Creamy Tuscan Chicken swaddled in a sun-dried tomato, Parmesan garlic cream sauce on your table in just over 30 minutes!
This Creamy Tuscan Chicken is one for the recipe binder! It looks and tastes gourmet but is quick, easy, pantry friendly and all made in one skillet. This Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken is made with lightly dredged chicken cutlets cooked until golden then nestled in a comforting, aromatic, Parmesan cream sauce spiked with sun-dried tomatoes and creamy baby potatoes. The sauce is lightened up by using chicken broth and cornstarch along with the heavy cream (or evaporated milk) so you can give into your desires to lick you plate. Serve this Creamy Tuscan Chicken recipe with a big green apple salad and breadsticks and everyone will be singing your praises.
One skillet chicken dinners are a weeknight lifesaver – you can never have enough. Some of our back-pocket favorites include Summer Tuscan Chicken, Lemon Pepper Chicken and Asparagus, Chicken Piccata, Coconut Chicken, Green Chili Chicken and Italian Chicken and Orzo.
CREAMY TUSCAN GARLIC CHICKEN
This Tuscan chicken recipe is about to become a satisfying, saucy, repeat favorite. It transforms boring chicken into juicy, golden chicken dripping with TONS of flavor. Plus, you’ll love the bonus of creamy potato morsels in every bite. Best of all, you only need a few simple ingredients, one skillet and one microwave safe bowl to make this recipe which means it belongs in your weeknight dinner arsenal – and soon your favorite recipes binder.
MORE REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS TUSCAN CHICKEN:
- Family favorite. Everyone loves creamy chicken and potatoes! And you’ll love how easy it is!
- Impressive yet inexpensive. This Tuscan chicken is elegant, satisfying, bursting with layers of flavor that allow you to dine-in at a fraction of the price of dining out. Plus, it tastes even better!
- One skillet. You’ll love that this creamy Tuscan chicken cooks in one pan so not only is cleanup a breeze, but you reap the rewards of building layers of complex flavor.
- Simple ingredients. This creamy Tuscan garlic chicken will be your new favorite way to eat chicken. All you need are chicken breasts, flour, seasonings, Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, shallots, chicken broth and cream. These simple ingredients combine to create an unabashedly flavorful dinner.
- Quick and easy. This Tuscan chicken recipe comes together in just over 30 minutes! Simply sear the chicken, par-boil the potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes, then make the sauce. Microwaving the potatoes is an awesome shortcut that allows everything to come together super quickly. I’ve also included a how to make video, step by step photos and detailed tips and tricks so your creamy Tuscan chicken will emerge perfect every time.
- Flexible. This creamy Tuscan chicken recipe is incredibly flexible. You can add more or less sun-dried tomatoes, swap them for cherry tomatoes, omit the potatoes or swap them for other veggies such as mushrooms or asparagus.
Creamy Tuscan Chicken Ingredients
This creamy Tuscan chicken is made with simple, pantry staples. The resulting dish is delightfully flavorful and plain scrumptious! You will need:
- Chicken: I use chicken breasts that I cut into cutlets but you may also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: purchase the sun-dried tomatoes in a jar packed in oil, not water. They are usually located near the olives or pickles at your grocery store. Don’t be tempted to buy the dry shriveled ones that come in a package. We are going to be rinsing off most of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes so you don’t have to worry about them being too oily but the oil keeps them bold and moist.
- Potatoes: I love baby Dutch potatoes because they are creamy and buttery with a thin skin and don’t easily fall apart. They are also easy to half. You may also use other waxy potatoes such as Yukon gold potatoes and cut into small wedges; avoid non-waxy potatoes such as Russets.
- Heavy cream: is called “heavy whipping cream” at your grocery store.
- Chicken broth: is more flavorful than just milk or cream and has less calories.
- Cornstarch: helps thicken the sauce so its lusciously creamy instead of watery. It allows you to use chicken broth instead of all heavy cream.
- Parmesan cheese: infuses the sauce with its fantastic salty, nuttiness. For best results, use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It is much more flavorful and melts into silky oblivion unlike powdered or pre-shredded cheese.
