Baked Italian Chicken pairs tender, savory chicken with crisp and buttery panko and juicy fresh tomatoes for a burst of brightness. On the table in just 30 minutes, this is a weeknight chicken dinner that you’ll add to your regular rotation!
If you’re like me, you probably serve chicken for dinner a few times a week. The key to keeping it from getting boring is to switch it up with different flavors, from Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders to Asian Style Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs and now this baked Italian chicken.
I have to tell you, this is one of my favorite new recipes! It’s so easy, so yummy, and totally family-friendly. The chicken is marinated in Italian dressing, making it extra delicious, and the crispy panko means it’s totally irresistible.
Why I LOVE this recipe!
- Made with basic pantry ingredients – Baked Italian chicken is effortless thanks to an ingredient list of everyday pantry and fridge staples. You might even have most of them on hand already!
- Crispy without frying (or dredging!) – Let’s be real, frying can be a hassle and it’s not the healthiest cooking method out there. And dredging? On a weeknight, I don’t want the hassle! But with this Italian baked chicken breast, you get all the crispy goodness without any of the fuss.
- Big, bold flavors – Don’t let the simple ingredients fool you, this dish is packed with bold Italian flavor.
- Fast – We all have those days when we need a quick and easy dinner option. Baked Italian chicken is here to save the day! With minimal prep and only 20 minutes of baking time, you can have dinner on the table in no time.
This baked Italian chicken recipe is as simple as promised! Just 10 minutes of prep for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use for how to make Italian chicken to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
Ingredients + Substitutions
For the crispy Italian chicken:
- Chicken breast – From 2 pounds of skinless chicken breasts, you should be able to get about 6 thin cutlets.
- Italian dressing – Both homemade and store-bought will work.
- Panko bread crumbs – I like to use panko because it gives this Italian chicken a crispier texture.
- Parmesan cheese
- Melted butter – I recommend using unsalted so you have more control over the salt level.
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder – Adds garlic flavor without fresh garlic cloves.
For the tomato basil topping:
- Cherry tomatoes – Grape tomatoes or a diced regular tomato will also work!
- Chopped fresh basil
Make sure to see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full quantities and ingredients list.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Italian chicken thighs – If you prefer darker meat, chicken thighs can easily be swapped for chicken breasts in this recipe. Just adjust the baking time accordingly.
- Caprese Italian Chicken – Take this dish to the next level by topping it with fresh mozzarella cheese. After adding the tomato topping, drizzle it with a thick, syrupy balsamic vinegar or glaze.
- Lemon Rosemary Italian Chicken – Give this dish a citrusy twist by adding some chopped rosemary and lemon slices on top before baking. The flavors will infuse into the chicken.
Recipe Step by Step
I am going to highlight a few key steps in the recipe here, but make sure to jump down to the recipe card for comprehensive instructions on how to make baked Italian chicken.
- Step 1– Toss the chicken cutlets in the Italian dressing and set aside to marinate.
- Step 2– Mix the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, butter, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt.
- Step 3– Cut the cherry tomatoes in quarters or smaller and toss them with the chopped basil and salt.
- Step 4– Bake the chicken until it’s cooked through, then spoon the tomato basil topping over each cutlet before serving.
- Cut the chicken thin – Slicing the chicken breasts into thinner cutlets not only helps them cook faster without getting tough, it also allows for more surface area for the delicious panko crust.
- Shake off excess Italian dressing – Before coating the chicken with the crumb mixture, shake off any excess Italian dressing. This will help prevent the crust from getting too soggy.
- Don’t crowd the chicken – Make sure you leave enough space between each chicken cutlet on the baking sheet (and don’t use a baking dish!). This will help ensure that they cook evenly and get crispy all around. Crowding the chicken will make the breadcrumbs mushy.
- Watch the internal temperature – To ensure that the chicken is fully cooked (and that it doesn’t get over-cooked!), use a meat thermometer to check that it has reached an internal temperature of 165˚F.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Use jarred bruschetta topping – Instead of making the tomato topping yourself, you can use a jar of pre-made bruschetta topping for a quick, flavorful alternative.
- Prep in advance – You can marinate the chicken in the Italian dressing ahead of time to cut down on prep time when you’re ready to cook.
- Buy chicken cutlets – Instead of cutting your own, you can purchase a package of chicken cutlets at the grocery store.
What to Serve with Baked Italian Chicken
Since this protein based dinner has the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine, it will pair well with many of your favorite Italian-inspired side dishes.
Choose one or several of these side dishes to create a wholesome, well-rounded dinner. There are both classic options and some healthy options to keep it light.
Side Dish Ideas
Italian Baked Chicken Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making this recipe, then it is your lucky day! They save and reheat well, and can make the start of another delicious dish.
To save leftovers, separate into meal sized portions and then place in an airtight container and store:
- in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Italian mozzarella chicken sandwich – Spread some pesto on a bun, add a slice of cooked chicken, top with fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato slices. Broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and serve.
- Italian chicken wrap – Fill a tortilla with sliced leftover sliced chicken, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and arugula. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before rolling everything up.
- Italian chicken pasta – Cube the leftover chicken and toss it with Creamy Tomato and Basil Pasta.
- Italian quesadillas – Layer a tortilla with sliced leftover chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil. Cook on a skillet until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted.
Should I cover chicken when baking in the oven?
For this baked Italian chicken, you do not need to cover the chicken while baking. However, if a recipe calls for covering the chicken while baking, it’s important to follow that instruction for best results.
How do you keep chicken from drying out?
There are a few ways to prevent chicken from drying out. One way is to marinate it before cooking, as in this baked Italian chicken recipe. Also be sure to remove the chicken from the oven as soon as it hits 165ºF.
Should you wrap chicken in foil after cooking?
For these Italian chicken cutlets, it is not necessary to wrap the chicken in foil after cooking; the breadcrumb topping would steam and get soggy.
More EASY Chicken Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my easy chicken recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
For the crispy Italian chicken
For the tomato basil topping
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the chicken
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Toss the thin chicken cutlets in the Italian dressing and set aside while you prepare the crumb mixture.
- In a medium bowl, mix the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, butter, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt together. Toss until everything is evenly distributed in the mixture.
- Lay the chicken cutlets flat on a baking sheet, avoiding transferring excess Italian dressing to the pan. Spoon the panko crumb mixture over the top of each chicken breast to coat.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (165˚F internal temp)
To prepare the tomato basil topping
- While the chicken bakes, cut the cherry tomatoes in quarters or smaller. Mix with the chopped basil and salt.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, spoon the tomato basil topping over each chicken breast and serve immediately.