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Tuscan Chicken Recipe

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This Tuscan Chicken Recipe is one of the best meals to serve when unexpected guests arrive, or when you’re simply looking to make something quick and easy yet still delicious and nutritious!

Tuscan chicken, served over pasta on a serving plate.

This simple, but flavorful, chicken breast recipe makes tender, juicy seared chicken lathered with a sumptuous parmesan cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes for pops of color and additional nutritional value. It pairs well with various starches like rice, mashed potatoespasta, or even crusty bread like French bread or a baguette.

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Why is it called Tuscan chicken?

There is a debate on whether this dish originated from the Tuscany region in Italy or was crafted by Olive Garden, an American-Italian casual dining restaurant, which named the dish as Tuscan garlic chicken.

The use of cream, spinach, and tomatoes is actually not common in Tuscan cuisine, so the latter bears more weight. Either way, it was Olive Garden that made this dish popular in America.

The Olive Garden recipe uses red bell pepper strips. I substituted it with sundried tomatoes for a sweet-tart flair that goes well with the overall creamy, savory taste of the dish.

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❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This creamy Tuscan chicken recipe is irresistibly delicious! With tender chicken and creamy and cheesy sauce, it’ll surely satisfy the appetite of both kids and adults. What’s more is that:

  • It comes together in 30 minutes.
  • It pairs well with either bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta.
  • You can make it ahead, store it, and serve it later.
  • It looks pretty on a plate! Your guests would be impressed!

If you’re a fan of creamy chicken dishes, check out Tuscan chicken’s very close relative—chicken Florentine. While Tuscan chicken is made using heavy cream, chicken Florentine is made extra creamy with cream cheese. It’s almost like spinach dip and chicken in one.

🥘 Ingredients

Tuscan Chicken Recipe ingredients.

The ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe are all easily accessible in your local grocery store.

  • Oil: You will only need a few tablespoons to sear the chicken breasts and prevent them from sticking to the pan. Use olive oil or any flavorless cooking oil that you prefer.
  • Chicken breasts: This is the leanest cut of chicken. So if you’re looking to load up on protein and reduce your fat intake, this is a good recipe to make! Don’t worry, the breasts won’t come out dry and bland. They’ll stay tender, juicy, and flavorful with the cream sauce.
  • Italian seasoning: It gives the dish a beautiful depth of flavor. You can use a pre-made bottle from the grocery or make your own. It’s just a mix of equal parts of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.
  • Minced garlic: For a slight punch of flavor in the sauce. If garlic cloves are not available, you can use garlic powder. The latter is more flavorful, though, so you might want to start with little rather than putting in a whole teaspoon garlic powder straight into the dish.
  • Chicken broth: Aside from giving the sauce body, it also deglazes the caramelization at the bottom of the pan. Those brown bits hold a ton of flavor! Try to get the low sodium chicken broth for better control on the amount of salt in your dish.
  • Heavy whipping cream: For best results, I recommend using at least 36% fat. Be sure to get the cooking cream and not sweet cream for desserts.
  • Spinach: Spinach, cream, garlic, and cheese go so well together. You can use either fresh or frozen spinach for this recipe. Keep in mind that spinach shrinks, so if you want to consume more veggies, you can add more.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: Slightly chewy in texture, sweet-tangy in taste. They also add a pop of color to the dish.
  • Parmesan cheese: For added creaminess, umami, and salty taste.
  • Lemon juice: Adding a little fresh squeeze adds brightness to elevate the dish even more.

See recipe card for quantities.

🔀 Substitutions

Spinach: It’s rich in folate and vitamins A and K. If you want, you can try substituting it with hand-torn fresh kale. It contains twice the amount of vitamin C spinach has, and just a bit more expensive, but also delicious.

Sun-dried tomatoes: It adds a unique twist in terms of texture and flavor. But if they’re not available, cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes would work, too.

Parmesan cheese: It’s the most commonly used cheese for cream sauces. However, you can easily substitute it with other hard cheeses like pecorino Romano, Parmigianio Reggiano, asiago, or queso de bola.

Chicken breast: You can either boneless skinless chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or thinly slice them to make them easier to eat for kids.

🌈 Variations / Options / Add-Ins

What’s great about making your own versions of dishes is that you can customize them according to your taste or on what’s available in your kitchen! Here are a few ways you can personalize your creamy Tuscan chicken recipe.

  • Deluxe: Elevate this dish and make it more decadent by using butter instead of oil, and adding cream cheese. It’ll be creamier and more flavorful.
  • Bulk it up: Feeding a crowd? Add mushrooms to bulk it up! It’s cheap, it adds umami, and it is protein-rich, too. 
  • Spicy: A fan of hot and spicy dishes? Add some heat to your Tuscan chicken by throwing a dash of red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or paprika.

