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Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet Dinner

Tender chicken breasts cook a garlicky, creamy tomato bath, and the addition of kale rounds the creamy chicken skillet meal into a true one-pan dinner. Plus, it’s ready in just about 20 minutes.


4 chicken breasts cooked in a Creamy Tomato sauce topped with basil and parmesan cheese in a cast iron skillet

Kick Your Pasta Craving to the Curb

Creamy, tomato-y, cheesy meals are definitely our kryptonite. Usually, they come in the form of some sort of baked pasta dish—Baked Penne Alla Vodka or Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells, or regular old Lasagna, we’re really not picky. But when we’re trying to keep things a little lighter and healthier, we turn to Italian flavor inspired chicken skillet dinners like our Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Skillet, Marry Me Chicken and of course this creamy tomato chicken skillet dinner recipe! It truly takes barely 30 minutes to put together—just a single pan full of simple ingredients. Easy, healthy-ish, cheesy, kale-y—it’s a real everyone-pleaser.

4 chicken breasts, kale, heavy cream, basil, garlic, fennel seeds, crushed tomatoes and spices

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What You’ll Need to Make this Chicken Skillet Dinner

We bet you’ve already got everything you need to make this creamy tomato chicken recipe! It’s sort of unbelievably basic. You’ve got oil, salt and pepper, right? You’ll just need a few more things to make this skillet dinner:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Garlic
  • Fennel seed
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Canned, crushed tomatoes
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kale
  • Basil
  • Tomato paste
4 chicken breast browned in a large cast iron skillet
tomato paste and garlic in a cast iron skillet
garlic, tomato paste and tomato sauce in a cast iron skillet
garlic, tomato paste and tomato sauce in a cast iron skillet with cream and kale

A Creamy One-Pan Chicken Recipe

Here are the few things you'll need that make this dish so super delicious:

  1. Tomato paste! If you’re not in the habit of keeping this superstar ingredient in your pantry, it’s time to pick up a new habit! Tomato paste is essentially tomato concentrate—tomatoes are cooked down for hours until nearly all of the moisture has been cooked out, and all that’s left is a densely flavorful distillation of tomato flavor. It’s a source of umami, and really intensifies the tomato flavor of this dish.
  1. Cream! Oh yeah. Heavy cream. It satisfies like none other, and the combination of heavy cream and tomatoes is what makes this dish so comforting, and so reminiscent of your favorite baked pasta dishes (sans carbs!).
  2. Cheese! If you’re feeling luxe, spring for a real-deal, grate-yourself hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano. In a pinch, the pre-grated Parmesan cheese will do, though. Just like the tomato paste, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a source of umami, that delicious savory 5th flavor.
Kale and garlic simmering in a creamy tomato sauce in a large cast iron skillet
Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet with kale and basil in a cast iron skillet

How To Make This One-Pan Chicken Skillet Recipe

Grab yourself 20 minutes, and get cooking! Here’s how easy it is:

  1. Brown the chicken breasts in a bit of olive oil, to give them a nice crisp outside. Set them aside.
  2. Keep the skillet warm, and add tomato paste, garlic, fennel seed and red pepper flakes. Then pour in the crushed tomatoes, and get the sauce simmering.
  3. Pour in the heavy cream along with some Parmesan and kale.
  4. When the kale looks wilty, add the seared chicken breasts back to the skillet, and cook until the chicken is done!
  5. Serve! We like to top the finished chicken skillet with cheese and fresh basil.
Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet with kale and basil in a cast iron skillet with parmesan

Tools You’ll Need:

More Skillet Dinner Recipes!

For when you can’t even deal with opening the oven—one-pan, stove-top dinner recipes are what’s up!

Save Us, Skillet Dinners!

And save us they do! Week in, week out, we turn to these trusty, easy recipes to get dinner on the table fast. Let us know how you like this creamy tomato chicken recipe! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet Dinner

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 338


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups packed kale, tough stems discarded and leaves roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced


  1. Season the chicken all over with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is glistening, add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  2. To the same skillet, add the tomato paste, garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the heavy cream, ¼ cup of the parmesan and kale until the kale is just wilted, about 3 minutes more. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and return the chicken to the skillet. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant read thermometer, about 5 minutes more.

  3. Top with the basil and the remaining parmesan and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories338
  • Protein40 g
  • Carbohydrates12 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol114 mg
  • sodium792 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet Dinner

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Christina

    Can I omit the fennel seeds? Or substitute something else?


  • Penny

    can I use sour cream instead of heavy cream?

    we wouldn't recommend that swap

  • lis

    can you substitute spinach for the kale

    Sure! Hope you enjoy!

  • Luisa

    Would a lighter version of the heavy cream work. I absolutely love this recipe, just wondering if I could maybe use half and half or something with less fat. I'm too afraid to try, I don't want to ruin it!

    It might turn out too thin.

  • jen

    can you use spinach instead of kale?


  • (Mr.) Lee M.

    There are only 2 of us. My wife is a good cook, so she made some changes (see parenthesized comments), and it's still delicious. From the top: 1.5 lb. chicken, but chicken cutlets, typically 6 total (smaller meat portions); 1 tsp Morton Lite Salt (lower sodium); 1 cup half&half (lower saturated fat); 1 pkg frozen spinach, fully defrosted (less prep, prefer to kale). She cooks it in a temp-controlled electric frypan with glass lid on for time&temp that cooks the chicken all white inside when cut but not overcooked. Result is 3 nights of delicious dinners (#2 & #3 refrigerated, then carefully microwaved)! Thank you, and she's trying more of your recipes since she stumbled on your superb site!!

    Thank you Lee! We are so happy you both loved this one and so glad you found our site!

  • Gabrielle M.

    Another great meal! The only step I added was to deglaze the pan with a bit of marsala after cooking the chicken. This is definitely joining the dinner rotation :)

    Thanks Gabrielle, so happy to hear it's joining rotation! *Cue happy dance*

  • Michelle W

    Truly spectacular! The flavor is amazing and this came together so quickly, which is key on a busy weeknight. Used baby spinach instead of kale but otherwise made it as written. This is definitely going into the rotation. My family loved it and requested I make it again soon. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Thanks Michelle, we are so happy you and your family enjoyed it!

  • Emily

    Delicious. I only had fire roasted crushed tomatoes, and I'll use them again next time. Also, chicken breasts are so huge that two were 1.5 lbs, so I cut them in half horizontally. Delicious. I used spinach, cuz it was pouring and I didn't want to go outside to harvest kale, and also added 1+ cup of frozen peas. 😆 Also, this sauce, with plant based milk instead of cream on anything is my new go to -- roasted veggies, mashed taters, etc. Yum, thank you!!

    You're welcome Emily! So happy to hear you loved it and the sauce is your new go to!

  • Andrew M

    My wife has a very long laundry list of food she doesn't like. Chicken is in her top 10, but with four opinionated people to cook for someone will always be unhappy. I personally thought this meal was fantastic. I couldn't taste the kale at all, and it gave the meal a satisfying crunch that a tomato soup with chicken wouldn't have. My wife also gave it a thumbs up, so we will be having it again. Thank you! Great recipe!

    Thanks Andrew, so happy you enjoyed it!