Quick, easy, and fresh, this Grilled Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Glaze is always a huge hit at my house – best of all, there’s really nothing to it. It’s the perfect thing to throw together on a weeknight for family and it’s impressive enough to throw together for friends or company.
I love love love how versatile this chicken is! It can be served open-faced on a nice slice of grilled bread, made into a standard sandwich, or served atop of a salad! So there’s lunch or dinner, but if you want to make smaller versions on crostini, it makes gorgeous little appetizers.
About Grilled Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Glaze:
I got a little carried away in my pictures, which I took before we scarfed this down (we love this recipe at my house!) and it wasn’t until I looked at them later than I realized for all the tomatoes, you can hardly see the beautifully grilled chicken (thanks Kraig!) with all the melty, ooey-gooey fresh Mozzarella on top. Trust that it’s there! We’re both watching carbs so I served this today in a salad form with a mix of cherry tomatoes over top! If you’re serving as a sandwich, I’d recommend using slices of garden tomatoes instead.
Whatever you do, salad or sandwich, try to top with fresh basil if you can, little baby leaves or slices. It adds a little fresh zing that plays so well with the balsamic glaze. If you can’t, maybe you’ll want to spread the chicken with a little pesto before adding the mozzarella, or adding the pesto as a layer if you’re making a sandwich, but that’s optional. But maybe you’ll want pesto AND basil!
The chicken is super simple, just a few Italian herbs or if you’d rather a marinade of Italian dressing; let it sit for a bit for maximum flavor. And if you’d like, rather than using full breasts, use chicken cutlets (my choice) which are just basically chicken breast cut in half and lightly pounded if needed. They cook in a flash! But if you are cooking the larger breasts I have a killer method (and you gotta know it’s a little fussy because it comes from Cook’s Illustrated) that turns out the most amazing, moist & tender grilled chicken.
The Balsamic Glaze:
The easy Balsamic Glaze is what really takes this recipe over the top! Balsamic glaze is super simple to make and takes any old balsamic vinegar and makes it taste better! I wouldn’t dare use a fabulous, aged balsamic in a glaze! If you’re feeling a little flush go with a middle of the road balsamic but even a plain old grocery store balsamic tastes fabulous when reduced to a glaze.
I do have a whole post on Balsamic Glaze if you’d like to read up on it more, but the instructions are here for this specific recipe. Any extra can be stored in the fridge (or made into a salad dressing by adding a little oil and a bit of mustard and shaking it up in a jar.
Grilling the Chicken:
The fewer ingredients a recipe has, usually the more important each is. I was wowed when I ran out of my Italian Herb Blend and, in a rush, picked up (it was a decent brand) at the store. What a difference that simple homemade seasoning made! (It was even more apparent because we made this two days in a row, so it made a good comparison! We love it that much!) If you have a chance and love to use Italian seasoning, check out my Homemade Italian Blend.
There’s nothing making this recipe, just follow the instructions. It is best to make a two-part fire, one side hot the other side cool and I highly recommend using the method shown for thicker full-sized breasts. It’s fussy and takes a little longer but the results are fabulous. If using cutlets, just flash grill them hot till nicely marked on one side, then turn and place on the cooler side to finish.
The little trick with covering the chicken with a pan (use a disposable aluminum one if you’re so inclined) works so well in cooking the chicken and in melting the cheese! Don’t melt the cheese too long; once it starts, it will run and trust me, it’s a small tragedy to have your cheese in the coals or on the grates instead of on your chicken!
Saving Money on Grilled Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Glaze:
There’s no need to ever pay full price for chicken – it goes on sale too often. It pays to know the difference between a good sales price and a rock bottom sales price (usually about once a quarter) and stock up at the low. Often these are larger family packs so portion out in sizes suitable for meals for your family and freeze.
This recipe is fabulous using chicken cutlets and if you cut your own sales priced chicken breasts in half horizontally and then lightly pound if needed, you’ll usually save money over buying cutlets and you’ll stretch the chicken!
There is not a doubt that specialty tomatoes like grape or cherry tomatoes cost more than a plain old tomato at the store, but there are some strategies to finding them at a great price. Since they come packaged, look for coupons (check your coupon site or the producer’s site) and they regularly go on sale in my area – often with a store coupon. (Yes, you can use both.) Check for great sales around any holiday, when they often go for half the regular sales price and check Aldi, too, for great prices.
Mozzarella is the pricey ingredient here. While coupons aren’t as common as they were in the past, check the producer’s site. Watch for near deli cheese like this to go on sale, buy one get one free or buy one get one half off and then apply the coupons, and yes, you can use two. Otherwise, check Aldi if you have one nearby.Print
Grilled Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Glaze
- Total Time: 25 minutes + optional marinade
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Chicken
- Cuisine: Italian
- 4 chicken breasts, 6 ounces each, pounded slightly to an even layer or 2 chicken breasts, sliced horizontally, pounded if necessary, into cutlets (grilling directions are different for cutlets)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or my Italian Herb Blend
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & pepper as desired
- A little bit of olive oil for brushing grill and bread, if grilling
- 4 slices Italian or French bread, cut on the diagonal, about an inch thick for sandwiches or salad greens for salad
- 4 slices tomato, about 3/8 inch thick for sandwiches, or 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced or halved for salad
- 4 slices of fresh mozzarella, sliced about 3/8 inch thick
- several basil leaves dropped on top whole or thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoons butter
Mix Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Sprinkle chicken on both sides. Sprinkle with salt & pepper if desired. For most flavor, give the chicken some time; an hour is good, overnight is better.
As chicken is cooking, put balsamic and honey in a small saucepan and reduce to about 1/2 the volume. When finished, swirl in butter, then set aside to cool. The reduction happens quickly; watch closely. It will bubble up as it boils.
Grilling full-sized breasts:
- If using charcoal, build a two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds). If using a gas grill, heat one side to medium-hot. Clean grill when hot with a wire brush.Brush the cool side of grill with a little olive oil (use tongs and a bit of wadded up paper towel). Place chicken on cooler side of grill, smooth-side down, with thicker side facing coals. Cover with a disposable pan and cook until bottom of chicken just begins to develop light grill marks and is no longer translucent, 6 to 9 minutes.
- Using tongs, flip chicken, and rotate so that thinner side faces coals. Cover with disposable pan and continue to cook until chicken is opaque and firm to touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 140 degrees, 6 to 9 minutes longer.
- Brush a little olive oil on the hotter side of the grill. Move chicken to hotter side of grill and cook, uncovered, until dark grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook until dark grill marks appear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees F., 1 to 2 minutes longer. Move chicken to the cool side of the grill. Top with mozzarella, cover with pan for just a moment until cheese is beginning to melt.
- If using charcoal, build a two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds). If using a gas grill, heat one side to medium-hot. Clean grill when hot with a wire brush.
- Brush the hot side of with a little olive oil (use tongs and a bit of wadded up paper towel). Place chicken on hot side of the grill until nice grill marks appear, turn over and cook until just done (160 degrees F. Move to cool side, top with mozzarella, cover and leave for just a moment until cheese is beginning to melt.
In the meantime, place bread (brush with olive oil first if desired) if using on the hot side of the grill and lightly toast if or arrange salad on a platter. When finished, add chicken to bread or salad, top with tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and sprinkle with basil.
Keywords: balsamic reduction, Balsamic Vinegar, Bargain Meal of the Week, Cheese, Chicken, Grilled or Smoked, Italian, Main dish salad, Mozzarella, Salad, Sandwiches, Tomatoes, Vinegar.