Tuscan Chicken is an Italian-inspired dish also known as Sun-dried tomato chicken. This creamy Tuscan chicken recipe is loaded with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and deliciously seasoned chicken breast–all smothered in a creamy cheese sauce that you’ll want to make over and over again! Make this into a tasty Tuscan chicken pasta dish by adding a pound of your favorite cooked noodles and cook this dinner in under 30-minutes all in one pan!
Tasty Chicken Recipes make their way to the dinner table for a reason! Try our Lemon Chicken Piccata Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat), TGI Friday’s Sizzling Chicken and Cheese, or Alice Springs Chicken Recipe, which are tried and delicious chicken breast recipes to serve any time of the week!
Creamy Tuscan Chicken
This recipe for Tuscan Chicken tastes like a 5-star restaurant dish you’d order at the Cheesecake factory but with little effort! Since it’s all cooked in one skillet prep is quick and easy. I love that you can serve this easy Tuscan chicken with pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or zoodles for a low-carb option!
If you have never cooked with sundried tomatoes, they’re pickled and marinated tomato halves with a slightly tart aftertaste. Adding them into a chicken dish enhances the flavor by 10X and in my opinion, adds the oomph way more than using roasted peppers. If you want to go for a lighter cream sauce, use fresh red bell peppers and omit the sun-dried tomatoes (the orange hue mostly comes from the marinated sun-dried tomatoes and their oil.)
My sister-in-law even loves this chicken sun-dried tomato dish and after taking a bite you’ll know why! You can pour this flavored packed cream sauce over noodles or dip crusty French Bread right into the sauce as a tasty treat! Pan-seared meat and the convenience of making a flavorful sauce in the same pan is a win-win. I’ve discovered that using sun-dried tomatoes is sufficient to add the acidity and flavor that many cooks try to achieve using white wine. You can bring out the most of tomatoes by adding some tang from lemon juice, vinegar, or cooking wine.
Tuscan Chicken vs Sun-dried Tomato Chicken:
Pasta dishes with tomatoes are common throughout Italy. It’s hard to pin tomatoes and peppers to a Tuscany pasta dish as those are the many basic foods of Italian cuisine. As a result, you will find that a Tuscan chicken recipe usually has some greens like baby spinach and some sort of tomatoes (diced tomato, cherry tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes.)
Whereas, Sun-dried Tomato chicken is made with marinated sun-dried tomatoes and add-ins like white wine or mustard. Needless to say, both chicken recipes are made in a cream sauce like parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce. Which variation is better? Well, if you ask me, marinated tomatoes and fresh basil is far more flavorful than spinach or plain tomatoes and if you can make a super flavorful cream sauce with simple ingredients, then what’s to lose?
Restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, serve Tuscan Chicken over whole grains (Farro), with a French Mustard Vinaigrette, Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, basil infused oil, and capers. Whereas, Olive garden once served it with breaded chicken, sweet red bell peppers, and a green leaf spinach cream sauce. Recipes will vary for this tomato garlic chicken and there really is no right or wrong way of making it as long as you serve a tasty chicken meal the family will love then that’s what matters!
Ingredients for Tuscan Chicken:
This recipe is highly dependent on garlic so don’t skimp on that ingredient. Adding a handful of fresh spinach will embed the dish with beautiful greens or use fresh basil like me.
- Chicken Breasts- or chicken thighs will work. You can even turn this into a seafood dish by making Tuscan salmon or shrimp!
- Sun-dried tomatoes- in oil are already marinated and packed with flavor alone! Using the oil from the jar to cook the chicken is a smart way to cook and pack your chicken with optimum flavor! (P.S. you can the Sun-dried tomato oil for Antipasto salads or appetizers like marinated mozzarella cubes and veggies!)
- Garlic- already jarred and minced garlic will save you time making this in the kitchen!
- Cheese- most recipes call for parmesan cheese, however, I decided to go for cheeses like mozzarella cheese
- Half and Half- makes a lighter cream that isn’t as thick and creamy as Alfredo Sauce.
