July 1, 2022

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

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Creamy Tuscan Chicken – Tender, juicy chicken is simmered in a homemade sun dried tomato cream sauce for a family FAVORITE dinner! Between the fresh herbs, white wine, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream this is a comfort food Italian classic that everyone LOVES! Made in just ONE SKILLET and ready in 45 minutes! 

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Recipe

If you’re ready to learn how to make chicken that will rival any Italian restaurant’s, look no further than this creamy Tuscan chicken recipe made in one skillet.

The chicken is tender, juicy, and simmers in a homemade sun dried tomato cream sauce.

For anyone who loves sun dried tomatoes like I do, you’re in luck with this comfort food family dinner.

Additionally, there’s red bell peppers, onions, garlic, and plenty of herbs and spices including basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, and smoked paprika.

As if that wasn’t enough to add oodles of flavor and richness to this Tuscan chicken, there’s also fresh Parmesan cheese, white wine for depth of flavor, and lemon juice to really balance everything out.

This Tuscan skillet chicken dinner is perfect served over al dente spaghetti. Or try it over another starch like rice, mashed potatoes, or even quinoa if you want to maintain the naturally gluten-free status of this recipe. 

Friends, family, kids and adults alike are going to go nuts over this comfort food classic Italian recipe that’s easier than you think to make! And faster – it’s ready from start to finish in 45 minutes.

Ingredients in Creamy Tuscan Chicken

For this creamy Tuscan chicken skillet that everyone is going to rave about, you do need a fair amount of ingredients.

However, everything is an easy to find and common fridge or pantry ingredient including the following items:

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • White or yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Sun dried tomatoes, with the oil drained
  • Tomato paste
  • Red bell pepper
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh thyme
  • Dried oregano
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chicken broth
  • Dry white wine
  • Lemon juice
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh spinach

How to Make Creamy Tuscan Chicken in a Skillet

To make this delectable, rich, creamy Tuscan chicken in a skillet, follow these straightforward steps:

Step 1: Add the olive oil and chicken to a skillet, season with salt and pepper, and saute. Flip after about 6 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and add the butter, onion, garlic, and saute.

Step 3: Add the sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir to combine.

Step 4: Add the bell pepper, all the herbs, and stir to combine.

Step 5: Add the chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add the cream, Parmesan, spinach, and wilt the spinach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 7: Place the cooked chicken back into the skillet, simmer momentarily, and garnish with extra Parm and herbs if desired before serving! 

Are Chicken Breasts or Thighs Better for Tuscan Chicken?

When I make creamy Tuscan chicken, I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts.

I usually buy two large ones from the butcher counter as my grocery store and then slice them in half to create four thinner filets. 

Tip: Using thinner chicken breasts will allow them to cook quicker and I find I can monitor the doneness level easier when I am working with a thinner filet as opposed to a thicker one.

However, if you want to use chicken thighs, that’s fine too. 

I rarely buy bone-in chicken breasts or thighs but that’s an option too if that’s what you like.

What Kind of Sun Dried Tomatoes are Best for Creamy Tuscan Chicken?

When making this homemade creamy sun dried tomato sauce that your creamy Tuscan chicken simmers in, it’s important to pay attention to what kind of sun dried tomatoes you’re using.

I use an 8-ounce jar of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes. You can also look in the deli section where many grocery stores have olives or an olive bar, they also may have sun dried tomatoes.

If you have a difficult time finding them, grape tomatoes will work in a pinch but the sauce may be a bit thinner.

Fish out the tomatoes and leave the oil behind in the jar before adding them to your skillet.

I add them whole because we prefer larger bites and chunks. However, you can slice, dice, or even quickly pulse them in a food processor if desired.

Tip: The longer the sun dried tomatoes cook and simmer, the more they rehydrate, and the more the flavor comes out so don’t shortcut the simmering time.

Is Wine Necessary for the Creamy Tuscan Chicken Sauce?

I like to use a dry white wine like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio in my creamy Tuscan chicken sauce.

It gives extra depth of flavor and richness to the sauce that’s hard to achieve without using it.

That being said, if you are opposed to using wine, you can omit it and use an additional one-half cup of chicken broth instead. 

Are Fresh or Dried Herbs Better For Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken?

For your creamy Tuscan chicken skillet, I use fresh basil, thyme, and fresh parsley. Only the oregano is dried. 

