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Grilled Italian Chicken

Grilled Italian Chicken breasts are stuffed with bacon and loaded with Italian flavors for a delicious recipe that is sure to impress everyone at the dinner table. 

If we are having chicken for dinner, it’s got to be a classic like fried chicken strips or have tons of flavor from our Easy Chicken Marinade. The entire family loved this grilled chicken breast recipe with Italian- inspired flavors.

Platter of sliced chicken with lemon and thyme garnish

Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts ~ Stuffed with Bacon

Grilled chicken breasts are stuffed with bacon and flavored with a quick Italian sauce. One of the most, tender, juicy and delicious grilled chicken recipes you can make at home. 

Ingredients Needed:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Thin Sliced Bacon
  • Whole Lemons – Zest & Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Brown Sugar
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Thyme
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper

plate of sliced chicken and pasta salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil

How to Grill Italian Chicken:

collage stuffing chicken with bacon

  • Remove chicken from packaging and pat dry with paper towels. 
  • Place on a cutting board. 
  • Using a sharp knife, make 3 vertical slits into the to top of the chicken breast. Make the cuts deep but do not cut through the bottom of the breast or through the ends. So that it creates 3 pockets to hold the bacon slices and the Italian dressing. 
  • Cut the bacon in half and place half of a slice into each pocket. It’s okay if the bacon sticks out of the top a bit. 
  • Place chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet. 

For the Italian Dressing:

Italian dressing in a bowl for brushing over grilled chicken breasts

  • Zest 2 lemons and squeeze the juice into a bowl. 
  • Add olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, minced fresh rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. 
  • Whisk all together until brown sugar is dissolved. 
  • Brush Italian dressing mixture over the chicken breasts and down into the pockets. 

sheet pan with 4 chicken breasts, stuffed with bacon and topped with marinade

  • Place the prepared chicken in the refrigerator until ready to grill. 

4 large chicken breasts on a grill

  • Prepare a grill fire to about 350° using hickory or pecan chunks for smoke flavor. 
  • Place chicken onto the grill over indirect heat with the cut side up. 
  • Close the grill and keep the temperature between 325°- 350° cooking about 40 minutes.

Grilled chicken breasts stuffed with bacon on grill

Check the chicken with a digital meat thermometer in the center of the breast. Continue to cook until chicken reaches 160° – 165°. Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts, the total cooking time will be between 45 minutes to an hour. 

grilled chicken breast stuffed with bacon on a sheet pan

  • Remove chicken from grill to a sheet pan to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

sliced chicken breast on a cutting board

  • Slice chicken and serve immediately. 

Oven Method:

I highly recommend cooking this chicken on the grill for the smoky flavor. If you don’t have a grill the chicken can be prepared as directed and baked on a greased baking sheet, in a 375° oven, for about 40-45 minutes.

The bacon stuffed into the chicken cooks right into the chicken adding tons of smoky bacon flavor and at the same time keeps the chicken juicy on the grill. I am not a fan of soft cooked bacon so I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out. It was better than I expected and we have already planned another version made with bbq sauce. 

How to Store and Reheat:

Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 

Chicken is delicious served cold on a sandwich or over a salad. To reheat, add sliced chicken to a skillet coated in olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until heated through. 

Chicken sliced on an oval platter, pasta salad in back ground

Side Dishes for Grilled Chicken:

We served this Italian chicken with Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad that was so fresh and delicious. It’s a quick and easy recipe that goes with everything on the grill. 

Italian Chicken and pasta go so well together and if you love a creamy sauce, this Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo is just as delicious and any restaurant version and so easy to make. 

Twice Baked Potatoes are always a classic to serve with anything on the grill.

Easy Garlic Bread and an Easy Green Salad are the perfect sides for grilled chicken. 

More Grilled Chicken Recipes That You Will Love:

Grilled BBQ Chicken is whole bone-in chicken breasts that are brined, grilled an coated in bbq sauce for a classic summer cookout. 

Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad is a great dinner with all of your favorite Mexican flavors that can easily be prepped ahead for busy nights. 

BBQ Spatchcock Chicken is a fantastic way to grill a whole chicken, where the backbone is removed and the chicken is grilled flat. If you haven’t tried this method yet, add it to your list. 

platter of sliced chicken breast with lemon and thyme garnish

If you are looking for a remarkable dinner for entertaining guests or something new to switch up this week’s menu, give this Grilled Italian Chicken a try. It’s sure to be a family pleaser.

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Yield: 6 servings

Grilled Italian Chicken

sliced chicken breast on a platter with lemon slices and thyme garnish

Grilled Italian Chicken breasts are stuffed with bacon and loaded with Italian flavors for a delicious recipe that is sure to impress everyone at the dinner table. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 3 pounds
  • 6 slices bacon, thin sliced
  • 2 whole lemons (zest & juice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place on a cutting board. 
  2. With a sharp knife, make 3 vertical pockets into the to top of the chicken breast. Do not cut all the way through to the bottom of the chicken or though the ends.
  3. Cut bacon slices in half and tuck half of a slice into each pocket.
  4. Place chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet. 
  5. Mix the Italian Dressing:
  6. Zest 2 lemons and squeeze the juice into a bowl. 
  7. Add olive oil, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Whisk all together until brown sugar is dissolved. 
  8. Brush dressing over the chicken breasts and down into the pockets. 
  9. Refrigerate chicken until ready to grill.
  10. Prepare a grill fire to about 350° using hickory or pecan chunks for smoke flavor. 
  11. Place chicken onto the grill over indirect heat with the cut side up. 
  12. Close the grill and keep the temperature between 325°- 350° cooking about 40 minutes.
  13. Use a digital thermometer to check the center of the breast. Continue to cook until chicken reaches 160° - 165°.
  14. Remove chicken from grill to a sheet pan to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 
  15. Slice chicken and serve immediately. 

Notes

OVEN METHOD:

Chicken can be prepared as directed and baked on a greased baking sheet, in a 375° oven, for about 40-45 minutes. Cook until chicken is 165° internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast.

Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 

Chicken is delicious served cold on a sandwich or over a salad. To reheat, add sliced chicken to a skillet coated in olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until heated through. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 466mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 29g

Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.

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