- Seasoning- spices like salt, pepper, and paprika are all you really need to make the Tuscan chicken seasoning, however, I added some garlic salt to optimum garlic flavor!
- Flour- is used to thicken the sauce. For a gluten-free option use cornstarch.
- Butter- can deglaze the pan from the debris and add flavor to the chicken.
What Is Tuscan Chicken?
Tuscan chicken is an Italian-inspired dish typically made from tomatoes, herbs, and cheese, all in a delicious cream sauce. Many variations include fresh spinach and you can use any tomatoes that you have on hand like sun-dried tomatoes, diced or cherry tomatoes. If you use sun-dried tomatoes you can omit using white wine as there is plenty of acidity from the marinated tomatoes in oil.
Many restaurants have their twist on this chicken dish such as Carrabbas Tuscan grilled chicken with meat sauce, Panera Bread Tuscan style chicken bowl, Olive Garden Tuscan garlic chicken, Cheesecake Factory basil-infused chicken, and O’Charleys Tuscan chicken with Spaghetti pasta. Each version is surprisingly different yet relevant to each other from the tomato and chicken ingredients.
What To Serve With Tuscan Chicken?
Creamy Garlic Tuscan Chicken is a main coarse meal so it is best to eat this chicken dish with a side of pasta or bread to soak up the cream sauce or for low-carb options Zucchini zoodles or steamed veggies. Here are some recipe ideas:
Can I Make This In The Instant Pot?
You can make Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta right in the instant pot insert it all in one pot! To make this recipe increase the liquid (cream and water) to a total of 4 cups, stir in the seasonings and add 12 oz of your favorite pasta to mix. Pressure cook your noodles over high for 5 minutes and then open the valve to depressurize the pot.
When the pot has depressurized, turn off the pot and stir in the cheeses. Allow mixture to sit uncovered for 10 minutes to thicken (it will look like soup at first.)
Note: Add 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning and 8 oz of cream cheese with the cheeses for more flavor! Also, when using fresh basil always add it towards the end of the cooking process so it doesn’t wilt too much and turn dull in color.
How Long To Cook Chicken?
Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Depending on how thick your chicken breast fillet is, it can take anywhere from 3-6 minutes per side. My chicken breast was sliced in half crosswise and took about 2-3 minutes per side.
There are so many different add-ins you can add when making Tuscan chicken! Keep in mind that sun-dried tomatoes can always be swapped out for fresh tomatoes, however, do add some white distilled vinegar or the juice of half a lemon for some acidity.
- Spinach Chicken and Sausage- wilt 4 oz of spinach and add 8 oz of your favorite sausage.
- Tuscan Shrimp- sauteed shrimp in garlic and butter can easily be replaced with chicken. Add in lemon juice to bring out the seafood flavors.
- Tuscan Salmon- pan sear 4 salmon fillets in butter and add in 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Mushroom Herb and butter- add lots of dried herbs (or an Italian blend seasoning), and saute mushrooms.
- Bacon and Chicken- bacon bits with leftover grilled chicken would make great add-ins!
- Tuscan Chicken Thighs- use 4 skin-on boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- Asparagus and Shrimp- steam or oven roast asparagus and add in thaw and ready to use cooked shrimp to the cream sauce.
- Zucchini and Red Bell Peppers- pan-sear your favorite garden vegetables.
- Three Cheese Blend- use a blend of Asiago, Reggiano, and fontina cheese for the mozzarella and Monterey Jack Cheese.
- Snap peas and parmesan- you can use regular frozen peas for extra nutrition!
Note: use artichoke hearts with fresh tomatoes if you do not have sun-dried tomatoes. For low-carb or Keto Tuscan chicken use a gluten-free pasta like brown rice pasta to serve it and swap out the flour with cornstarch.
How To Make Sun-dried Tomato Chicken?
