Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts wrapped in bacon will transform chicken night at your house. Tender and juicy chicken that only takes 10 minutes to prepare, it couldn’t be easier.
Since my post about bacon wrapped pork tenderloin was such a big hit the other night at dinner, I created bacon wrapped mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts. This is a family favorite and one my husband just can’t get enough of.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to find a way to cook chicken breasts that aren’t dry and flavorless. The bacon helps, but my secret, especially for thick chicken breasts, is to marinate them in buttermilk. Even if you only have 30 minutes, I promise you, it will make a difference with any chicken recipe.
Why does buttermilk make chicken tender?
Buttermilk is acidic which helps tenderize the chicken. In addition it has enzymes that help break down the protein in chicken. You can marinate it overnight but even 30 minutes will help tenderize the chicken. This is especially needed when you have thick chicken breasts.
For this meal, I picked up the chicken on the way home from work, put them in a ziplock and poured buttermilk over them and just left them on the counter while I changed clothes and went through the mail.
It took no more than 10 minutes to assemble these and get them in the oven, an additional 10 to 20 minutes in the oven and we had the most wonderful dinner. The bacon adds a smoky flavor to the chicken and the pesto and mozzarella added just enough flavor to make this a weeknight favorite.
Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken is easier to assemble than you might think. You just need to cut a pocket into the thicker part of the chicken. Start at the top of the thicker part and cut a slit, then put the knife in and gently cut a pocket in the chicken. If you cut all the way through, it’s no big deal but some of the cheese might ooze out.
You won’t be able to use chicken cutlets, you need the full chicken breast. Once you have the pocket, use your fingers to put in the pesto and cheese. Wrapping them in two bacon slices keeps everything contained.
If you want to use a thicker cut bacon then you’ll need toothpicks to hold them in place. If you use a thinner sliced bacon, you won’t need toothpicks.
One other trick for not over cooking thick chicken breasts, is to use a meat thermometer. I let them cook to 165º in the thickest part. It’s hard to tell when a thick chicken breast is done, a meat thermometer takes out all the guess work. I hope you all enjoy these as much as we did.
Why You’ll Love Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon
- It’s quick and easy, only 10 minutes to prepare and the oven does the rest.
- The chicken is so tender, you won’t need a knife.
- Pesto makes it fresh.
- Bacon, need I say more!
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast Ingredients
- Chicken breasts – try to find large breasts so they are easier to stuff. You won’t be able to use chicken strips or tenderloin.
- Mozzarella – I used fresh mozzarella because it’s a softer consistency which makes it easier to stuff, but regular mozzarella works fine.
- Pesto – Use your favorite variety or if you have a large basil plant, make your own pesto.
- Bacon – I like the flavor that an applewood smoked or pepper bacon add, but they are generally a little thicker and require toothpicks. If you use a thinner bacon, you won’t need toothpicks.
- Buttermilk – this is to marinate the chicken in.
Pro tip: If you’re out of buttermilk, you can make your own with just two ingredients. Here are three different methods for how to make your own buttermilk.
How to Make Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon
Marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight or for at least 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Cut a slit in the top thick part of the chicken breast and cut a hole. Use your fingers to make it as big as possible. Add pesto and mozzarella.
Wrap in bacon and brown in an oven proof skillet for about 3 minutes on each side, just browning the chicken. Then place in the oven and bake.
What’s so nice about this dish is that it’s easy enough to make on a weeknight, but special enough to serve to guests.
How to Serve Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast
Almost any type of side will go well with the flavors in this dish. If you are looking for something light, try a fruit salad with a honey lime glaze. Roasted asparagus is always a great choice, or try some smashed potatoes. Of course, you could throw in some Southern buttermilk biscuits!
How to Store Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast (how to freeze)
Bacon wrapped chicken breast are great for leftovers or if you just want to have a meal prepared in advance. It’s best to freeze them after they’ve baked. Let them cool completely and then place in an airtight container. Let them thaw and then reheat in the oven at 350º for 10 minutes.
Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Chicken FAQs
If you don’t have buttermilk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Chicken breasts are done when a meat thermometer reaches 165º.
Since raw chicken has bacteria, hot soapy water is not enough to clean surfaces that have come in contact with raw chicken. First clean the surface and then sanitize it with a sanitizing wipe.
You can make stuffed chicken breasts without using toothpicks if you use thin sliced bacon.
To stuff a chicken breast, cut a slit at the top of the thickest portions and create a pocket with the knife and your fingers. Then gently add the filling.
These stuffed chicken breasts do not need to be sealed. The bacon wrapped around them, will keep the filling in place.
To keep the melted cheese from coming out of the chicken breasts, you can secure the top with a toothpick or just wrap the bacon around the opening.
Favorite Chicken Recipes
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 4 Chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 4 tablespoons basil pesto
- 8 slices bacon
- Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pour buttermilk over them. Salt and pepper and let sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to prepare, remove chicken and rinse. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Carefully slice an opening into the top of the thick part of the chicken breast and cut a pocket. With your fingers, add a tablespoon of pesto to the pocket and stuff slices of cheese in the pocket. Salt the chicken breast. Wrap with two slices of bacon, tucking ends under the bacon rings. Repeat with each breast.
- Heat oven proof skillet on stove over medium-high heat. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan.
- Add chicken to hot skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. You are trying to brown the bacon, not cook the chicken. Remove from heat and drain most of the bacon grease. Place skillet in oven.
- Bake for about 10-20 minutes until a meat thermometer registers 165º at the thickest part. Time will vary depending on how thick the chicken is and how long they cooked on the stove.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If you don’t have time to marinate the chicken overnight, try to let them sit in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes.
- Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. It should read 165º. You can also slice into the thickest part of the breast and make sure there is no pink.
- If you don’t want to use toothpicks, use thinner sliced bacon.
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