Keto Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
Typically I don’t eat chicken breasts. To be honest, I find them boring and not nearly rich enough in flavor or nutrition. I much prefer chicken thighs any day.
Unless we happen to be talking about these cheesy spinach stuffed chicken breasts. Then I take back every bad thing I ever said about how chicken breasts are dry and boring. Because this meal is ANYTHING but boring.
I have a lot of delicious chicken recipes that have become reader favorites,, like the easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole, or the seriously kid friendly Pizza Chicken recipe. I predict that this spinach stuffed chicken breast recipe is going to be my next big keto chicken hit.
And if it isn’t, then it should be. Oh my heavens, it was good. Pan-seared chicken thighs with a rich filling of spinach and three Italian cheeses, all topped off with a buttery garlic sauce. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Stuffed Chicken Breasts make a fabulous keto meal
Chicken breasts alone are not perfect on keto, because they are much lower in fat and not nearly as filling as chicken thighs. They also don’t have a lot of flavor and really need some additions to make a satisfying meal.
But they are like a blank slate and there really are so many good ways to dress them up. And stuffed chicken breast is about a million times more interesting and flavorful than plain cooked chicken.
You can add all the fats and the flavor in both the filling and in the sauce. In this spinach stuffed chicken breast recipe, I used plenty of butter and garlic to cook them in, so that I had a succulent pan sauce when they were done. Drizzling that over was just the icing on the cake. Or the sauce on the chicken. Whatever.
Tips for Keto Stuffed Chicken Breast
Stuffing chicken breasts really isn’t hard to make. But there are a few tricks to getting it right so that your filling doesn’t ooze out everywhere and leave you with empty chicken.
Choose smaller chicken breasts: Most store-bought chicken breasts are absolutely huge, because factory farm chickens are bred to produce tons of breast meat. Those huge, hormone-laden breasts really aren’t good for you and are far too large for one serving per person. They take longer to cook too and tend to dry out a lot.
If you can, get some good organic and/or free range chicken breasts that are medium to smallish. Four of these should add up only to about 1 1/2 lbs of chicken. Much healthier and a much more reasonable serving size.
Cut a deep slit: You can actually stuff chicken in several different ways, including the messy and time consuming method of pounding your chicken breasts into thin cutlets and rolling the filling up inside.
But for this recipe, I used the easiest method. I simply lay the chicken down on a cutting board and used a sharp knife to cut a deep slit into the side of it. You want to make sure not to cut right through, but when you’re done, your chicken breast should open like a book.
Prepare the filling: To get maximum flavor from the filling, I sautéed the spinach with garlic and butter. Then I transferred it to a bowl and mixed in the cheeses. Be sure to thaw and drain your spinach very well so that your filling isn’t overly wet. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible before adding it to the pan.
Stuff the chicken: Fill each of the slit breasts with 1/4 of the filling mixture, really working it all the way into the crease. Then fold the meat over as tightly as you can around the filling.
Secure with toothpicks: Use 2 to 3 toothpicks per breast to close up the opening as best you can. Just don’t forget about them when it comes time to serve! They aren’t always easy to get out, once the chicken is cooked, as they bake into it. So warn any family or guests that they may need to cut them out before eating.
Pan-sear and then bake: It’s hard enough to get chicken to cook through as it is, but stuffed chicken breast is even harder. So you will simply be pan-searing the outside, flipping it over carefully with tongs, so as not to dislodge the filling. Then the chicken will go into the oven to cook through.
Serve with the pan juices: The filling does ooze out a bit and between that and the butter, you have a gorgeous pan sauce to drizzle over the chicken as you serve.
Now that I know the joys of stuffed chicken breast, you know I will be doing this more often. I have a few other delicious ideas I want to try out. But this Spinach Stuffed Chicken with Three Cheeses is so good, I hope you will give it a go!
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut a deep slit sideways into each chicken breast but don’t cut fully in half. Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the spinach.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and let melt, then add the spinach and half of the minced garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and sauté 3 minutes, then transfer to a medium bowl.
Stir the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan into the spinach mixture until fully combined. Stuff each chicken breast with 1/4 of this mixture and secure the opening with several toothpicks. Season the top and bottom of the breasts with paprika, salt, and pepper.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and let melt. Once hot, add the remaining garlic and then add the chicken breasts. Cook until golden brown on the outside, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Place the entire skillet in the oven and cook until the chicken reaches 165F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes.