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)
2/3 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 2/3 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