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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. Use Casserole Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN Easy Baked Pesto Chicken!

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: 450 Total Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 7g Unsaturated Fat: 17g Cholesterol: 141mg Sodium: 590mg Carbohydrates: 3g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 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.

I'd love to see your pictures if you make this recipe. Share on social media with the hashtag #kalynskitchen so I can see how it turned out for you!

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

  1. LOVE this recipe!!! I have already made it twice this week… once just as you posted it and the second time I added asparagus around the dish and it too was AWESOME! but gives it a bit of a different flavor. Thanks for posting=) BTW found it on Pinterest

  2. The liquid is a combination of broth from the chicken and some oil from the pesto, but I don't remember it being overly oil.

    Yes I have made pesto and frozen it, although I don't remember if I used previously-frozen pesto for this.

  3. This looks really good, but I can't quite see from the picture – is the liquid in the bottom oily or is it more like a broth?

    And, frozen basil isn't nearly as good as fresh, it's one of the herbs that just doesn't freeze or dry well. In fact, it turns black unless steeped in oil.

    Do you make the pesto first, then freeze that? I've never tried doing that, and I hate bottled pesto…

  4. Cherilyn, so glad you liked it!

  5. I had never had pesto but do love basil so I figured I'd give it a try. I actually made 2 dishes of the same for my once a month freezer cooking and it turned out perfectly. So easy to prepare, then throw in the oven for a busy day – thanks for the great recipe!

  6. JillyBee, thanks for the nice thoughts about the blog. You are welcome to share my photo of the dish with credit and a link to the recipe on my blog. However, I can't permit people to copy my recipes and post them in other places on the web; that screws up my results in search engine rankings.

    Of course if you make the recipe yourself and take photos you may then re-write the recipe in your own words and post it; crediting me as the source. Thanks for asking. I think what I've outlined here is pretty much what most food bloggers permit.

  7. Kalyn,
    First off, you have a beautiful site. I found this recipe and had to try it! Fantastic! Question: I have started sort of a personal blog of recipes to share with family and friends. So far, all recipes are my own but I would like to add this (with full credit to you of course, can I and if I do should I link back to your site? Not sure how this works but would love to share this.
    Jill

  8. Micki, glad you like it!

  9. I just started SBD and stumbled across this recipe looking for new chicken ideas. I left off the cheese and placed the chicken on a bed of field greens with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella for a SBD phase 1 twist on caprese. YUM!! Thanks for the recipes!

  10. Nicole, so glad you liked it!

  11. Oh. My. Word. That's all I can say about this! I will be freezing pesto made from the plethora of basil in my garden just for this recipe.

  12. Chad, so glad you liked it!

  13. This was a delicious way to use the basil from my garden. My only change was to add some cherry tomatoes. They really complimented the basil and mozzarella. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Anna, you're welcome, and I do hope the blog will be helpful. Hang in there and I know it will work!

  15. Kalyn,

    Today is my second day of Phase 1. First time on SBD ever! I made this for dinner last night and it was DELICIOUS!! You saved my night (family gathering with tons of fried goodies). Tonight I'm trying your squash casserole and for breakfast I'm going to make the broccoli egg dish that reminds you of Grandma Denny.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I truly feel that your blog will pull me through and help me immensely.

  16. Melissa, thanks for that nice feedback. I to hear that you're enjoying the recipes.

  17. I come to your site over and over again, week after week…I'm a very picky eater trying to find healthy recipes for my family! Thank you so much for all you share with us!
    This chicken is on this week's menu!

  18. So glad you are enjoying the recipes, and good to know that the menu suggestions are helpful too.

  19. This was just the latest of the MANY recipes that I've tried from your site and it didn't disappoint! I really appreciate when you make the suggestions on what to serve the dish with. Really helps to plan my menu. Thanks so much!

  20. Linsey, so glad you enjoyed it!