Fresh herbs will give your dish so much more vibrant and fresh flavor as opposed to dried and that’s what I suggest.

And while it’s not an herb, fresh spinach as opposed to frozen is the only way to go for me.

The same with the lemon juice – use freshly squeezed as opposed to jarred.

What Should I Serve With Creamy Tuscan Chicken?

Creamy Tuscan chicken made in a skillet is great served over noodles such as spaghetti noodles as shown in the photos.

Rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes are also good options. 

Finally, you can’t go wrong with a big green chopped salad as opposed to starches or grains. 

Storage Suggestions for Creamy Tuscan Chicken in Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Your creamy sun dried Tuscan chicken will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge.

This is one of those dinner recipes where the leftovers taste just as good, if not better, than the day you make it. That’s because all the flavors from the sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh herbs, and Parmesan marry together.

However, I don’t recommend freezing this chicken skillet recipe because the sauce could break and separate upon thawing. Not worth the chance.

Tip: Additionally, always take care when reheating anything with a cream sauce so that it doesn’t get too hot because the cream sauce can break. While it won’t taste different, it won’t look appetizing.

Tips for the Best Creamy Tuscan Chicken Skillet

For this recipe I use jarred sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil. However, you don’t add the oil to the recipe. But I save it for dipping garlic bread or bread sticks into. I also am a cheese board fanatic and a little sun dried tomato with a cracker topped with cheese and then oil is delish. 

Make sure to use heavy cream to get the creamiest Tuscan chicken. Don’t use half-and-half nor milk because they just aren’t the same.

After adding the heavy cream to your skillet, make sure to control the heat and not let it get to rip-roaring boil. A very gentle simmer is all I suggest.

The reason being is that anytime you’re working with a dairy-based sauce, there’s always the risk of the milk proteins breaking, or separating. There’s enough cheese and fat (which tends to insure against sauces breaking) in this recipe, but nevertheless, easy does it with the heat so you don’t break your beautiful sauce.

There is nothing more Italian than Parmesan cheese and in your Italian Tuscan chicken, you definitely want to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t use cheese from a green can please.

As I mentioned, fresh herbs, fresh lemon juice, and fresh spinach are recommended as opposed to dried, canned, or frozen; respectively.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thinner boneless skinless chicken breasts* (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, finely minced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 ounces sun dried tomatoes, oil drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, or more if desired
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely minced (Italian or flat leaf)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use reduced or lower sodium)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine**
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (about 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, or more if desired

Instructions

  1. To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, evenly season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes.
  2. Flip the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes on the second side. Thicker breasts will take longer, about 8 minutes per side. Set aside on a platter and tent it with foil to keep warm. Tips – Chicken is done when it reaches 165F however you can pull it at 160F and the internal temp will continue to rise as it rests. If you are planning to serve this over spaghetti or another type of pasta, I would start that now.
  3. There’s no need to wash, drain, or clean the skillet in any way. Add the butter and allow it to melt.
  4. Add the onion and cook until the onion has begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir constantly.
  6. Add the sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir to combine.
  7. Add the bell pepper, basil, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika, and stir to combine.
  8. Add the chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the heavy cream, Parmesan, spinach (it looks like a lot but it’s not), and allow the spinach to wilt. Aid this process by either stirring and flipping the spinach into the sauce mixture or reducing the heat to low and covering the skillet for 90 seconds.
  10. Add the cooked chicken back in, and heat gently for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chicken has warmed through again.
  11. Serve immediately over spaghetti, another pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, quinoa, or your favorite starch or grain. Or serve with a salad. Optionally add extra Parmesan and/or fresh herbs.
  12. Extra Tuscan chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat very gently so you don’t break the sauce. I don’t recommend freezing it for that reason – the sauce could break upon thawing.

Notes

*I tend to buy 2 large chicken breasts from the butcher that I then slice in half lengthwise to create 4 thinner filets. Each large breast tends to be usually about 3/4 to 1 pound each, or about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total. It’s easier to cook with thinner breasts so I suggest avoiding the really fat or thick ones. Thighs or bone-in chicken breasts or thighs may also be used.

**I do recommend using the wine for a richness and depth of flavor. Choose a dry white like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or pinot grigio. If you absolutely don’t want to use wine, add an additional 1/2 cup chicken broth.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 752Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 904mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 9gSugar: 26gProtein: 52g

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