Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta and Ricotta is a surprisingly easy yet spectacular dish that looks and tastes fabulous. It is wonderfully seared on the outside and juicy and tender inside. The stuffing is made with frozen (or fresh) spinach and a combination of creamy ricotta, salty feta and fresh garlic.
Chicken breasts are a really great and versatile protein to cook but they can actually be tricky to pull off. Unlike forgiving thighs or wings that are higher in fat, breasts are very lean and dry out quickly. My best advice for boring skinless boneless chicken breasts? Season and stuff them!
Seriously, there are no better chicken breasts than stuffed chicken breasts. Tasty and interesting stuffing literally flavors the chicken from the inside making dinner so much more exciting! I often stuff mine with dried fruit, such as prunes or apricots but for this recipe I went with a savory match made in Heaven: spinach, cheese and garlic.
For the cheese, I started with creamy and mellow ricotta which takes the spinach to a whole new level (creamed spinach!). However, it does not have much flavor, so to add a bit of brininess, I decided to combine it with a stronger tasting cheese so I went with feta. It was a great move because, as you may have heard, “everything is bettah with feta”.
This healthy spinach and chicken recipe is nutritious, filling and satisfying! It is perfect for entertaining and dinner parties, too! I usually cut the stuffed breasts in half for smaller portions and beautiful presentation.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Chicken Breasts: use equally sized skinless boneless chicken breasts, preferably organic.
Spinach: I use frozen cut leaf frozen spinach because it’s convenient but you can also use fresh spinach, if you prefer (see the note in the recipe card below for tips on fresh spinach)
Ricotta Cheese: mild and creamy, this Italian cheese is the base for the spinach
Feta Cheese: to add a stronger cheesy flavor to the dish
Garlic: large, fresh garlic cloves will work best. My favorite way to crush garlic is by using this easy to clean garlic press by OXO.
Spices: seasoning chicken with paprika, garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper before cooking is key to flavorful and juicy meat!
Olive Oil: use your favorite extra virgin olive oil.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN STUFFED WITH SPINACH, FETA AND RICOTTA
Step 1: Cut a slit in each chicken breast to form a pocket.
Step 2: Season the meat. Sprinkle the chicken with garlic salt, paprika and black pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix to coat and set aside.
Step 3: Make the filling. In a separate bowl mix together spinach, ricotta and feta cheese and fresh garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir well.
Step 4: Stuff the chicken breasts. Divide the spinach cheese mixture into four equal parts and place them inside the prepared chicken breasts. Lay on a flat surface and close the opening with 1-2 toothpicks.
Step 5: Sear the chicken. Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet (I use cast iron) and sear the stuffed chicken breasts over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Step 6: Finish cooking the chicken in the oven. Place the skillet with chicken breasts in the oven preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
HOW TO SERVE IT
Serve these easy chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and ricotta with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables, a simple green salad and/or roasted potatoes. If you’re serving this chicken at a gathering or dinner party, try pairing it with my Spinach Caprese Salad with Strawberries, Greek Chickpea Salad or Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing.
FAQs & EXPERT TIPS
Do I need a cast iron skillet to make this?
Cast iron is best but if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use any heavy bottomed skillet you have. If it’s not oven proof, you can still make this recipe, just transfer the seared chicken onto a cookie sheet and then bake for 15 minutes.
Can I use fresh spinach?
If you want to use fresh spinach, you will need quite a lot of it (like a whole bag). Place it in a large skillet with a tablespoon of water, cover with a lid and wilt on low heat for a couple minutes. Then place on paper towels, let it cool and squeeze out any liquid. You will need ⅔ of a cup of wilted spinach.
Can I swap ricotta for cream cheese?
Yes. Cream cheese is higher in fat and will produce a more “saucy” filling but if you don’t have ricotta, cream cheese will definitely work.
Is this dish gluten free?
Yes. There are no wheat products used in this recipe.
How do I know the chicken is cooked through?
The best way to check is to insert a reliable meat thermometer in the thickest part of chicken breast. When it registers at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken is done.
How long will this keep in the fridge?
You can store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to reheat mine covered or wrapped in tin foil to prevent the chicken from drying out. This easy stuffed chicken breast is also excellent cold, sliced in a sandwich or over a salad.
Can I freeze stuffed chicken breasts?
Yes. Place the chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag and store frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating.
MORE EASY AND HEALTHY CHICKEN RECIPES
This post includes affiliate links.Print
Chicken Stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach is a surprisingly easy yet spectacular dish that looks and tastes fabulous. It is wonderfully seared on the outside and juicy and tender inside. The stuffing is made with frozen (or fresh) spinach and a combination of creamy ricotta, salty feta and fresh garlic.
4 chicken breasts, trimmed of any visible fat (1.5-2lbs)
⅔ cup thawed cut leaf frozen spinach
3 oz Ricotta cheese
2 oz Feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt & pepper, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut each of the four chicken breasts lengthwise to form a pocket. Be careful not to cut all the way.
- Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika and one tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the chicken around to coat in oil and spices, making sure to get inside the meat, too. Set aside while you prepare the stuffing.
- If your thawed spinach seems wet, drain any water and dry it by squeezing it in a paper towel. In a medium bowl add the spinach, ricotta cheese, minced garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Using a spoon or a butter knife divide the mixture into 4 equal parts (I usually flatten the mixture with a spoon and draw a cross on top to visualize 4 quarters).
- Place a quarter of the spinach cheese mixture inside each chicken breast, close it and secure with toothpicks. Usually, 2 or 3 toothpicks will do the job.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet (I use a cast iron skillet) and saute the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side over medium heat.
- Transfer the skillet to the center rack of preheated oven and finish cooking for about 15 minutes more, until the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the skillet out of the oven, cover lightly with aluminum foil and let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks before serving!
For best results, make sure your chicken breasts are similarly sized so they cook at the same time.
If you accidentally cut the chicken breast through, don’t worry. Just use a toothpick to mend the tear and take it out later. Nobody will notice!
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use any heavy bottomed skillet you have. If it’s not oven proof, you can still make this recipe, just transfer the seared chicken onto a cookie sheet and then bake for 15 minutes.
If you prefer to use fresh spinach, you will need quite a lot of it (like a whole bag). Place it in a large skillet with a tablespoon of water, cover with a lid and wilt on low heat for a couple minutes. Then place on paper towels, let it cool and squeeze out any liquid. You will need ⅔ of a cup of wilted spinach.
When closing the chicken pockets with toothpicks, be careful to leave the end of the toothpicks visible for easy removal. It can be tricky to look for a “buried” toothpick in hot chicken meat.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: lunch, dinner
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chicken breast stuffed with spinach and ricotta