Skillet Chicken Puttanesca

The anchovy fillets in this recipe are highly recommended. They add a savory, somewhat salty depth and hardly any fishiness.

You can double the recipe easily if you have a larger skillet.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
  • 4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata or other black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Extra sprigs fresh oregano, for garnish
  • Crusty bread, to serve (skip if serving gluten-free)

Special equipment:


1 Prep the tomato sauce: Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands or with a wooden spoon until you have uneven 1-inch pieces (you can also use scissors to snip the tomatoes into small pieces).

Mix in the anchovies, olives, capers, red pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the oregano to the bowl. Set aside.

2 Sear the chicken: Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until hot.

Add the chicken and cook without disturbing for 3 minutes, or until browned. If you are using a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet, do not turn until the chicken moves easily without prodding.

Turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Skillet Chicken Puttanesca

3 Make the sauce: In the skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the tomato mixture – be careful since the juices will splutter when you add them to the pan. Cook for 1 minute or until the spluttering stops. Stir well, turn down the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, black pepper, or red pepper, if you like.

4 Add the chicken and finish the sauce: Add the chicken breasts and any juices to the skillet and spoon a little sauce over top.

Cover the pan and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165F.

Skillet Chicken Puttanesca

5 Serve: Serve straight from the skillet or transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon oregano over the top and garnish with oregano sprigs. Serve with plenty of crusty bread.

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  • Ariel

    I made this for dinner last night & it was amazing. I modified the recipe a big by using crushed tomatoes, anchovy paste & sliced black olives. Oh, I also sauted white onion before adding garlic & the tomato mix. I will definitely be making this again.


  • Andrea Glassman

    I made this tonight and everyone went crazy over it. Recipe shared with guests. I did make a couple of changes. I saw another recipe with onion and because I love onion I added it – sautéing until translucent before adding garlic. I upped the garlic a bit – we love that! Lastly, I cooked the chicken two minutes per side and when the entire dish was assembled I braised the chicken in a slow oven for an hour or so because we were having company and I wanted to be free from the kitchen. It worked wonderfully. Thank you for such a great recipe! Will be a favorite!


  • Ishbel and James Legarde

    Jimi and I love this chicken dish! One of our faves. I use anchovy paste (about two teaspoons) instead of anchovies since I always have it on hand. It tastes great! We enjoy it often. Thanks again for a great recipe.

  • K Nelson

    So good and very easy! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Denise

    This is really good. I halved the recipe and used crushed tomatoes. It was wonderful – and I’m not a huge fan of chicken breasts. You really do need the crusty bread to soak up that amazing sauce! Will definitely put this into my dinner rotation.

  • Peter C

    I just made this tonight to the letter and it was sensational. The anchovies really give the dish that welcomed salt and umami. Another win for Simply Recipes!

  • ML

    This was great (even without anchovies)!

  • Sandy S

    Made this last night and loved it! Excellent recipe for boneless/skinless chicken breasts. My only change was to slice the breasts in half length-wise before searing. Looking forward to sandwiches made with slices of leftover chicken, sauce and provolone cheese heated under the broiler .


  • Joan in VA

    I love Puttanesca sauce. I first found it at a local Italian restaurant. Since I am allergic to mushrooms, I asked what Puttanesca sauce was … what were the ingredients. The waiter blushed, kind of hung his head, and mumble, ‘the naughty ladies.’
    I am going have this version for dinner tomorrow night.

  • Ana

    Can I use anchovy paste?

    • Emma Christensen

      Yes, I think anchovy paste would be great! I’m not totally sure how much to substitute — start with 1 to 2 teaspoons and work up from there?