60 Awesome Ways to Spice Up Boring Chicken Breasts
“Oh chicken breast, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… ”
Despite being packed with protein (which helps our bodies build and repair tissue and keeps us feeling full longer) and versatile in the kitchen, chicken breasts often get knocked for being boring, tasteless, or just plain not good. But we guarantee that these 60 delicious recipes from around the web will breathe new life into the not-so-hallowed bird.
These recipes will have you looking at (chicken!) breasts in a whole new way.
These chicken breasts recipes use common household ingredients and healthy cooking methods like baking and grilling to add new zest to chicken breasts. Forget what you thought about the meat. These recipes will have you looking at (chicken!) breasts in a whole new way.
1. Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce Crushing tomatoes as part of dinner prep? Oh yeah. Fresh herbs give chicken breasts extra zing, while savory cherry tomatoes are heated until they burst, finished off with a dash of wine, and then poured over the chicken. In short, this sauce makes “plain” chicken so very not plain.
2.Chicken with Dijon Mustard Sauce Mustard: not just a sandwich condiment. Dijon mustard complements poultry perfectly, and this dish is no exception. Combine it with fresh thyme, salt, pepper, some white wine, and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a main course that’s perfect to serve with roasted potatoes, over pasta, or on salad greens.
3. Chicken Breasts with Lime Sauce Pair this chicken breast with a healthier margarita, because this lime sauce is out of this world. Cut down on prep time by purchasing thin-sliced breasts at the store.
4.Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sage Sauce For a recipe that uses only easy-to-get-your-hands-on ingredients (such as mushrooms, cream, and shallots), this sauce is lip-smackin’ good. Sauté the veggies in a pan with your oil of choice and white wine (save the rest of the bottle!), while browning the chicken breasts separately. Add some fresh herbs to the sauce, pour it over the breasts—and voila! Your restaurant-worthy dish is ready.
5. Seared Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce No washing piles of dishes here! This chicken comes together all in one pan. Seared chicken, fresh herbs, and zesty lemon pull this meal together in just 20 minutes. Have some bread handy to dip in the extra sauce!
6. Brown Sugar Spiced Baked Chicken A quick, sweet, and savory dinner doesn’t get easier than this. Preheat the oven while you coat chicken in a blend of sugar, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and superfood garlic. Bake for 20 minutes, and enjoy.
7. Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa When you want to make something easy, this fits the bill. This cayenne-spiced chicken gets topped with a fresh, tasty salsa and starsavocado, which comes with its own benefits—it can improve cholesterol levels and is loaded with vitamins E (yay, antioxidants!) and B6 to help keep your skin looking good. Not too shabby for a dinner!
8. Chicken Breasts with Spicy Rub If you like heat, this chicken is for you. Up the spice quotient by using more rub. Not ready to fire up the grill? Feel free to bake or sauté in a pan—you’ll still get all the zesty flavor.
9. Cocoa and Curry Rubbed Chicken Breasts Hershey’s for dinner? Believe it or not, using cocoa powder intensifies the taste of the cumin and curry powder in this simple rub, without leaving behind a chocolate-y taste (We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not that’s a good thing.).
10. Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Everything Sauce A simple rub that can be used on chicken breast—or other meats—ups the ante with an accompanying sauce made with superfood Greek yogurt, honey, and Dijon mustard. Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you, because this meal comes together super easily.
11. Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Optional Jamaican Red Beans and Rice Packed with strong ingredients such as allspice, sage, and nutmeg, the taste of this chicken will transport you to Jamaica (even if you’re stuck in another polar vortex). Serve with optional red beans and rice to round out this Jamaican-inspired meal.
12. Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken A marinade that requires only 15 minutes and imparts delicious Asian flavors? Sign us up. Be sure to let the chicken rest for five minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute and keep the breasts moist.
13. Greek Marinade for Grilled Chicken The perfect marinade for a Greek chicken salad or souvlaki, this recipe uses regular ole’ garlic and common herbs like oregano and thyme to give each bite a burst of flavor, while lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and salt tenderize the chicken.
14. Hawaiian Grilled Chicken This chicken will conjure up thoughts of sunshine, grass skirts, and fresh island flavors. If you like coconut-flavored foods, this recipe is calling your name. We love the trick of poking the breasts with a fork to ensure the marinade seeps in.
15. The Best 4-Ingredient Chicken Marinade So simple yet so tasty, this marinade will keep chicken breasts juicy while grilling. Who knew that brown sugar, vinegar, oil, and soy sauce could produce something this good?
16. Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad We couldn’t write a list of chicken recipes without mentioning chicken salad! The secret ingredients in this version are our dear friends Greek yogurt and avocado. Lime juice and cilantro give a fresh, light taste. Eat it on its own or in a wrap (as pictured above).
17. Fall-Inspired Grilled Chicken Salad Cajun-spiced chicken tops a salad made with fresh greens, crunchy apple slices, crumbled goat cheese, and trail mix. Tossed with an easy-to-make homemade maple-mustard vinaigrette, you’ll love this no matter what season it is.
