This stuffed Pizza Chicken is loaded with with a delicious three-cheese and pepperoni mixture and baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella. It’s a low-carb, kid-friendly weeknight dinner option.
This Pizza Chicken recipe is an oldie but goodie that I’ve made ever since my boys were small, cute, and agreeable. It was my oldest two who decided this cheesy, pepperoni stuffed chicken should be called “Pizza Chicken” and that is what we have called it ever since.
Kids will eat anything with pizza in the title but this dish is a hit with the little ones AND the big ones alike.
It’s simple, wholesome, and is ready in under an hour. It just so happens to very low in carbs but totally provides that Italian food fix that we crave so much.
Leftovers reheat beautifully, making it a great choice for meal prep.
Table of contents
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not thin-sliced).
- Seasoning: Italian seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cheese: Part-skim ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Sliced pepperoni: Look for packages of pre-sliced pepperoni for pizza near the packaged lunch meat or deli section in the grocery store.
- Minced garlic
- Fresh Italian parsley or basil: For the filling and to garnish the dish.
- Marinara: I recommend using a jar of your favorite marinara sauce instead of pizza sauce for the best result.
How to Cut a Pocket in Boneless Chicken Breasts
- Using a sharp paring knife, slice, into the thicker side of the breast from the side, slicing lengthwise down along the side of the chicken to create a pocket.
- Slice through nearly to the other side, leaving the edges intact. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
How to Make Pizza Chicken
- Season: Combine the seasoning in a small bowl and season the pieces of chicken on both sides with mixture.
- Ricotta filling: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, quartered pepperoni, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Stuff: Stuff each piece of chicken evenly with the ricotta mixture until it has all been used (chicken will be very stuffed).
- Baking dish: Transfer the stuffed chicken to a greased baking dish.
- Add sauce: Top the chicken evenly with the marinara sauce.
- Bake: Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and top the chicken with the remaining mozzarella and a few slices of pepperoni. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature of the chicken registers 165 F.
Tips for the Best Pizza Chicken
- Cooking Juices: Some chicken will let off a lot of liquid as it bakes. After the first bake, use a spoon to remove some of the liquid from the bottom of the baking dish, if desired.
- Internal Temperature: To avoid overcooking or undercooking the chicken, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
- Broil: For a golden cheese topping, set the oven to broil for the last couple of minutes of the cooking time.
- Garnish: Sprinkle the finished dish with little fresh basil or parsley for a pleasing look and pop of color.
Spicy Pizza Chicken: Add some heat by using spicy pepperoni or adding red pepper flakes to the marinara sauce.
Pesto Pizza Chicken: Replace the marinara sauce with pesto sauce to mimic the flavors of chicken pesto pizza.
Sausage Pizza Chicken: Replace the pepperoni with a cooked and crumbled Italian sausage.
Veggie Pizza Chicken: Omit the pepperoni and replace it with sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, or bell pepper and top it with sliced black olives. Substitute your favorite pizza toppings to make it your own.
Low-Carb Pizza Chicken: As written this recipe is pretty low in carbs. But, to reduce the carbs even more, use a low sugar marinara sauce.
Low-Carb Options: Serve with boiled or steamed broccoli, roasted veggies or a green salad like my refreshing Lemon Parmesan Salad.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Refrigerate: Transfer the cooled Pizza Chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Use the chicken within 3 to 4 days for the best quality.
Freezer: Transfer the cooled Pizza Chicken to airtight, freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw safely and completely in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheating: Pizza Chicken can be reheated in a 350 degree F oven, covered with foil, for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until heated through. Or, use the microwave, cooking just until warmed through to avoid changing the texture of the chicken.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 to 2¼ pounds
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 12 slices pepperoni, quartered (about ⅓ cup, packed), plus additional whole slices for garnish
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley or basil, divided
- 1 cup marinara sauce, your favorite brand
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut Pockets in the Chicken
- Using a sharp paring knife, slice into the thicker side of the breast from the side, slicing lengthwise down along the side of the chicken to create a pocket. You want to slice through nearly to the other side but leave all the edges of the chicken intact. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
Season the Chicken
- In a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper to taste. Season the pieces of chicken on both sides with mixture and set aside.
Make the Ricotta Filling
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, ¼ cup mozzarella, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, quartered pepperoni, garlic, 1 tablespoon parsley, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.
Stuff the Chicken
- Stuff each piece of chicken evenly with the ricotta mixture until it has all been used (chicken will be very stuffed). Transfer the stuffed chicken to the prepared baking dish and spoon the marinara sauce evenly over each piece.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
- Remove and discard the foil. If the chicken has let off a lot of liquid, you can spoon some of it out of the pan, if desired. Then, top each piece of chicken with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan and 2 or 3 slices of pepperoni.
- When the oven reaches temperature, bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature of the chicken registers 165 F. Set the oven to BROIL for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time to lightly brown the cheese and slightly crisp the pepperoni. Remove from the oven and garnish with the remaining parsley or basil.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published April 23, 2012. It has been updated with new text and images.