If you’re wondering how to make Tuscan Chicken it’s very easy! You can easily make chicken with spinach but this Tuscan chicken recipe is with sundried tomatoes and basic ingredients.
- First, heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil and pan sear both sides of the seasoned chicken (about 2-3 minutes per side.)
- Remove the chicken breasts from the pan.
- In the same skillet add butter and one more tablespoon of tomato oil. Saute the minced garlic until fragrant (30 seconds.)
- Whisk in the flour and then gradually stir in the cream and water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in the cheeses and fresh basil and remove from heat. Don’t bring the cream sauce to a boil once you add in the cheeses the sauce can curdle.
- Garnish with more fresh herbs if desired or add a handful of spinach.
- Serve with pasta.
Tip: reserve 1 cup of pasta water to use for the cream sauce.
What Pasta To Use For Tuscan Chicken?
For a quick dinner angel hair pasta cooks within 6 minutes! However, penne pasta or rigatoni soak up the cream sauce much better than noodles like Spaghetti or Fettuccine.
If your pasta sauce gets too thick you can always thin out the sauce with some pasta water or vice versa add more cheese to thicken the sauce. Another, type of pasta to use for Sun-dried tomato pasta is Campanelle pasta or rotini.
Storing Tuscan Chicken?
If you have any leftovers they reheat great! Leftover Tuscan Chicken Pasta or the chicken in cream sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To reheat chicken: microwave in 30-second intervals until hot. You could also place leftovers into a buttered pan and heat it covered over medium heat until warm.
Best Tips For Cooking Tuscan Chicken:
- For robust flavors add rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
- Omit the chicken and add in cooked shrimp with a squirt of lemon juice for seafood flavors.
- Use lots of fresh herbs like basil and parsley to enhance the dish.
- Grate a block of parmesan cheese for the mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese.
- Using Minced garlic can save you time.
- For a healthy low-carb and gluten-free option serve with brown rice pasta or cooked veggies and use cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
- Avoid rapidly boiling the cream sauce once the cheeses are added, instead, gently simmer to desired thickness, otherwise, the sauce can curd.
- A Tuscan Chicken pasta recipe is best served with 1 pound of your favorite pasta.
- You can make Crockpot Tuscan chicken or use an instant pot to prepare this. Stuffed Tuscan chicken is best baked to heat the filling thoroughly or use a lid when making Tuscan chicken in a skillet.
- Use dried herbs to season the chicken breasts or marinade the chicken in Italian dressing very extra flavor.
What You Need To Make Tuscan Chicken:
- 12-inch skillet- is big enough to fit all the chicken breast and make the cream sauce in.
- Kitchen Tongs- to easily remove chicken from skillet.
- Pasta Dish- if cooking pasta you will want a bigger platter.
More Pasta Recipes To Try:
Need More Italian-Inspired Recipes?
- Zuppa Toscana Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Olive Garden Ravioli di Portobello Copycat Recipe
- Tiramisu Recipe
- Shrimp Scampi Fritta Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno (Copycat)
- Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup
How To Make Tuscan Chicken:
Creamy Garlic Tuscan Chicken
- 1 12-inch skillet
- 1 kitchen tongs
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (3 chicken breasts sliced in half crosswise)
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes (plus 3 T of Sun-dried tomato oil)
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups Monterey jack cheese (shredded)
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Sauté the chicken in 2 Tbsp of sun-dried tomato oil for 2-3 minutes on each side over high heat to get a nice pan sear. Set the chicken aside.
- In the same pan sauté the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in 1 tbsp of the tomato oil and 1 Tbsp butter for 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the flour then stir in the cream and water. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the cheeses.
- Then add the chicken back to the skillet and fresh basil, and heat thoroughly. Serve over pasta or with steamed veggies.
- You can use salted pasta water or chicken broth for the water. However, you may need to adjust the garlic salt.
- Serving size: is calculated to 6 servings if served as a main dish. To stretch out the servings serve with 1lb of cooked pasta to serve 10-12 people.