your own fresh basil pesto (no worries if not, it’s a quick and easy dinner recipe after all).
You can find the specific ingredient quantities in the recipe card below, but here are the ingredients to give you an idea:
- Chicken breasts: I use 4 small chicken breasts. Make sure to pound them to ½ inch thick throughout so that they cook evenly. This will also ensure that they are juicy and moist. Check out my tips and tricks to make moist pan-seared chicken!
- Italian seasoning: For flavor.
- Garlic powder: For flavor.
- Salt and pepper: To season the chicken.
- Mozzarella cheese slices: I prefer to use the deli mozzarella slices rather than fresh mozzarella cheese, but fresh will work too (just make sure you slice them relatively thin).
- Tomatoes: I use large tomatoes, thinly sliced.
- Pesto: To keep things simple, I use my favorite store-bought pesto. You can also use homemade pesto, or try my sundried tomato pesto!
- Fresh basil leaves: Sliced.
- Olive oil: For the pan.
I love how fresh and easy to find these ingredients are!
So Easy to Make
Making skillet chicken margherita at home takes about 30 minutes, so it’s a great quick and easy weeknight dinner idea.
Plus, it’s a one-pan recipe to help you minimize clean-up and all that boring stuff. I’d call it a win-win!
To give you an idea, here are the basic steps to make this recipe:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F: You’ll only need to bake this for like 5 minutes at the end to melt the cheese. Most of the work is done on the skillet.
- Pan-sear the chicken until fully cooked: Prior to pan-searing the chicken, make sure it’s pounded to half inch thick evenly, and that it’s seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Tip: I like to season the chicken and let it sit for like 10 minutes before cooking it. This will allow the seasonings to penetrate.
- Top each chicken breast with some pesto, a slice of mozzarella cheese, and a slice of tomato.
- Melt the cheese: Transfer it in the oven, skillet and all (make sure it’s an oven-proof skillet) and bake it for like 5 minutes, or until it’s nicely melted.
- Serve with fresh basil on top.
If you want to, drizzle with some balsamic glaze. Highly recommended!
That’s it. It is that easy to make this recipe. As always, specific instructions can be found down below.
Finishing It in the Oven
The purpose of finishing this chicken margherita in the oven is simply to melt the cheese properly. It only needs about 5 minutes in a preheated 375 degrees F oven, so it’s quick!
I’ve tried several methods for melting the cheese without using an oven, including simply covering it with a lid on the stovetop (spoiler: not great, it just steams and makes the texture of the cheese weird), but the oven method is the simplest and yields the best results.
Make sure you use an oven-proof skillet. If you don’t have one, you can always transfer the margherita chicken to a baking sheet instead.
Customizations and Pairings
Most of the time, I just wing it when I don’t have a specific ingredient, and I’m sure you’re often in a similar situation. Here are some ideas for customizations or substitutions:
- Cheese: I use deli sliced mozzarella cheese, but you can also use fresh mozzarella (slice it thin). Shredded mozzarella will work too.
- Tomatoes: Use large tomatoes, thinly sliced. Roma tomatoes work too, but use 2 or 3 slices since roma tomatoes are smaller.
- Italian herbs seasoning: If you don’t have this, use dried oregano.
- Pesto: If you have a favorite homemade pesto recipe, feel free to use it. You could also try my sundried tomato pesto recipe!
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired!
Another idea is to use cherry tomatoes. I’d recommend using them fresh AFTER the dish is out of the oven. Simply toss halved cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Use it to top the chicken.
As for pairings for the chicken margherita, here are some ideas:
- Lemon arugula salad
- Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
- Spring Salad
- Pesto Potato Salad
- Panzanella Salad
- Herb Roasted Potatoes
This skillet chicken margherita is seriously so, so, soo good!
I love how easy and quick to make it is. It’s one of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes, and plus, it requires minimal clean-up.
I also love how fresh the chicken margherita tastes! The fresh tomato and basil truly make a difference. Make it even fresher by pairing it with a vibrant salad. I served it with my lemon arugula salad, and it was AMAZING!
I hope you like this recipe as much as we do! Happy cooking!
Tips for Success
- Make sure you pound the chicken breasts evenly to ½ inch thick. This will ensure even cooking, while keeping it moist and juicy.
- To allow the seasoning for the chicken to penetrate, let the seasoned chicken sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. You’ll notice the difference!
- To make it simple, use your favorite store-bought pesto. However, if you prefer, you can make your own pesto at home!
Skillet Chicken Margherita
- Meat mallet
- Large oven-proof skillet
- 4 small or medium chicken breasts
- Olive oil for pan
- Salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 4 slices deli mozzarella cheese
- 4 thin slices tomatoes - (I use large tomatoes)
- ½ cup basil pesto - (plus more to taste)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pat dry the chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap, and using a meat mallet or meat tenderizer tool, pound to even thickness to about ½ inch thick. Season the chicken on both sides with the garlic powder, the Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper (about ⅓ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper for each breast). Optional: let the seasoned chicken sit for 10 minutes to allow the seasonings to penetrate.
- Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken breasts. Cook on each side for about 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat.
- Spread some pesto over each chicken breast, about 2 tablespoons per breast. Top each chicken breast with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a slice of tomato.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely melted.
- Serve with fresh basil on top. Enjoy!
- The key to not overcooking the chicken is to pound it to about half inch thick evenly. This will ensure the chicken cooks thoroughly and evenly, about 6-8 minutes per side. Check out my perfect pan-seared chicken recipe tips and tricks.
- Pesto: It’s easiest to use your favorite store-bought basil pesto, but feel free to use homemade pesto. Or switch it up by using my sun-dried tomato pesto recipe instead!