All the cozy comfort of pizza — in a delicious, one pan chicken dish!
If pizza and chicken cacciatore had a baby, this would be it: Pizza Chicken.
ALL the flavors of pizza. With tender chicken, swimming in a sea of tomatoes. And gooey puddles of cheese that melt into little pockets of molten ooze.
Because honestly, who doesn’t love pizza? Luscious tomato sauce. Melty mozzarella. And BIG flavors from anchovies, capers, and garlic!
Irresistible and homey, this dish is all kinds of cozy! The complexity and richness of the sauce cannot be beat. A one pan meal that is sure to become a favorite in your home, too!
What makes this Pizza Chicken recipe so tasty? The layered flavors make this a truly special dish!
- Chicken. Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs work best. Juicy and flavorful, the chicken stays moist and tender.
- Bacon. A little bit of richness that adds so much flavor. Fry until crispy at the beginning of the cooking process Then brown the chicken in all that fat and flavor. Finally, garnish with the crispy bacon right before serving.
- 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 into the sauce, adding another rich layer of flavor.
- Onions + Garlic. The aromatics that make the base for this rich sauce. Don’t skimp on either!
- Mozzarella. Cubed mozzarella vs shredded makes for melty, gooey goodness. Push in between the chicken pieces, directly into the sauce for all that gooey satisfaction.
What tastes good with Pizza Chicken?
A loaf of crusty bread makes the perfect utensil for dipping into the gooey cheese puddles and mopping up that luscious tomato sauce!
But the richness of Pizza Chicken also begs for a light, crisp salad. My preference? A lightly dressed romaine salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado. So fresh and crunchy!
If you are a pasta person, you could certainly sub the crusty bread with spaghetti instead. Lightly toss with olive oil and a healthy sprinkling of flat leaf parsley. So good served with all that saucy chicken and cheese!
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!
In a shallow braiser, fry bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside.
Add chicken and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
In the same pan, 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). Cook for 10 minutes until thick and rich.
Add chicken back to the pan, directly on top of the sauce. Bake in the oven for 10 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Add mozzarella and melt slowly in the oven’s residual heat.
Garnish and serve immediately, preferably with crusty bread.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!