Here’s another creamy Olive Garden copycat dish that might spark creativity and inspiration in you: Zuppa Toscana, a soup you can make using the instant pot. Try serving it with this Tuscan chicken for an impressive restaurant-quality homemade dinner spread!

🥄 Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

There are only a few ingredients you’ll need to cook this dish.

  • Skillet: Use any heavy-bottomed pan with slightly high sides. It should be roomy enough for the breasts and sauce to fit in.
  • Tongs: To be used to easily flip the chicken breasts.
  • Spatula: If you’re using a non-stick coated pan, it’s a great idea to use a silicone spatula so that it doesn’t scratch the pan.

🔪 How to Make Tuscan Chicken Recipe

As promised, this recipe has easy to follow instructions that even beginner home cooks can follow. It comes together in just four main steps.

Step 1: Season chicken

Pat-dry the chicken using paper towels so that the seasoning will stick well. It’ll also help with the searing later on.

Season the chicken with the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. It’s best to use your hands for this. Massage the chicken around to be sure that all surfaces of the chicken are evenly seasoned.

Step 2: Sear chicken

The key to achieve a beautiful sear is to begin with a hot pan on medium heat and to dry the meat as much as possible. If it’s wet, it will steam instead of sear.

You know its a good sear if you hear a nice sizzle once the meat touches the pan. Then, don’t turn it right away. Just let the meat brown in the pan for about 4-5 minutes, and once a crust forms, it’ll be easy to lift and flip.

Sear both sides of the breasts.

The chicken breasts are being seared in a skillet.

Step 3: Make sauce

Add the chicken broth, increase the temperature to medium-high heat and let it simmer. The chicken will continue to cook at this point.

Once the broth is simmering, you can turn the flame to medium-low heat and add the heavy whipping cream. Let it maintain a gentle simmer until the sauce mixture is reduced by half; this takes about 8 minutes.

Heavy whipping cream is added to the chicken breasts cooking in a skillet.

Step 4: Finish with cheese and lemon

Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook for another two minutes. Then add parmesan cheese and lemon juice to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Cooked Tuscan chicken in a skillet, garnished with parmesan cheese.

🍽️ Serving Suggestions

You can serve your Tuscan chicken with these:

Tuscan chicken, served over pasta on a serving plate.

❓ Recipe FAQs

How do you keep chicken tender when cooking?

Chicken, especially the breast part, is prone to drying out when overcooked or cooked at too high a temperature.

You can keep it tender and moist by cooking it just until it reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees F. Once it reaches that point, it’s best to take it off the heat so that it doesn’t lose its tender and juicy quality.

Brining the chicken, or any meat, also helps as salt helps retain the moisture. Check out what we did for Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops for a better idea. You can also do it with this chicken recipe.

Can I make Tuscan chicken ahead of time?

Absolutely! If you’re making it for a party, you can cook it a day or two ahead. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to reheat. If it’s for meal prep, portion them into sealed containers. Refrigerate until ready to reheat and consume.

How to store and reheat Tuscan chicken?

Cool the Tuscan chicken completely to room temperature before storing in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. It will stay good for four days.

To reheat, you can microwave a batch on high for a minute or two, or heat them up on a skillet on the stove top. I recommend the latter as microwaving could make the chicken tough.

Take note that its best to reheat only once. Repeated reheating and cooling deteriorates the quality of the dish.

🙏 Pairing

These are my favorite dishes to serve with this Tuscan chicken recipe:

Ready to get cooking? Print off the recipe card below or toggle on Cook Mode to keep your screen from going dark while you follow along on your phone or tablet.

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📋 Recipe

Tuscan Chicken Recipe

Corinne Schmitt
This Tuscan Chicken Recipe is one of the best meals when you want to make something quick and easy yet still delicious and nutritious!
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 565 kcal

Equipment

  • Large skillet
  • Tongs
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream preferrably at least 36%
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Sundried Tomatoes oil drained
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Instructions
 

  • Heat up a pan on medium heat. Add oil.
  • Season chicken breasts on both sides with minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Place chicken breasts on the hot pan and let sear for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown before flipping. Let the other side sear for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth. Turn the heat to medium high until the broth reaches a simmer.
  • Add whipping cream and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Let the mixture simmer for about 8 minutes, until reduced by half.
  • Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and lemon juice to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 52gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 213mgSodium: 517mgPotassium: 1434mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1776IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

🛑 Food safety

We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. So, here are some health and safety tips.

  • Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
  • Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
  • Wash hands after touching raw meat
  • Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
  • Never leave cooking food unattended
  • Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
  • Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove

See more guidelines at USDA.gov.

5 from 18 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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