Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (2023)

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This Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken might be my number one, back-pocket recipe. It’s the kind of recipe that is almost always a hit, no matter who I’m cooking for (except for vegetarians, then just use tofu or tempeh or something) and I genuinely crave it more than any other thing.

This could be due to my insatiable love for garlic, but jury’s out there. With only a handful of cheap pantry ingredients required, this is a 30-minute, one-pan recipe that just absolutely wins the day. This is the best version of Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken that I’ve ever made/tried and I think you guys are going to dig it, too.

Table of Contents

What is Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken?

The “Tuscan” really just comes from the fact that this recipe has spinach in it. That always makes me laugh, if I’m being honest with you. Somehow, the addition of greens or spinach to a dish all of a sudden qualifies it as “Tuscan.” Not sure how people in Tuscany feel about that, but alas.

A slightly lighter Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken

A lot of recipes for garlic butter this-and-that call for heavy cream, and to be honest guys, I almost never use heavy cream in my recipes. Half and half usually works just as well and you’ll save a TON of calories without sacrificing any flavor or body in your sauce.

(Video) Tuscan Chicken | The Ultimate Chicken Dinner?

So, I’ve written my recipe with half and half. BUT. If you have cream and would rather use that – do it! You could even use milk in a pinch. Or coconut milk. Seriously, this recipe is flexible. It will still be amazing, no matter which road you take. Isn’t that such good news? And can’t we all use a little more of that right now?

Fresh vs. Canned Tomatoes

You can really use either in this recipe, to be honest. Another reason why I love it so much. I typically use canned, because (thanks to Costco) I’ve always got loads on hand. But you can easily chop up a few fresh Romas or a half-pint of cherry or grape tomatoes to accomplish the goal here.

When it comes to canned, I do think San Marzano are a notch above the rest, in case you find yourself in the canned tomato section, wondering which kind to buy. That’s your very best bet.

Anyway. I’ve got several “Garlic Butter” based recipes here on this site and – call them what you want – they are SO DELICIOUS. My Tuscan Garlic Butter Salmon and Shrimp is the best when you want to impress. Or, you can go a little smoky and spicy with things and try my Chipotle Garlic Butter Chicken (also a winner chicken dinner). If you’re into citrus, then my easy Herby Lemon Butter Chicken will happily fit the bill.

Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (3)
Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (4)
Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (5)

What you’ll need to make this recipe

A simple collection of accessible, affordable ingredients come together in this easy-as-can be recipe. The butter and half and half calm the acidity of the tomatoes, and combine with punchy garlic to create a gorgeous and basically addictive sauce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwiseOR8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, OR8 to 12 chicken tenderloins (you choose the cut!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 TBSP butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves (or 4 smaller ones), minced
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (give or take)
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 1.5 cups halved cherry/grape tomatoes)
  • 1.5 cups half and half
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino, or Romano)
Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (6)
Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (7)

Kitchen Little Essentials

For this Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken recipe, you will need:

A large skillet

Cutting board

Chef’s knife

(Video) This Tuscan Styled Chicken has the best flavour of any sauce I've made so far

Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (8)

How to Make Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken

This is a 30-minute, one-pan meal that costs pennies to make (especially is you opt for chicken thighs), so it is a true My Kitchen Little classic. Here’s the low-down:

DIRECTIONS

  1. You can use whatever chicken you’ve got on hand (boneless, preferably). I have made this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins and thighs and all turn out great. If you’re using boneless skinless breasts, just take your chef’s knife and, working lengthwise, cut the breasts in half so they’re smaller. I also like to pound my chicken breasts a little with a heavy-bottomed glass. This flattens them so they lay better for me in the pan and can pick up even more brown color (that part is optional, just a nice tip). Bigger pieces of chicken will just take a bit longer to brown, but the directions are the same for any cut.
  2. Brown your chicken in batches. This will enable them to get crunchier and browner without crowding the pan, all of the pieces messing with each other’ personal space. Personal space in crucial to proper browning.
  3. After all of the meat is browned, transfer to a tray/plate and then we’ll build the sauce up in the same pan. DON’T WIPE IT OUT! The browned bits are called “fond” and equal major flavor for our sauce. The same goes for any juices that collect around the chicken as it waits. We’ll pour those back into the sauce when we add the chicken back in at the end, and it’s like hitting the “turbo boost” button so far as the flavor is concerned. It’s lush, let me tell you.
  4. We’ll add butter to the pan and a little more oil. The oil will help keep the butter from burning while we saute’ our onions and then the tomatoes, spinach and garlic.
  5. At this point, adding in a splash of wine, and allowing it to cook down for a couple of minutes wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you’ve got it – go for it!

