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.


  • 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!)


  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.


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:



Serving Size:


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

  1. The pesto from Costco says don’t heat?  It’s okay to bake it,right?

    • Yes, absolutely! That is weird, I think what they mean is don’t put it in a pan and heat it before you put it on pasta. But absolutely can be baked inside over over chicken.

  2. This is very easy to make and it is good but my family loves it best with Tomato Pesto. Thanks

  3. Pingback: Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta - melissassouthernstylekitchen.com

  4. I LOVE this recipe, but my chicken is coming out a bit dry no matter how I adjust cook and broil times. Do you have any tips for increasing moisture? Would it help to marinate scored chicken in the pesto to help it absorb? 

    Thank you for all of your amazing recipes, you have helped me tackle to resolutions – weight loss and learning to cook more – and I couldn’t be more grateful to you!

  5. Pingback: Day 13 | Dana’s South Beach Blog

  6. This was delicious with roasted spaghetti squash! Thank You Kalyn!

  7. Pingback: A Two-Week Summer Meal Plan | Keeper of the Home

  8. Have you ever prepared this and froze it? Wondering if it would be better frozen before cooked or after? Wanting to make an easy dinner for a friend who just had a baby. Thanks!

  9. Yummy! Thank you share best receipt!

  10. Do you have the nutritional information?

    • For a variety of reasons I don't calculate nutritional info, but if you look after the recipe I have suggestions for two ways to get it. (I have been adding that to my newer recipes but didn't realize this one didn't have it, so thanks for asking.)

  11. Made these last night, and all I can say is How easy and good they were. I used Barrilla basil pesto and added extra cheese. Served over brown rice. Def. a keeper

  12. I used 3.3 pounds of chicken because I didn't find any notice of a minimum or maximum amount of chicken to use. I just now popped the dish in the oven for 30 minutes, so I can't report how 3.3 pounds works! I gave the dish only slightly more than 1/2 cup of pesto.

    Could you please supply a minimum or maximum amount of chicken to use in this recipe? If you recommend heavier or lighter doses of pesto and/or different cooking times in certain circumstances, I'd appreciate knowing that, too.

    Thanks very much, and Happy New Year!

    • As you can see from the comments hundreds of people have made this with no problem and there is a photo of the cut chicken and every step of the recipe. I think it's a personal preference how much pesto/chicken to use. I don't have any more information to share. I don't weigh the chicken after I cut it it up.

  13. I'm not sure I have reheated it; I don't know if I've ever had leftovers. But I would probably use a a microwave. If that's not an option I'd reheat in the oven in a dish tightly covered with foil.

  14. How would I reheat the leftovers?

  15. I'm making this for company tonight – and I thought with all the fresh tomatoes available now, I would put some sliced tomatoes on the chicken before I put on the cheese!

  16. One of our go to dinners! We just love it and SO MANY MORE of your recipes. You're the best and your site is great! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  17. Michelle, so glad you liked it. And I think the idea of artichoke hearts sounds great!

  18. I tried this tonight and OMG yum, one of my new faves for sure! My fiance noted that it's be yummy with some artichoke hearts over angelhair pasta.Thanks for the recipe!!

  19. I can't wait to try your recipe looks amazing! Also included you in my weekly meal plan this week. http://www.sassymomsinthecity.com/real-food-recipes-round-up-july-21/