These Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts feature flavorful boneless, skinless chicken breasts stuffed with pancetta, cheese and herbs. They’re delicious!
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Back in my bachelor days, I always kept several boxes of frozen stuffed chicken breasts in my freezer. They were easy and delicious – and I could bake up just one for dinner. Since they were a pretty hands-off type of meal, that meant I had more time to play video games while my dinner was in the toaster oven. What can I say? I’ve always been a gamer.
Fast forward, oh, 20 years. While I still enjoy video games, I play them way less than I used to. If I find an hour on Saturday afternoon to play video games, then I call it a success! And our freezer is no longer packed full of frozen stuffed chicken breasts, either. (Although, truth be told, I do often still keep a package in there for those nights when Laura and I are too busy – or exhausted – to cook.)
Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Stuffed chicken breasts really aren’t that difficult to make at home! Take these Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts for instance. The hardest part is pounding out the chicken so that it’s thin enough to roll. (i typically put the chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and then set it on a large cutting board. A couple whacks with a rolling pin – or a meat mallet – usually does the trick!)
For this version, I went with diced pancetta, minced garlic, shredded provolone cheese and some Italian herbs. This filling is delicious! I mean the chicken breast is good, too, but this filling…I could’ve eaten that for dinner by itself!
If you aren’t familiar with pancetta, you should be. I used to get a slice of it from the deli section at our local grocery store. Then they switched over to carrying pre-weighed 4oz. packages – and it was way overpriced. But then Trader Joe’s came to the rescue! (It seems like Trader Joe’s often comes to the rescue when it comes to ingredients that are a bit out of the ordinary.) Trader Joe’s sells 4oz. packages of diced pancetta…for a reasonable price! Amazing.
Pancetta is closely related to bacon in that both are cured pork belly. The difference is bacon is cold-smoked after it is cured while pancetta skips that step. In truth, cubed pancetta is often cooked in a skillet much like bacon. In fact, if you can’t find pancetta in your area, you can absolutely use bacon instead. Just use thick-cut bacon and chop it up into small pieces before cooking.
One extra tip: kitchen twine. Sometimes I have a bit of trouble getting that homemade stuffed chicken breast to stay together. That’s where kitchen twine comes in. I simply tie up the stuffed chicken breast in 2 places and then put it on the tray seam-side down. It works like a charm. (Just don’t forget to cut that twine off before serving!)
I hope this recipe inspires you to make a batch of stuffed chicken breasts at home. It’s a relatively easy process, and it sounds so fancy, right? Enjoy!
Did you make these Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- 4 tsp olive oil divided
- 6 oz. pancetta diced into ¼” cubes
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, ~8 oz. each
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1½ cups panko-style Italian breadcrumbs
- kitchen twine for tying up stuffed chicken breasts
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Lightly grease a standard sheet pan; set aside.
- Using a large skillet, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy (~3-4 minutes).
- Add garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
- Transfer mixture into a small bowl. Add dried oregano and parsley; stir until well combined. Set mixture aside.
- Working with one piece of a chicken at a time, lay breast in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet (or a rolling pin), gently pound each piece until it’s ~½” thick. Repeat process with remaining pieces of chicken.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Divide shredded provolone and pancetta mixture evenly on top of the 4 chicken breasts. Roll each chicken breast up lengthwise and place seam-side down on cutting board.
- Using a small bowl, combine lemon juice with the remaining 3 tsp of olive oil.
- Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate.
- Brush both sides of the stuffed chicken breasts with the olive oil mixture. Carefully dip each chicken breast into breadcrumb mixture. Use the kitchen twine to tie up each stuffed chicken breast in two places; Place seam-side down on prepared sheet pan.
- Spray tops of chicken breasts with baking spray or olive oil. Bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and fully cooked. (Note: Check chicken breasts after 20 minutes. If the panko topping is turning too dark, lay a piece of foil on top for the remaining cooking time.)
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