This Easy Chicken Bruschetta Bake Turns Your Favorite Appetizer Into Dinner

I have so many fond memories of bruschetta, particularly from the time I spent living in Italy when I was studying abroad in college.

Vertical image of a meat and toasted breadcrumb dish on a dark plate next to silverware, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

The first time I made it myself, it was for a cooking class that I took through my school. We walked to Campo di Fiori and explored the market there, on the hunt for fresh tomatoes, herbs, and other ingredients to prepare our Italian meal.

The first thing we made when we got back to the kitchen was bruschetta. Our teacher quickly showed us how to create the ideal balance of tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.

She spooned it onto toasted bread, and added a little drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

We ate it greedily as we continued the lesson, paired with sips of red wine (a real treat for a 20-year-old) and plenty of laughter as we clumsily tried to cook.

Another fond memory of bruschetta takes place in Siena, in the center of town. I sat in peace and quiet, with barely audible murmurs coming from the tables surrounding me.

Vertical image of two plates with a meat, tomato, and bread dish next to a salad on a dark plate with silverware.

I ordered my appetizer with a glass of wine, and there I sat as I watched the children play in the square, and tried not to stare at couples canoodling all over the place.

Every time I bite into a piece of bruschetta, I am taken back to those memories, and those places.

But back at home, there are other ways to enjoy this tasty combination of flavors and textures.

Enter: this chicken bake.

This is a dinner that will make your jaw drop, and light up your face with happiness. I know that sounds like an intense exaggeration, but I have really fallen in love with this recipe, and I think you will too.

Vertical image of a white baking dish with a meat dish topped with tomatoes, bread, and melted cheese.

It begins with the chicken, which sits in a flavorful marinade overnight. The marinade itself is super simple and it’s filled with so many fresh herbs, including basil, parsley, and thyme. There’s also lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and some salt and pepper to round it all out.

After the chicken soaks up all that goodness, it’s ready to be baked.

I like to make the marinade in the morning so that when I’m done with work, I can bust it out easily, and start cooking. But you can also make it the night before. The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the more flavorful it will be.

When you’re ready to bake, first you need to toast up the bread cubes for the topping. This helps to dry out the bread a bit, so it will keep its texture when you bake it.

Vertical image of two plates with a white meat, tomato, and bread dish next to a salad on a dark plate.

The toasted bread is then combined with fresh herbs, garlic, and tomatoes, the flavorful components of classic bruschetta that you know and love.

If tomato season has already come and gone, I pull homemade tomato concasse out of the freezer and swap it in instead. Don’t let that freshness pass you by! Here are some stellar tips on how to store fresh tomatoes.

And don’t forget about the cheese! Shredded mozzarella is added to the casserole on top of the chicken, and more is sprinkled on top of the bread mixture as well, to add some creamy, melty deliciousness to the dish.

A drizzle of balsamic vinegar gives it an extra burst of flavor, the final touch that makes me feel like I’m back in Italy.

Who’s ready to get cooking?

Print
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Horizontal image of plates with a meat, tomato, and bread dish next to a salad on a dark plate with silverware.

Chicken Bruschetta Bake


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

We all know the flavors of the classic appetizer, but now it’s time to turn it into dinner with this chicken bruschetta bake.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Casserole:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 11.5 lbs total)
  • 1 small loaf French bread or baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3.54 cups)
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2 medium)or 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add marinade to a large resealable bag with the chicken. Seal and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. 
  3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 400˚F. 
  4. Spread bread cubes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast until golden brown, for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Grease a rectangular baking dish with cooking oil spray. Place chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with half of the cheese, and set aside.
  6. Add toasted bread to a large bowl along with the garlic, basil, parsley, salt, black pepper, and canned tomatoes. Fold gently to combine.
  7. Spread the bread mixture evenly over the chicken. Do not press it into the meat, just lightly cover it. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the poultry is cooked through. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Poultry

Keywords: chicken, bruschetta, tomato, garlic, casserole

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare Marinade

Horizontal image of raw poultry breasts and various seasonings and ingredients in square glass bowls.

First, wash the herbs and remove the stems. Chop enough fresh basil leaves until you have 2 teaspoons total, and chop 1 teaspoon of the fresh parsley.

Peel and mince two cloves of garlic.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients for the marinade.

Step 2 – Marinate Poultry

Horizontal image of an airtight bag filled with uncooked poultry breasts marinating in an oil and herb mixture.

Add all of the marinade ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk them together until they are combined thoroughly.

Transfer the marinade carefully to a large resealable plastic bag and add the chicken. Seal the bag, make sure the meat is submerged in the marinade, and place the bag in the refrigerator.

Marinate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

Step 3 – Prepare Casserole Ingredients

Horizontal image of a bowl of red sauce, shredded cheese, bread cubes, and seasonings.

When you’re ready to bake, start by cutting a baguette with a bread knife into 1/2-inch cubes.

Peel and mince two cloves of garlic.

Wash your herbs, remove the stems, and chop 1 1/2 teaspoons of basil and 1 teaspoon of parsley.

Chop the tomatoes into a small dice, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

The easiest way to dice the tomatoes is to cut them into even-size rounds with a sharp chef’s knife, stack several on top of each other at a time, slice in one direction, and then go back in the other direction to create small cubes.

If using canned tomatoes instead, be sure to drain them first.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Step 4 – Toast Bread

Horizontal image of cubes of bread on a sheet pan.

Add the bread cubes to a large rimmed baking sheet, and spread them out in an even layer.

Bake for  5 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through. The bread should be toasted to a light golden brown color.

Remove pan from the oven and set it aside.

Step 5 – Assemble

Horizontal image of uncooked poultry breasts covered in shredded white cheese and an oil/herb mixture.

Grease a rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add the chicken breasts to the baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle them evenly with about half of the shredded mozzarella. Set the baking dish aside.

Add the bread cubes to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the garlic, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Stir lightly to combine.

Horizontal image of an unbaked casserole entree topped with cubes of bread, red vegetables, and herbs.

Spread the bread mixture evenly over the chicken. Do not press it into the poultry, just add it lightly on top. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese, in an even layer.

Step 6 – Bake and Serve

Horizontal image of cooked casserole topped with melted cheese, red vegetables, and bread.

Bake for 25 minutes. The chicken should be completely cooked through and the cheese should be melted.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Serve immediately.

Get Fresh with Your Sides

When it comes to pairing this delightful dinner with my favorite selection of sides, I am all about getting fresh.

Horizontal image of plates with a meat, tomato, and bread dish next to a salad on a dark plate with silverware.

And that means you need to bust out whatever vegetables are in season.

That could be a fresh mixed greens salad. Peas and carrots or asparagus are fantastic options in the spring. Another option? Fennel and parsnips or brussels sprouts, in the fall and winter.

Roasted or steamed vegetables are my go-to’s to pair with this dish, to keep things light and tasty, and hassle-free with easy prep that takes just a few minutes, perfect for a busy weeknight.

I know chicken is a standby at my house. Craving even more delicious recipes? Give these chicken entrees a try next:

Did you serve this chicken bruschetta bake as is, add your own creative substitutions, or spice things up with your favorite sides? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe after you try it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 29, 2015. Last updated on March 17, 2021. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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