Jun 12, 2023

Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe (Easy and Delicious)

As a seasoned cook, I know the value of quick and easy recipes that don't compromise on flavor. That's why this Baked Pesto Chicken is a winner. It's a breeze to make, taking only minutes to prepare, making it an ideal option for those hectic evenings when time is of the essence.

What truly makes this dish exceptional is how well the flavors work together. The juicy chicken, savory pesto, sweet grape tomatoes, and melty mozzarella cheese create a tasty medley that everyone will love. It's a taste experience that will have you coming back for seconds and maybe even thirds.
Dark and moody photo of Baked Pesto Chicken served on a bed of spaghetti served up on a copper tray, accompanied by baguette slices, a jar of pesto, and a pewter pitcher filled with balsamic glaze

Baked Pesto Chicken

Whether you're entertaining guests or simply looking to elevate your weeknight dinner, this Baked Pesto Chicken is the answer. Its delicious flavor and stunning presentation are guaranteed to impress and make any meal a memorable occasion.

My Baked Pesto Chicken is a recipe born out of my passion for cooking, refined through years of experience, and crafted with love to bring joy to your table. Let's dive in and create a masterpiece that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more!
Cheesy baked pesto chicken being lifted off the tray, revealing its irresistible melted cheese, ready to be served onto a plate.

Here's why you'll fall head over heels for this easy Baked Pesto Chicken recipe:

Baked Pesto Chicken is the ultimate time-saving recipe that's both quick and easy to prepare. With just a few minutes of prep, you can have this flavorful chicken recipe on your dinner table.

The secret to this recipe lies in the mouth watering combination of juicy chicken, savory pesto, sweet tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella cheese. Every bite is a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving more. Trust me, I've perfected this recipe over the years, and it never fails to impress.
A forkful of cheesy baked pesto chicken with a roasted grape tomato and fresh basil, showcasing the juicy goodness of the flavorful chicken.
What's even better is that this dish is not only delicious but also healthy and wholesome. Packed with lean protein and fresh ingredients, it's a nutritious option that doesn't compromise on taste. You can enjoy a satisfying meal without guilt.

One of the things I love most about this recipe is its versatility. You have the freedom to customize it to suit your preferences. Serve it with pasta, rice, or a crisp salad - the choice is yours. This adaptability allows you to be the culinary artist in your own kitchen.

Whether you're hosting a fancy dinner party or simply having a casual get-together with friends, this baked pesto chicken is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Its delicious flavor and beautiful presentation will make any occasion feel special. So go ahead and impress your guests with this easy baked chicken recipe that reflects your expertise in the kitchen.
Cheesy baked pesto chicken served on a bed of spaghetti, beautifully presented on a copper tray, a mouth watering and inviting meal.

What is the main flavor in traditional pesto?

The main flavor in traditional pesto is fresh basil. Basil leaves are the primary ingredient that gives basil pesto its distinctive and vibrant taste.

The flavor of basil is herbaceous, slightly sweet, and peppery, providing a delightful aroma and a touch of freshness to the pesto sauce.

Other essential components of traditional pesto include garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil, which complement and enhance the basil flavor.

The combination of these ingredients creates a harmonious blend of flavors that make traditional pesto so delicious and versatile in various recipes.
A colorful assortment of ingredients for making baked pesto chicken, including chicken cutlets, homemade pesto sauce, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic glaze, and kosher salt.

Ingredients you need to make this easy dinner recipe:

  • Prepared Pesto: I highly recommend my Easy Homemade Pesto for this recipe. But if you're in a pinch, store-bought pesto will do the trick.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken cutlets: These are thin slices of chicken breast that cook quickly and evenly. If you can't find chicken cutlets, fear not! Just cut thicker chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make your own cutlets.
  • Cooking Spray: I prefer using olive oil in a spray bottle rather than commercial cooking spray. Alternatively, you can brush the baking dish with olive oil.
  • Grape Tomatoes: These small, sweet tomatoes add a burst of juicy sweetness to the dish. They're also a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. Keep them whole for easy preparation. I prefer grape tomatoes over cherry tomatoes as they are better for roasting, but you may substitute with cherry tomatoes if that is what you have available.
  • Olive Oil: A healthy source of monounsaturated fats that adds a rich, fruity flavor to the dish.
  • Kosher Salt: This coarse-grained salt enhances the natural flavors of the other ingredients and adds a delicious touch to the dish.
  • Shredded Mozzarella: This mild and creamy cheese melts beautifully, creating a gooey texture that will make your taste buds sing.
  • Fresh Basil: Fragrant and herby, fresh basil adds a burst of flavor and a pop of green color as a garnish for this dish.
  • Balsamic Glaze: A sweet and tangy sauce made from reduced balsamic vinegar. It adds a delightful acidic flavor and a beautiful finishing touch. You can make your own at home by following my easy recipe for Balsamic Glaze, or find pre-made options at the grocery store.

