The best creamy Tuscan chicken you’ll ever taste. Tender and juicy, seared chicken wrapped in a rich creamy sauce filled with garlic, parmesan and sun dried tomatoes and it tastes just divine. You simply must try it.
What is Tuscan chicken?
While not an authentic Tuscan or Italian recipe, this creamy Tuscan chicken is inspired by the American Olive Garden restaurant version. With its amazingly rich creamy sauce, it’s a dream dinner.
- Restaurant quality – some of my testers said they would order this again and again at a restaurant.
- Rich flavours – cream, garlic, parmesan and sun dried tomatoes (which can be swapped if you don’t like them) give an amazing burst of flavour.
- Ready in 30 minutes – This really is such a quick dinner to make.
- Versatile – Tuscan chicken works just as well as a quick family dinner as it does a meal for entertaining.
- One pan – It’s true. This creamy chicken recipe all comes together in one pan.
- Easy side options – Serve this with some linguine or other pasta of choice or serve it over mashed potatoes instead. If you want to lighten up, serve it with a fresh garden salad.
Ingredients you’ll need
The ingredients you’ll need are all simple and all chosen for their robust flavours.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Chicken: I use chicken breasts for this recipe but you can use chicken thighs too – just make sure they’re boneless and remove any excess fat. Get free range if you have the means – it’s a better life for the chickens but it also tastes better.
- Flour: Just plain flour / all purpose flour is all you need. It’s just to add a bit of a coating to the chicken.
- Sun dried tomatoes: A bold tomato flavour is added with sun dried tomato strips and we even use the oil to cook in. If you don’t like sun dried tomatoes, leave them out but add a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste when you add the chicken stock.
- Garlic: This adds loads of flavour to the sauce. Use fresh garlic cloves if possible as it has a much cleaner and truer flavour.
- Chicken stock: A good quality chicken stock or broth is what you want here. Some stocks are very bland while others are loaded with flavour so pick one that you know tastes good.
- Italian herbs: I use a dried Italian herbs blend. You could use a mixture of herbs that you have on hand like thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram.
- Cream: You’re after a thickened or heavy cream for this one. There are some specific cooking creams available which work too.
- Parmesan: Do yourself a huge favour and get a block of parmesan and grate it yourself. It may seem expensive but it’s an important flavour here and a little goes a long way.
- Pine nuts: Buy already toasted pine nuts or toast them yourself at home in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing them often until golden.
- Salt and pepper: A little salt and pepper is used for seasoning.
- Spinach: Loads of spinach goes into this but it wilts down to almost nothing. It’s a great way to get loads of veggies into this dish.
The original version, as created by Olive Garden, uses red bell pepper / capsicum strips. I’ve chosen sun dried tomatoes for their amazing flavour.
You could also add mushrooms to add more veg to this recipe. Sautee them alone, right after the chicken, then set them aside with the chicken and add them back at the same time too.
You could replace the chicken with large shelled prawns / shrimp too but note that they will cook quicker.
How to make Tuscan chicken
Cutting the chicken thinly means it cooks quickly and evenly.
Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Prepare the chicken breasts: Take two medium-large chicken breasts and lay the first one flat on a chopping board. With your hand on top, slice through the middle of the breast (photo 1) so that you end up with two thinner breasts.
- Season the chicken breasts: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Mix together some flour with a little parmesan and coat the chicken, pressing it all over (photo 2). Some of the parmesan will fall off but that’s ok.
- Cook the chicken: Heat some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Place the chicken breasts in and cook until golden on each side (photo 3) and just cooked through (it should be 74C / 165F in the thickest part or white but still juicy, if you don’t have a meat thermometer). Set it a side on a warm plate, loosely covered with foil.
- To make the Tuscan sauce, start by heating a little more of the oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes (photo 4). Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chicken stock and herbs (photo 5). Let that reduce just slightly.
- Add the cream (photo 6) and bring it to a boil then add the parmesan, stirring to melt it through. Now add the spinach and pine nuts (photo 7), letting that wilt before returning the chicken (photo 8) and any of their juices and coating them in the sauce. Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes or beside a garden salad.
If you’re serving this with pasta, get the water on the boil early, then put the pasta in around about the time you add the stock to the sauce.
What to serve with Tuscan chicken?
- Pasta – my favourite.
- Mashed potato
- Steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
- Fresh green salad or this roasted beetroot salad.
- Sizzler cheese toast or garlic bread for soaking up all that sauce.
- Slices of baguette
- Cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a lighter option.
- Vegetable tray bake
Can cream Tuscan chicken be made ahead?
The sauce for this Tuscan chicken can be made ahead, though I would cook the chicken fresh.
Make the sauce from the step where you begin cooking the sun dried tomatoes and garlic, right through until the point you would add the chicken back. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
On the day of serving, cook the chicken until almost cooked through, then pour in the sauce and cook until it’s heated through.
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat gently in a pan over medium heat.
If you try this creamy Tuscan chicken recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!
More great chicken dinner recipes
- Greek seasoned chicken
- How to make chicken schnitzel
- One pan chicken pesto pasta bake
- Chicken basil pesto pasta
- Creamy lemon thyme chicken
- Chicken and spinach pasta
- Baked Salsa Chicken
- Pistachio Chicken
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Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- 2 medium-large boneless skinless chicken breasts (550g / 1.2lb)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour optional
- ½ cup, lightly packed packed finely grated parmesan cheese (35g / 1.2oz)
- 100 g drained, jarred sun dried tomato strips, oil reserved (⅔ cup lightly packed, drained / 3.5oz) (notes 1&2)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (roughly 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
- ½ cup chicken stock / chicken broth (125ml)
- 1 cup heavy or thickened cream (250ml)
- 3 big handfuls baby spinach (120g / 5 ½ cups)
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.
- Optional step: Combine 1 tablespoon of the parmesan with the flour then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the chicken, pressing and flipping to coat. Some will fall off, just sprinkle it back on once the chicken is in the pan.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the sun dried tomato oil in a large frying pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes each side, until golden and just cooked through (they should reach 74C / 165F on a meat thermometer or should be white inside but still juicy). Set aside on a warm plate loosely covered with aluminium foil.
- Lower the temperature to medium and let the pan cool for a minute or two. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the garlic and sun dried tomatoes, stirring often, and cook for about 2 minutes. If the temperature is too high the garlic may spit, so just turn it down a touch.
- Add the chicken stock and herbs and simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly (by about half).
- Add the cream and bring to a simmer again, stirring from time to time.
- As soon as the cream is simmering, add the remaining parmesan and stir until melted into the sauce.
- Add the spinach and pine nuts and heat, gently moving around until starting to wilt.
- Add the chicken back and coat in the sauce, make sure it’s hot, then serve over pasta, mashed potatoes or rice.
- For added flavour this recipe uses the oil from the sun dried tomatoes. If your don’t have quite 2 tablespoons, just make up the difference with extra virgin olive oil.
- If you don’t like sun dried tomatoes, add a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste to the sauce instead, at the same time you add the stock. You can use olive oil in place of the sun dried tomato oil.
- Try to buy already toasted pine nuts but, if you can’t, just place them in a clean saucepan over medium heat. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, tossing them often until you notice them turn golden brown.
- If you’re serving this with pasta, get the water on the boil early, then put the pasta in around about the time you add the stock to the sauce.
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