If summer were showcased on a plate it would surely be in the form of our Mozzarella-Stuffed Peach Chicken. This ultra crispy on the exterior, cheesy and tender on the interior winner of a chicken dish is adorned with the sweetest peaches and tomatoes and then drizzled with an intoxicating combination of brown butter, thyme, and lemon. You don’t want to miss it!
Mozzarella-Stuffed Peach Chicken with Brown Butter
When peaches are plentiful the buck doesn’t stop with peach cobbler, peach rolls, and all things sweet. Peaches lend the perfect sweetness to balance out savory dishes, proven over the test of time but most recently with our Peach Toasted Ravioli, our favorite peachy caprese salad and now an epic Peach Chicken dish worthy of entertaining.
This show stopping dinner is not only a feast for the eyes, but the belly as well. With an ultra crispy panko-crusted coating, and an interior of gooey mozzarella cheese, this gussied up version of a chicken cutlets is the perfect way to showcase summer.
The crispy exterior and cheesy tender interior of the chicken paired with the sweet peaches and a nutty thyme-infused brown butter sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. And honestly I wish peaches were in season all year round, because this would no doubt be in our weekly lineup.
After we pan-fry the chicken in butter and olive oil to crispy crunchy perfection, we brown butter in the same pan, making sure to scrape up all the beautiful bits of flavor at the bottom of the pan. To the brown butter, we add citrusy thyme leaves and then finish it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
While the chicken cooks, we marinate juicy sweet peaches and a handful of heirloom tomatoes simply with a bit of salt and pepper and let the juices seep out over time.
Layer the peaches over the crispy chicken, drizzle with butter, and enjoy.
Ingredients in Peach Chicken
Chicken. When stuffing chicken, you want to go with a chicken breast. I like to find chicken breasts on the smaller side so they cook on the stove and don’t have to be transferred to the oven. Plus, with the addition of a cheesy center and a rather hearty peach salad of sorts on top, the chicken portion shouldn’t be overwhelming. Look for breasts that are about six to eight ounces in size. (Just Bare Chicken has perfectly proportioned eight-ounce chicken breasts we love.)
Mozzarella. I find fresh mozzarella to work best here. It melts better than low-moisture block mozzarella and tastes better too.
Flour. Standard breading techniques always start with a base of flour. We use all-purpose, but whole-wheat will work just as well.
Egg. Egg acts as the glue for the breadcrumbs. We mix it with a bit of water to loosen it up.
Panko. It’s really important to use panko breadcrumbs here. They are light and crisp up beautifully when fried. They’re easily found at nearly every grocery store now so you should haven no trouble finding them.
Parmesan. Use freshly grated parmesan cheese. I can often find it pre-grated by hand at my local grocery store. Be sure you don’t use anything from a can or too processed.
Butter + Olive oil. I prefer a combination of butter and olive oil to pan-fry items. The butter lends flavor and the olive oil has a higher smoke point so it won’t burn the chicken.
Butter. A big flavor profile of the chicken is brown butter. We use it all the time to add flavor to sauces and boy does it go well with peaches.
Thyme. We often associate basil with summer, but I’d argue thyme is the unsung hero of summer. It’s dainty leaves and citrusy flavor pairs really nicely with most summery dishes. The combination of brown butter, thyme and peaches is out of this world.
Lemon juice. To compliment the citrus notes in the thyme, I like to use a squeeze of lemon to loosen up the brown butter sauce.
Peaches. We’re in prime peach season right now. They’re sweet, they’re juicy and they’re short-lived. Look for peaches that are slightly soft but not mushy.
Tomatoes. Use your favorite variety of mini tomatoes. My farmers market had these beautiful heirloom cherrys but grape tomatoes or anything you can find fresh will work great.
Let’s make Peach Chicken!
Marinate the peaches. While peaches and tomatoes are at their peak right now I like to give them a little bit of help. I add all the sliced peaches and a few cherry tomatoes to a bowl and then sprinkle them with plenty of salt and pepper. I let them sit and release their juice while I get the chicken together. Give them a stir every five minutes or so.
Stuff the chicken. First flatten your chicken. Because we stuff the chicken, it will make the breasts quite thick. The thicker the breast the longer it will take to cook through. I like to pound them out to about 1/2-inch thickness.
Use a pairing knife to gently cut a slit in the top of the breast. Use your knife to make a pocket in the breast but do not cut through to edges.
Stuff the sliced mozzarella in the pocket.
Bread the chicken. Add the flour to a medium plate or shallow bowl. Same with the egg, but whisk a few tablespoons of water in. Add the panko, parmesan, and garlic to another shallow bowl or plate. Mix to combine.
Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, then the egg, then the panko.
