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!

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

  1. Stephanie, glad you liked it, and I can imagine this would be great served over pasta!

  2. This was wonderful. We're not super low carb so we served it on a bit of rice pasta. It was sooo tasty that my hubby said it could replace our Friday night "treat" meals (pizza, nachos, etc). Wow!

    Thanks a lot!
    Steph

  3. Marisa, thanks! It was definitely a good one.

  4. Your recipes never cease to delight me and this is yet another winner! Can just imagine the flavours from the pesto & cheese.

  5. Roy, that's great! So glad to hear it was a hit.

  6. I made this tonight wondering if the wife and kids would eat it. (I knew I would, LOL) When I pulled it out of the oven my wife and 10 year daughter asked me what it was. They both looked at it and made faces but the truth was on the plate. Both had eaten it before I had finished mine. (This is the best evidence of it passing the test!) It really is delish! Thanks!

  7. Mini, so glad it was a hit (with you *and* Dan!)

  8. I made a pan of this last night (supposedly for lunches this week), but as it cooked, Dan said "is that dinner?" No… chili is dinner, this is for lunches. The response "I can't wait for lunch!!!"

    It was delish and nutrish. 🙂 A perfect combo with my new fave, the raw kale salad and some fresh green beans. Yum!

    Thank you for keeping this blog… my inner foodie doesn't have to do battle with my need to be on a low glycemic diet. 🙂

  9. Sandy, so glad you liked it! (And how I wish we had Trader Joe's in Utah!)

  10. Kalyn:

    I made this last night, using Trader Joe's (Trader Giotto's) Pesto alla Genovese Basil Pesto. It was easy, fast, juicy and flavorful!!!

    Today, reheated pieces were absolutely scrumptious!

    This is a definite keeper and especially because it's South Beach inspired.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog and delicious recipes!

  11. That looks like a great way to enjoy some pesto!

  12. Heidi, so glad you liked it.

  13. PS – I used prepared pesto, Buitoni, because the Florida heat has been brutal on my basil plant.

  14. This was deeeelicious! My husband and I decided it was "company" food. I made steamed cauliflower as a side, but broccoli would probably be a better "green" visual. Another winner!

  15. Anonymous, I haven't seen that either, but you're right, it sounds perfect for this! Hope you like it.

  16. I bought some Monterey Jack cheese with pesto today at Sam's Club; perfect in this recipe. I can think of lots of ways to use it. I'd never seen pesto mixed in with cheese. It was $5.99lb and the smallest chunk was slightly over $6.

  17. Kisha, so glad you liked it!

  18. Today was my first day on your blog. This post stood out to me as some friends brought over several basil plants from her garden yesterday. I had half of a left over roasted chicken in the fridge so I threw this recipe together – so delicious! I could tell that my boyfriend really liked dinner tonight. I served it with creamy spaghetti squash. Thanks!

  19. Susie, love the sound of walnut pesto! I bet it will be great on this.

  20. Kalyn-looks like anothe winner! I just made some Basil Walnut pesto for the freezer. This will be the recipe I use it on!