This Tomato Basil Chicken Skillet combines flavorful seared chicken breasts simmered to tender with a rich tomato basil sauce that couldn’t be EASIER to make! This dinner can go from fridge to fork in as little as 20 minutes and uses only ONE skillet to cook!
Tomato Basil Chicken – The EASY Way!
When you make this chicken breast simmered in tomato basil cream sauce, it feels almost too easy. Then you taste it and can’t believe something SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS was so easy!
It is the kind of recipe you will make when company comes over because it impresses people, but then make again next week because you are still craving it and it only took 20 minutes to make!
And one of the best parts is that these crowd pleasing flavors are equally loved by kids and adults, so that means a win all the way around.
By using thinly sliced chicken breasts and a large, hot skillet, we are able to make this dish come together super fast, and then simmer to lock in the flavor and tenderness. There aren’t many meals this good that are THIS fast!
What to Serve with Tomato Basil Chicken
Since this dish has really classic flavors, it will pair well with many of your favorite Italian and American side dishes. There are both traditional options and some healthy options to keep it light or low carb.
Side Dish Ideas
- Pesto Cheese Bread – So good… so so good! This gives you that grilled cheese and tomato soup feel!
- Pasta- spaghetti, penne, angel hair, any will work!
- Mashed Potatoes– This recipe is ultra creamy!
- Caesar Salad– Love this with the addition of pasta!
Healthy Side dish Ideas:
- Side Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette– the dressing is SO GOOD!
- Sautéed Spinach
- Low carb noodle alternatives
- Spaghetti Squash
- kohlrabi noodles
- Kale Salad
- Oven Roasted Veggies– One of my go-to recipes!
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Chicken with Tomato cream sauce recipe is as simple as promised! Just ONE skillet is needed to cook a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
For the chicken
- Chicken breasts– You need to cut or pound them to thin cutlets so they will cook completely in the skillet without needing to be transferred to the oven.
- Seasonings: garlic powder, salt, pepper
- Olive oil
For the sauce
- Garlic – fresh is best!
- Crushed tomatoes– I use a large can
- Italian seasoning (dried)– you can buy this or use homemade Italian Seasoning
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese– Use the grated (powdery looking) cheese, not the shredded kind. It will blend into the sauce much better!
- Fresh basil – In a pinch you can use dried basil, but fresh makes it much better!
I recommend you try the recipe as written if you are able, if not, here are some substitutions that can work well in this recipe:
- Chicken– boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or chicken tenderloins can be used in place of chicken breast based on personal preference.
- Cream– Half and half can be used in place of cream to lighten the sauce, however it needs to be added very slowly so that it blends into the sauce and doesn’t curdle from the heat.
- Tomatoes– Tomato sauce can be used in place of crushed tomatoes in a pinch.
- Did I mention the chicken needs to be thin? This is so important for getting the maximum flavor and tenderness out of the chicken breast. That will be what makes this meal really impressive!
- Don’t over-crowd your pan. If you put too much chicken in at once, it will take longer to cook and the liquid can’t cook off effectively leaving the chicken more steamed than seared.
If you have too much chicken for the pan, cook the chicken in batches in your pan.
- Use fresh and high quality ingredients. This recipe doesn’t have that many ingredients, and using fresh ingredients (ie basil and garlic) will give it that homemade taste and extra burst of flavor. You can also sometimes get higher quality tomatoes and grated parmesan at the store that will be more flavorful. It is worth a look!
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!
- Pre-cook the chicken– If you really need to save time, you can cook the chicken up to 24 hours in advance. Then just start at step 4 to make the sauce and the chicken will reheat while simmering.
- Make ahead as a freezer meal– Full instructions below.
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!
- Mozzarella Tomato Basil Chicken– This recipe is even better when topped with an extra bit of mozzarella over the chicken at the end. You can see my full Mozzarella Chicken recipe here.
- Spinach Tomato Chicken– While simmering the sauce add about 2-3 large handfuls of baby spinach. It will wilt as it simmers and then continue the recipe as directed. If you would like to use frozen spinach you can add in 1/2 cup that has been thawed and the extra liquid has been squeezed out.
- Spicy Tomato Chicken– Add 1 tsp-1tbsp of crushed red pepper to the sauce when adding the Italian seasoning. This will kick up the spice as much as you desire. You can use this method with any of the above recipes as well.
If you have special dietary needs, this recipe meets some and can be easily modified to comply with others.
As always, check all store bought ingredients for compliance on specific dietary needs. The notes below are a general guide.
- Gluten free: This recipe is naturally gluten free.
- Nut free: This Tomato Basil Chicken is naturally nut free
- Egg free: This recipe is naturally egg free
- Low carb/Keto: This recipe is low carb at only 9g net carbs.
- Macros: The approximate macro calculation for this recipe is- P: 36g C: 12g F: 15g
Freezer Meal Instructions
To make this as a freezer meal, follow the directions below and store in your freezer for up to 6 months for the best flavor.
- Prepare the chicken as directed.
- Remove chicken and flash cook the garlic in the hot pan.
- Store the chicken in a freezer friendly container.
- Combine the garlic with the tomatoes and Italian seasoning and place in a freezer friendly container.
- Cream, basil and parmesan can be frozen separately or used fresh when ready to make.
- When ready to cook, thaw for 24-48 hours in the fridge.
- Place the tomato mixture in the skillet and simmer, continuing with the recipe as directed.
Tomato Basil Chicken Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making this Chicken in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce, 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
- in the freezer up to a month
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- “Chicken Parm” subs– Cut sub rolls in half and put butter and garlic salt on them. Broil the rolls until the butter is melted and the edges are browned. Place heated chicken and sauce on top of the rolls and add mozzarella on top and broil again until the cheese is melted.
- Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta Bake– Cut the remaining chicken into bite-sized cubes. Prepare pasta per package directions. Mix the pasta with chicken and sauce and pour in a casserole dish. Add broccoli or cauliflower florets, or sweet peas if desired. Cover with mozzarella and bake for 20-30 minutes.
- Tomato Basil Chicken Calzones– Grab some pizza dough. You can use a pre-made ball or make your own pizza crust. Roll it out into a circle and spread the sauce on half of the crust. Chop the chicken and sprinkle it over. Any or all of these additional toppings- mozzarella, ricotta, bell pepper, onion, olives, mushrooms, etc. Fold the crust over and bake per crust instructions.
More Easy + Delicious 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 dinner recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- Creamy Mushroom Chicken
- 15 Minute Chicken Fried Rice
- Cheesy Beef Enchilada Skillet
- Chicken with Pesto Cream Sauce
For the chicken
- 2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut or pounded to thin cutlets
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
- 4 cloves garlic , pressed
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes, (1 can)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, (dried)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Mix the garlic powder, salt, and pepper together and season each side of each chicken breast with it evenly.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place chicken breast in a single layer in the skillet. Cook chicken in batches if the skillet is too crowded.
- Cook chicken 3-4 minutes on each side allowing it to brown before flipping. Then remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Add garlic to the skillet and stir for 30 seconds to flash cook. Then pour the tomatoes over the garlic and add the Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to medium and allow to come to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring and scraping the pan to release any bits from the bottom.
- Add parmesan cheese and cream and stir to combine. Stir in fresh basil, then add the chicken back into the skillet and cover in sauce. Simmer for 3-5 more minutes or until everything is heated through.
- Garnish with additional basil and parmesan if desired. Enjoy!