One Pan Pizza Chicken with Gooey Mozzarella

All the cozy comfort of pizza — baked in a decadently delicious, one pan chicken dish!

One of my favorite winter meals: Family-friendly, One Pan Pizza Chicken with Mozzarella.

ALL the flavors of pizza. With tender chicken, swimming in a sea of tomatoes. And gooey puddles of cheese that melt into molten ooze. Plus BIG flavors from anchovies, capers, and garlic!

Hearty, cozy, and comforting.

A one pan baked chicken dish that is sure to become a favorite in your home, too!


Layers of flavor make this truly spectacular:

  • Chicken. Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs work best. Juicy and flavorful, the chicken stays moist and tender.
  • Bacon. Cook until crispy then brown the chicken in the rendered bacon fat.
  • Tomatoes. Canned whole tomatoes make a luscious, rich sauce.
  • Anchovies, Capers, Italian Dried Chili Flakes. The umami flavor bomb that adds depth and loads of flavor to the sauce! If you’re worried about the anchovies, the final dish doesn’t taste fishy at all. The anchovies melt into the oil and disappear, adding another rich layer of flavor.
  • Onions + Garlic. The aromatics that make the base for this rich sauce.
  • Mozzarella. Cubed mozzarella makes for melty, gooey goodness.
pizza chicken in shallow braiser

How to make Pizza Chicken:

Think of this dish as an opportunity to create layers of flavor. Each step is a building block, moving towards the finished dish!

  1. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside.
  2. Brown chicken in bacon fat. Remove and set aside.
  3. Make sauce: Add anchovies and cook down briefly. Add onion, garlic, capers, and dried chili flakes. Add tomatoes and break down with wooden spoon (or potato masher).
  4. Add chicken and bake.
  5. Add mozzarella and melt slowly in the oven’s residual heat.
  6. Garnish and serve immediately, preferably with crusty bread.

Watch how to make:


What can I serve with Pizza Chicken?

A loaf of crusty bread makes it easy to dip into the gooey cheese and mop up all that delicious tomato sauce. Or, serve with spaghetti noodles. So good with all that saucy chicken and cheese! For a gluten free, low carb meal — opt for a light, crisp salad instead.

What kind of Mozzarella should I use?

Since Pizza Chicken finishes baking in the oven, any kind of mozzarella will work. Low moisture mozzarella melts especially beautifully, even better than fresh mozzarella. Cubed chunks melt into gloriously gooey puddles of cheese. But if you’d prefer, shredded cheese creates a smothered, baked chicken casserole vibe instead!

Can I use chicken breast instead?

Yes, you can definitely can. Chicken breast with bones and skin is preferred, as it will stay moist and tender. The skin browns nicely and adds more flavor, too. But boneless, skinless chicken breast will also work.

More chicken recipes:

pizza chicken in shallow braiser

One Pan Pizza Chicken

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
All the cozy comfort of pizza — in a delicious, one pan chicken dish!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • Shallow braiser or oven-safe skillet


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 8 chicken thighs, (skin-on, bone-in) (about 2-3 lbs)
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 tsp Italian dried chili flakes (use 1/2 tsp for less spicy version)
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz ball mozzarella (low-moisture), cubed
  • basil (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 425F/215C.
  • Heat a shallow braiser to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add bacon and fry until crisp on both sides, about 5-6 minutes total. Remove and set aside.
    crispy bacon slices in pan
  • Season chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to the hot pan, skin side down. Cook until browned and crispy, about 4-5 minutes on the first side. Flip to the other side and cook until brown and crispy, about 2-3 more minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate. It's ok if the chicken is not fully cooked; the chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
    browned chicken thighs on a plate
  • If the pan has an excessive amount of oil, remove all but 2 Tbsp. In the same pan, add anchovies. Stir and break the anchovies into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, about 1 minute. They should melt into the oil, leaving a few pieces behind.
  • Add onion, garlic, capers, and dried chili flakes. Mix with a wooden spoon until onion has softened and looks translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and break down with wooden spoon (or potato masher). Cook for 10 more minutes until thick and rich, stirring from time to time.
    tomato sauce in pan
  • Add chicken, skin side up, directly on top of the tomato sauce. Transfer to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.
    chicken thighs in tomato sauce
  • Remove shallow braiser from the oven and turn off heat. Add cubed mozzarella in between chicken pieces, directly into the sauce. Transfer to the oven and let the residual heat melt the mozzarella gently into gooey puddles, about 5 minutes.
    chicken thighs and cubed mozzarella in tomato sauce
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with basil. Sprinkle more dried chili pepper flakes, if desired, and a few more grinds of black pepper. Eat immediately, preferably with crusty bread!
    pizza chicken in shallow braiser
Keyword chicken, Pizza
All Recipes, Chicken, Dinner with Friends, Main


  1. Do you recommend canned or frozen anchovies? Thanks!

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