Chicken artichoke melts. Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle; food styling for The Washington Post by Gina Nistico

Boneless, skinless chicken breast is a staple of healthful eating for good reason – it packs a lot of protein with not much saturated fat, it cooks quickly, and is a blank slate flavor-wise so there is a lot you can do with it. Simply grilled or baked, it can be a lifeline on a busy, back-to-school weeknight.

But like the day-to-day routine of the season itself, basic cooked chicken breast can get boring really fast. Also, it’s easily overcooked and tends to wind up dry. Enter these chicken artichoke melts, which are full of exciting flavor and juiciness but require hardly any effort.

The topping is a simple but sublime mixture of finely chopped artichoke hearts, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder and a touch of cream cheese. After mashing these ingredients together into a thick paste, you pile it onto pieces of chicken breast and bake them until the chicken is cooked and the topping is melted. Then you pop them under the broiler for a couple of minutes so the cheese becomes nicely browned.

Pounding the chicken to a uniform thickness and baking it allows for even, gentle cooking, which prevents it from drying out. The topping melts lusciously onto the chicken, forming a creamy, artichoke-dip-like layer so that each juicy bite is packed with savory flavor. It’s a simple preparation that makes chicken breast something to get excited about – and I bet it will wind up in your regular meal rotation as you settle into your fall routine.

Chicken artichoke melts

Here, a simple but sublime mixture of chopped artichoke hearts, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder and a touch of cream cheese is piled onto chicken breasts and baked until the topping melts lusciously onto the chicken and forms a creamy, artichoke dip-like layer. Each juicy bite is packed with savory flavor, making chicken breast something to get truly excited about.


4 servings

Active time: 20 minutes; total time: 35 minutes

Storage note: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.


4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon olive oil


1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and finely chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon fine salt


Fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a mallet or rolling pin to pound the pieces to about 3/4-inch thickness. Pat the chicken dry, then rub each piece on both sides with the oil, place onto a sheet pan and sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to thoroughly mix together the artichoke hearts, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, garlic, salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper until combined.

Divide the artichoke mixture among the chicken pieces, topping each with an even layer of the mixture.

Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through and registers 165 on an instant-read thermometer. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned. Divide among individual plates, garnish with parsley and serve.

Nutritional information per serving (1 piece of chicken): 271 calories, 3g carbohydrates, 112mg cholesterol, 11g fat, 1g fiber, 40g protein, 4g saturated fat, 443mg sodium, 0g sugar

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