Pesto and cheese smothered chicken breasts, baked to juicy and delicious perfection, this pesto chicken recipe is a weeknight staple in our house, as it takes only 20 minutes from start to finish! And requires only one pan. It’s a dish the whole family loves, here’s why!
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Ingredients For Baked Pesto Chicken
This pesto chicken bake comes together so easily, the hardest part is gathering the ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need and a few potential swaps:
- Chicken breast – we’ll slice them in half with a sharp knife, because you know, chicken can be so… chicken-y.
- Mozzarella – opt for part skim. Sliced or shredded will work here, I prefer shredded to coat the chicken as much as possible.
- Pesto – make your own or use a jar of storebought.
- Cherry tomatoes – you can also use sliced or diced tomatoes. Just slice them to roughly the same thickness as a cherry tomato so they cook at the same rate as the chicken.
- Shallot – if you can’t find a shallot, use half of a very thinly sliced yellow onion.
Tweaks + Substitutes
I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t mean it: we think this dish is perfect as is. But as always, there are ways to make it yours. Here’s how to do so:
- The meat: We absolutely love chicken thighs, and you can use them here as well. Just know they’ll take longer to cook–check with a meat thermometer, the goal is 165 F. You can also make pesto salmon, although I would skip the cheese.
- The sauce: For pesto chicken, we obviously need pesto. But you can use your favorite variety here. Think: sun dried tomato pesto, kale pesto, or even broccoli pesto.
- The veggies: There’s room for more veggies on this baking sheet. Add some of your faves like roasted broccoli or roasted bell peppers.
How to Make Pesto Chicken
Incredibly quick and easy, here’s how to make this baked pesto chicken in under 20 minutes:
- Slice the chicken breast by placing your hand on top to stabilize it and using a sharp knife through the thickest part.
- Toss your shallots and tomatoes in pesto.
- Place everything on the baking sheet, and spread a tablespoon or 2 of pesto over each breast, followed by the cheese.
- Bake in your preheated oven.
- Top fully cooked chicken breast with fresh basil before serving, and enjoy!
This pesto chicken is absolutely amazing on its own for a low carb lunch or dinner. But, if you’d like to bulk it up, here are some ideas:
- Serve over a bed of butter noodles, you can also try a low carb version of noodles like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. If you really can’t get enough pesto, try my pesto zucchini pasta as a side.
- With a crisp salad. I prefer an oil based dressing (to creamy dressings) when serving a dish this cheesy. Serving this alongside roasted vegetables is also a great choice.
- Have leftovers? Switch things up by turning it into a pesto chicken sandwich, or make a pesto chicken salad!
Storing, Reheating, and Freezing
This dish is perfect for meal prep! We love making a double batch (on two separate baking sheets) and having dinner prepped for the week. Here’s how to make the most of it:
- Store extras in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to prep extra basil and stash separately to sprinkle over your reheated pesto chicken.
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave with a damp paper towel, draped over the top.
- Freezing? I don’t recommend freezing this pesto chicken. The pesto will lose its freshness when frozen. Luckily it comes together so quickly, there really is no need!
See how to make this Pesto Chicken on TikTok.
More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- Greek Chicken Salad
- Chicken Crust Pizza
- Mediterranean Chicken Marinade
- Pizza Chicken Roll
- Caprese Chicken
- Tuscan Chicken
Pesto ChickenPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 chicken breasts boneless + skinless
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 8 ounces mozzarella shredded
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 shallot sliced
- Fresh basil chiffonade
- roasted pine nuts optional
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Option to line a baking sheet with parchment for easy clean up.
- Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, making each breast thinner. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, and press to adhere.
- Place chicken breast on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of pesto over each breast, followed by the mozzarella.
- Toss tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of pesto, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt together in a bowl.
- Place tomatoes and shallots around the chicken. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the internal temp of the chicken reaches 165 F.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and pine nuts before serving, and enjoy.