Cook the chicken. Heat a large skillet (we like this one or this one) to a medium heat. Add the butter and oil. Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the chicken. Pan-fry for 4-6 min until golden brown and crisp. Flip and do the same thing on the other side.
Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken. It’s done when it reaches 165 degrees. If both sides of your chicken are already brown and crisp and it has not reached 165 degrees, pop in the oven until it does.
Make the brown butter. Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside. Add remaining butter to the pan. Melt. When it starts to brown, swirl the pan. Swirl the pan until the butter turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice and thyme leaves. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble. Spoon the peach and tomato mixture over the chicken. Spoon the brown butter sauce all around. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and flakes Maldon salt.
Can I make this in advance?
You can prep this peach chicken in advance. Stuff and bread the chicken up to 24 hours in advance. I store on a baking sheet lined with a cookie cooling rack and cover in foil. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.
You can also slice the peaches and half the cherry tomatoes up to the day before. Because they can get soggy, I’d wait to marinate them until about an hour or two before you cook the chicken.
Can I bake Peach Chicken instead?
Yes! To save on fat and calories you can absolutely bake this peach chicken. I like to spray the chicken breasts with olive oil spray and then place them on a baking sheet lined with a cookie cooling rack. Bake at 375 degrees until cooked through, brown and crispy.
Simply brown the butter in a small saucepan while the chicken is cooking.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- You do not HAVE to stuff the peach chicken. This is delicious with just the crispy panko chicken, the peach and tomatoes, and the brown butter.
- Turn the oven on just in case the chicken needs more time in the oven to cook.
- Do NOT cook the chicken over a high heat. It will burn.
- If you don’t have a pan big enough to fit all four chicken breasts, you can work in two batches. Fry two chicken breasts at at time in a smaller skillet. If you need to use the oven, finish baking them all on a baking sheet.
- Season every layer. The chicken. Flour and the panko. Peaches. Brown butter. And don’t forget to sprinkle with a little salt and pepper before serving. We are partial to Maldon salt.
- Use fruit in season. Blackberries and strawberries would also be delicious.
More seasonal dinners we love
- Our Asian Marinated Chicken with Summery Cucumber Salad is the epitome of warm weather cooking.
- Another lovely chicken dinner similar to today: Chicken Milanese wit Watermelon Salad.
- We’ve got to get the grilled recipes done while we can and nothing beats our Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Chicken with Pesto Cream. This stuff is GOLD.
Serve peach chicken with…
- We served it with our favorite lemon angel hair from Pappardelles and a little bit of garlic and olive oil.
- This creamy parmesan pasta would be delicious as would our creamy polenta.
- If you want to stick with veggies, try our Brown Butter Green Beans
- 2 ripe peaches, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella ball cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 sprigs thyme, leaves removed plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- maldon salt for garnish
- Large skillet
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add peaches and cherry tomatoes to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat. Give them a stir every 5-7 minutes while the chicken is cooking.
- Add chicken to a plastic ziplock. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten the chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. The thicker the breast the longer it will take to cook through.
- Lay the chicken down horizontally with the tip of the breast pointing to your right. Use a pairing knife to gently cut a slit in the top of the breast, this will be to your left. Use your knife to make a pocket in the breast but do not cut through to edges. Stuff the cubed mozzarella in the pocket and lay as flat as possibly.
- Add the flour to a medium plate or shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the egg to another shallow bowl along with two tablespoons of water. Whisk to combine. Add the panko, parmesan, granulated garlic, and remaining teaspoon salt to another shallow bowl or plate. Mix to combine.
- Season the chicken breasts on both sides with a little bit of salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour. Pat off excess flour. Dip in the egg. Let any excess drip off. Coat in the panko. Pat off any excess panko.
- Heat a large oven-proof skillet to a medium heat. Add three tablespoons butter and olive oil. Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the chicken. Pan-fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Flip and do the same thing on the other side. Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken. It's done when it reaches 165 degrees. If both sides of your chicken are already brown and crisp and it has not reached 165 degrees, pop in the oven until it does. The time this takes depends on the size of your chicken. For one batch I had thicker breasts and I had to bake them for an additional 5-6 minutes. For the other, I didn't need the oven.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside. I like to store them on a baking sheet lined with a cookie cooling rack so the bottom doesn't get soggy. Set the empty pan over a medium-high heat. Add remaining butter to the pan. When the butter starts to brown, swirl the pan. Swirl the pan until the butter turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice and thyme leaves. Stand back, the mixture will spit and spatter. It will calm down in a few seconds. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the peach and tomato mixture over the chicken. Spoon the brown butter sauce all around. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and flaked Maldon salt.