Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

4.50 from 4 votes

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This 3-ingredient Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken 🍗 came to me in a moment of kitchen inspiration. I wanted to make something creative and new, but I only had a few ingredients on hand: chicken thighs, pizza sauce, and olives. I thought to myself: “I wonder if pizza sauce would be good baked on chicken?”. 45 minutes later, I discovered the answer was a resounding 💯 “YES!” – it makes for a delicious combination. When I say pizza sauce, I mean a seasoned 🍅 marinara sauce, either store-bought or homemade. My favorite store-bought brand is Rao’s or try my Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce (Sugo) recipe made without the meat. If you love pizza and chicken, you will love this recipe.

Why You’ll Love Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

The best part of this dinner idea is that it’s a 🫰 SNAP to make, without sacrificing any flavour. By using a premade sauce, you are imparting beautiful Italian flavours into the dish, usually oregano and/or basil. PLUS the acidity from the 🍅 tomatoes helps tenderize the chicken as it bakes. This also comes together in one dish: you prepare and cook the recipe in the same oven-safe baking dish, making clean-up a breeze.

How to Prepare Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

🔥 First, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

🍗 Next, add the chicken thighs to an 8 x 8 inch oven-safe dish.

🧂 Now, add the olive oil, season with salt, and then cover each chicken thigh with a heaping tablespoon of pizza sauce.

🫒 Add the olives and a splash of olive juice, if using. Then give everything a nice massage with clean hands.

⏲️ Next, bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the thighs/breasts (or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a piece of chicken measures 165F).

👩‍🍳 Enjoy on or alongside salad, mashed potatoes, or vegetables.

Nonna’s Tip

If you’re using premade tomato sauce, only add a pinch of salt in case the pizza sauce is already salty.

Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

Variations and Substitutions for Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

  1. The 🫒 olives in this dish are optional, but I love how they become meltingly soft in the oven and add a bit of saltiness to the dish. You could also use capers in place of or in addition to olives.
  2. To make this even more pizza-flavored, finish it off with shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan 🧀 and let melt in the oven for the last minute or so of cooking. 
  3.  You can absolutely make this with any cut of 🍗 chicken, but the cooking times will vary. 

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Common Questions

What type of jarred sauce do you like?

For this Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken recipe, make sure you get a good-quality pizza sauce with good ingredients because that will make all the difference. Mine is by Rao’s and you can find it at grocery stores everywhere.

How Do I make sure the chicken doesn’t dry out in the oven?

To make sure your chicken is always perfectly cooked and still juicy and tender, bake the chicken until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a piece of chicken measures 165F.

Can I make this with other cuts of chicken instead?

Absolutely! Just watch the cooking time. Chicken breast, bone-in or -out will take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to cook depending on how thick it is so make sure to use a meat thermometer to check it’s cooked to 165F.

What else can I use instead of olives?

Jarred capers, with a bit of the juice, will also add a lovely brininess to this dish which complements the tomato flavours perfectly.

Pizza Sauce Baked Chicken

If you love pizza and chicken, you will love this recipe. The best part is this dinner comes together using just one dish: you prepare and cook the recipe in the same oven-safe baking dish, making clean up a breeze.
4.50 from 4 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 6 thighs
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • cup pizza sauce, I love the brand Rao's
  • ¼ cup olives , such as kalamata or green olives
  • touch of olive juice, (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200C).
  • Add the chicken thighs to an 8 x 8 inch oven-safe dish. Add the olive oil, season with salt, and cover each chicken thigh with a heaping tablespoon of pizza sauce.
  • Add the olives and a splash of olive juice, if using.
  • With clean hands give everything a nice massage. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the thighs/breasts, or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a piece of chicken measures 165F. Enjoy on or alongside salad, mashed potatoes, or vegetables.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 457mg, Potassium: 339mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 194IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was a hit with the whole family! I can’t believe how easy it is: both quick to prepare and uses only a couple of ingredients that are often on hand! The meat was so tender and flavourful. I used skinless boneless chicken thighs, Classico brand pizza sauce as that’s what I had, and topped the chicken with a bit of shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan at the end for a couple of minutes. Served with mashed potatoes. I’ll definitely be making this again and again!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and easy… served with white rice and some avocado…. best dinner EVER and budget friendly!!