Skillet Pizza Chicken

May 19, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This exceptional one-dish chicken is adapted (based on my tastes and tinkering!) from Melissa Clark's cookbook (Dinner: Changing the Game). Her recipes are all so thoughtfully designed to work beautifully for dinner: simple, flavorful, easy-to-vary, and crowd-pleasing. She describes it in her book as tasting like chicken Parmesan without the richness, and that's exactly right. It hits all the cheesy, warm, comforting high notes without the feeling of "let me fall asleep right after"-- I've adapted it to feed just 2 people, but you can easily double it: just use 3 1/2 pounds of bone-in chicken. The rest of the recipe can stay as is unless you want more sauce, then increase the other amounts too. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (or other bone-in chicken pieces)
  • 2 strips thick-cut bacon (or pancetta), cut in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (use more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 14 ounces canned whole plum tomatoes
  • 2 pints fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 1 large sprig of basil
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Add the chopped bacon (or pancetta) to a large oven-proof skillet (I used a 10" for a two-person meal) and cook over medium-high heat until crisp and golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.
  3. If the pan is a little dry, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes -- they should be well-browned on all sides but not cooked through. Transfer the chicken thighs to the plate with the bacon. (Don't drain the pan at any point!)
  5. Add the garlic, capers, and chile flakes to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the tomatoes, the large sprig of basil, and the oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens a bit. It helps to smash the tomatoes a bit with the back of a spatula or spoon as they cook.
  7. Add the bacon and chicken thighs back to the pan, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove the skillet from the oven. Turn the broiler on high. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and sprinkle them over the top of the skillet. Place the skillet under the broiler for about 2 minutes -- watch carefully! Take it out as soon as the cheese bubbles and browns.
  9. Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil over the skillet. Serve over baby spinach or other greens.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Heather Hildebrand
    Heather Hildebrand
  • Liz Crawford
    Liz Crawford
  • Katie Corr
    Katie Corr
  • Meghan M.
    Meghan M.

25 Reviews

FrugalCat November 27, 2023
Good chicken parm-ish recipe. Served with spinach and whole wheat pasta.
Kathy March 30, 2018
I absolutely love this recipe--it's now a go-to regular item on the menu. It was good on first cooking, and even better the second day. I used boneless chicken thighs rather than bone in, which made it easy for everyone to handle (and they were on special at my grocery). I'm not an anchovy person so went with the capers and was very pleased with the blend of flavors.
Heather H. March 17, 2018
About to make this, and I'd like to use the anchovies... how many anchovies should I use, and by how much should I reduce the amount of capers to compensate?
Posie (. March 17, 2018
Melissa’s original recipe uses 2 anchovies and skips the capers! I’d try that.
Liz C. February 1, 2018
Yes, that would help but most of the fat comes out in the oven. Next time I will also try to pull more fat off the raw chicken.
Arrxx February 1, 2018
Maybe the issue is the instruction "Transfer the chicken thighs to the plate with the bacon. (Don't drain the pan at any point!)" I wonder what would happen if you DID drain off the fat or at least some of it. The chicken would render fat when you brown it.
Liz C. February 1, 2018
I have made this twice and we love it but I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the amount of chicken fat. I don't have a problem with fat but there is a good 1/2" of liquid chicken fat floating on the surface in the end. I can feel my gall bladder shuddering. I take as much off as I can with a turkey baster but does anyone have any suggestions besides going skinless?
Margaret W. October 17, 2017
I made this tonight, and it was a fast, family favorite!!! I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them in half to shorten the time in the oven. We sopped up the juices from the tomato sauce with a freshly baked ciabatta loaf and paired the meal green beans with caper vinagerette (also found in the Dinner cookbook). All of it paired very well for a light and easy weeknight dinner. I did leave the anchovies and capers in the recipe. It definitely adds a lot of depth of flavor!!
LiliD October 10, 2017
Good flavours, but I found it too liquidy with 2 pints of cherry tomatoes.
Maire G. June 27, 2017
I made this tonight except with all fresh tomatoes from the garden, drumsticks and boneless breast,and no fresh mozzarella. I added some Asiago cheese at the end because that's all I had. It turned out delicious. I will definitely try it again with the fresh mozzarella. It's a great recipe to use up some of my garden bounty. We used about 4 to 5 cups of chopped tomatoes.
I'm glad I saved it when I saw it. Tnanks.
Brenda S. June 15, 2017
This was absolutely delicious - I only had boneless thighs in my freezer, but that made for quicker cook time. Threw in some arugula I needed to use up and served over a little leftover pasta. Will definitely be in regular rotation.
Katie C. June 13, 2017
Hi! Is it possible to omit capers? Not a huge fan of them but also hate to change a recipe before I have even tried it. Thanks!
Meghan M. June 13, 2017
I'm not a huge caper fan either, but included them...and definitely didn't overpower.
Posie (. June 13, 2017
Definitely fine to omit them if you prefer!
Brenda S. June 15, 2017
One of us doesn't care for them (not me), so I rinsed them and minced up a bit. He never knew.....
piggledy June 12, 2017
For some reason, I am having a difficult time pinning this. The photo doesn't show up, so Pinterest won't pin it. Not just this recipe, but all food52 recipes I have wanted to pin since yesterday. Any ideas? Anyone else having this problem?
piggledy June 15, 2017
Thank goodness the problem seems to have resolved itself, as no one had suggestions for remedy!! 😐
Juliebell June 17, 2017
The pin problem is back. Just tried to pin from Food 52 and it's not working.😗
Neil L. June 12, 2017
Looks lovely. The rest of the world is rather large, and ounces - of which there are apparently different types - are a mystery to us. I so wish these recipes would include units (grams, milliliters and degrees Celcius) that we use in brackets. I have to paste ingredient lists into Excel and run around the kitchen with a conversion app on my phone to get the right oven temperature. Not my idea of a quick weeknight meal.
eva H. July 16, 2017
Ugh yes pelase! Listing other units would save me so much time.
Arrxx June 12, 2017
Chicken skin that is nicely browned get rubbery and gross when submerged in any liquid. So maybe make sure the skin is above the liquid when adding back the tomato mixture?
Posie (. June 12, 2017
Great point -- the proportions of the recipe as written should take care of that for you. I had no issues getting the skin nice and crisp under the broiler!
Sydne N. June 12, 2017
I made sure to sit the thighs on top of the tomato sauce for that reason, and as Posie said, the broiling probably helped. But I was curious as to whether she or Melissa intended for the cherry tomatoes to be halved and added with the canned tomatoes or added at the end. I halved them and added with the canned tomatoes, but it's easily the first time I've cooked cherry tomatoes!
Meghan M. June 7, 2017
Made this with chicken breast, skipped the pancetta, and used only one pint of tomatoes. Topped with a healthy portion of arugula. Delish and made great leftovers for lunch the next day.
KimmyV June 5, 2017
I made this for dinner tonight. I doubled the recipe and served it with pasta. Everyone loved it! I will be making this often. Great weeknight dinner.