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Pesto Chicken

This Pesto Chicken recipe is so simple and only has 4 ingredients. All you need is chicken, homemade pesto, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It’s an easy one-pot meal that your whole family is going to love.

Easy Pesto Chicken Recipe

We’re all in the thick of it, right? The kids are back to school, sports are in full swing, and our activity calendar is full! But guess what, we still have to eat, right?! We are always on the hunt for simple and healthy meals that our whole family will love. This Pesto Chicken is the perfect example!

This recipe will be ready in under an hour and you only need 4 simple ingredients. Plus, you get the use our delicious Homemade Pesto for this dish! When you boil it down, this dish features healthy whole foods that nourish and replenish our busy bodies.

Here’s what we love about the recipe – it’s a hit with everyone! Husbands, wives, children, grandparents – you name it, they always ask for more. You can serve it alone or with pasta, or even on top of a salad. It’s easy to satisfy everyone’s palate.

three uncooked chicken breasts next to a jar of pesto, bowl of shredded cheese, and small bowl of olive oil

What You’ll Need

This baked Chicken Pesto requires just 4 ingredients. You’ll find the recipe below for the exact ingredient amounts.

  • Chicken Breasts: We like to use boneless and skinless for this recipe. You could also use boneless chicken thighs, too.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil lends the best flavor for this dish, but you can use vegetable or avocado oil. Or even butter if you’d like.
  • Pesto: We highly recommend making your pesto from scratch. We even have a simple Basil Pesto recipe for you already! If you must buy from the store, check out the deli counter and see if they have some that are made in the store!
  • Parmesan Cheese: This is the best way to add that extra level of salt flavor and richness to the dish before serving.
cut up chicken with pesto sauce on top and a fork taking a bite

How to Make Pesto Chicken

This recipe is pretty straightforward! The prep only takes about 10 minutes. Here are the simple steps you need to take:

Prep the chicken breasts. You’ll want them to be a little thinner so that they cook faster. We do this by slicing them in half and then pounding the chicken with a meat tenderizer.

Then sear the chicken breasts on each side. Put some oil in an oven-proof skillet and sear each side of the chicken breasts.

Top the chicken with pesto sauce. Then you will put a little bit of pesto on each chicken breast.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Make sure that you cover the pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent the chicken from drying out.

Garnish with parmesan cheese and cook for another 5 minutes. You want to put the pan back into the oven just long enough so that the cheese melts.

Serve the chicken immediately! You can also add more fresh pesto if you’d like.

cut up cooked chicken with pesto on top

Tips for Success

Making this baked chicken and pesto dish is pretty simple and requires just a few quick steps. Here are some tips that will help you along the way.

  • Pounding the chicken thin reduces cooking time. Thinning the chicken helps it cook quickly and has a better pesto to chicken ratio.
  • Mozzarella works, too! You can use mozzarella in place of the parmesan if you prefer.
  • Cover the pan while baking. Covering the pan with foil while it bakes will help keep even heat and keep the chicken juicy.
cut up cooked chicken with pesto on top

What Goes With Pesto Chicken?

This chicken dish pairs with a lot of other simple sides and dishes. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Serve it on top of pasta. You can use any pasta you’d like. Quinoa is another great option.
  • Make it into a sandwich. This chicken would be delicious on bread and turned into a chicken melt sandwich. Adding bacon would be a great, too!
  • Add mashed potatoes. You can serve it alongside our Best Mashed Potatoes for a creamy and rich side option. These Mashed Sweet Potatoes are another great option!
  • Top a salad with pesto chicken. This is a great way to add a flavor-boosted protein to your salads.
  • Veggies: Just about any vegetable would go great with this chicken dish. We recommend an easy side like our favorite Skillet Fried Corn, refreshing Cucumber Tomato Salad, or Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts.

How to Store and Reheat Extras?

This dish is great to keep for leftovers. Here is the best way to do it:

  • Fridge: Just be sure to store in an air-tight container and then you can reheat in the microwave or even in a saute pan quickly (covered). You may need to add a little more pesto or cheese to reconstitute the dish.
  • Freezer: Freezing this dish isn’t really necessary because the dish is so simple to make. We recommend portioning out the thinned chicken and freezing that (uncooked) and having homemade pesto ready to go. Sometimes, when you cook chicken twice (like in this recipe and then again to reheat it) it gets pretty dry and unappetizing.
Yield: 4 servings

Pesto Chicken

cut up cooked chicken with pesto on top

You only need 4 ingredients for this Pesto Chicken! The chicken is low-carb and cooked perfectly with flavorful, bright fresh pesto and parmesan cheese on top.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice the chicken breasts in half to make to thin pieces out of each breast. Place the chicken on a cutting board and using a meat tenderizer, pound the chicken on both sides. 
  3. In a medium size oven proof skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. 
  4. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and quickly sear on each side. Remove the skillet from the heat. 
  5. Cover each breast with pesto and top with parmesan cheese. Cover skillet with foil and cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil, top chicken with parmesan cheese and cook for 5 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through and parmesan is melted.
  6. Serve immediately with extra pesto, if desired!

Notes

Storage:

  • Fridge: Just be sure to store in an air-tight container and then you can reheat in the microwave or even in a saute pan quickly (covered). You may need to add a little more pesto or cheese to reconstitute the dish.
  • Freezer: Freezing this dish isn't really necessary because the dish is so simple to make. We recommend portioning out the thinned chicken and freezing that (uncooked) and having homemade pesto ready to go. Sometimes, when you cook chicken twice (like in this recipe and then again to reheat it) it gets pretty dry and unappetizing.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 396mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 59g

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