This easy baked bruschetta chicken recipe is a simple and healthy dinner or lunch that is sure to become a family favorite in your home like it has mine. The zesty homemade chicken marinade and fresh tomato bruschetta may be prepped in advance, then baked when you’re ready, making this a quick-fix 30-minute meal for busy weeknights.
What is Bruschetta Chicken?
I had never heard of bruschetta chicken until recently, when a friend posted on Instagram saying that she made the best chicken dinner, followed by her rough recipe.
The picture was crave-worthy and the concept sounded fresh and easy. I just had to try my hand at this recipe idea.
This recipe has now become a weeknight go-to meal in our home.
Bruschetta chicken is the perfect homemade summer meal: marinated chicken breasts baked in the oven (or you can grill the chicken).
Once baked, the chicken is topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and freshly-made bruschetta.
This healthy meal is everything that a dinner dish should be: fresh, quick to prepare, simple enough for even a weeknight meal, packed with protein and made with real-food ingredients, and family-friendly!
It’s also low-carb, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and can be made dairy-free. If you have dietary restrictions in your family, everyone can enjoy the same meal.
What is Bruschetta?
Bruschetta is a classic Italian appetizer or first course. It’s made with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt. And then topped on crusty bread.
In this bruschetta recipe, I’ve added onion (which you could skip if desired) and balsamic vinegar (which could also be skipped if desired) to the traditional tomato mixture (olive oil, garlic, salt, tomatoes, fresh basil). Then topped it on marinated baked chicken breasts.
Ingredients You’ll Need
One of the things I love about this recipe, other than how quick and simple it is to prepare, is you don’t need fancy, one-time ingredients to make this dish.
Everything is what I would consider to be a real-food capsule pantry ingredient (meaning, ingredients you would stock in a real-food kitchen to make multiple meals).
Just a few ingredients
How Do You Make This Recipe: Instructions
Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, and 3/4-1 teaspoon salt (depending on taste).
Add the chicken breasts, using your hands to toss the breasts in the marinade until fully coated. Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day in advance. Marinating = juicy chicken!
Step 2: Bake the Chicken
Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a 12-inch skillet, casserole dish, or sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken. I personally use a cast iron skillet.
Bake the chicken for 20 minutes. I recommend flipping the chicken halfway through baking (about the 10-11 minute mark), and moving the chicken around a bit in the pan to soak up the sauce that’s leaked off, so it gets nice and brown on both sides.
Step 3: Make the Tomato Bruschetta
While the chicken bakes, halve or quarter a pint of cherry tomatoes. If your tomatoes are smaller, cutting in half is fine. If they’re on the large side, quarter the tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to a medium-size bowl, along with red onion (or yellow onion), 2-3 garlic cloves, fresh basil, 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Step 4: Slice the Fresh Mozzarella
There is NOTHING like fresh mozzarella. The shredded stuff in a bag can’t even compare.
Buy an 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella in the cheese section at the grocery store, then cut the ball in half and slice it up into 6-7 slices. You’ll use these slices in the next step. Save the extra cheese for a pizza night or salad.
If you want to use shredded mozzarella, I’m sure you could. Fresh mozzarella is a beauty: gooey when melted and a delicate fresh flavor. You’d need about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella (approximately).
Step 5: Top Baked Chicken with Mozzarella and Bruschetta
After about 20 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through. You’re welcome to test it out. You’ll want an internal temperature of 165F when using a meat thermometer.
Remove the chicken from the oven and top each chicken breast with mozzarella cheese, about 2 slices per breast.
Next, add the tomato bruschetta over the top of the chicken and mozzarella. Gorgeous, right?!
Step 6: Bake the Chicken, Bruschetta, and Mozzarella for 5 Minutes
Return your pan to the oven and bake the mixture for 5 more minutes, allowing the cheese to melt into the chicken and the tomatoes to soften just a bit.
And that’s it! A healthy family lunch or dinner is done in under 30 minutes.
What to Serve with This Dinner
This is the kind of easy family recipe that you could serve as-is and feel completely full and satisfied. Or, pair the chicken with one of these easy sides.
- With Pasta: Top the chicken and tomato bruschetta on spaghetti noodles or penne pasta. If you want to elevate the pasta, toss the pasta with homemade pesto before serving.
