This Hasselback chicken recipe transforms simple ingredients into a beautiful and satisfying dish.
What Is Hasselback Chicken?
You might think the name has something to do with the chicken’s back, but it doesn’t. The name is derived from a similarly prepped dish named ‘Hasselback potatoes’, a staple of a Swedish restaurant in Stockholm called ‘Hasselbacken’.
To make their staple, chefs thinly slice potatoes, but not all the way, to keep the base intact. They are then seasoned and baked. The end result is golden brown perfection on the outside and cooked through evenly on the inside. They also seem to ‘bloom’ in the process, making them pleasing to the eye with their delicate look.
Chicken Hasselback is similarly prepped, but the slices are thicker, and in between each is a ricotta-spinach filling and large bacon slices. Sometimes cherry tomatoes are used as well to lend a nice juicy addition, just as we have in this recipe.
Still, healthy eating requires a moderate intake of not just calories, but also sodium and saturated fats. As the breasts are packed with lots of ricotta, bacon, and salt, those amounts can exceed the daily recommendations.
We tried our best to use the optimum amount of these ingredients so the dish still tastes as it should but is more health-friendly. Eventually, we hit on the right combination to have something both delicious and with a good-looking nutritional profile:
Chicken breasts are the usual choice for this dish, and the only appropriate one as well. Some people choose a skin-on cut so it turns crispy once cooked, but we just prefer the skinless version.
Also, you will want to pick a large chicken breast, something that weighs around 6 ounces, as it presents better on the plate. If you can’t find any this size, two small ones (3 ounces each) would be fine.
2. Filling Ideas
First, let’s talk cheese: you want something that’s creamy, soft after baking, but not too runny that it gets everywhere. The following tick these boxes: cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta, provolone, and probably more, but we picked ricotta and with good reason.
Ricotta has the perfect texture and aroma to go with spinach. The soft texture of cooked spinach takes the cheese filling to the next level.
In between the slits are also bacon slices, which yield amazing smoky pork flavors. We use raw bacon, as it gets cooked later in the oven, and cut the rashers into large rectangles that fit the chicken.
Finally, we half some cherry tomatoes and have them stuffed, too. There’s the creaminess from spinach-ricotta and the chewiness from bacon, so a juicy element just rounds it off nicely.
We gave our chicken a basic flavor blend: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and some Italian seasoning. It’s not an Italian staple, but we just love the fragrance of these herbs so much.
Complementing Roasted Vegetables
Rich, fulfilling dishes like this one should be lightened with some cooked veg (or salad). We thought potatoes and broccoli would do, so we tossed them with oil and oregano, microwave them first, then put them in the oven to bake away.
For dense root vegetables that might take more than 15 minutes to cook, we often microwave it before baking to save time. You can also achieve this by boiling or steaming the veg but convenience wise, the microwave always wins out.
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat
You can store Hasselback chicken in the fridge for 5 days, but as with dishes made of chicken breasts, we don’t recommend having leftovers. Reheated chicken breast has a dry, tough texture that can be disappointing.
Instead, you can prepare the ingredients beforehand: make the ricotta mixture, slice the tomatoes and cook the bacon. Keep all of these in the fridge and the chicken in the freezer. Once you’ve partially thawed the chicken, the assembly will take just a few minutes, and during the 25 minutes of baking time you have a chance to do other things.
What to Serve With
We round off the beautiful flavors of this dish with a fresh, simple Greek salad and a glass of tangy, aromatic pineapple cucumber juice. They can be put together and ready in about 25 minutes; exactly what your chicken needs in the oven.
Other Golden Chicken Recipes
Chicken and potatoes, a popular combo that has been well-loved for as long as we can remember. They’re super easy to cook with and pair deliciously together.
These rosemary chicken thighs taste just like they look: savory, chewy, and fragrant. The meat, potato wedges, and asparagus all cook on a single lined sheet, making cleanup a breeze.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
Hasselback chicken is one of those dishes that takes only 30 minutes to make but tastes like you’ve been cooking it forever - the flavors are explosive and so delicious you won't be able to stop wanting more.