This baked pesto chicken recipe is delicious and super easy to make in half an hour using only 4 ingredients. It's the perfect low-budget meal the whole family will love that's healthy and full of vibrant colors and flavors.
🌟 Why this recipe works
Basil baked pesto chicken is a delicious recipe made with baked chicken breast and fresh cherry tomatoes and served with pesto sauce. It's one of the easiest family meals you will ever make, and it's low-carb.
Pesto chicken is the perfect meal to make in a hurry that doesn't require lots of prep work or standing over a hot stove - just an easy bake and serve method for a delicious tasting meal even the kids will devour.
Chicken & pesto is a classic combination in Italian culture, and when combined with cherry tomatoes, it's like a burst of summer flavors with every bite. You can make your own pesto sauce in 5 minutes or buy one ready-made from the shop.
With just 30 minutes of your time, a baking dish, and 4 ingredients, you can make this delicious pesto chicken recipe. It's entirely foolproof for any home cook to make without needing fancy kitchen equipment.
🍽 Key Ingredients
The main ingredient you'll need to make this pesto chicken recipe is fresh chicken breasts and a casserole dish to bake them in.
Chicken - Buy boneless skinless chicken breasts from the butchers. The fresher the chicken, the better the flavor will be.
Pesto sauce - for this recipe I use my homemade creamy pesto with cashews.
Tomatoes - We're using cherry tomatoes to give the dish sweetness to combine with the basil pesto chicken.
🔪 How to make
This delicious pesto chicken recipe is so easy to make in 4 simple cooking steps. Simply coat the chicken breasts with pesto, bake in the oven with cherry tomatoes and serve with the remaining pesto sauce. Easy, quick, and absolutely delicious!
Coat each chicken breast with salt and pepper.
Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto over each breast using a spoon to lightly coat them.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) and lay the coated chicken breasts on the baking dish about 1-inch apart.
Add the cherry tomatoes around the chicken.
Cook the chicken in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and heat for 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes about 5 inches away from the heating element to create a golden-brown crust on top of the chicken. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn.
Remove from the oven and serve with fresh basil pesto
Optional: sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
💭 Cooking tips
To infuse the pesto sauce into the chicken breasts, allow the coated chicken to marinate in a zip-lock bag and place them in the fridge for an hour or so before baking.
📖 Recipe Variations
These three pesto chicken variations are slightly different but use the same delicious recipe.
Creamy pesto chicken recipe
To make the creamy pesto sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of pesto, and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Once the coated chicken breasts are cooked, transfer them with the cherry tomatoes to a hot skillet and pour the creamy sauce over until thickened.
Stuffed pesto chicken
Make a slit into the middle of each chicken breast, spread the pesto sauce inside with a small amount of mozzarella cheese, then tie it with a toothpick or dry spaghetti and bake in the oven with the tomatoes until cooked.
Are you an almond nut fan? Then you must try my basil pesto almond stuffed in the chicken breast. Absolutely delish!
Breaded pesto chicken
Give your chicken a delicious crusted coating by cutting each chicken breast in half and spreading each piece in the pesto sauce before coating them in a breadcrumb mixture of ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon paprika, and ½ cup panko breadcrumbs.
Bake in the oven with the tomatoes for 20- 25 minutes until golden brown.
🥗 What to serve with
Baked pesto chicken is best served with pasta, rice, potatoes, or salad. Here are some of my favorite options that complement the recipe.
Cauliflower mashed potatoes
One of my favorite side dishes to whip up while the pesto chicken is baking in the oven is mashed cauliflower. It's buttery and garlicky and perfectly compliments the delicious pesto chicken.
Fed up with ordinary starchy rice? Try this fragrant, easy keto cauliflower, cilantro & lime rice that takes 20 minutes to make using one skillet.
There are so many tasty salads out there that pair well chicken recipes from a healthy green salad to a Greek salad, or something more extravagant like this bacon, egg & potato salad.
Also, I highly recommend to pair this dish with my copycat longhorn brussel sprouts recipe. YUM!
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
How to know when a chicken breast is cooked?
The easiest way to check if a chicken breast is perfectly cooked is by inserting a food thermometer into the thickest part of it - and when it reads 165°F (74°C), it's cooked.
Is pesto sauce healthy?
Yes, pesto sauce is full of healthy ingredients like basil leaves, parmesan cheese, nuts, and olive oil. Pesto is common in Mediterranean diets and may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ Reheating
Once cool, any leftover pesto chicken can easily be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Fridge - Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer - To freeze the leftover pesto chicken, transfer the contents into a freezer container and freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge when you want to reheat it.
Reheating - Heat a skillet or saucepan with the leftover pesto chicken and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until hot. Alternatively, you can preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes or use a microwave at 1-minute intervals until piping hot.
🍳 Related Recipes
If you like this baked pesto chicken recipe, you must try one of these easy recipes.
👪 Serving Size
Using 2 skinless chicken breasts for this chicken pesto dish will give you 3 to 4 servings, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. I usually cook 4 chicken breasts, as the recipe is so delicious and everyone in my family loves it.
It's an easy recipe to prepare for busy weeknights that you can bang in the oven, do something else, and check on it in half an hour - making baked pesto chicken a time-saving family meal.
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Easy Baked Pesto Chicken
- Coat each chicken breast with salt and pepper
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto over each breast using a spoon to lightly coat them.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) and lay the coated chicken breasts on the baking dish about 1-inch apart.
- Add the cherry tomatoes around the chicken.
- Cook the chicken in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and heat for 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes about 5 inches away from the heating element to create a golden-brown crust on top of the chicken. Keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn.
- Remove from the oven and serve with fresh basil pesto and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese.