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 five-ingredient chicken dinner that the whole family is probably going to like!
Pin Easy Baked Pesto Chicken to try it later!
When I first made this 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 years ago when I was looking in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook (affiliate link) 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.
And fast forward quite a few years and here’s a fun 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.)
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
- Basil Pesto (affiliate link)
- cup grated mozzarella cheese
Can you make this with pesto from the store?
If you don’t have a garden that produces basil, you can certainly make this ultra-easy main dish with purchased basil pesto, which is what the inspiring recipe called for.
Want more low-carb dinners with pesto?
If you have more fresh basil or basil pesto left after you make this, check out Low-Carb and Keto Recipes with Pesto for more tasty ideas for using basil pesto!
How to Make Easy Baked Pesto Chicken:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Trim chicken breasts and cut into lengthwise strips. (I save all chicken scraps in the freezer and use them to make homemade chicken stock.)
- Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish.
- Lay chicken strips over the pesto and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Spread another 1/4 cup of basil pesto over chicken strips.
- Cover dish with foil and 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.)
- Then 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.)
- 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.
- That’s all there is to making this easy and delicious low-carb Baked Pesto Chicken!
- 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. This would also taste great with Air Fryer Turnip Fries, Air Fryer Peppers and Onions, Cauliflower Rice with Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts, Lemony Green Beans, or Cheesy Zucchini with Garlic and Parsley.
More Recipe Ideas Using Basil Pesto:
- Pesto Spaghetti Squash
- Baked Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes
- Chicken Pesto Salad
- Zucchini Noodle Mock Pasta Salad
- Chicken Pesto Soup
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep where you’ll 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 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!)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This easy pesto chicken dish would be suitable for low-carb and Keto diets and any phase of the original South Beach Diet. 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 Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This popular recipe was first posted in 2010 (probably with a photo that would make me shudder if I saw it now.) The recipe was last updated with more information in 2022 and again in 2023.
305 Comments on “Easy Baked Pesto Chicken (Video)”
I can’t wait to try this recipe! Do the breasts need to be sliced or can they be left whole, or is it better to slice for flavor/even cooking/etc.? Planning to make it this weekend with salad and garlic butter spaghetti!
Definitely I recommend slicing the chicken like I did for the reasons you mention. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve made this recipe twice and it turned out great both times (once the regular recipe and once pared down for dinner for 2). Easy, delicious, and matches up with any pasta or vegetable side. Great dinner Kalyn.
So glad you’re enjoying it!
Great idea! Kids complained, and scoffed at it, but ended up loving it! It’s a keeper!
I made it with tilapia. It was great.
Oh, I like that idea! So glad you enjoyed it!
This could not have been more delicious! Thank you so much for yet another wonderful recipe! This one may be one of my all-time favorites!!
I made this last night, it is amazing! I used Bandon cheese, and topped with green onion. I laid it over a bed of fresh spinach and quinoa. Definitely will be making again.
So glad you enjoyed! I had to Google Bandon Cheese; sounds yummy!
Going to try this recipe tonight! Can’t wait to try it
Hope you enjoy!
This has become my go-to for a night that I don’t feel like cooking but I still want to eat lol. Seriously, it’s crazy how good this is to be so simple! Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve made it several times and it always gets compliments.
Made this with chicken tenders and without the cheese (no mozzarella on hand and we paired it with an adaptation of your cheesy cauliflower bake).
Cook time was reduced as the tenders are thinner.
Family says it’s a keeper….they want to have it again!
Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks Lia, so glad to hear it was a hit!
Look yummy! One of my favorite Baked Pesto Chicken, nice to see your recipe, easy to follow, will cook this for family this weekend. Thanks you!
This was very delicious! My picky husband highly approved and I loved that it was so easy to cook. Thank you for sharing!
So glad it was a hit at your house!
Made this with the 6 yr old and 8 yr old I nanny for. They enjoyed helping and eating this delicious meal! Thanks for sharing!
How fun, so glad you guys enjoyed it. I know a few kids who like this!
Any tips on turning the leftover juices into a simple sauce for a side of angel hair pasta?
I definitely think that could work. I’d probably just put the juice into a pan, whisk to make it as smooth as possible, and then whisk in some heavy cream and maybe some Parmesan cheese. You could also add a bit more pesto to the sauce. Hope that turns out well for you!
Cooking is an art, I love it, learning and updating new recipes has always motivated and loved me. Today was a lucky day, Baked Pesto Chicken was great, just follow the instructions and everything else is simple, I know something new, I love that. Thanks for your sharing
Glad you enjoyed it!
I’m curious if you have tried to make this with chicken tenders?
I haven’t, but if they aren’t too thin I think it will work just fine!
Easy and delicious! Substituted grated cheddar because it was on hand. Also added halved grape tomatoes on top of the cheese (the tomatoes needed to be eaten soon). Can’t wait to try it with mozzarella!
So glad you enjoyed! Fun hearing how you switched it up.
Baked Pesto Chicken recipe is great! The ingredients are simple and easy to process, the taste is great, I like that. I just finished it tonight and the result is beyond my expectations. We had a great dinner, all thanks to your recipe. Thanks for sharing.
A great recipe would like to see more.
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That looks delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
It looks yummy!
Thanks for sharing.