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.
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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.

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 or basil pesto hummus for an idea of what to do with homemade basil pesto!

This recipe makes one of the best Summer Dinner Ideas! Don’t skip these incredible Summer Appetizers, too.

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.

Ingredients and 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.
A white oval plate with baked pesto chicken breasts.

Variations

How to Make

  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!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there sugar in pesto?

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!

Is pesto chicken healthy?

The ingredients in traditional pesto 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. 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.

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!

An oval white dish with three uncooked chicken breasts covered in pesto.

Serving Suggestions

Read our guide for the best Side Dishes for Chicken!

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!

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.
A white platter with three pesto baked chicken breasts.

More Chicken

pesto chicken recipe
4.64 from 11 votes
Click stars ↑ to rate and leave a review!

Pesto Chicken

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.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
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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.

Julie’s Tips

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.

Video

Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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4.64 from 11 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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19 Comments

    1. Hi Chris,
      The ingredients, as well as step by step instructions, are in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
      I hope you have a good week,
      Julie

    1. I frequently make it, but you can purchase in the produce or refrigerated section of your grocer. I find the refrigerated varieties to be more flavorful. Enjoy!

  1. 5 stars
    Such a delicious chicken dish. Easy to make. And kids love it! This is on rotation at our house So easy to prep, cook and get on the table

  2. A gift for my 77th birthday(Staub 9/13dish pan) love it did your recipe but add lemon zest and lemon slices use too of your recipe together great taste and had enough for lunch the next day.Also use your peas recipe use Le Sur can peas wonderful thanks and have wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends..