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Savor the delicious flavors of this Pesto Chicken. This simple recipe includes tender chicken breasts, savory pesto sauce, and a crispy bread crumb topping.
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This easy baked Pesto Chicken recipe is one of my go-to chicken recipes. It has just a few simple ingredients, it cooks up quickly, has plenty of protein, and my kids love it. The chicken comes out perfectly juicy and tender every time and the crunchy bread crumb topping adds that little extra crunch.
Ingredients in Pesto Chicken
- Chicken Breast – Pound your skinless chicken breasts until it is about ½ inch thick. This will give the chicken a flatter surface to work with as well as cook evenly in the oven.
- Basil Pesto Sauce – pesto is a delicious sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Use store-bought pesto or make your own using our Homemade Pesto Recipe.
- Crispy Bread Crumb Topping – add a little texture and crunch with this topping made of panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Modifications for Making this Pesto Chicken Recipe
This pesto chicken is the perfect, quick summer dish. It has a bright flavor and the combination of the different flavors will leave everyone thinking you spent way more time making it than you actually did! Follow these tips to find out just how to make this chicken pesto the best that it can be!
- Baking – Place the pesto chicken on a wire rack, then sit the wire rack on a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When baking, the juices will fall through the wire rack and continue to bake the chicken. This helps with sticking, cooking the chicken all around, and cleaning up!
- Searing – If you want to sear the chicken before baking, then heat a cast iron skillet or other oven safe pan over medium high heat. Add a little oil. Take the seasoned chicken breasts BEFORE you add the pesto and when the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Cook for a few minutes on one side and then flip. Add the pesto onto the top of the chicken breasts and then the bread crumb topping. Transfer to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Cheese – Add more cheesy goodness by placing slices of fresh mozzarella cheese or shredded mozzarella between the pesto layer and the bread crumb layer.
- Serving – We like to serve this chicken over pasta. Normally, I just add the same pesto sauce to the pasta as the chicken. However, if you want a creamy sauce, add a little bit of heavy cream and extra parmesan cheese. Sprinkle some fresh basil over the top and you have a perfect meal in my opinion. You can also add cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes for more fresh flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
We serve it over pasta or rice with a veggie side like green beans, broccoli, a green salad, or zucchini.
Pesto is made from fresh and perishable ingredients it only lasts for a short amount of time. The main ingredients are basil, olive oil, pine nuts, grated parmesan cheese, and various seasonings. Storing it in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator can sometimes help prolong its life of it.
Yes! It is the good fat though. Being high in unsaturated fat is said to be a good thing in some aspects. It derives from plants and nuts that are known to be heart-healthy and have some amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Storing and Reheating Pesto Chicken
Place your baked chicken dinner in an airtight container in the fridge for five to six days long. When ready to reheat the leftovers, take the containers out of storage and place them in the oven, air fryer, or microwave until it is heated through.
More Pesto Recipes
There is something so appealing about sitting down to a meal that is colorful and aesthetically pleasing on your plate. Nutrition experts often comment on the need for a colorful plate in order to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients in your diet. Pesto seems to radiate with other meals as well!
How to Make Pesto Chicken
- Conventional Oven
- Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken on a cutting board and cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Pound with a mallet or rolling pin until the pieces are about the same thickness all around. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on both sides.
- Transfer chicken to a baking sheet or large baking dish. Spread a layer of pesto on each chicken breast.
- Add all bread crumb topping ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the topping over each chicken breast.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Nutrition facts do not include pasta.
- Use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer dark meat.
- Use store-bought pesto or use our recipe for Homemade Pesto.
- Substitute pasta for zucchini noodles for a low carb dinner.
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