Pesto Chicken is one of the easiest, most flavorful recipes for chicken breast. Coated with pesto, smothered in cheese, and topped with fresh tomatoes, humble chicken breasts turn into an elegant meal with minimal effort.
When it comes to meals, my motto is to keep them simple, yet flavorful.
A perfect example of just how flavorful simple can be is this recipe for Pesto Chicken.
With just a few ingredients and MINUTES of hands-on prep-work chicken is transformed from ho-hum, into something spectacular!
From the bright herby flavors of the pesto to the gooey cheese to the burst of freshness from tomatoes, this Chicken Pesto has it ALL! Super simple to make and super delicious to eat! What more could you ask for on a busy night?!
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken: For this recipe, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken cutlets.
- Pesto: Use your favorite store-bought or homemade basil pesto.
- Cheese: I use both shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese to top the chicken and add a rich, salty, creamy finish. Feel free to use sliced fresh mozzarella cheese or a blend of Italian cheeses in place of the shredded mozzarella and parmesan.
- Tomato Topping: To give this baked chicken pesto a fresh finish and texture, I love tossing together grape tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil. It is completely optional but takes this recipe for Pesto Chicken from great to spectacular.
How to Make Pesto Chicken
- Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise so you end up with thin, evenly sized chicken cutlets that are no thicker than ½-inch. Skip this step if you are using prepared thin chicken cutlets.
- Place the chicken cutlets into a baking dish that has been lightly brushed with olive oil.
- Top each chicken cutlet with about ½ tablespoon of the pesto. Brush the pesto evenly over the chicken breasts.
- Flip the chicken over and repeat the process, so that both sides of the chicken are evenly coated with pesto.
- Bake the pesto chicken for 15 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven.
- Top the partially baked chicken with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Return the chicken to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
- While the chicken is finishing baking, toss together the diced tomatoes with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and top with the fresh tomato topping.
Pesto Chicken makes a delicious low-carb meal when paired with a side salad, like a Caprese Salad or Greek Salad. This recipe for chicken pesto also pairs well with Rice Pilaf, Smashed Potatoes, or Parmesan Roasted Broccoli.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
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If you enjoyed this simple recipe for Pesto Chicken, I would appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and review below.
For the Pesto Chicken
- olive oil for greasing pan
- 2 large chicken breasts or 4 thin chicken cutlets
- ¼ cup homemade or store-bought pesto
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil.
- Slice chicken breast horizontally to create 4 thinner cutlets. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
- Place the chicken into the prepared pan. Top each chicken breast with ½ tablespoon of the pesto, rubbing or brushing the pesto evenly on the chicken cutlets. Flip the chicken, and repeat the process so that both sides are coated in pesto.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 158-160 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest, for the juices to redistribute.
- While the chicken is resting, toss together the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil.
- Serve the chicken warm with the fresh tomato topping.