Pesto Chicken


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Pesto chicken is a quick dinner! Chicken breasts are seasoned with pesto and baked until juicy. It’s all topped off with melty cheese and a quick zesty bruschetta for the perfect bite. 

Easy enough for a weeknight, elegant enough for guests.

close up of Pesto Chicken

Perfect Pesto Chicken

We love this recipe because it’s so easy to make!

I prefer homemade pesto but of course, store-bought works well in this recipe too!

While many recipes add a lot of the pesto before baking, I find it separates and becomes oily. We prefer to add just enough to flavor the chicken while baking and add more at the end.

The flavors of this pesto chicken are rich and bold and fresh tomatoes add a bit of freshness in every bite.

adding seasoning to chicken to make Pesto Chicken

Ingredients

All of these ingredients are easy to find, especially the chicken. Stock up when they are on sale and they’ll be ready when you need them!

CHICKEN Boneless-skinless chicken breasts are used in this recipe but bone-in (split chicken breasts) will work too. The cook time may need to be adjusted.

PESTO A batch of homemade or even store-bought pesto provides everything needed to flavor this chicken… a bit of oil, some garlic, herbs. I like to add a splash of balsamic for sweetness.

CHEESE Mozzarella cheese and a pinch of Italian seasonings are all that’s needed! But we also like switching up the flavor profile, try it with Muenster or provolone if desired.

TOPPING A really quick version of our favorite bruschetta topping is the perfect topper for this chicken.

Variations

    • Flatten the chicken breasts, place a slice of mozzarella cheese in the center with a scoopful of pesto, roll, and bake for a stuffed version!
    • Swap out the pesto for sundried tomato pesto.
    • Weather permitting, grill the chicken breasts (marinate in most of the pesto). Add the cheese just until melty and remove from the grill. Top with additoinal pesto and tomatoes to serve!

adding cheese to chicken to make Pesto Chicken

How to Make Pesto Chicken

Pesto chicken is super easy to make, but the taste is restaurant-worthy!

  1. Toss chicken with balsamic and a bit of pesto. Brown and place in a casserole dish to bake.
  2. While chicken is baking, prepare tomato topping.
  3. Once cooked through, add more pesto and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Bake just until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Spoon tomato topping over top and serve.

plated Pesto Chicken with tomatoes

Leftovers

Pesto chicken will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days if it is covered. Reheat it in a toaster oven or on the stovetop in a covered sauté pan with a bit of water to keep it moist. Add an extra layer of cheese and serve with a dash or two of salt and pepper!

Perfect Pesto Recipes

Did you make this Pesto Chicken? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

top view of Pesto Chicken on a plate
5 from 6 votes
Review Recipe

Pesto Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 chicken breasts
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Chicken, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Juicy and flavorful, this Pesto Chicken is the perfect entree for dinner with the family!

Ingredients

  • 4 small chicken breasts about 5 ounces each
  • cup pesto divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil and parsley for serving, optional
Topping
  • 1 Roma tomato finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Toss chicken with 2 tablespoons pesto and balsamic vinegar.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat and brown chicken 2 minutes per side.
  • Place in a baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes.
  • Divide remaining pesto over chicken breasts, top with cheese and return to the oven 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Remove from the oven and rest 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle topping evenly over chicken, add fresh herbs, and serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe uses small 5oz chicken breasts. If your chicken breasts are larger, they will need more time.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 448, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 55g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 169mg, Sodium: 635mg, Potassium: 894mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 805IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 188mg, Iron: 1mg
Keyword Best Pesto Chicken, best pesto chicken recipe, how to make Pesto Chicken, Pesto Chicken
Pesto Chicken on a plate with garnish and a title
close up of Pesto Chicken on a plate with writing
Pesto Chicken on a plate with writing
Pesto Chicken close up with a title
adding seasoning to chicken to make Pesto Chicken
process of baking and adding cheese to chicken to mjake Pesto Chicken

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About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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