I use canned diced or whole tomatoes when I make this, and I think it’s probably the best option. But let’s say you’ve got some cherry or grape tomatoes that you need to use up – those will work really well here, too. Just halve them and allow them to cook for a little longer in the pan before adding in the half and half, until they’ve started to shrink and release their juices a bit.

Enjoy this one, friends.

Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (9)

If you like the looks of this Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken, you might also enjoy:

Lemon Butter Chicken with Herbs

Creamy Dill Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans

Lighter Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

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Best Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken

Tuscan Garlic Butter Chicken: Best Version! (13)

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(Video) Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Chicken
★★★★★5 from 1 reviews

An addictive, crave-worthy garlic butter sauce with fresh spinach, tomatoes and onion. This goes well on almost any proteins you’ve got – I use it on all manner of chicken and salmon, and often throw some fresh shrimp on top as well. A crowd-pleasing recipe that is super cheap to make, this is a true back-pocket gem to have in your arsenal. I highly recommend serving this with pasta and/or crusty bread to help sop up all of the sauce.

(Video) TUSCAN MUSHROOMS | Creamy Garlic Buttery Mushrooms Recipe

Ingredients

Scale

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwiseOR8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, OR8 to 12 chicken tenderloins (you choose the cut!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 4 TBSP butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves (or 4 smaller ones), minced
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (give or take)
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 1.5 cups halved cherry/grape tomatoes)
  • 1.5 cups half and half
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or pecorino, or Romano)

Instructions

  1. Season your chicken pieces generously with salt, pepper, and oregano on all sides. Add 2 TBSP of the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium high heat. When the oil is hot and working in batches if necessary, cook the chicken until golden brown and crusty on both sides (time varies depending on the cut but typically is about 4 to 5 minutes per side). Transfer the browned chicken to a plate or baking sheet while you make the sauce.
  2. For the sauce, reduce the heat to medium/med-low and add the butter to the same pan in which you cooked the chicken (don’t wipe out the pan!). Add another 1 TBSP of olive oil to the pan as well and add the onion. Cook, stirring, for just about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes (either canned or fresh work fine) and the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted down; about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the half and half and the cheese and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt and pepper, or to taste. Slide the chicken, and any juices, back into the pan. Allow the chicken to simmer gently in the sauce for about 5 minutes before serving.

FAQs

What is Tuscan chicken made of? ›

Ingredients for Creamy Tuscan Chicken: Chicken breast, chicken broth, cream, parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes, butter, flour, baby spinach, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Is chicken breast or thigh better for butter chicken? ›

Butter Chicken is traditionally made with chicken thighs. Chicken thighs, unless you have access to a tandoor, will give the best flavor and texture. You may absolutely use chicken breasts if you prefer, but I highly recommend marinating the chicken for at least overnight for best flavor.

Is Garlic Butter Chicken KFC spicy? ›

Yes, the KFC Garlic Butter Chicken is that amazing. The balance of flavors was top notch! Sweet, spicy, and salty all in one bite.

Does butter chicken contain garlic? ›

It's all about that sauce when it comes to authentic butter chicken. You'll be surprised to find that you only need an onion, a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic and ginger, and some added spices to continue those beautiful flavours in the sauce.

How long should a chicken breast bake? ›

How long should I bake chicken breast?
  1. 20 to 30 minutes for large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked in a 375 degrees F oven.
  2. 35 to 40 minutes for large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts cooked in a 375 degrees F oven.
2 Dec 2021

Why is my butter chicken watery? ›

Troubleshooting: My sauce was thin and watery and I had to use cornstarch to thicken it. What went wrong? This happens if you add the butter and cream before the sauce has had a chance to cool down, causing the sauce to be to thin. Next time, wait a little before adding them.

Why does my butter chicken look grainy? ›

Note: If you've tried blending the sauce and the texture is grainy, it may have too much onions. Just add a tablespoon of water at a time and continue to blend until you have a silky smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and dump in the cooked chicken with all of the juices in the pan.

What is KFC garlic butter Twister? ›

The KFC Garlic Butter Twister can be a handy, on-the-go snack. It's a mouth-watering wrap of KFC Hot Shots coated in buttery sauce, mixed with buttered corn, KFC's thick-cut Crispy Fries, and an appetizing amount of creamy dressing.

Why is butter chicken so good? ›

The reason why Butter chicken is such a delightful dish is because of, obviously, butter. The splendid blend of cream sauce, butter, spiced up tomatoes, and an array of Indian spices melts in your mouth instantly. If you're a chicken lover, this is a must-try dish for you.

Why is butter chicken so sweet? ›

Unlike most Indian curries where the preparation of the base starts with a blend of onion and a ginger garlic paste cooked in oil, butter chicken uses tomato as a base and is cooked in butter, giving it a slightly sweet flavor. Cashews and almonds add to the sweetness and richness of the dish.

