This baked chicken caprese recipe with homemade pesto is perfect for a quick midweek meal! It's low-carb, easy to make in 30 minutes, and uses fresh ingredients for maximum flavor.
🌟 Why this recipe works
Chicken caprese is a delicious light meal that's full of vibrant flavors from the nutty, herbaceous pesto sauce, creamy melted mozzarella, juicy cherry tomatoes, and crispy parmesan crusted grill chicken breasts.
Unlike the classic caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves or pesto sauce with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, this chicken caprese is baked using the same fresh ingredients.
The homemade cashew pesto can be prepared in advance or bought from the grocery store to save time - although we recommend making it for a superior taste to smother over the chicken topped with mozzarella and tomatoes.
It's an easy recipe for any home cook to make in 30-minutes that requires minimal kitchen equipment and uses fresh ingredients, making chicken caprese a perfect midnight meal the whole family will love.
If you're looking for a low-carb meal to add to your diet, this colorful caprese chicken recipe is definitely worth adding to your meal plan that is even stylish enough to impress your guests.
🍽 Key Ingredients
Chicken caprese tastes best when using fresh ingredients and a homemade pesto sauce.
Chicken - Use fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts
Cheese - Buy fresh mozzarella for slicing on top of the chicken, along with parmesan cheese for the pesto.
Oil - You can use standard olive oil or extra virgin olive oil for grilling the chicken and using it in the pesto sauce.
Tomatoes - Use cherry tomatoes for a sweeter flavor.
Pesto ingredients - Fresh basil leaves, garlic, cashews, and seasoning is used to make the pesto sauce.
Optional - Season the chicken with Italian seasoning for a herby flavor.
🍽 How to make
Learn how to make this delicious caprese chicken with fresh basil pesto with steps by steps directions and best cooking tips.
- Season the chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper.
- Cut the fresh mozzarella into 1-inch slices.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius).
- Sear the chicken breasts until browned, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
Place the chicken in a casserole dish. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the pesto sauce on top of each chicken breast, then add a slice of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to the top of each chicken.
Add cherry tomatoes to the casserole dish before placing them in the oven.
Cook for 25 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chicken caprese from the oven and serve immediately.
💭 Cooking tips
Making pesto without a food processor
If you don't have a food processor or blender to blend the pesto ingredients, use a mortar and pestle instead. Make sure to finely chop the basil, nuts, and garlic first, then mix vigorously with the olive oil and parmesan until fragrant and resembling a wet paste.
Reduce the cooking time
If you're strapped for time, you could cut the chicken breasts in half, cook them until brown, and assemble with pesto & cheese, cooking in the preheated oven for 10 - 12 minutes.
📖 Recipe Variations
Three delicious chicken caprese recipe using the same ingredients in a different way.
Chicken caprese salad
I love this variation for hot summers days!
Cook the chicken breasts in a grill pan or use the BBQ, make the pesto in the food processor, chop the mozzarella cheese into cubes and then halve the cherry tomatoes. Mix the almond pesto with the tomatoes and cheese, and place the grilled chicken on top with a sprinkle of parmesan.
Caprese stuffed chicken
This variation is slightly more fancy but easy enough to prepare. Make a slit in each chicken breast and coat them thoroughly with the homemade pesto with cashews.
Stuff them with slices of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and seal with toothpicks, cooking the stuffed caprese chicken in a hot skillet until golden brown before transferring to a preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes until cooked through.
Caprese hasselback chicken
If you have tried hasselback potatoes, you will love hasselback chicken.
All you need to do is brown the chicken first, coat each breast with pesto, then make several slits in the chicken breast and place a slice of cheese in the slits, topped with parmesan cheese. Bake in the casserole dish with the tomatoes around until cooked through.
🥗 What to serve with
Low-carb chicken caprese can be served with a host of other side dishes, like some of these easy 20- minute recipes.
Who doesn't love asparagus? They are healthy and super delicious when cooked to perfection with a bit of crunch. Here are two ways you can enjoy asparagus In minutes with this simple sautéed asparagus recipe with chopped nuts or add bacon and make bacon-wrapped asparagus.
Cauliflower is a delicious veg that has an abundance of uses, from air fryer whole roasted cauliflower to cauliflower stuffing and mashed cauliflower. Whichever way you choose to cook it, it pairs beautifully with caprese chicken.
Any form of pasta will work well with this chicken caprese recipe, from gnocchi to tagliatelle. I prefer to serve my chicken with a little garlic butter and parmesan mixed with pasta shells for a delicious creamy side dish.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Can you marinate the chicken in pesto?
Yes, to infuse the pesto sauce into the chicken, you can marinate with the pesto for up to 6 hours before browning in the skillet.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ Reheating
If you have any leftover chicken caprese, it can easily be stored and reheated.
Fridge - Transfer the cooled chicken caprese to an airtight container or cover them on a plate with aluminum foil and place the plate in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Freezer - To freeze the leftovers, discard the cheese from the top and place the chicken in a freezer container. The leftover chicken will last up to 3 months frozen and should be defrosted overnight in the fridge.
Reheating - The best way to reheat the leftovers is to discard the cheese and place some more pesto and mozzarella on top of the chicken before baking in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
🍳 Related Chicken Recipes
If you like this caprese chicken with pesto recipe, you must try one of these easy recipes with fresh ingredients. Including my delicious copycat creamy Ruth Chris stuffed chicken and chicken piccata recipe.
👪 Serving Size
Each chicken breast serves as one serving for this chicken caprese recipe. It's easy to scale it in the same timeframe to cater to more guests.
Chicken, pesto, mozzarella, and tomatoes are classic Italian ingredients and the perfect way to start the spring and summer months in fabulous style, and there's no better low-carb recipe than a chicken caprese for flavor and ease of cooking. Try it. I promise you'll love it.
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Baked Chicken Caprese with Pesto
For the chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 chicken breasts
- ½ lb fresh mozzarella
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup pesto with cashews
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and brown on both sides, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken to a 9x9 casserole dish.
- Spoon approx. 2 Tablespoons of the pesto on top of each chicken breast.
- Add a slice of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan to the top of each chicken.
- Add cherry tomatoes to the casserole dish before placing in the oven.
- Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, approximately 25 minutes.
- Serve with a salad dressed with the leftover pesto and the cooked tomatoes.