- Shallot: one shallot will do the trick. One shallot is considered the entire bulb, regardless of how many cloves the bulb contains.
- Garlic: I use 4 cloves garlic and it is divine but feel free to use less if you prefer. You may also use 1 teaspoon garlic powder – but the real stuff is so much better!
- Red chili pepper flakes: enlivens the sauce with a little kick. You can also add red pepper to individual servings.
- Seasonings: this Tuscan chicken is seasoned to perfection with basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Use more or less to taste.
- Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt.
- Olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil for superior flavor.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE HEAVY CREAM?
The heavy cream + chicken broth + cornstarch elevates this creamy Tuscan chicken to restaurant delicious without all the calories of using all heavy cream. If you’re trying to save more calories, you can substitute the heavy cream with evaporated milk whisked with 1 teaspoon cornstarch.
This Tuscan chicken recipe can be made more cheesy, spicy, lemony, with different veggies, etc. Here are a few ideas to mix it up:
- Alternate protein: the creamy sauce is so scrumptious you’re going to want to use it with everything! You can sub the chicken breasts for boneless skinless chicken thighs, salmon fillets, pork chops (recommend brining first) or shrimp. You can even use ground Italian sausage or cooked chicken sausage. Note that different proteins (even chicken thighs) will vary in cooking time, so use meat thermometer to check for doneness.
- Add lemon: you can add a citrus spin by adding 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice to the cream sauce.
- Add melted mozzarella: layer the chicken with fresh mozzarella slices, cover and turn the skillet to low until the cheese melts.
- Mix up the cheeses: In addition to or in place of Parmesan, you can use Gouda, Fontina, Gruyere, etc. to mix up the flavor profile.
- Artichokes: are tender, slightly sweet and nutty and divine in creamy sauces. Purchase artichoke hearts in water NOT marinated. The marinated ones often have an acrid taste. Chop and sauté with the shallots.
- Spice it up: amp up the heat with additional red pepper flakes. I always add at least 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes but if you want to really taste the kick, add 1/2 teaspoon. You can also add additional red pepper flakes to individual servings to keep recipe family friendly.
- Spinach: use 3 cups baby spinach and add it to the sauce at the end of cooking; allow to wilt 1-2 minutes.
- Tomatoes: you can swap the sun-dried tomatoes with cherry tomatoes or add them in addition to.
- Artichokes: are tender, slightly sweet and nutty and divine paired with sun-dried tomatoes. Purchase artichoke hearts in water NOT marinated. The marinated ones often have an acrid taste.
- Corn: you can use fresh sweet corn and slice it off the cob or frozen sweet corn. No need to thaw, simply add to the hot skillet a couple minutes before the shallots.
- Zucchini or squash: cook very quickly, so add just after the heavy cream.
- Peas: use thawed petite frozen peas and stir at the end just too warm through.
WHAT CHICKEN SHOULD I USE?
You can use thicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half to create chicken cutlets. The thin cutlets cook more evenly, are more tender and soak up more flavor than whole chicken breasts. You can make your own chicken cutlets by slicing two large chicken breasts through the equator or you can purchase packaged pre-sliced cutlets.
Once you have cutlets, pound them to an even thickens. This quick step: 1) tenderizes the chicken as it breaks up the tissues and 2) the uniform thickness allows the chicken to cook evenly all over – without the thinner bottom becoming overcooked while we wait for the thicker top to cook through.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN CUTLETS
- Time permitting, freeze your chicken breasts for 15 minutes before slicing. This isn’t essential, but it definitely helps create clean cuts because the chicken doesn’t wiggle with every movement of your knife.
- Next, lay the chicken flat on a cutting board and hold it in place with the palm of your hand.
- Now get out your sharpest knife or sharpen your knife. A sharp knife helps cleanly cut the chicken instead of tearing/shredding the chicken. Carefully slice through the center horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) to create two cutlets.
