Get ready to savor a burst of irresistible flavors with our mouthwatering grilled caprese chicken recipe; juicy grilled chicken breasts topped with ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil, creating a culinary masterpiece that will transport your taste buds to Italian bliss.
I get tired of making the same old chicken, especially for cookouts. Don’t you? I like to play with flavors, and I figured the caprese profile of flavors would work well on chicken breast. I was right.
So, wow your guests with a mouthwatering creation that combines Italy’s flavors and the grill’s sizzle. This recipe for grilling caprese chicken is foolproof. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced grill master, I’ve covered you with step-by-step instructions and valuable tips to ensure your chicken turns out juicy, tender, and flavorful. So gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and get ready to elevate your grilling game to a whole new level.
Create a Flavorful Marinade
Now because chicken breast is lean and doesn’t come packed with flavor, for this chicken recipe, I marinaded the chicken for about 4 hours with a simple marinade. To create a flavorful marinade that will take your caprese chicken to the next level, you only need a few simple ingredients and a little time. This step is crucial in infusing the chicken with the perfect blend of herbs, spices, and tangy flavors to have your taste buds dancing.
The marinade consists of the following ingredients:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Minced Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- Lemon Juice
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Poultry Seasoning
- Italian Seasoning
For this recipe, I used thinly sliced chicken breast and placed them in an airtight container, but you can also use a large refrigerator bag. Coat the chicken with all of the ingredients, and use your hands to mix the seasonings into the chicken, being sure the chicken breast is coated on both sides—place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or ideally, overnight. This marinating time allows the chicken to soak up all the delicious flavors, resulting in tender and juicy bites,
Remember, the marinade is your opportunity to add layers of flavor, so don’t be afraid to experiment and add a dash of additional herbs or spices that tickle your fancy.
As you let the marinade work its magic, you can relax before preparing the rest of your ingredients and preheating the grill.
Cooking the Grilled Caprese Chicken
With a flavorful marinade given ample time to infuse, you’re ready to tackle the next section: mastering the grill. As the tantalizing aromas of the marinade waft through the air, it’s time to unleash your grilling prowess and bring this remarkable dish to life.
First, ensure that your grill is clean and preheated to medium-high heat. This will help prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. If you’re using a gas grill, turn the burners to medium-high and close the lid, allowing it to heat up for about 10 minutes. For charcoal grills, you’ll want to ignite the briquettes and let them burn until they’re coated with white ash, which signifies they’re ready for cooking.
Once your grill is preheated, it’s important to oil the grates to prevent the chicken from sticking. A simple way to do this is to fold a paper towel into a small square, soak it in vegetable oil, and use tongs to rub it over the grates. This will create a non-stick surface and add a hint of smoky flavor to your chicken.
Now that your grill is ready, it’s time to place the marinated chicken breasts on the grates. Be sure to shake off any excess marinade before placing them on the grill, as this can cause flare-ups. Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Remember only to flip the chicken once to avoid drying it out.
While the chicken is cooking, resist the urge to check or move it around constantly. This can disrupt the cooking process and prevent those beautiful grill marks from forming. Instead, take this opportunity to admire the sizzling action happening beneath the lid and imagine the incredible flavors that will soon tantalize your taste buds.
Once the chicken is perfectly grilled and reaches the desired temperature, carefully remove it from the grill using tongs or a spatula. Place it on a clean platter and rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and ensure maximum tenderness.
You can also use an indoor grill pan like I did. If you decide to go this route, heat the pan on medium-high heat and follow the rest of the recipe instructions.
Add the Caprese Twist
Now that you’ve mastered the art of grilling and achieved that perfect cook on your marinated chicken, it’s time to take it up a notch with a delightful Caprese twist. By incorporating the vibrant flavors of juicy tomatoes, aromatic basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese, you’ll elevate this delicious dish to unforgettable heights.
Begin by slicing ripe tomatoes into thick, juicy rounds to add freshness to each bite. Opt for tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness, as they will provide the sweetest and most intense flavor.