18. Healthy Thai Chicken Salad Loaded with unexpected ingredients like protein-packed edamame, coleslaw, and superfood quinoa, this Thai-inspired salad gets drizzled with a peanut-y dressing. Sprinkle chopped peanuts or cashews for extra texture, or just gobble down as-is!
19. Lemony Chicken Breast with Cucumber Feta Salad While the chicken marinates for 20 minutes, toss together this creamy-crunchy salad. While the chicken cooks, the flavors in the salad meld, coming together for one healthy, hearty main course. The next day, throw leftovers in a wrap for a new spin on lunch.
20. Strawberry and Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad Balsamic vinaigrette pairs perfectly with superfood strawberries, and acts as the star in this light salad. (Optional) bacon and pecans add a little crunch, and goat cheese gets sprinkled on top for a meal that’s as nice to look at as it is to eat.
21. BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Just when you thought grilled cheese couldn’t get any better, this recipe came along. Gooey cheddar and barbecued breasts turn a childhood favorite into an adult classic. Use a pan or Foreman grill if you can’t get to an outdoor grill—the chicken will still be delicious.
22. Baked Crispy Chicken Sandwiches Forget fast food sandwiches—this homemade version tastes just as good and is ridiculously easy to make. The chicken stays juicy while baking thanks to a quick 20-minute marinade. Feel free to skip the accompanying aioli—or use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayo if you want a healthier spread.
23. Buffalo Chicken Club Sandwiches If you need a buffalo wings fix, this sandwich will do the trick. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and you can use any leftover chicken in a salad or wrap. If you’re counting calories, leave off the optional mayo, bacon, and blue cheese.
24. Chicken Pesto Sandwich This pesto sauce gets whipped up quickly in the food processor (or blender) and then combined with Greek yogurt for extra creaminess before topping the chicken. Spread on a baguette and top with tomatoes, arugula, and fresh mozzarella (optional) for one of the simplest, tastiest uses for leftover shredded chicken ever.
25. Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches Honey and lime might sound like a weird combo, but trust us: It works. They’re the main ingredients in this simple chicken breast dressing. Served with a veggie-heavy slaw, it’s a complete meal.
Soups and Stews
26. Chicken Tortilla Soup It’s everything you love in a taco, but in a broth that’s packed with Mexican flavor! This soup makes a great alternative to your typical taco or fajita night. Don’t forget the healthy toppings, such as avocado, diced red onion, cilantro, and salsa or pico de gallo.
27. Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms This super simple stew tastes so rich, you’ll swear it has more ingredients than the mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, and seasonings that comprise it. Serve over rice or with a slice of crusty bread.
28. Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup with Sesame and Green Onions For a unique take on regular old chicken noodle soup, try this version. Traditionally Asian flavors such as sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, and soy sauce give this easy dish some intense taste.
29. Clean Eating Chicken and Dumplings The country favorite gets a whole food makeover. This stew is loaded with celery, carrots, and onions (and chicken, of course!), while the dumplings are made with whole-wheat flour. Whether you make it in a crockpot or on the stove, it’s got that homemade flavor that makes the dish so darn good.
30. Cure-a-Cold Spring Chicken Soup This recipe tastes like the chicken soup mom or dad used to make when you were younger, but with a much speedier cooking time. Make this the next time you have a case of the sniffles—chicken soup is scientifically proven to help ward off congestion and inflammation.
31. Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup Veggies and herbs give this soup a fresh flavor, while sriracha keeps things spicy. As a bonus, this recipe uses rotisserie chicken to make preparation even quicker.
32. Pesto, Chicken, and White Bean Soup Meat lovers, rejoice! This soup has chicken andsausage in it (but feel free to leave out the sausage if you have a smaller appetite). Brown your meat(s), add veggies and broth, and then stir in beans and pesto to top off this hearty, protein-rich soup.
33. Quick Irish Chicken Stew St. Patty’s day can come any day of the year with this tasty stew. It’s loaded with veggies such as potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, and a variety of fresh herbs jazz up the broth.
34. Simplest Chicken and Leek Stew Just a touch of sour cream and Dijon mustard give this quick stew a tangy taste. Leeks, mushrooms, and fresh thyme add texture, nutrients, and a whole lot of flavor.
35. Creamy Chicken Stew When you’re in need of some TLC, this stew is an awesome alternative to chicken noodle soup. Chicken and vegetables cook quickly while you make a creamy sauce with the help of some flour—and then you serve it all with (optional) biscuits!
36. Healthy Chicken Tamale Pizza Is it Mexican or is it pizza? It’s both—and it’s good! The gluten-free cornmeal and egg crust is super easy to make, and it gets covered with refried beans (or black bean puree) instead of tomato sauce, shredded chicken, and enchilada sauce. The best part is that you can play around with all the ingredients to suit your taste. Go wild!
37. Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza This pizza is the equivalent of a party in your mouth. Tangy barbecue sauce, zesty onions, and two types of cheese make this one a winner.
38. Pizza-Stuffed Chicken Breast Skip the whole crust business and stuff all the best parts about pizza straight into the chicken breast! Surprisingly satisfying, this pizza chicken is awesome on a bed of greens—or on its own.
