Baked Caprese Chicken Thighs
Baked Caprese Chicken Thighs – simple and delicious one pan weeknight dinner. Healthy, colorful, juicy and cheesy with Italian flavors. Layers of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella with basil and sweet balsamic vinegar glaze on top.
This is a different, melt in your mouth chicken Caprese recipe, made with boneless chicken thighs, loaded with flavor. Could be used for meal prepping.
The chicken thigh meat pairs perfectly with the sweet tomatoes and creamy mozzarella.
So easy, foolproof to make. Marinate the chicken for 15 minutes for extra flavor if you’d like. Although this is not the method used in the recipe, you can marinate the chicken.
The question “what shall I cook for dinner” is a common one, isn’t it?
Luckily everyone in my family loves both Caprese and chicken and this chicken dinner recipe was a win.
What is Caprese?
Caprese salad is a salad made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil.
It is believed the salad was created as a symbol of the Italian flag, with the red, the green and the white elements layered in turn on the plate.
Because of its delicious taste and bright festive colors, there have been a lot of different spin offs of the recipe from sandwiches, pizzas, to chicken, seafood and skewers. For more “Caprese” inspired recipes check the end of the post.
Ingredients to make Caprese chicken?
The secret in this recipe – well, not really a secret, but it is recommended to use boneless chicken thighs.
They are less likely to be overcooked than chicken breast and the meat generally has more flavor and it is more moist.
The tomatoes – cherry tomatoes are juicy, with thin skin and sweet taste.
I love the caramelized taste they add to the dish after baking.
Fresh mozzarella – I used baby mozzarella (bocconcini or ciliegine will work).
It is similar in size with cherry tomatoes and creates an amazing, appetizing dish. It melts fast. Larger mozzarella slices can be used.
Seasoning and marinade of the chicken
I used salt and pepper of course. Olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, basil, oregano, garlic and Pesto sauce (optional, but it enhances the flavor beautifully)!
If you don’t have balsamic glaze or don’t want to make it yourself (pretty easy!), you can use just balsamic vinegar.
It is used mostly for decoration.
Can you melt fresh mozzarella cheese?
Yes, you can melt fresh mozzarella cheese.
It only takes a few minutes to melt, smaller pieces will melt faster than thicker and larger ones.
Once it melts, it sits on the pizza (or chicken in this case) and continue to release moisture. In todays chicken thigh recipe, the water released from the fresh mozzarella will create a nice addition to the sauce.
If you are using fresh mozzarella on pizza, you can slice it in advance and try drying it with paper towels to absorb the moisture.
This will prevent your pizza from getting soggy.
How to make Caprese chicken thighs?
Prep the chicken, season with salt and cook on the stove top until no longer pink.
- Heat oil in a pan. (Vegetable, grape seed or olive oil will work).
- Season chicken thighs with 1/2 tsp salt.
- Cook on medium high heat for 2 minutes per side, until no longer pink on the outside.
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, black pepper, Dijon Mustard, basil and oregano.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a 13×9 inch baking dish layer the sliced tomatoes, then spread the pesto over them. Drizzle with some olive oil.
- Then add the chicken thighs, pour the seasoning mixture oven them and top with sliced fresh mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has bubbled and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thighs reads 165 F.
More chicken thighs recipes:
Caprese chicken (thighs)
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 2 garlic cloves — pressed
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard — optional
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp pesto sauce
- 2 large tomatoes — sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella — sliced
Heat oil in a pan.
Season chicken thighs with 1/2 tsp salt.
Cook on medium high heat for 2 minutes per side, until no longer pink on the outside.
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, black pepper, Dijon Mustard, basil and oregano.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a 13x9 inch baking dish layer the sliced tomatoes, then spread the pesto over them. Drizzle with some olive oil.
Then add the chicken thighs, pour the seasoning mixture oven them and top with sliced fresh mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese has bubbled and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thighs reads 165 F.