Next, gather a handful of fresh basil leaves, taking a moment to appreciate their herbaceous fragrance. Stack the leaves neatly, roll them tightly, and then slice them into thin ribbons. These delicate basil strips will add a subtle herbaceous note that beautifully complements the other ingredients.
Now, it’s time to introduce the creamy element of the Caprese twist. Slice a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese into thick rounds, ensuring each piece is generous in size. This luscious cheese will melt slightly from the residual heat of the chicken, intertwining its creaminess with the other ingredients to create a harmonious blend of flavors.
Arrange the tomato, basil, and mozzarella slices on top of your perfectly grilled chicken, allowing the cheese to melt gently over the warm chicken breast. This trio of ingredients will create a symphony of flavors that perfectly balances the smoky, savory chicken with the bright, refreshing notes of the Caprese salad. Finally, top off with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze you can make at home or the store.
With the Caprese twist complete, you’re now ready to delve into the culmination of your grilling mastery. In one delicious bite, you’ll experience the tender, succulent chicken infused with the vibrant sweetness of tomatoes, the aromatic freshness of basil, and the creamy indulgence of mozzarella.
Delicious Side Dishes to Serve
Grilled caprese chicken is undoubtedly the star of the show, but why not elevate your meal with some delightful side dishes? These options perfectly complement the flavors of the chicken and create a well-rounded, satisfying meal. Here are a few side dishes that pair beautifully with grilled caprese chicken:
Grilled Vegetable Medley:
Fire up the grill and cook a medley of seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus. Drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until tender and slightly charred. The smoky flavors of the grilled vegetables add a fantastic contrast to the Caprese chicken.
Herbed Rice Pilaf:
Prepare a fragrant herbed rice pilaf to serve alongside the grilled chicken. Sauté some diced onions and garlic in a pan, then add your favorite long-grain rice and cook it with vegetable or chicken broth—season with herbs like thyme, parsley, or rosemary for extra flavor. The fluffy and aromatic rice perfectly complements the savory caprese chicken.
Fresh Summer Salad:
Embrace the vibrant flavors of summer with a refreshing salad. Combine ripe cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and bite-sized mozzarella pearls. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Toss gently and serve alongside the grilled chicken for a light and refreshing side dish.
Feel free to mix and match these side dishes based on your personal preferences or the ingredients you have on hand. The key is creating a balance of flavors and textures to enhance your grilled caprese chicken experience.
How to Make Balsamic Reduction
A luscious balsamic reduction adds a tangy sweetness to your grilled caprese chicken, taking it to a new level. Don’t worry—it’s incredibly easy to make! Here’s a simple recipe to whip up your balsamic reduction:
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (optional, for added sweetness)
- Place the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over medium heat.
- If desired, add honey or brown sugar to the vinegar to sweeten it slightly. Stir well to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer the vinegar, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and reduced by about half. This process usually takes around 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the balsamic reduction cool for a few minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Once cooled, the balsamic reduction drizzles over your grilled Caprese chicken. You can store any leftover reduction in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for future use.
- The rich, syrupy balsamic reduction adds flavor and visual appeal to your dish. Experiment with different amounts of reduction to find your preferred level of tanginess. Enjoy the delightful combination of flavors the grilled caprese chicken and balsamic reduction create together.
I recommend Trader Joe’s brand if you’d rather purchase a balsamic glaze.
In conclusion, mastering the art of grilling caprese chicken is as simple as following our foolproof recipe. From crafting a flavorful marinade to achieving those perfect grill marks, we’ve provided the steps and tips to ensure a juicy and tender chicken breast every time. With this Italian-inspired dish in your repertoire, you’ll be the star of any summer barbecue or weeknight dinner in your life.
Commonly Asked Questions
Absolutely! Chicken thighs work great in this recipe and offer a slightly richer flavor.
While fresh mozzarella is traditional, shredded mozzarella can work too. Just be aware of the different melting characteristics.
Certainly! Marinate the chicken in advance and refrigerate until ready to grill for added convenience.
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