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Kalyn's Kitchen

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken (Video)

This Easy Baked Pesto Chicken is a tasty low-carb dinner that you can make with purchased pesto if you don’t have any pesto in the freezer. And this is a dish the whole family is probably going to like!

Click here to make Easy Baked Pesto Chicken to try it later!

Watch the video to see if you might like to make Easy Baked Pesto Chicken!

 
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken title photo

When I first made Easy Baked Pesto Chicken, I loved what a great low-carb dinner it was but I’m not sure I ever imagined it would become one of the most popular recipes on the blog.  But now it’s been pinned and viewed millions and millions of times! And I’ve made this one over and over myself.

I got the inspiration for Easy Baked Pesto Chicken when I was looking in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook for a recipe my friend Bonnie had recommended. That happened to be in the summer, and when it’s summertime at my house there’s fresh basil on the counter, I’m freezing basil for winter, and I’m making Basil Pesto with Lemon, so it’s not really surprising that a recipe using pesto would catch my eye.

If you don’t have any basil growing, you can certainly make this ultra-easy main dish with purchased basil pesto, which is what the recipe in the book called for. If you have more fresh basil, or more basil pesto left in your jar after you make this, check out My Favorite Low-Carb and Keto Recipes with Pesto for more tasty ideas for using basil pesto!

And here’s a fun little story about this recipe. Late last year I started working out with a fantastic trainer named Wendy. Then one time when I showed up at the gym she told me she had gone to get the recipe for her kids’ favorite chicken dish, and it turned out to be a recipe from my blog! So just in case you’re wondering if this can be kid-friendly, Wendy says her kids love Easy Baked Pesto Chicken and gobble it up for dinner. (She serves it with pasta for the kids, but I’d serve with Cauliflower Rice for a tasty low-carb meal.)

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken process shots collage

How to Make Easy Baked Pesto Chicken:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Trim the boneless-skinless chicken breasts and cut into lengthwise strips. (I save all the chicken scraps in the freezer and use them to make homemade chicken stock.)
  2. Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish.
  3. Lay the chicken strips over the pesto and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Spread another 1/4 cup of basil pesto over the chicken strips.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and then bake at 375F/190C for 25-30 minutes, or just until the chicken is barely cooked through. (Don’t cook too long at this stage, or the chicken will be overcooked when the cheese is melted and browned.)
  6. When chicken is barely cooked through, sprinkle 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or a little more if you like it cheesy) over the top and bake about 5 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it at this point.)
  7. I wanted the cheese to be lightly browned, so after 5 minutes I switched to broil for just long enough to get some color on the cheese.
  8. That’s all there is to making this easy and delicious low-carb Baked Pesto Chicken!
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.com

Serve hot, and I hope this will become a favorite in your household!

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken would be delicious with Pureed Cauliflower or Cauliflower Rice to cover with some of the delicious juice in the bottom of the dish.

More Recipe Ideas Using Basil Pesto:

Basil Pesto with Lemon and Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
5 Easy Ways to Use Basil Pesto ~ Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pesto Yogurt Dip ~ Melanie Makes
My Favorite Low-Carb Recipes with Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week! This recipe can easily be doubled if you want leftovers to reheat later.

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken

Yield 4 servings.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken is a tasty dinner that you can make with purchased pesto if you don't have any in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or more if you like it cheesy!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken pieces, then cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces. (I cut the larger ones into 3 strips and the smaller ones into 2 strips.)
  2. Spray a 9" x 12" (or 8.5" X 12.5") baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish.
  3. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread 1/4 cup more basil pesto over the chicken. (I used a rubber scraper (affiliate link) to spread the pesto in the dish and over the chicken.)
  4. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through. (Don't cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be overcooked by the time the cheese is melted and browned.)
  5. When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
  6. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.)
  7. After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.
  8. Serve hot. There will be some flavorful juice in the bottom of the dish when this is done, so you may want to serve with rice, Cauliflower Rice, or quinoa to soak up the juice.

Notes

I used my homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon, but you can use purchased basil pesto for this recipe as well.

This recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 7gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 590mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 49g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

 
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken thumbnail photo

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This easy chicken dish would be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other type of low-carb or low-glycemic eating plan. It would be recommended to use low-fat mozzarella for South Beach, since pesto is relatively high in fat. For other low-carb eating plans, full-fat mozzarella would be preferred.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Casserole Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Easy Baked Pesto Chicken

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    281 Comments on “Easy Baked Pesto Chicken (Video)”

  1. Brenda, hope you will enjoy it.

  2. Looks delish! I think that package of chicken in my fridge is going to become this dish tonight! Can't wait! Brenda C

  3. Maureen, thank you! I couldn't imagine how this would taste nearly as good with the whole chicken breasts. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the recipe.

  4. Kalyn, I just marvel at the ideas you come up with, like cutting the breasts lengthwise into thinner strips. Such a simple solution but so worthwhile in this recipe. Can't wait to try it.

    Thanks, Maureen

  5. So happy people are liking this, and glad to hear that some of you have pesto in the freezer.

    Joyce, I think this would be great with cilantro pesto (I love cilantro myself!) I might use a different cheese with cilantro. Let us know what you think if you try it.

  6. How do you think this recipe would work with a cilantro pesto (something I can eat right out of the jar)?

  7. Wow looks fabulous, bet it was delicious!

  8. Between the cheese and the pesto, this is basically my ideal comfort food!

  9. This looks too simple and delicious NOT to try!! I have pesto in the freezer along with chicken, hehe =)

  10. I just saved this in my "chicken" file. It looks amazing!! We eat chicken A LOT here and I love this! Thanks!

  11. Lydia and Gudrun, it was so good and so easy!

  12. ok, this chicken dish looks shockingly easy! Will have to add this to our repertoire, great idea.

  13. When I looked in my garden today, I realized that after a difficult summer, I have just enough basil to make one good-sized batch of pesto. Hooray! This is just the kind of easy recipe I like to have in my repertoire.

  14. Kristin, if you like pesto, you'll like it!

    Jane, sounds like you have pesto in your future! Yes, cheese must be browned. It's a rule!

  15. We were at our son's home for dinner this evening. His wife has a huge garden and I came away with a huge bouquet of fresh basil. I like your recipe and I agree…cheese needs to be lightly browned! Yum!

  16. I love the South Beach Diet Cookbooks myself, but have never trid this particular recipe. Looks amazing with so much flavor. Must try soon!!!

  17. Thanks Lori. I have to say, I do love having those herbs and things like pesto in the freezer when it's winter. Kind of keeps the flavors of summer around a bit more.

  18. LOVE easy and delicious ideas like this. Sometimes simple is best, right? I really wish I would think to freeze spices like you do– so convenient!

  19. I do love the idea of using coriander (cilantro) chutney in a recipe similar to this. Sounds fantastic.

  20. this looks amazing. I do something similar …by cooking the chicken in Indian Coriander chutney. And then top it with paneer and mozzarella 🙂 if you like coriander you sure to love it!

    Thanks for posting this. Can't wait to get my hands on some basil before it finally says good bye for the season