by Dina Polyashov

Pesto Chicken

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Dina Polyashov

This Pesto Chicken is juicy and delicious, cooked with flavorful basil pesto and sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s a simple dish that tastes amazing, goes well with most sides, and will surely impress anyone you serve it to.

If you love tasty chicken dishes that are a breeze, you’d love this Instant Pot parmesan chicken pasta and spinach stuffed chicken breast.

Pesto Chicken with cherry tomatoes and basil in a pan

Hi I’m Dina, the blogger behind SimplyHomeCooked.com. Today I’ll be sharing how to make this delicious pesto chicken recipe. It’s one of those summer classics that never gets old. Juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes sauteed with fresh and herbaceous basil pesto. Golden brown and juicy chicken breasts with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The flavors work so well together, and it tastes bright and oh so delicious. I’d serve it with this healthy pasta with broccoli for an amazing combination.

Why This Chicken Recipe Works?

This Pesto Chicken is bright and bursting with flavor. Besides taste though, this recipe is so easy to make and is a one-pan wonder. It’s versatile enough for lots of variation, too. Salads, soups, pasta, and so many other dishes go with these sweet, salty, and herby flavors. You can make it ahead or just prepare it the night of since it takes less than half an hour. You and your family will love how convenient it is. Toss in a tomato mozzarella salad and some crusty garlic bread and you’ll have dinner gold!

Ingredients

This recipe is so simple with clean ingredients.

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Basil Pesto: Store-bought or homemade
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Extras: Olive oil for cooking the chicken. Salt and pepper for seasoning.
Ingredients for Pesto Chicken, including check breasts, cherry tomatoes, basil pesto, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

How to Make Pesto Chicken

So simple just follow these steps.

  • Step 1- Cut and season the chicken. Slice the chicken breasts into halves to create thinner cutlets. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Step 2- Heat the oil. Now add the olive oil to a skillet and bring the heat to medium high. Then add the chicken.
  • Step 3- Cook and let it rest. Cook the chicken on both sides, then transfer it to a plate and cover it with foil to rest.
  • Step 4- Blister the tomatoes. In the same pan, toss in the cherry tomatoes and stir them gently for about 1 minute, just until they look blistered.
  • Step 5- Add the pesto and chicken. Now add the pesto and chicken back in. Stir until everything is combined. Add more pesto on top of the chicken if you prefer more.

Recipe Tips

For best results follow these tips

Tip 1- Use chicken cutlets: By cutting the chicken breasts in half horizontally, they are thinner and of uniform thickness. This means quicker, more even cooking.
Tip 2- Add extra pesto for sauce: If you plan to serve Pesto Chicken with pasta, double or triple the amount of basil pesto and add some cream to create enough sauce for full coverage.
Tip 3- Avoid overcooking: It’s easy to overcook thin chicken cutlets, so keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out.
Tip 4- Only saute the tomatoes for a minute: You want the tomatoes to keep their shape and not get mushy, so only cook them until they begin to blister.
Tip 5- Grill the chicken: If you want to add some char to this chicken dish, use an outdoor grill instead of the stovetop.

Add-ins and Variations

Ramp up the flavor.

  • Add Vegetables: Enjoy this Pesto Chicken with diced zucchini, red bell pepper, red onions, asparagus, spinach, or green beans for a healthier, veggie-filled dish.
  • Try grape tomatoes: Grape tomatoes aren’t as juicy as cherry, but they can easily substitute in this recipe.
  • Add nuts: Try a little crunch with some toasted pine nuts, walnuts pieces, or any nut you like.
  • Make it creamy: This is great for a thick sauce, especially if you’re serving it with pasta. Just add some heavy cream, or the nut milk of your choice.
  • Add citrus: This dish is amazing with some added zing, so add some lemon juice and zest.
  • Substitute another protein: You can use boneless chicken thighs, or other proteins like shrimp or pork, if you want. Cook times and temperatures may vary though.

FAQs

Is this dish healthy?

This Pesto Chicken is low-carb,  gluten-free, and keto-friendly. It packs lean protein in with healthy fats and can also be dairy-free with a vegan pesto sauce.

How do you know when the chicken is done?

To know when your chicken breasts are fully cooked, they will have an internal temperature of at least 165 °F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can also check by seeing if the juices from the chicken run clear.

How can you use leftover basil pesto?

Leftover basil is a snap to use up because it’s so delicious. I love it in pasta dishes, like this healthy pasta with pesto and broccoli, or in this low-carb favorite, turkey zucchini. Add it to burgers, pizza, or as a dip for bread. Yum!

Closeup of Pesto Chicken on a fork

Serving Recommendations

Make it a meal!

  • You can serve this tasty Pesto Chicken with pasta, like spaghetti or penne.
  • It also goes well over a bed of rice, couscous, or quinoa.
  • Start with an Italian chopped salad or soup, then use warm, crusty bread to mop up the leftover sauce when you’re done.
  • Or to keep it light, just enjoy this dish on its own.

Making Pesto Chicken in Advance

Store: Store this Pesto Chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Freeze: Once the chicken has cooled, place it in a freezer ziplock bag or container. You can also freeze the pesto. It’s best to do this in ice cube trays so you can use only as much as you need. They will both last about 4 months. Tomatoes can become mushy when frozen and thawed, so best to use those fresh.

Reheat: From the fridge, just reheat the Pesto Chicken on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. If it’s been frozen, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before heating.

More Chicken Recipes To Try

Pesto Chicken

Pesto Chicken

This Pesto Chicken is juicy and delicious, cooked with flavorful basil pesto and sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s a simple dish that tastes amazing, goes well with most sides, and will surely impress anyone you serve it to.
Print Save Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 24 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 285kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast boneless skinless
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto + more per taste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken into halves, so you end up with thinner cutlets. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.
    Pesto Chicken
  • Now add the olive oil into a skillet and bring the heat to medium high.
  • Cook the chicken on both sides, then transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
    Pesto Chicken
  • In the same pan, toss in the cherry tomatoes and stir them gently for about 1 minute just until they look blistered. Then add in the pesto.
    Pesto Chicken
  • Now add the chicken back in. Stir until everything is combined. Add more pesto on top of the chicken if you prefer more.
    Pesto Chicken

Store: Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

    Freeze: Once the chicken has cooled, place it in a freezer ziplock bag or container. You can also freeze the pesto. It's best to do this in ice cube trays so you can use only as much as you need. They will both last about 4 months. Tomatoes can become mushy when frozen and thawed, so best to use those fresh.

      Reheat: From the fridge, just reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. If it's been frozen, allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before heating.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 769mg | Potassium: 583mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 815IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg
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        dina polyashov

        About Dina Polyashov

        Dina is a self-taught cook and photographer based in Washington. She spends most of her time keeping up with her three little girls along with developing wholesome and easy recipes for her food blog Simply Home Cooked.

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