- With Zoodles/Zucchini Noodles: If you want a grain or gluten-free (or low carb) option, make zucchini noodles instead of pasta.
- With Roasted or Steamed Broccoli: Roast or steam broccoli florets for a quick side. Or roast up your favorite veggies.
- With Salad: Make a simple green salad with lettuce and veggies of choice with a homemade vinaigrette.
Recipe Variations and Modifications
This recipe is easily adapted to meet a variety of ingredient, flavor, and dietary preferences.
No Cheese Dairy Free Option
If you’re dairy-free, omit the cheese in this recipe. Simply top the chicken with tomato bruschetta and bake to soften up the tomatoes for the 5 minutes.
Without Balsamic Vinegar
Not everyone loves balsamic vinegar, and traditional bruschetta doesn’t use balsamic vinegar. You’re welcome to skip this flavorful pantry staple, if desired, when making the bruschetta and chicken. Instead, just use olive oil and salt to season the tomato bruschetta.
For the chicken, the 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar adds a wonderful flavor. And it also helps to brown and glaze the chicken. But it may be skipped if needed. Just increase the olive oil by 1/2 tablespoon.
Grilled Chicken Instead of Baked
This dish is the perfect summer meal. But using the oven during the warm months isn’t always ideal. Instead, grill the chicken.
Marinate the chicken, then toss on the grill for 20 minutes at about 450F, flipping halfway through. Once grilled, add to a skillet or sheet pan, add the tomato and cheese, and broil in the oven just until melted (3-4ish minutes).
Just make sure the chicken isn’t too close to the broiler burners, so the mixture doesn’t burn.
Use Chicken Cutlets Instead of Chicken Breasts
Chicken cutlets are a thin cut of chicken breasts. If you prefer cutlets, follow the instructions and bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, then top with cheese and bruschetta and bake for another 5 minutes.
Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts
Chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts and have an intense chicken flavor. They’re also more forgiving to cook with since they contain more fat than breasts. They don’t dry out as easily from over cooking.
Since we’re marinating the chicken breasts, you don’t need to worry about dry chicken.
But if you want to save money or prefer the taste of chicken thighs, use 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts in this recipe.
Bake for 25 minutes at 425F or grill.
Use Oregano Instead of Italian Seasoning
If you’re out of Italian seasoning or don’t want to buy this spice blend for the pantry, use oregano instead. I’ve done this a few times in a pinch and the oregano adds a great flavor to the dish.
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Easy Baked Bruschetta Chicken Recipe
- 1 12-inch oven-safe skillet sheet pan or casserole dish
- 1 medium bowl wash and reuse the same bowl for marinating chicken & making bruschetta
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon salt This should be to taste. I recommend 3/4 teaspoon or up to 1 teaspoon for 1 1/2 lbs of chicken. If you're sensitive to the taste of salt, season according to your taste.
Tomato Bruschetta & Fresh Mozzarella Topping
- In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning, and salt.
- Add the chicken breasts, using your hands to toss the breasts in the marinade until fully coated.
- Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day in advance.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a 12-inch oven-safe skillet (I love a cast iron skillet), casserole dish, OR sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the chicken in the pan and discard extra marinade left in the bowl.
- Bake the chicken for 20-22 minutes.
- I recommend flipping the chicken halfway through baking (about the 10-11 minute mark), and moving the chicken around in the pan to soak up the marinade that's leaked off. This keeps the marinade from burning/charring too much on the bottom of the pan, as some charring can occur with any balsamic that drips off–this is normal.
- While the chicken bakes, make the tomato bruschetta.
- Halve or quarter a pint of cherry tomatoes. If your tomatoes are smaller, cutting in half is fine. If they're on the large side, quarter the tomatoes.
- Add the tomatoes to a medium-size bowl, along with red onion (or yellow onion), garlic, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
- Cut the fresh mozzarella into 6-8 slices.
- After 20-22 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through. You're welcome to test it out. You'll want an internal temperature of 165F when using a meat thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and top each chicken breast with mozzarella cheese, about 2 slices per breast.
- Add the tomato bruschetta over the top of the chicken and mozzarella.
- Return the chicken to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes, allowing the cheese to melt over the chicken and the tomatoes to soften a bit.
- Rest for 5 minutes before cutting and enjoying. Serve with roasted veggies, a side salad, or over pasta.