- Next, pound the chicken to an even thickness by placing the cutlets next to each other and topping with plastic wrap or I like to place my chicken in a large freezer bags because it seals in all the mess/germs – but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Gently pound the chicken to an even thickens using the smooth side of a mallet, rolling pin, or side of a can. Take care not to over-pound, we are pounding to make the chicken even, not super thin like in Chicken Parm. You don’t need to be too aggressive.
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY TUSCAN CHICKEN
This creamy Tuscan chicken recipe is easy to make with a few easy steps. Here is a step by step guide to make Tuscan Chicken.
- Parboiling the potatoes helps the dish come together super quickly and helps them cook evenly.
- Place potatoes and 1/3 cup water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes (potatoes should barely be fork tender). Drain and pat dry; set aside.
DREDGE THE CHICKEN
- Tuscan chicken is often dredged in plain flour or flour with just salt and pepper but that is a huge missed opportunity for flavor. I love dredging the chicken in a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika. It elevates the chicken to stand-alone delicious and then absolutely hypnotic when served in the luscious sauce.
- Before dredging the chicken, make sure to pat it dry so the flour coating sticks.
- After dredging, transfer the chicken to a dry surface. You don’t want to return the chicken to your cutting board because the moisture left behind from the chicken will make the coating wet and rub off.
Why dredge the chicken in flour?
Dredging the chicken creates a golden crust that insulates the temperamental chicken breast and keeps it juicy and tender, it also seasons the chicken and best of all absorbs butter from cooking – YUM!
- Melt the butter in olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet with deep sides. I use a large stainless-steel saucepan.
- Heat the butter/oil so its shimmering. Don’t add the chicken before the butter/oil is hot or it won’t crisp up.
- Once hot, add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickens, or until cooked through. Browning the chicken that’s coated in spices blooms the spices and unlocks the flavor.
- Transfer to a plate, don’t wipe out the skillet – those golden bits left behind are flavor gold!
Why use butter and olive oil?
To elevate the Chicken Florentine, it gets pan fried in a mixture of butter and olive oil just like I do in my Chicken Parmesan recipe. If you’ve never added butter to your pan frying, you will never go back! The butter adds flavor and the oil prevents the butter from burning.
- Reduce heat to medium and add one tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes jar. One hot, add sun-dried tomatoes, shallots and sauté until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes; add potatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté 30 seconds.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in heavy cream. Mix chicken broth with cornstarch; add all of the sauce seasonings.
- Bring sauce to a simmer while scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan; simmer until the sauce thickens to desired consistency.
- Once thickened, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in Parmesan cheese. Cook, while stirring until melted.
- Add chicken and warm through to soak up the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
HOW DO I THICKEN THE SAUCE?
The sauce will thicken as it simmers; the longer it simmers, the thicker it will become as the heavy cream and broth reduce.
HOW DO I THIN THE SAUCE?
I don’t think your sauce will become too thick unless it’s simmered for an exorbitant amount of time. Still, it is easy to thin by whisking in some chicken broth.
TIPS FOR Creamy TUSCAN CHICKEN
Creamy Tuscan chicken recipe is pretty straightforward but here is a summary of helpful tips:
- Don’t cook tomatoes in aluminum or cast iron. These metals can chemically react with the tomatoes and make them taste bitter and metallic. Stainless steel is ideal (much stronger metal than aluminum), as it never reacts with food. I love this stainless-steel pan.
- Use fresh Parmesan. Use freshly grated Parmesan for the best flavor and for the best melting ability. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in anti-clumping chemicals which inhibits their melting ability.
- Use FINLEY grated Parmesan. When shredding the Parmesan, make sure you are using the smallest, prickly holes of the grater so it becomes powdery.
- Use butter and olive oil. I almost always use a combination of butter and oil whether it’s for making a roux or for pan frying chicken. The butter adds the undeniably scrumptious buttery flavor and the oil prevents the butter from burning. You may use all oil but you cannot use all butter or the butter will burn. I recommend using both for best results.
- Scrape up golden bits. After you cook the chicken there will be golden bits on the bottom of the pan – these are flavor gold! Make sure to scrape up the bits while you sauté the shallots.
- Use a hot pan. Add your chicken only once the pan is hot – you should hear the chicken sizzle the second it touches the pan. If you add chicken to a lukewarm pan it will not sear, and as we all know from Gordon Ramsey, color = flavor. Searing the chicken results in the Maillard reaction, also known as the flavor reaction, in which amino acids and reducing sugars produce browning and complex flavor. Note, that hot doesn’t mean high heat, but it means it’s reached full temperature (medium-high in this case).
- Only flip chicken once. Adding the chicken to a hot skillet heated to medium high heat is only half the battle. Resist the urge to move the chicken as it cooks or to flip it more than once. The chicken needs to stay in the same place for a continuous amount of time to brown. When the chicken is browned, it will naturally release from the pan.
- Don’t overcook chicken. Chicken, especially chicken breasts, are juiciest when not overcooked. The best and most efficient way to check for doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the chicken; chicken breasts are done when they register 165 degrees.
Commonly Asked Questions:
- Can I use chicken thighs? I prefer the taste of chicken breasts in this recipe, but you are welcome to use chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Do I have to use chicken fillets? Unless your chicken breasts are very small, you will want to use chicken fillets. Traditional chicken breasts take much longer to cook so the crust will burn before the inside of the chicken is cooked. Also, you don’t get the same tasty crust to chicken ratio with thick chicken breasts.
- What can I substitute for heavy cream? You can swap the heavy cream for evaporated milk mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Just remember that fat equals flavor so the cream sauce won’t taste quite as decadent.
- Do I have to pound my chicken to equal thickness? For the juiciest chicken, it should be pounded to an even thickness. Pounding the chicken ensures the chicken cooks evenly otherwise you’ll be waiting for the thick part of the chicken to cook at the peril of the thin part.
- Do I have to pound my chicken if it’s even? Sometimes chicken fillets even out after cutting. The bottom half of the chicken breast is usually more even than the top half. Even if it looks even, give it a little pounding to tenderize the protein fibers.
- Do I have to dredge the chicken in flour? Dredging the chicken in flour is highly recommended but not a must. The flour creates a crust that insulates the chicken and also carries flavor. If you skip the flour, still coat the chicken in the same seasonings.
- Can I make Tuscan chicken gluten free? Yes! Simply swap the flour for gluten free flour and you’re all set.
- Can I freeze creamy Tuscan chicken? I do not recommend freezing because the creamy sauce can break and become a funny texture. If you want to try freezing, use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream and omit the Parmesan and potatoes.
CAN I PREP THIS RECIPE IN ADVANCE?
Yes! While this creamy Tuscan chicken doesn’t require much prep, you can still prep everything in advance so your dinner can come together in minutes.
- Prep chicken. Create chicken cutlets by slicing chicken breasts in half and pounding to an even thickens. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Dredge chicken. You can go one step further and dredge the chicken in flour and spices. Transfer the chicken to a parchment lined plate in a single layer and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.
- Chop aromatics. Dice the shallots, chop the sun-dried tomatoes, and mince the garlic and store in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.
- Grate cheese. Grate the fresh Parmesan and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Chop potatoes. Can be chopped and stored submerged in water in the refrigerator. If the potatoes aren’t stored in water, they can oxidize and turn brown.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT
- Storage: creamy Tuscan Chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three to five days.
- Microwave: chop up chicken so it reheats more evenly then transfer a small portion to a microwave safe dish. Heat for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals.
- Stove: chop up chicken then transfer to a skillet. Heat over medium heat stirring often.
What can I serve with Tuscan chicken?
This Tuscan Chicken recipe already boasts protein and carbs, so we love serving it with hands-off roasted veggies such as roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or asparagus. We also love it with a fresh salad like wedge Salad, strawberry salad, or spinach Berry Salad in the spring/summer and apple salad, pear salad or beet salad in the Winter.
Lastly, bread is a must to ensure no sauce is left behind. You can serve Tuscan chicken with a simple side of crusty bread or we’re obsessed with my Garlic Bread, Dinner Rolls, or Garlic Parmesan Butter Breadsticks.
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