30 Minute Mozzarela Chicken In Homemade Tomato Sauce

If you’re an LSJ regular, you know I use it in a lot of my soup recipes and now this mozzarella chicken recipe. The pesto really helps boost those natural flavors. When was the last time you cooked a tomato sauce in 10 minutes that tasted like it simmered for hours? Regular pesto would also work for this recipe too if that’s all you have. But I really need you to make this with a tomato pesto at least once. Trust me, it makes this recipe.

When the sauce is ready, nestle the chicken breasts back into the pan. Use a tablespoon to cover the chicken breast with a little sauce. You don’t want them to dry out in the oven. Top them with shredded or sliced mozzarella. Even provolone would work for this recipe. And give it a quick broil to just get that cheese HOT and BUBBLY. Top with fresh basil or parsley.

I serve this with linguine because that homemade marinara just needs to hug some pasta. Fork twirling is an activity we often partake in. And if you’re being extra good, serve it with slices of crusty bread. That sauce is just begging to be mopped up.


prep time:5 MINUTES
cook time:25 MINUTES
total time:30 MINUTES

Mozzarella chicken is a simple weeknight dinner recipe! It’s pan seared chicken smothered in a homemade tomato sauce and melty mozzarella — ready in just 30 minutes!


  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon EACH Italian seasoning AND red pepper flakes (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto (homemade or store-bought) (see notes)
  • salt and pepper + ¼ cup water
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (or 1 cup shredded)


  • chopped parsley or basil + pasta or crusty bread


  • CHICKEN: Sprinkle the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 3-5 minutes per side or until the chicken is completely cooked through, remove to a plate. If you are planning on serving this with pasta, get the water going and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • TOMATO SAUCE: Preheat the oven on the broiler setting. Add the onions to the oil remaining in the pan. If there isn’t any, add in about ½ teaspoon and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes until the soften, add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, dried basil, and pesto and stir to combine. When the sauce reaches a simmer, add a ¼ cup of water, lower the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • ASSEMBLE: Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce and using a spoon, cover the chicken with sauce. Top each breast with a slice of cheese. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese gets nice and bubbly and just melts. Top with chopped parsley or basil ribbons. Serve with pasta or crusty bread and a salad.


  • Though I do recommend using sun-dried tomato pesto for this recipe as it really enhances the flavor of the sauce and makes it taste like it was simmered all day, basil pesto will also work in the recipe.
  • Also, you can use more or less red pepper flakes to taste. Omit for a milder sauce.

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