This easy Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast is seared and baked with stuffing made of spinach, cheese, mayo, bacon and spices. Bacon, mozzarrela and feta cheese adds so much flavor and texture to this stuffed chicken breast.
This stuffed chicken recipe is simple and ready in less than 45 minutes. It is one of my go-to recipe when I want something real quick yet savory and delicious for busy weeknight or when entertaining family and friends.
How to Make this Bacon Cheese Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
- Cook sliced bacon until crispy. ½ is added to stuffing and the other ½ as garnish.
- Combine the seasonings then set aside. ¼ teaspoon is added to stuffing and the rest is used to season chicken.
- Prepare the cream cheese spinach stuffing.
- Make a pocket in chicken breast then season inside out.
- Spoon spinach stuffing inside chicken breast then seal the edges of chicken with toothpicks.
- In a hot cast iron, sear each side of chicken breast 3 to 4 minutes depending on size in 1 tablespoon bacon fat over medium heat.
- Finish up cooking in the oven at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until the thickest part of chicken breast reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
How to make a pocket in chicken breast
Use a sharp knife to make the pocket. I am using a big knife and a pairing knife. I use the pairing knife to cut the chicken deeper especially at the thickest part. Make sure not to cut all the way through, if it happens seal it with toothpick.
To make a pocket, lay the flat side of chicken breast. Make the slit at the rounder edge. Place your left hand on top of chicken while your right hand is making the slit using the big knife.
You can make a pocket by leaving an inch on both sides uncut but you’ll end up with less stuffing.
So instead, I make a slit halfway with the big knife then I use the pairing knife to cut deeper.
Why sear chicken before putting in the oven
Pan searing is a brief process of browning chicken to get a tasty crust on the outside. A heavy bottomed skillet like a cast iron works best when searing. It maintains heat well and can be transferred from stove top to oven.
Sear both sides for about 3 to 4 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast till golden brown, then move to the oven.
Finish cooking in the oven at 375 degrees F for 20 – 25 minutes until the thickest portion registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Make sure to place thermometer at the center of the thickest part of chicken breast.
Tip: For frozen chicken, thaw overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, let it rest briefly in room temperature before searing. You will achieve a better sear and it will cook more evenly.
This baked cheesy spinach stuffed chicken breast recipe is succulent but you can always tweak the recipe to your liking. Consider some of the substitutions I have mentioned below.
If you’re tired of eating chicken but would like to use a different kind of meat with similar flavor, try my Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.
Fresh Spinach – You can use frozen spinach but make sure to thaw it and remove as much liquid. It will make your stuffing runny.
Cream Cheese – I have made this recipe using Boursin cheese (garlic and herb) and it worked perfectly for this cheese stuffed chicken breast recipe. I don’t add any seasoning in the stuffing when I use this. It is creamy just like cream cheese with similar flavor and texture.
Mayonnaise – Not everyone cares for mayo, if you are one of those, you can use Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Mozzarella and Feta – Aside from these 2 cheese, I have used parmesan, fontina, gruyere, provolone and sharp cheddar. Use your favorite cheese as long as it melts easily.
Smoked Paprika – you can use sweet paprika but smoked paprika adds another layer of flavor.
- If using frozen chicken breast, thaw it overnight in the fridge.
- You can use frozen spinach but make sure to thaw and remove as much water so your stuffing is not runny.
- The cream cheese spinach stuffing can be prepared in advance and store in the fridge. I have made it the night before and moved it in room temperature while I was preparing the chicken.
- I don’t make the whole recipe in advance for food safety. I am not comfortable having raw chicken in room temperature then putting it back in the fridge.
- DON’T ADD ANYMORE SALT to this chicken recipe. Bacon and Feta cheese are both salty. If you are watching your sodium intake, you can even eliminate the salt.
- Use a cast iron to sear and bake, but if you don’t have one, use a skillet to sear then transfer to a baking or casserole dish.
- After cooking bacon, remove bacon grease leaving only a tablespoon in the cast iron. If using a thin bottomed-skillet leave 2 tablespoons for bacon fat.
- Be careful when removing cast iron from the oven, it is very hot.
- Once out of the oven, let it cool for 1-2 minutes, then remove all the toothpicks and serve.
- Some stuffing might leak out, just add it to your plate or on top of chicken then garnish with bacon.
Ways to Reheat Leftover Chicken
Store leftover chicken in an airtight container up to 3 days in the fridge.
Reheating chicken without moisture can easily dry out. Adding chicken stock or water will keep it moist and tender. If you have chicken bouillion, it is much tastier if you add a pinch to the water.
- Bake – Move chicken to room temperature 10 minutes before baking to remove some chill from the chicken. Place chicken in a baking dish with 5 to 6 tablespoons of chicken stock or water. Cover baking dish with heavy duty foil. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven. Bake at 350 degrees F until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Stove Top – Over medium-low heat, add 5 to 6 tablespoons chicken stock or water in the skillet. Once it starts to simmer, add the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Microwave – This is the worst way of reheating chicken but it is the most convenient. Place chicken on a plate and add 2 tablespoons of chicken stock or water and ½ teaspoon of bacon fat or olive oil. Cover plate with saran wrap. Heat for 1 ½ minutes. Turn chicken on the other side and heat in increments of 30 seconds until warm through.
Side dish to pair with this recipe
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 3 4oz, 112g Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Spinach stuffing:
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 ½ tablespoons feta cheese
- 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 strips bacon thinly sliced (I used thick cut bacon, ½ added to stuffing and ½ used as garnish)
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach chopped
- In a hot cast iron over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Stir occassionally to cook evenly. Remove bacon and set aside. Leave a tablespoon of bacon fat and discard the rest or save it for reheating or for other dish.
- Combine the seasonings. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. ¼ teaspoon is added to stuffing and the rest is used to season chicken.
- Prepare the spinach stuffing. Mash soften cream cheese then add mozzarella, feta, mayonnaise, ½ of bacon bits and ¼ teaspoon seasoning. Mix well then add the chopped spinach.
- Make a pocket in chicken breast, cut a slit in the rounder edge. Note: More details in making a pocket discussed in the post above.
- Divide the spinach stuffing into 3 portions and stuff the chicken. Open up the chicken, spoon and spread the stuffing in the pocket. Push the stuffing inside to easily seal the edges with tooth pick. Place a whole tooth pick in the middle then half tooth pick on both sides.
- Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees F.
- Heat up the cast iron with 1 tablespoon bacon fat, sear and brown chicken breast for 3 minutes on each side. Note: It’s OK if some stuffing leaks out, you can always add it when you serve the chicken.
- Transfer cast iron in the oven then bake for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature in the thickest part of chicken reaches 165 degree F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes then remove all the toothpicks and serve. If there are some stuffing that leaked out add on top of chicken breast then sprinkle some bacon bits. Enjoy!
- DO NOT ADD ANYMORE SALT. Bacon and Feta are both salty.
- Spinach stuffing can be made the night before, cover with saran wrap and store in the fridge.
- I am using 3 (4 ounces each) chicken breast. If you are cooking a 3 oz or something bigger than 4 oz, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Chicken can easily dry out when reheated. Adding a little bit of chicken stock or water will keep it moist and not rubbery. Check the post for ways to reheat chicken.