This quick and easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe is made with juicy chicken breasts and homemade (or store-bought) basil pesto. Ready in just 30 minutes, enjoy this healthy weeknight dinner with your favorite sides for a delicious and flavorful low-carb dinner.
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe
I am all about easy chicken (breast) dinners these days – especially when they’re healthy(ish), quick, and easy to whip together. I’ve already shared this cheesy baked pesto mozzarella chicken with cherry tomatoes, but today, I have this (Octavian-approved) baked pesto chicken. Nearly identical to the cheesy mozzarella version but more versatile. Made with homemade basil pesto or your favorite store-bought pesto sauce, it’s the perfect dinner recipe. Prepare extra and serve in pasta or gnocchi, add to your favorite salad, top on pizza, or enjoy as a high-protein afternoon snack.
How to Make Pesto Chicken
Find the printable recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
1. Prepare the homemade basil pesto (optional): Feel free to make your own basil pesto or use your favorite store-bought version. To start, add the pine nuts, garlic, and fresh basil to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely minced, scraping down the sides as needed.
With the motor running the whole time, drizzle the oil into the food processor, slow and steady. Process until mostly smooth. Note: You may need to turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides once or twice while adding the oil.
Add the cheese and process just until combined—season with salt to taste.
You can prepare the pesto ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Transfer the pesto to a storage container and top it with a thin layer of oil to prevent browning. Cover with plastic (allowing the plastic wrap to touch the oil directly) and transfer to the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
2. Prepare the chicken: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and spray a large 11 x 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chicken breasts to your baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper to season. Add the prepared pesto sauce over the top of the chicken breasts, then toss to coat the chicken in sauce.
3. Bake: Tent your baking dish with foil and transfer it to the oven. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Then, uncover and continue to bake for an additional 5-15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160 degrees as measured with a digital meat thermometer. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts.
4. Serve: Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs
Yes, absolutely. For best results, use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken. Here’s a rough guide when cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs:
- Chicken Thighs at 350°F – 50-55 minutes
- Chicken Thighs at 375°F – 45-50 minutes
- Chicken Thighs at 400°F – 40-45 minutes
- Chicken Thighs at 425°F – 35-40 minutes
Boneless skinless chicken thighs require about 10 minutes less cooking time than bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
How to Serve with Baked Pesto Chicken
There are so many ways to enjoy this pesto chicken recipe, and it pairs perfectly with all kinds of side dishes. Some favorites include,
- Fried Potatoes and Onions
- Stick of Butter Rice
- Creamy parsnip Puree or Buttery Mashed Potatoes
- Zucchini Casserole
- Any and all roasted veggies
I also like to double (or triple) the recipe so that we have plenty of leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. Serve leftover pesto chicken in pesto chicken pasta, chicken salad, topped on pizza, or as a sandwich.
Storage and Freezing
Baked pesto chicken breasts make amazing leftovers and freeze well. For short-term storage, transfer the leftover chicken to an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To store for a longer period of time, transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe bag or container and place them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. If reheating from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Chicken Recipe,
- Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe
- Chicken Stock Recipe (How to Make Chicken Stock)
- Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe
- How to Cook Chicken Breasts
- Easy Chicken Stroganoff Recipe
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Crack Chicken Casserole
If you try this Yummy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback!
Pesto Chicken Recipe
For the pesto chicken
For the chicken
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a large 11 x 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Add the chicken breasts to your baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to season, and turn to coat.
- Add the prepared pesto sauce over the top of the chicken breasts. Use a silicone spatula to evenly distribute the pesto sauce over each chicken breast, and use kitchen tongs to flip each chicken breast 1-2 times to really cover the entire surface in sauce.
- Tent your baking dish with foil and transfer it to the oven. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Then uncover and continue to bake for an additional 5-15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160 degrees as measured with a digital meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
For the Pesto
- Add the pine nuts, garlic, and fresh basil to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely minced, scraping down the sides as needed.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil in the food processor, slowly and steadily. Process until mostly smooth – you may need to remove the lid and scrape down the sides once halfway through adding the oil.
- Add the cheese and process just until combined. Stir in salt, to taste.
- Read this Easy Basil Pesto Recipe for more information.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)