No ratings yet

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Jump to Recipe
This easy, delicious pesto chicken recipe only needs five ingredients and 30 minutes of your time! It’s a great weeknight meal, especially on busy nights.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
£2.48
Makes: 4
mains
Italian
Freezable

Recipes using pesto don’t have to be time-consuming and challenging! This pesto chicken recipe is easy, delicious, and simple. With 30 minutes and five ingredients, you’ll have juicy, flavourful chicken pieces ready to eat.

This is the ultimate busy weeknight meal, as you don’t need a lot of groceries or time. Pair this baked pesto chicken with noodles (to create a chicken pesto pasta dish), veggies, a salad, or crusty bread for a more filling meal.

A white rectangular baking dish filled with baked, browned pesto chicken covered in mozzarella cheese.

Why you’ll love this recipe 

Boldly Flavorful – Simple ingredients like pesto and fresh basil help create an uber-flavourful recipe.

Hands-off oven time – Once you pop this pesto chicken into the oven, it’s relatively hands-off, so you can focus on creating sides or relaxing.

Healthy – This chicken pesto recipe uses healthy ingredients, like chicken, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, to create a protein-rich dish.

Only a few ingredients – This chicken pesto only needs five ingredients (plus salt and pepper!).

Fast – If you have 30 minutes available for dinner, you can whip up this pesto chicken recipe!

Satisfy those pesto cravings and try these other delicious recipes; Pesto Pasta Salad, Quorn Chicken Pieces with Pesto and Easy Pesto Gnocchi

What is Pesto Chicken?

 A pesto chicken recipe is an easy dish made with skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), pesto sauce, and often mozzarella cheese. Once baked in the oven, this recipe yields delicious, flavorful chicken that can be eaten as-is, or as a creamy pesto chicken pasta dish. Depending on the pesto chicken bake recipe, you may see additional ingredients like veggies or fresh herbs.

Here are some other saucy chicken recipes for you to try after this one; Nando’s Mac and Cheese, Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta and Creamy Tarragon Chicken

What is in pesto? 

Pesto is a delicious paste made with pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and parmesan cheese. Depending on the recipe, you may see other ingredients included, such as lemon juice and pecorino cheese. Because of the basil leaves included in pesto, it has a bright green appearance.

What does it taste like?
This paste has a deliciously fresh, bright, herby flavour. Because of the included ingredients, you’ll also notice nutty, buttery, salty, and tangy tastes as you enjoy pesto. You can use this paste as a spread on sandwiches, a topping for pizza, tossed with pasta, or in dishes like this pesto chicken recipe.

Best pesto to use for this dish
I recommend using fresh store-bought pesto for this chicken pesto bake, as it has a fresh, bolder flavour than jarred options. You can either purchase it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or make homemade basil pesto (if you have time).

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the baked pesto chicken laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Chicken Breasts – This pesto chicken recipe is made with boneless, skinless chicken breast strips. You can also create this dish with boneless skinless chicken thigh strips if you prefer.

Tomatoes – I like using tomatoes on the vine for this baked chicken pesto, as they create slices of just the right size to fit between the chicken strips. However, you can use any tomato of choice, including grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.

Grated Mozzarella – Always use freshly grated mozzarella for dishes like this basil pesto chicken, as it will melt better than pre-shredded options from the store. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it to keep the shreds from sticking together, but this coating also means it doesn’t melt as well.See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

Variations/ Adaptations

Try these variations when making this pesto chicken recipe to give the dish your own twist! Instead of chicken breasts, use chicken thighs or even drumsticks for this recipe. If you want to boost the nutrients of the dish, you can add other veggies like spinach, artichokes, or even kale. Use these veggies to replace the tomatoes, or include both in the recipe. For a bolder cheese flavour, add parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella.

Pair this yummy pesto chicken recipe with one of delicious side dishes; Cauliflower Rice (Fast), Airfryer potatoes or Creamy Polenta with Parmesan

How to make baked pesto chicken

Start by preheating your oven to 390°F  (200°C)

  1. Slice the chicken breast into large pieces (Image 1).
  2. Then cut the tomatoes into rounds (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with sliced chicken breast on chopping a board with a knife and the second with sliced tomatoes on a board with a knife.

3. Next add a layer of pesto to your baking dish (I used one that was 8 inch by 10 inch) (Image 3).

4. Then place the fillets into the tray, arranging them so they’re slotted vertically next to each other (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with a rectangular white baking dish with some pesto and a spoon and the second with pieces of chicken added to the dish.

5. Add some more pesto to the chicken (Image 5).

6. In between each slice of chicken, add a layer of sliced tomato. Season with salt, then evenly coat the contents of the tray with any remaining pesto (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with a rectangular white baking dish with some pesto on the chicken and the second with slices of tomatoes added to the dish.

7. Top with a layer of mozzarella (Image 7).

8. Then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with a rectangular white baking with chicken, tomato and pesto topped with mozzarella and the second with  foil covering the dish.

9. Remove the foil, then bake for a further 15 minutes (Image 9).

10. When it’s ready to eat (the mozzarella should be golden brown, add a sprinkle of fresh basil, a crack of black pepper and dig in!  (Image 10).

