This Baked Pesto Chicken recipe is an easy and quick sheet pan meal that can be served in under 30 minutes! Chicken breast is coated with fresh basil pesto and baked with cremini mushrooms - it’s delicious served over rice or your favorite choice of grains!
Everything is made with simple ingredients, in one baking dish or pan, and with minimal effort. It only takes you about 30 minutes to enjoy pesto chicken bake for dinner.
- Chicken breasts - You can use two small chicken breasts or one large breast that is cut in half, lengthwise. Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) can also be used in this pesto chicken recipe or chicken tenders.
- Homemade Pesto Sauce - You can make your own pesto from scratch or use store-bought green basil pesto. I’ve used ½ cup of pesto but you can increase the amount if you enjoy a more generous coating in this dish. If you opt to make your own pesto, cashew nuts are a great pesto ingredient that’ll provide a rich and creamy flavor and texture.
- Parmesan cheese - Freshly grated from a block of cheese is always best for taste and texture. Use a vegan cheese for a dairy-free pesto chicken.
- Mushrooms - I’ve used cremini mushrooms, halved, for this pesto chicken but you can also include various other vegetables such as cubed butternut squash, diced bell pepper, broccoli florets, diced tomatoes, spinach, and diced brown onion.
- Salt and black pepper - To taste.
- You can also pop in some cherry or grape tomatoes to the baking dish along with mushrooms step and enjoy deliciously roasted tomatoes with your chicken. Don't forget to season these generously with salt and black pepper. They add tons of flavor.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
Make my recipe for Cashew Pesto.
Massage each piece of chicken with pesto (leave a couple of spoonfuls for the mushrooms), and season with salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken in pesto for at least 1 hour.
Arrange on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.
Add in the mushrooms tossed in pesto and bake for another 10 minutes (mushrooms are optional).
The chicken is ready when the kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 F.
I also like to add another coat of fresh pesto on top of the chicken breasts once they have baked. A thin layer is fine just to refresh the overall look.
Serve creamy pesto chicken on top of rice, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, more greens or roasted cherry tomatoes, and other favorite side dishes or grains.
- Our go-to homemade basil pesto recipe. Alternatively, a store-bought basil pesto (or other green pesto) can be used instead.
- Fresh basil is particularly reactive to high temperatures, turning a blackish color when in contact with heat. This is just something to note when working in the kitchen with your fresh ingredients. If you intend to add some fresh chopped basil as a garnish to this pesto chicken, do so only when serving each plate instead of mixing it in with the ingredients in the oven or if reheating leftovers in a hot pan/skillet.
- Despite many folks claiming that it is not a good idea to heat basil (in this case we are baking basil pesto), I love the texture and the flavor it gives to the chicken. Indeed your pesto will not be as vibrant green color as it is when freshly made and not reheated. If this aspect worries you too, use another variety of pesto, especially good will be sun-dried pesto (red pesto).
- Chicken breasts have the tendency to dry out quickly so be careful that you don’t overcook the meat. Alternatively, you can use more juicier and tender chicken parts such as tenderloins or chicken thighs.
- Use freshly grated cheese from a block. Pre-shredded cheese bought off the shelf doesn't have the same level of taste and won’t melt as well either.
- This recipe serves 2 portions but you can easily double it to feed more people without having to adjust the cooking time.
Freezing and Storing Instructions
Store the baked chicken pesto in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. For the best optimal flavor, consume within 12 hours.
It can be a great freezer meal if you do it properly. To freeze, I'd recommend freezing this chicken unbaked. You can mix the pesto and coat the chicken and then freeze it. Thaw in the fridge and then continue with baking instructions.
This chicken is easy to make and depending on what you are serving it with is an ideal low-carb meal.
Serve this baked pesto chicken recipe with your favorite sides and a simple side salad.
We love it with brown rice, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, mushrooms, more greens, and roasted cherry tomatoes, and other favorite side dishes or grains.
Frequently Asked Questions
While It is optional to marinate the chicken, you certainly can do so and it’ll only intensify the flavor of this dish. Simply add the chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag together with the basil pesto, salt, and pepper, and store in the refrigerator for 1 hour or even overnight.
Never marinade for longer than 12 hours as the texture of the chicken will actually become stringy.
Yes, you can! Boneless and skinless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breasts. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content which will result in a richer-tasting dish. You could also use chicken tenders but then you may need to reduce the cooking time.
If you aren’t sure whether your chicken is fully cooked, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature should register 165F for your chicken to be safe to eat.
Thank you so much for reading about baked pesto chicken recipe. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have! I love reading your feedback.
Easy Chicken Recipes
We have more delicious chicken dinners that the whole family will enjoy! For more chicken recipes please go to our recipe index or in the search box type the word or ingredient you are looking for.
- Chicken Parmesan - our second favorite winner chicken dinner recipe!
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Chicken Grape Salad
- Zucchini Boats With Chicken
Did you make this recipe? Please be sure to leave a rating and a comment below. Thank you!
Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe
- 1 pound skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup basil pesto
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 8 cremini mushrooms cut into half
- Parmesan and fresh basil for garnish
- Massage each piece of chicken with pesto (leave a couple of spoonfuls for the mushrooms), and season with salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken in pesto for at least 1 hour.
- Arrange on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30 minutes. Add in the mushrooms tossed in pesto and bake for another 10 minutes (mushrooms are optional). The chicken is ready when the kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 F. I also like to add another coat of fresh pesto on top of the chicken breasts once they have baked. A thin layer is fine just to refresh the overall look.
- Serve creamy pesto chicken on top of rice, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, more greens or roasted cherry tomatoes, and other favorite side dishes or grains.
Want more? Subscribe to my newsletter, and follow Cookrita on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram for all the latest updates!
Leave a Reply