39. Spicy Chicken Pizza This recipe uses a spicy marinade to make a chicken pizza that’s out of this world. Use your favorite store-bought dough to make this more quickly, and add or subtract vegetables based on your preferences.
40. White Chicken Pizza A pizza without tomato sauce? You won’t miss it in this white version. Once you have a bite of this spinach, basil, and garlicky chicken pizza (topped with as much or as little gooey cheese as you’d like), you just might not go back to the red-sauce varieties.
41. Sweet Honey Baked Chicken Bites … Because everything tastes better in miniature form. These sweet and spicy breasts are easy to make and, thanks to their size, work perfectly as an appetizer.
42. Moist Cheddar-Garlic Oven “Fried” Chicken Breast Can anything with cheddar and garlic be bad? These breasts get that fried chicken flavor in every bite without the mess of actually… frying. Pro tip: Uncover for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking to crisp up the breading.
43. Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken Breasts Lemon steals the show in this dinner-party-worthy dish. Cook the chicken with the skin on to keep it juicy, then remove the skin.
44. Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing Baked buffalo chicken is the star in this salad—and it’s so good you might find yourself making it for other meals, too! If you’re a fan of buffalo wings, you will love this recipe. Using a wire rack will keep the breading intact. If you’ve got the time, whip up a healthier dressing on our own—use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise to keep things light.
45. The World’s Best Chicken This recipe’s title makes a bold claim, but when you combine the taste of this chicken and the fact that it’s totally foolproof to make, it’s definitely a strong contender. A sweet-and-tangy mixture of mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar gets poured over chicken breasts. Bake for half an hour, sprinkle on some fresh rosemary, and you’re done. Serve with a side salad for a complete meal.
On the Stove
46. Thai Green Curry Fast, spicy, good: This green curry will wake up your taste buds and satisfy a Thai food craving. Still hungry? Pour extra sauce over rice.
47. 15-Minute Pesto Chicken Breast Three ingredients, 15 minutes, and 100-percent delicious: This pesto chicken breast is great over (whole-wheat) pasta or in a salad.
48. Skillet Chicken Parmesan An alternative to traditional labor-intensive chicken parm, this version comes together with pantry ingredients on the stove for a 30-minute meal. Rachael Ray would be proud.
49. Stovetop Barbecue Chicken Use your favorite barbecue sauce (store-bought or homemade) and a handful of spices for juicy, barbecued chicken without the grill.
50. Butter Chicken No need to order takeout when you can make this Indian favorite right at home. Serve over basmati rice and be amazed that you made dinner before delivery would have arrived.
51. Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast This recipe does Popeye proud. A heap of spinach is sautéed with onions, garlic, and spices, and then mixed with feta and protein-rich ricotta. The chicken then gets breaded (with whole-wheat crumbs!) and baked to perfection. Serve with a simple side salad for a green-friendly dinner.
52. Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken This isn’t the steamed, boring broccoli you ate as a kid. Here the veggie gets an adult makeover when it’s stuffed in chicken along with Swiss cheese (use as much or as little as you’d like) and breaded with whole-wheat crumbs. And with just seven ingredients, making this is a snap.
53. Herb-Stuffed Chicken Breast Using fresh rosemary makes all the difference in this super simple recipe. When combined with a touch of Canadian bacon and goat cheese, its flavor really shines. And with just four ingredients, this recipe is a great for those nights when you’re wondering what to make for dinner.
54. Asparagus-Chicken Roulades Forget a side of vegetables—this chicken comes with them inside. Vitamin-rich asparagus are placed inside chicken breast halves along with a smidge of goat cheese. After cooking for a few minutes on the stovetop, the chicken gets drizzled with a simple pan sauce for a quick weeknight dinner.
55. Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breast Two types of cheeses (as much or as little as you’d like), tomatoes, and basil make this weeknight-friendly chicken feel like it should take much longer to prepare.
56. Pineapple Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple gives this homemade teriyaki sauce a natural sweetness. If you like things saucy, you might want to make an extra batch of sauce to pour over sautéed veggies and/or rice as well.
57. Coconut-Crusted Chicken with Mango Salsa This showstopper will help you pretend you’re in the tropics. Coconut chicken is great on its own, but adding mango salsa makes it even better. The recipe calls for frozen mango, but if fresh is in season, it’ll lend extra sweetness.
58. Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze Plain grilled chicken gets a little more interesting with a spicy fruit glaze. Don’t miss out on the grilled peaches, either—they really give the chicken some extra “oomph.”
59. Chicken Breasts with Fruit Salsa Kiwi, pineapples, and (superfood) strawberries for dinner? You’ll touch on a few food groups when protein-rich chicken gets combined with a zesty fruit salsa in this recipe. It’s quick too—make the salsa while the chicken sautés for 4 to 6 minutes, and then coat the chicken in it. Dinner’s ready!
60. Spicy Apricot Glazed Chicken How do four ingredients manage to taste so good? As the chicken broils, brush the easy-peasy glaze on—and you’re done. If you’re not an apricot fan, try a different flavor of jam to suit your tastes.
What’s your favorite way to cook a chicken breast? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us on Facebook!