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spinach stuffed chicken breast with ricotta on skillet
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5 from 5 votes

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

The perfect weeknight chicken dinner! This Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast is stuffed with a delicious filling, and cooked until flavorful, juicy, and moist. It's make-ahead friendly as well, which is perfect for busy weeknight nights.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 213kcal
Author: Tania

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 large chicken breasts skinless, boneless
  • 6 ounces frozen chopped spinach thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup ricotta cheese whole or part-skim
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pre-soak about 6 toothpicks in water for about 15 minutes while you prepare the chicken. You’ll use toothpicks to secure the chicken breasts. Pre-soaking prevents them from getting burned.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook for another 1 minute. This will remove raw garlic taste and remove any excess moisture from the spinach. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Tip: Make sure to squeeze out excess moisture from the thawed spinach, otherwise the filling will get soggy.
  • To the prepared spinach and garlic, add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses, plus a few drizzles of olive oil. Mix to combine evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pat chicken breasts dry. Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal pockets along the side of the chicken breasts, deep and wide enough to hold the filling, without cutting all the way through (leave about 0.25 inch around the edges).
  • Stuff the chicken with the prepared filling, without overstuffing. Then, secure the opening of the pockets with the pre-soaked toothpicks, inserting them horizontally so that they don’t stick out too much.
  • Season the prepared chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (per chicken breast, use about ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder).
  • Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Pan-sear the chicken, about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to the oven and finish cooking for about 12-15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 degrees F. Tip: If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For best results, use frozen spinach, thawed and excess moisture squeezed out prior to sauteing. Cooked fresh spinach tends to release too much moisture.
  • Cutting pockets in the chicken: Make sure you don’t cut the pockets all the way through so that the filling doesn’t leak - leave about a quarter inch unsliced around the edges. Securing them with toothpicks also helps.
  • Pre-soaking toothpicks prevents them from burning. Pre-soak for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Don’t overstuff the chicken, otherwise the filling will leak and it will not cook properly throughout.
  • Make ahead option 1: Fill the chicken breasts with the filling and secure with toothpicks. Refrigerate for 1-2 days. Let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Make-ahead option 2: Make the filling and refrigerate for up to 1-2 days. When ready to cook, stuff the chicken breasts and cook as directed.
  • Reheating leftovers: Oven method - Place chicken in a baking tray and sprinkle some water over it. Cover with foil and reheat in a 325 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes. For quicker results, slice the chicken first. Microwave method - Slice chickens and sprinkle some water over; microwave for 1 minute or until heated through.
  • Freezing: I wouldn’t recommend it. Frozen ricotta becomes crumbly once thawed.
  • Servings: Each stuffed chicken breast serves 2 people - they are large, especially because of the filling. Alternatively, you can use small chicken breasts for single individual portions.
 
Substitutions and variations
  • Ricotta: Cream cheese, boursin cheese.
  • Parmesan cheese: Mozzarella, white cheddar.
  • Garlic: If you prefer to use garlic powder (to taste) instead of fresh minced garlic, there is no need to saute it with the spinach. Just mix everything in.
  • Add-ons: Dried Italian seasoning or other spices you like.
 
Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5stuffed chicken breast | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3531IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 1mg