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Skillet Chicken Pomodoro has seared chicken breasts simmered with a simple, rustic tomato sauce. Super easy to make yet classy enough for company, this Italian-inspired chicken recipe is ready to hit the dinner table in about 45 minutes.
Serve this savory chicken in Pomodoro sauce with your favorite pasta or over creamy make ahead mashed potatoes. Add a Garden Salad or some simple roasted vegetables and a side of garlic bread for a complete and satisfying meal.
What is Pomodoro Sauce?
Pomodoro sauce is one of the two most popular sauces in Italy. Unlike marinara, Pomodoro is a thick, chunky tomato sauce, that’s really hardly a sauce at all.
Ideally you’ll want to use fresh, ripe tomatoes, but you can swap out a can of diced tomatoes if you can’t the fresh ones aren’t in season. Chop up the fresh tomatoes, then simmer them in olive oil with some onion, garlic, tomato sauce, and fresh basil. A traditional sauce won’t always have basil but I crave that freshness and extra layer of flavor that it adds so I always add it.
How to Make Baked Chicken Pomodoro
Sear the chicken. I use chicken breasts for quicker cooking, but you could easily swap out boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Season well with salt and pepper then sear over medium-high heat, just long enough to brown them on both sides.
Make the sauce. Chop up fresh Roma tomatoes or use a can of already diced tomatoes. Saute some onion and garlic in olive oil, then add the tomatoes, some tomato sauce, and fresh basil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. This is a quick sauce, but the longer you can let it simmer, the better the flavor.
Add the chicken to the sauce. Nestle the chicken breasts in the tomato sauce and let it simmer for a while longer, until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 8 minutes, but time can vary depending on how thick the chicken breasts are. Cook until the chicken registers 165 degrees F on a digital instant read thermometer.
Serve. The usual way to serve Chicken Pomodoro is with pasta, like angel hair or spaghetti, but it’s also delicious over mashed potatoes. Make sure to garnish with fresh basil – it’s the perfect finishing touch!
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Store leftovers in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If possible, store pasta or other sides separately. Freezing is not recommended as the tomatoes will become watery as they defrost.
Reheating: I recommend slicing the chicken and reheating in a skillet or in the microwave. Slicing it first will reduce the chance of really overcooking it.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- If your tomato sauce is too acidic, add a teaspoon or more of white sugar to balance it.
- Chicken cutlets or thinner chicken breasts work best. A half-inch thick piece is perfect.
- When browning chicken, give the pieces plenty of space to breathe. If they are too close together they will steam instead of brown.
- If you don’t have fresh basil, use dried, but cut the amount in half. Dried herbs are more intense in flavor so you don’t need as much. Parsley or oregano can also be used.
More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs
- Grilled Jerk Chicken
- Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Honey Lemon Roast Chicken
- Chicken Schnitzel
- 3 chicken breasts about 1/2-inch in thickness (about 1.5 pounds)
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes or 1 pound whole Roma tomatoes seeded and diced small
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar optional
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Sear for 2 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside to finish cooking with the sauce.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil if needed. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, scraping up the bits of chicken from the bottom of the skillet. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute more, or until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize.
- To the skillet add tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, basil and a pinch of salt and pepper. To balance the acidity, add the sugar, if desired. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid; taste and add salt, pepper and sugar if needed. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, cover and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 degrees F).
- Garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley and serve immediately with pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.