How to Make Baked Pesto Chicken

Now that we've got the ingredients covered, let's dive into the cooking process. As a seasoned home cook, I'll guide you through the steps with ease to make this pesto chicken bake recipe:

Prep: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grab a casserole dish and give it a light spray of cooking oil. Next, coat both sides of your chicken cutlets with that mouth watering pesto. Make sure they're well covered in all that flavorful goodness.
A casserole dish filled with grape tomatoes and topped with chicken coated in a vibrant green pesto sauce, ready to be baked into delicious baked pesto chicken.

Assemble: Now it's time to add those juicy grape tomatoes to the casserole dish. Drizzle them with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of kosher salt. Mix everything together to ensure the flavors are evenly distributed. Place your pesto-coated chicken on top of the tomatoes, arranging them in a single layer.
A casserole dish covered with aluminum foil, prepared and ready to be placed in the oven for baking, as part of the process of making flavorful baked pesto chicken.

Bake: To keep all those flavors locked in, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Pop it in the preheated oven and let the magic happen. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
A casserole dish with foil removed, revealing the pesto-coated chicken topped with a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese, ready to be placed back in the oven to melt the cheese, in the process of making mouthwatering baked pesto chicken.

Cheese it up: Remove the foil and get ready to take this dish to a whole new level of deliciousness. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the chicken, allowing it to melt into a gooey, cheesy perfection. Pop the dish back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is beautifully melted.
A tempting casserole dish filled with baked chicken pesto, generously covered in melted mozzarella cheese and beautifully garnished with fresh basil leaves, ready to be devoured and enjoyed.

Garnish and serve: It's time to add some final touches. Sprinkle fresh basil over the dish for that fragrant and vibrant touch. Then, drizzle a heavenly balsamic glaze over the top. Now, take a step back and admire your masterpiece. Serve this delectable Baked Pesto Chicken with your favorite pasta, or for a low-carb meal, serve with a crisp salad, and get ready to savor every bite!
A small pewter pitcher pouring a luscious stream of balsamic glaze over the golden-brown baked chicken pesto, creating a tantalizing and flavorful finishing touch.

Expert Recipe Tips

Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your chicken is cooked to perfection, I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. Check that the internal temperature reaches 150°F for safe consumption.
Halve the chicken: If your chicken breasts are thicker than 1/2 inch, slice them in half lengthwise. This will help them cook more evenly and avoid any dryness. Alternatively, you can pound them to an even thickness before cooking.
Embrace fresh ingredients: If possible, opt for fresh ingredients like homemade pesto using fresh basil, and be sure to use fresh tomatoes too. Fresh ingredients truly elevate the flavors of this dish compared to their canned or prepackaged counterparts.
Customize to your taste: Feel free to adjust the amounts of pesto, cheese, and other ingredients to suit your personal preferences. Don't be afraid to add your own twist and experiment with different flavors.
Serve with a side: While this Baked Pesto Chicken shines on its own, it pairs wonderfully with pasta or rice. For a low-carb option, serve it with a fresh salad to complete the meal.
A delectable serving platter of cheesy baked pesto chicken. The chicken is adorned with a drizzle of rich balsamic glaze and accompanied by roasted tomatoes. It rests atop a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles.

Creative Recipe Variations

Flavored Pesto Variations:

Here are some delicious flavored pesto variations that you can use to add an exciting twist to your Baked Pesto Chicken recipe:
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: Blend sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil to create a vibrant and tangy pesto. This pesto variation pairs exceptionally well with the chicken and adds a burst of robust flavor.
  • Spinach and Walnut Pesto: Incorporate fresh spinach leaves and toasted walnuts into your pesto for a vibrant green color and a delightful nuttiness. This variation adds a healthy dose of greens and a unique taste to your Baked Pesto Chicken.
  • Roasted Red Pepper Pesto: Roast red bell peppers until charred, then blend them with garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil to create a smoky and sweet pesto. This flavorful twist will infuse your chicken with rich, roasted pepper notes.

