The Easiest 3 Ingredient Pesto Chicken Recipe

LAST UPDATED: Jun 15, 2020 | PUBLISHED: May 04, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

Pesto Chicken is the juiciest, most flavorful baked chicken recipe. This easy Pesto Chicken recipe is foolproof and takes less than five minutes hands on time! Enjoy it with veggies, mashed potatoes or on a bed of pasta.

A white oval plate with three pesto chicken breasts.

I love an easy dinner and this Pesto Chicken is no exception! It’s the perfect healthy dinner recipe that takes just a few minutes to make. It requires just three ingredients and five minutes hands on time.

It’s the perfect easy chicken dinner that we all love – it’s flexible, simple to throw together, and bursting with flavor! It’s turned out to be one of my most popular chicken recipes ever.

I think that’s because readers love when recipes are clean, simple, and delicious – just as much as we do!

We eat a lot of baked chicken in this house – have you tried my simple chicken kabobs, baked chicken recipe, or lemon chicken, or even my blackened chicken? Don’t miss out!

When I share recipes, you can be sure that they are full of flavor and SO easy to make. This baked pesto chicken recipe is lean, delicious and beyond simple. Let’s get started!

A white oval plate with three pesto chicken breasts.

I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!

Why You’ll Love this Easy Pesto Chicken

It’s a one dish dinner recipe you’ll make again and again! No need to pan sear, marinate or season the chicken, just bake, allow it to rest, and enjoy.

The pesto is filled with flavor and fragrance from the oil and basil, and seals in the moisture to create a juicy chicken for any occasion. Psst… don’t miss this delightfully simple pesto pasta for an idea of what to do with homemade basil pesto!

A white oval plate with three pesto chicken breasts, knife to the side.

Do you love pesto flavors as much as we do? You have to try this incredible pesto aioli for a sauce that is perfect for dipping! 

This foolproof chicken is never dry – it comes out perfect every time. I serve it straight out of the baking dish for our family or transfer to a platter for entertaining.

A white oval plate with three pesto chicken breasts.

Do You Have to Marinate Chicken with Pesto?

You can marinate chicken with pesto by placing the covered dish in the refrigerator for an hour, or place the coated chicken breasts in a ziplock bag for an hour before baking.

However, marinating is unnecessary with this juicy chicken recipe. The combination of oil and basil in the pesto is enough to keep the chicken perfectly moist and juicy! It’s truly a one step, fast chicken recipe for any day of the week!

A white oval plate with baked pesto chicken breasts.

Pesto Chicken Ingredients

  • Pesto Sauce – Purchase your favorite pesto in a jar at the grocery store or make your own by pulsing 2 cups basil, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in a food processor.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Use a high quality olive oil for the best flavor. Butter, melted coconut oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and vegetable oil can be substituted if needed.

Variations and Optional Add Ins

  • Parmesan Cheese 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red Pepper

How to Bake This Easy Chicken Dinner

  1. Coat – Brush both sides of the chicken breast with olive oil and pesto. A white oval dish with three uncooked chicken breasts in olive oil.
  2. Bake – Bake your chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to rest while it continues to cook for the juiciest chicken. An oval white dish with three uncooked chicken breasts covered in pesto.
  3. Drizzle – Remove from oven and drizzle the olive oil and pesto on top with a spoon. An oval white dish with three uncooked chicken breasts covered in pesto, spoon reaching in.
  4. Slice (or dice). Hands reaching in to slice baked pesto chicken on a white oval platter.

Tips

  • Depending on how salty your jar of pesto is, you might want to add a little salt and pepper. Totally personal preference!
  • Don’t over-bake this chicken recipe! You’ll dry it out. In my oven, 20 minutes is usually perfect.
  • The thickness of your chicken breasts can make a difference here. If you’re using very thick breasts, you might want to pound them out a little for more even baking.
  • A little pesto goes a long way! It adds an incredible layer of fragrant flavor you’re going to love – but you might want to experiment with how much works best for your family.
  • Add a little Parmesan cheese if you want to give it even more vibrant flavor. Parmesan and pesto are a match made in heaven!

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 4 days refrigerated.
  • Freeze – Store in an airtight container or freezer bag, up to 3 months.
An oval white dish with three uncooked chicken breasts covered in pesto.

Serving Suggestions

There are so many ways to enjoy this Pesto Chicken recipe. You can serve it alone or on a bed of lettuce for a salad, tossed in pasta, or on top of pizza.

Try it between focaccia for a sandwich or panini, on a tortilla wrap or with a side of vegetables if you’re keeping things low carb. You’ll want to make extra to enjoy all week!

A white oval dish with three baked chicken breasts covered in pesto sauce.

Is It Healthy?

Traditional Pesto Sauce {you can use store bought pesto or make your own with this easy Pesto recipe from Ina Garten} is a combination of olive oil, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic and parmesan cheese.

These ingredients all offer a lot of nutrients and are a healthy addition to any diet, but are high in fat. The excess cooks off the chicken. This Pesto Chicken comes in at less than 200 calories per serving, even less when removing excess olive oil!

A little pesto goes a long way. You need just one tablespoon per chicken breast. Coat the top and as it bakes it will melt off and the bottom of the chicken breasts will marinate in it as well.

Is There Sugar in Pesto?

Not in the kind I buy! And certainly not if you make your own. With that said, it makes this delicious and easy chicken recipe compliant with a Keto lifestyle plan!

While pesto is higher in fat because of the olive oil, there is no sugar and it is bursting with flavor. This is a lean, healthy dinner protein option that fits within a variety of healthy lifestyles!

A white platter with three pesto baked chicken breasts.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you try this delicious pesto chicken, please write a five star review and help me share on Facebook and Pinterest! Don’t forget to sign up to receive each new easy recipe to your inbox.

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To see just how quick this easy chicken recipe is, watch the video in this post!

pesto chicken recipe

Pesto Chicken

Julie Blanner
Pesto Chicken is the juiciest, most flavorful baked chicken EVER. This easy Pesto Chicken recipe is foolproof with just three ingredients and five minutes of hands on time! Enjoy it with veggies, mashed potatoes or on a bed of pasta.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 178 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pesto

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a baking dish, brush both sides of chicken breasts with olive oil and spread pesto on top of each.
  • Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes {it will continue to cook}. Slice or dice.

Video

Notes

Substitutions

  • Pesto Sauce – Purchase your favorite pesto in a jar at the grocery store or make your own by pulsing 2 cups basil, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in a food processor.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Use a high quality olive oil for the best flavor. Butter, melted coconut oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and vegetable oil can be substituted if needed.

Variations and Optional Add Ins

  • Parmesan Cheese 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red Pepper

Tips 

  • Salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  • Baking Time Varies – The thickness of your chicken breasts can make a difference here. If you’re using very thick breasts, you might want to pound them out a little for more even baking. Don’t over-bake.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 4 days refrigerated.
  • Freeze – Store in an airtight container or freezer bag, up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories:178kcalCarbohydrates:1gProtein:24gFat:8gSaturated Fat:1gCholesterol:73mgSodium:201mgPotassium:418mgFiber:1gSugar:1gVitamin A:185IUVitamin C:1mgCalcium:18mgIron:1mg
Keywords chicken pesto, pesto chicken
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