2 step by step photos, the first with a rectangular white baking dish mozzarella covered tomato, chicken and pesto and the second with this now baked and golden browned on top.

Need inspiration for some main meal chicken recipes? Try my; Creamy Mustard Chicken, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and Greek Chicken Bowls and serve with these parmentier potatoes.

Tips for the best result

If the cheese is not browned on top, pop it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Watch the dish carefully while it’s under the broiler, as cheese can burn easily. You want the top to be bubbly and golden brown, not burnt.

If you find there is too much liquid from the chicken, bake the dish for a few extra minutes with the foil off. This step will allow the excess moisture from the pesto chicken recipe to evaporate. Make sure to remove the foil so the moisture can escape.

If you find that the cheese is browning too much, lay the foil back over the top of the dish lightly to prevent further browning but still allowing some of the liquid to evaporate. Be sure to leave some vent holes so excess moisture can escape from the pesto chicken breast. This can be done by ensuring there are gaps between the foil and the baking pan around the edges.

A white rectangular baking dish filled with baked, browned pesto chicken covered in golden browned mozzarella cheese with some fresh basil.

What to Serve with Pesto Chicken Recipe

 This pesto chicken recipe is delicious on its own, but it’s also tasty served over rice or pasta. You can also serve this recipe with vegetables (roasted, pan-fried, etc.), a green salad, and garlic bread. To keep this creamy chicken pesto low-carb, serve it with zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.

Serve this baked chicken with some healthy veggies; Sauteed Broccoli, Sauteed Leeks and Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Parmesan. Try making my easy flatbreads to soak up the juices!

Leftover Storage and Reheat Instructions

Refrigerator
If you have any leftovers from this pesto chicken recipe, allow them to cool fully. Then, store them in airtight containers. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Freezer
This recipe is also freezer-friendly! Once the recipe is baked, let it cool fully. Then, put the chicken strips in an airtight baggie. It will stay good in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Reheat
To reheat your frozen leftovers, let the chicken defrost in the fridge overnight. Then, you can either zap it in the microwave for a few minutes. Or, preheat your oven to 390°F/200°C . Then, heat the chicken in a baking pan for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.

FAQs

Can you bake pesto?

Yes, you can bake pesto like in this pesto chicken recipe. Many recommend using pesto as a “raw sauce”, aka not using it for recipes that go in the oven or on heat. However, I find it adds a delicious flavour to baked pesto chicken breast, especially when paired with cheese and tomatoes.

Can this be made in a crock pot?

You can make this chicken with pesto recipe in the crock pot. Add the ingredients to a crockpot in the following order: chicken, salt and pepper, pesto, and a drizzle of olive oil (or other neutral oil). Cook it on low for about six hours or high for about three hours.

Check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer; the chicken is ready when it is 165°F (74°C) internally. Add the cheese on top of the chicken, put the crockpot lid on, and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Serve with fresh basil and freshly ground black pepper.

If you tried this Easy Baked Pesto Chicken recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

 

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Print
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
£2.48
mains
Italian
Freezable
Servings: 4
This easy, delicious pesto chicken recipe only needs five ingredients and 30 minutes of your time! It’s a great weeknight meal, especially on busy nights.

Ingredients

  • 150 g fresh pesto (£2.60)
  • 700 g chicken breast, sliced into thick fillets (around 8) (£4.20)
  • 5 on-the-vine tomatoes, thinly sliced (£1.25)
  • 100 g grated mozzarella (£2.50/2)=(£1.25)
  • Fresh basil, torn to serve (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • Salt & Pepper

Method

Start by preheating your oven to 390°F (200°C)

  • Meanwhile, add a layer of pesto to your baking dish (I used one that was 8 inch by 10 inch). Next, place the fillets into the tray, arranging them so they’re slotted vertically next to each other.
  • In between each slice of chicken, add a layer of sliced tomato. Season with salt, then evenly coat the contents of the tray with the remaining pesto.
  • Top with a layer of mozzarella, then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the foil, then bake for a further 15 minutes. When it’s ready to eat, add a sprinkle of fresh basil, a crack of black pepper and dig in!

Notes

  • If the cheese is not browned, place under the grill for 2-3 minutes until bubbly and golden brown, watching carefully to prevent burning.
  • If there's too much liquid, bake the dish a few extra minutes with the foil off to allow moisture to evaporate.
  • If the cheese is browning too much, cover lightly with foil, leaving vent holes to let moisture escape.

Nutrition

Servings: 4 servings
Fat: 23g
Calories: 512kcal
Carbohydrates: 6g
Protein: 70g

Leave a comment and a rating!

Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

Recipe Rating




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Weekly meal plans with a £20 budget
  • 150+ exclusive recipes
  • Personal dashboard
  • Exclusive step by step videos
  • Shopping list tools
  • Advert Free experience

JOIN NOW LEARN MORE

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up to my weekly newsletter to get all of Beat the Budget's recent recipes, so you never miss out!

Development Alchemy + Aim
Share to...