26 Chicken Breast Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight

florentine-butter-chicken-ft-recipe0919.jpg
Photo: Greg DuPree

Chicken breasts are convenient, but they can also be your worst enemy in the kitchen. They have potential to be tender, juicy, and flavorful, but if you're not careful they can turn out dry, rubbery, and tough. Have no fear! We're here to bring you 26 recipes that will reignite your love for chicken breast. Reimagine chicken with these flavor-packed, well-spiced, tender, and juicy cutlets.

01 of 26

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-Spiced Chicken and Black Lentil Stew

Slow Cooker Ethiopian-Spiced Chicken and Black Lentil Stew
© Sarah Bolla

In this intensely comforting spiced chicken and black lentil stew, fresh ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and white wine are infused with Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend. If you can't get your hands on Berbere, you can substitute an equal amount of Garam Masala for a similar flavor profile.

02 of 26

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce
© Lucy Schaeffer

In this lovely riff on classic chicken cordon bleu, the heavy ham-and-Swiss-cheese filling is replaced with creamy havarti and thyme. Instead of weighing down the cutlets with thick breading, they are sautéed in a light flour-and-egg coating.

03 of 26

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme
© Ben Dearnley

A bold mixture of red-pepper flakes, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, and olive oil serves as a spicy marinade for these bone-in chicken breasts.

04 of 26

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach

Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach
© Kristen Stevens

Salty, smoky, thick-cut bacon adds depth to this savory chicken pasta, while artichoke hearts and spinach help to lighten the dish.

05 of 26

Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts

Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts
© Peter Frank Edwards

"I admit that nothing can stand in for good fried chicken," says chef John Currence. "But this is a hell of an impostor." He adds sweet tea to his marinade; the tannins help tenderize the poultry while the sugar gives it a light cure. The accompanying gravy gets a ton of flavor from strips of caramelized onion.

06 of 26

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sautéed Mushrooms

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sautéed Mushrooms
© John Kernick

Before grilling the chicken in this recipe, Francis Mallmann tucks orange zest and just-picked oregano under the skin. The fresh flavor of citrus and allium contrasts excellently with the crispy, smoky bird.

07 of 26

Garlicky Lemongrass Chicken

Garlicky Lemongrass Chicken
© William Meppem

Lemongrass is known for its citrusy and herbal flavors, and it works beautifully here paired with garlic to amp up the flavor of chicken breasts. This spicy lemongrass paste is also wonderful rubbed on pork tenderloin or any firm, white-fleshed fish, such as snapper, sea bass, or halibut.

08 of 26

Chinese Poached Chicken Breasts with Star Anise

Chinese Poached Chicken Breasts with Star Anise
© Sabra Krock

Chicken breasts poached in a broth flavored with star anise, cinnamon, ginger, scallions, and soy sauce is a Chinese classic. Traditionally you would save, not serve, the broth—it improves each time you use it—but we can never resist serving it with the chicken as a light sauce.

09 of 26

Berber-Spiced Chicken Breasts

Berber-Spiced Chicken Breasts
© James Baigrie

Steven Raichlen rubs the chicken breasts with a blend of North African spices that, when cooked on the grill, form a crispy crust that is full of what Raichlen calls "gutsy in-your-face flavors."

10 of 26

Chicken-and-Andouille Étouffée

Chicken-and-Andouille Etouffee
Photo © Quentin Bacon

Étouffée-from the French word for smother, stew, or braise-is a classic Cajun dish of shellfish (or sometimes chicken) served over rice. Grace Parisi uses chicken breast, whole wheat flour, and only three ounces of andouille sausage to make the recipe lighter.

11 of 26

Hot-and-Crunchy Chicken Cones

Hot-and-Crunchy Chicken Cones
© QUENTIN BACON

Chef Jeff Blank has put Hot-and-Crunchy Cones on the map. Fried chicken is coated in an ingenious mix of cornflakes, slivered almonds, and sesame seeds, then wrapped in a tortilla with a mango-jalapeño slaw and a spicy ancho "paint."

12 of 26

Florentine Butter Chicken

florentine-butter-chicken-ft-recipe0919.jpg
Greg DuPree

This recipe is inspired by Editor-in-Chief Hunter Lewis' trip to 150-year-old Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. The butterfat gives cultured butter a slightly higher smoke point and, when combined with olive oil, gives enough cooking time to finish the chicken and the sauce simultaneously.

13 of 26

Pickle-Brined Chicken

Pickle-Brined Chicken
© Simon Watson

"When you have leftover pickle juice, isn't it a waste not to use it to make chicken taste delicious?" asks Frank Falcinelli. He brines chicken breast in dill-pickle juice to flavor it and keep it moist in the oven, then serves it on top of super-tender leg meat he's shredded and mixed with sautéed chard.