How to Repurpose leftover Baked Pesto Chicken

  • Pesto Chicken Salad: Transform your leftovers into a delicious lunch by shredding the cooked chicken and mixing it with a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and a pesto vinaigrette.
  • Pesto Chicken Wraps: Slice the baked pesto chicken into strips and use them as a filling for wraps. Add your favorite vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, along with a dollop of Greek yogurt or a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a refreshing and flavorful meal.
  • Pesto Chicken Pizza: Use the baked pesto chicken as a flavorful topping for homemade pizza. Spread a thin layer of pesto on the pizza crust, top it with the sliced chicken, mozzarella cheese, and any other desired toppings, and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.
  • Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich: Shred the baked pesto chicken and mix it with mayonnaise, diced celery, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve it on your favorite bread or in a wrap for a refreshing and satisfying chicken salad sandwich.
  • Pesto Chicken Bruschetta: Slice a baguette and toast the slices until crispy. Top each slice with a piece of baked pesto chicken, a spoonful of diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Broil until the cheese melts and garnish with fresh basil for an appetizer that bursts with flavor.
A scrumptious serving of cheesy baked pesto chicken presented on a beautifully aged copper platter. The chicken is accompanied by roasted tomatoes, creating a burst of color, and is served on a bed of perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe?
  • While fresh chicken is recommended for the best results, you can use frozen chicken as well. Just make sure to thaw it completely before cooking and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I use a different type of cheese?
  • Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese, such as Parmesan or feta, to add your own unique flavor profile. Keep in mind that the nutritional values may vary depending on the type of cheese used.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
  • It's not recommended to assemble this dish ahead of time as it may promote the growth of harmful bacteria. To enjoy the best flavors and textures, it's best to prepare and bake the Baked Pesto Chicken right before serving.
Can I use homemade pesto?
  • I highly encourage you to use homemade pesto for maximum flavor. If you have your own recipe or a favorite store-bought brand, go ahead and use it to create a truly delicious experience.

Looking for more easy chicken recipes to add to your repertoire?

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta - This recipe has all the goodness of a traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe, but is so much easier to make!
  • Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap - Packed with all the flavors of a classic Caesar salad, this easy recipe for a Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap makes a delicious lunch on-the-go or even a light and tasty dinner.
  • Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup - All the comforting goodness that makes up the inside of chicken pot pie without all the fuss of actually making it into a pie.
  • Full list of Easy Chicken Recipes
Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Yield: 4
Author: Life Tastes Good
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 40 Min
This baked pesto chicken is the perfect weeknight meal. A simple baked pesto chicken recipe with chicken, pesto, and cheese, then baked to perfection.


  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • Balsamic glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Spray an 11"x7" casserole dish with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  3. Coat both sides of the chicken cutlets with the prepared pesto.
  4. In the casserole dish, combine the grape tomatoes, olive oil, and a pinch of kosher salt.
  5. Place the pesto-coated chicken cutlets in a single layer on top of the tomatoes.
  6. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil or a lid.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  8. Remove the casserole from the oven and uncover. Check the chicken for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part. The chicken should register 150 degrees F (65 degrees C).
  9. If the chicken is not yet cooked, cover the dish with foil and return it to the oven until fully cooked.
  10. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the foil and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.
  11. Return the dish to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  13. Serve the Baked Pesto Chicken with pasta noodles or a refreshing salad for a complete and satisfying meal.


  1. If your chicken breasts are thicker than 1/2 inch, consider slicing them in half lengthwise through the middle to ensure even cooking and prevent dryness.
  2. For the best flavor, I recommend using homemade pesto. However, if you prefer, you can use your favorite store-bought pesto.
  3. To guarantee the chicken is cooked to perfection, use a digital instant-read thermometer to check its internal temperature.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

34.41 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.02 g

Carbs (grams)

13.04 g

Fiber (grams)

3.34 g

Net carbs

9.72 g

Sugar (grams)

7.84 g

Protein (grams)

40.06 g

Sodium (milligrams)

794.2 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

119.3 mg

Nutrition label disclaimer: Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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