Chicken Caprese is an easy air fryer main dish featuring tender chicken breasts stuffed with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, then finished with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Makes a great dinner for two or is easily doubled for a family of four.
Winner, winner nothing beats a chicken dinner! If you’re like me, you are always on the lookout for easy and quick ways to cook this popular protein. Type ‘chicken’ on the blog search bar and you’ll find recipes ranging from spicy and satisfying Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup to a whole Lemon Herbed Dry Brine Roast Chicken.
Chicken Caprese in the Air Fryer
Today I am so excited to offer you my very first air fryer recipe! I resisted buying one for so long, thinking it would just be another small appliance taking up space. Boy, was I wrong! We have recently become empty nesters and our air fryer makes it so easy to create delicious meals for two. Plus, It is quicker and uses less energy than turning on the oven.
This air fryer Chicken Caprese is going to knock your socks off. The seasoned chicken breasts quickly cook up nice and juicy in less time than it takes to boil pasta. For the final few minutes of cooking, the chicken is stuffed with slices of mozzarella and tomatoes.
The melty mozzarella and warm, softened tomatoes make this chicken irresistible, but what really brings this stuffed chicken over the edge is the final drizzle of balsamic glaze and fresh basil leaves. My mouth is watering just thinking of it!
What is Chicken Caprese?
Regular readers of the blog will know how much I love a simple Caprese Salad. There’s just something irresistible about the combination of sweet ripe tomatoes with creamy fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar.
One day I felt inspired to turn my favourite Italian Insalata (salad) into a main dish by combining it with chicken and the rest is history. There are many recipes online for stuffed or topped, oven baked or grilled Chicken Caprese. However, my Chicken Caprese recipe delivers a tender and tasty chicken main dish in around 30 minutes.
Ingredients for this Dish
The ingredients for this winning chicken dinner are the same for classic Caprese Salad, with the addition of chicken, a few more seasonings, and a balsamic reduction.
- Chicken Breast
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Fresh Basil
- Brown Sugar
- Balsamic Vinegar
I usually prefer to use chicken thighs for most recipes as I find they have more flavour. However, for the sake of portioning and visual appeal, this recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts without the tender attached. You can also use bone in ‘frenched’ breasts for a more elegant presentation. Note that cooking time will increase with bone in chicken.
The key to a cooking a delicious cooked chicken breast is to season it well and not overcook it. This Chicken Caprese is seasoned with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can make your own by combining 1 teaspoon of both dried oregano and basil with half a teaspoon each of dried thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.
Unlike my Caprese salad recipe which requires cherry tomatoes, this Chicken Caprese recipe requires one large tomato. Choose a firm, ripe and deep red tomato for best results. Conversely, instead of fresh mozzarella, slightly aged mozzarella is the perfect cheese for melting on top of the chicken. In a pinch, you can also use provolone.
The balsamic vinegar simmers on the stove with a touch of brown sugar until it becomes slightly thicker and a bit syrupy.
Cooking Chicken in an Air Fryer
First things first, the temperature of properly cooked chicken never changes. No matter what cooking method you choose, all chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 F (74 C).
Now that we’ve discussed food safety, it is important to note that air fryers may differ according to brand, style, etc. While my chicken breast may be fully cooked after 12 minutes at 350 F, yours may not. This is why it is really important to use a meat thermometer in addition to recipe recommendations.
Ideally, you will take the chicken out and stuff it with the mozzarella and tomato slice just before it is fully cooked. This ensures that your chicken will remain tender and juicy after the final few minutes of cooking. Please note that bone in chicken breast may take an additional five minutes of cooking time.
How to Make Chicken Caprese
Let’s start with the balsamic glaze because it needs to cool before you drizzle it all over the final dish. Heat the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat. Bring it to boil and then let it simmer until it’s thick and reduced to half. Remove balsamic glaze from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Next, pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and place them on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make 4-5 slits in each breast; 3/4 way through only.
Season chicken with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning evenly on the outside of the chicken and inside the slits. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken.
Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350-degrees F /180-degree C. Brush the basket with little olive oil and add the chicken breasts. Cook for 6 minutes on one side, then flip the breasts over and cook for another 6 minutes.
Remove the chicken and stuff the slits with mozzarella and tomato. Transfer it back to the air fryer and cook for another 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
Finally, drizzle the chicken caprese with balsamic glaze and scatter the chopped basil on top. Serve immediately.
What to Serve with Chicken Caprese
Here’s a list of tasty side dishes to go with your Caprese Chicken.
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Spaghetti or any boiled pasta with Pesto
- Cacio e Pepe
- Fettucine Alfredo
- Pasta Carbonara
- Caesar Salad
- Garlic Bread
- Cheesy Polenta
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Leftover Chicken Caprese can be refrigerated for up to three days but is best eaten immediately. Fresh basil and tomatoes end up droopy and slimy when refrigerated. You can remove them to reheat the chicken back up in the air fryer (until it reaches 165F), then add some more freshly diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and more balsamic drizzle.
If you make this Chicken Caprese Air Fryer recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 oz / 55 gm mozzarella; sliced
- 1 large tomato; sliced into half-moon
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- Fresh basil leaves for garnishing
FOR THE BALSAMIC GLAZE
- Heat balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat.
- Bring it to boil and then let it simmer until it’s thick and reduced to half.
- Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
- Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and place them on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make 4-5 slits in each breast; 3/4 way through only.
- Season chicken with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning evenly on the outside of the chicken and inside the slits.
- Drizzle olive oil over the chicken.
- Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350-degrees F /180-degree C. Brush the basket with little olive oil and place 2 chicken pieces in it. Cook for 6 minutes on each side.
- Take the chicken out and stuff the slits with mozzarella and tomato, transfer it to the air fryer, and cook for another 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze and chopped basil on top and serve hot.
FOR THE CHICKEN
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 403Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 1341mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 45g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.