What is butter chicken sauce made of? ›

Water, Tomato, Cream, Unsalted butter, Vegetable oil, Sugar, Modified corn starch, Concentrated tomato purée, Spices, Dried onion, Ginger, Garlic, Salt, Lactic acid (acidulant), Paprika extract, Citric acid (acidulant), Dried fenugreek leaf.

What kind of wine goes good with Tuscan chicken? ›

Some great wines to pair with Tuscan chicken include Chianti, Barbera, and Sangiovese. All of these wines have the acidity and tannins to stand up to the richness of the dish, and they'll also highlight the dish's savory flavors.

What is a good side dish with Italian chicken? ›

The best side dishes to serve with Italian chicken are pesto rigatoni, roasted asparagus and tomatoes, potato wedges, green salad, and mushroom risotto. Try broccoli casserole, smoky creamed kale, or orzo stuffed peppers for unique but tasty side dishes.

Should you cover chicken breast while baking? ›

Baking chicken at home (whether as pieces or a whole bird) is really as easy as prep and bake. You never have to worry about covering chicken while baking, as it's fine to bake it uncovered. Once your chicken is in the oven, it's hands-free until you need to check the temperature.

Is it better to bake chicken at 350 or 400? ›

The reason why baking chicken breast at 400 F is better than 350 F is that cooking them at a high temperature will require fewer minutes and will garner more color.

How do you keep chicken breast moist in the oven? ›

Cook at a lower heat for longer to keep the chicken breast tender and juicy. Bake just until internal temp reaches about 160º F, then let sit under foil to cook to a safe internal temp. Line pan or baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Olive oil keeps chicken moist and adds extra flavor.

Does butter chicken taste better the next day? ›

YES, in fact we recommend it because butter chicken only gets BETTER with time as the flavors develop. Make it, let cool completely, refrigerate and enjoy it the next day for optimal flavor. Butter chicken also freezes well if you don't add the cream.

What can I use to thicken butter chicken sauce? ›

Mix cornstarch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot with cold water or a cup of liquid from the curry sauce to make a slurry. Add this at the end of the cooking process—the sauce should thicken as soon as it returns to a boil.

Does sauce thicken with the lid on or off? ›

Cooking a soup, stew, or sauce uncovered allows water to evaporate, so if your goal is to reduce a sauce or thicken a soup, skip the lid. The longer you cook your dish, the more water that will evaporate and the thicker the liquid becomes—that means the flavors become more concentrated, too.

What does butter chicken taste like? ›

Butter chicken has a mildly sweet flavor resulting from the butter-base, which cuts the intensity of the curry spices used in its making. Chicken tikka masala, on the other hand, has more of a kick to it. The different spices in the masala all complement each other to release their full spectrum of flavors.

How do you serve butter chicken with naan? ›

In lieu of forks and knives, tear long chunks of bread (in restaurants, that's usually naan) with your right hand, pulling with your thumb and forefinger while holding the rest in place with your other fingers. Wrap this around the food and gravy in your main dish and eat the whole morsel in one scoop.

Is butter chicken spicy or sweet? ›

Butter Chicken is a mildly spicy dish. It also tastes slightly sweetish. The sweetness comes from dairy ingredients and honey/sugar. These are the core ingredients of this recipe, and you can't make traditional Butter Chicken without these ingredients.

Why is my chicken rubbery but moist? ›

Overcooking might play a role in your chicken's tire-like texture. Leaving chicken in a pan, oven, or grill for just a little too long can suck the moisture right out and leave you with a dry, rubbery bird. Without moisture, the protein fibers in the chicken become elastic.

Is butter chicken spicier than Korma? ›

Both use tomato in the sauce, but the tanginess in korma is much milder than that of butter chicken.

Why chicken thighs are better than breasts? ›

Way More Flavorful

Chicken thighs are a fattier cut of meat, which means they're going to have more intense, rich flavor than their white meat counterparts. No matter the cooking preparation, chicken thighs will always yield a richer, more flavorful product.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts? ›

Chicken thighs can be used in all the same ways that chicken breasts can. Thighs do have a little less protein and a little more fat than chicken breasts, but the differences are not very big. My favorite way to use chicken thighs are in the slow cooker.

Which cooks faster chicken breast or thigh? ›

The difference in cook times for chicken thighs and chicken breasts is negligible in most cases. Chicken thigh meat takes longer to cook because it's more dense, so if you have a breast and a thigh of identical size, the thigh will need more cooking time.

What's the difference between chicken thighs and chicken breast? ›

The difference comes in the fat content of these two meats. Dark thigh meat has much more saturated fat then the white breast meat. You'll find three extra grams of fat for every 100 grams of meat in the dark meat, and then twice as much saturated fat in thigh meat as in breast meat.

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