14 of 26

Maple-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Mustard Jus

Maple-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Mustard Jus
© QUENTIN BACON

Chef David Slater glazes chicken breasts with maple syrup, sherry vinegar, and orange juice infused with anise and other spices. Then he serves them with a confited chicken leg, caramelized root vegetables, braised kale, and crisp Benton's bacon. At home, glaze the chicken breasts with a sweet-tangy blend of syrup and vinegar and skip the confited leg and root vegetables.

15 of 26

Twice-Glazed Barbecued Chicken

Twice-Glazed Asian Barbecued Chicken
© Anna Williams

Instead of the usual smoky-sweet tomato-based barbecue sauce, Mike Sheerin bases his version on oyster sauce, soy sauce, and roasted garlic, with toasted black peppercorns added for heat. The sauce is superb glazed on chicken, but it would also be great on pork or steak.

16 of 26

Middle Eastern-Inspired Chicken with Tahini Sauce

Middle Eastern-Inspired Chicken with Tahini Sauce
© Tina Rupp

Tahini is made with sesame seeds, which are rich in essential minerals. Blended with nonfat Greek yogurt, it becomes a luscious sauce for cardamom-spiced chicken breast.

17 of 26

Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Dipping Sauce
© Karen Mordechai

Cilantro stems get in the act in this recipe; they're pureed with the leaves, jalapeños, garlic, fish sauce, and sesame oil to make a flavorful coating for grilled chicken. The dipping sauce, which also contains cilantro, is a classic Thai sweet-and-sour sauce.

18 of 26

Thai Chicken with Basil

Thai Chicken with Basil
© Ben Dearnley

An abundance of whole basil leaves joins chicken and fiery red chiles for a quick, delicious, and decidedly spicy stir-fry. Holy basil is the most authentic choice, but any variety will do.

19 of 26

Chicken and Smoked-Sausage Gumbo

Sausage and Chicken Gumbo
© Lucy Schaeffer

The flavor of browned roux is essential to the traditional taste of Louisiana gumbo. So don't worry if the flour mixture looks like peanut butter by the time the vegetables have softened. That's just as it should be.

20 of 26

Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

Yogurt is ideal to use in a marinade for both its flavor and its ability to tenderize meat. It tenderizes more slowly and gently than a citrus juice or vinegar marinade, so you can marinate meat overnight without it getting tough. The result is meat that is full of flavor from the garlic, cumin, and cayenne, and juicy — even if it's a little overcooked.

21 of 26

Chicken Breasts with White Wine Pan Sauce, Crème Fraîche, and Spring Herbs

Chicken Breasts with White Wine Pan Sauce with Crème Fraîche and Spring Herbs
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

This simple white wine pan sauce enriched with créme fraîche and a generous handful of tender fresh herbs like tarragon, dill, and chives makes smart use of the pan drippings from pan-roasted chicken breasts. The sauce comes together in about 10 minutes and delivers an elegant, silky texture.

22 of 26

Ultimate Buttermilk-Marinated Fried Chicken Breasts

Fried Chicken Sandwich with Anchovy Garlic Dressing
Photo by Eva Kolenko / Food Styling by Carrie Purcell / Prop Styling by Jillian Knox

2019 F&W Best New Chef Caroline Glover butterflies chicken breast for a quick and even cook. To ensure a clean cut, pat the meat dry, and then place a clean paper towel under the chicken while you cut through the breast. Glover gives butterflied chicken breast an initial soak in a simple brine and a second soak in buttermilk to deliver juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken that fries up incredibly crispy.

23 of 26

Grilled Chicken with Banana Pepper Dip and Fattoush

Grilled Chicken Breast w/ Banana Pepper Dip Recipe
Photo by Tara Donne / Food Styling by Chris Lanier / Prop Styling by Raina Kattelson

2001 BNC alum Anita Lo's 2018 cookbook SOLO celebrates the joy of cooking for one, just like this weeknight-friendly chicken recipe with a twist. "The banana pepper dip in this recipe is perhaps my favorite recipe that my partner's mother Bonnie Attea makes," Lo says. "It's a three-ingredient wonder that makes a weeknight chicken breast exciting."

24 of 26

Quick Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables

Quick Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Tender vegetables simmer in a mixture of chicken drippings and butter in this simple, speedy dish. The attached drumette gives these airline chicken breasts more flavor; though bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs make a good substitute.

25 of 26

Green Chile–Chicken Enchiladas

Green Chile–Chicken Enchiladas
© Eva Kolenko

Modern Family TV star Jesse Tyler Ferguson hails from New Mexico, which explains his penchant for these deliciously cheesy and spicy chicken enchiladas. He often makes them with canned cream of chicken soup, but they're even better with a quick and easy homemade sauce that mimics the soup yet has better flavor.

26 of 26

Perfect Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts

Perfect Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts
© Abby Hocking

Cookbook author Sarah DiGregorio slowly simmers chicken breasts in seasoned olive oil until they're wonderfully juicy and flavorful. She uses that delicious oil to make a silky aioli, which gets served alongside the chicken.

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