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PESTO CHICKEN BAKE

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This creamy basil pesto chicken bake is beautifully aromatic and deeply-delicious. The chicken is tender and juicy with incredible flavor.

Assembled on stovetop then baked until done, it’s a 35-minute recipe. It’s a comforting, satisfying dinner for hungry families. Serve this entree over thin pasta, zucchini noodles, mashed potatoes, or cauliflower rice.

PIN PESTO CHICKEN BAKE FOR LATER!

Pesto Chicken Bake in a Staub cast-iron universal skillet on a rustic blue surface.

pesto chicken bake ingredients

This recipes features lean chicken breasts baked in a creamy basil pesto. It’s a restaurant-quality meal made with simple ingredients that are easy to find at the market.

  • Chicken breasts or thighs, boneless/skinless
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly-ground
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pitted Kalamata olives
  • Non-pareil capers
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL FOR COOKING POULTRY

When cooking meat and poultry, like this pesto chicken bake, it’s essential to have an accurate instant-read thermometer.

I have two Thermapen professional thermometers, one for each of my kitchens. It’s how I make sure my chicken and meat recipes are cooked to temperature, and safe to eat and serve to family and friends.

KITCHEN SMARTS: Bookmark this page from the USDA. It’s a chart that provides helpful information on minimum temperatures for safe consumption of chicken, meat, and fish and more.

pesto chicken recipe

For busy parents, getting a hot dinner on the table can be a daily struggle. There’s just not enough time in the day for spending hours in the kitchen cooking or baking. In my house, this quick easy recipe is a real lifesaver.

Here’s how to to assemble pesto chicken:

  • STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse chicken. Pat the pieces dry between paper towels. Season all sides with salt and pepper.
  • STEP 2: In a large cast-iron skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat.
  • STEP 3: Sear chicken 4 minutes on each side until golden brown, then remove pan from heat.
  • STEP 4: While chicken is searing, warm cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not allow liquid to boil.
A collage of 4 overhead images showing how to make pesto chicken step by step.

BASIL PESTO CHICKEN

When using the freshest ingredients, this pesto chicken bake is a great make-ahead recipe! It can be assembled and baked 1 to 2 days in advance. Cool and refrigerate in an air-tight container.

Continue following these easy recipe instructions:

  • STEP 5: Add a pinch of garlic powder and pinch of salt to the warm cream-and-butter mixture. Stir in the basil pesto.
  • STEP 6: Grate parmesan cheese directly over the pan of creamy pesto. With a wooden spoon, stir briefly until cheese is melted.
  • STEP 7: Sprinkle cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and capers over the chicken in the cast-iron skillet.
  • STEP 8: Pour the creamy pesto sauce over the chicken. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until poultry is done. The internal temperature of baked chicken should be 165°F in the thickest part. Once out of the oven, garnish this dish with hand-torn basil leaves.
Collage of 4 overhead images showing how to make the best Basil Pesto Chicken.

EXPERT TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS

  • BEST SUBSTITUTES FOR HEAVY CREAM: Half-and-half or evaporated milk.
  • DELICIOUS ADD-INS: Try marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or feta cheese.
  • HOW TO STRETCH THIS RECIPE TO FEED MORE PEOPLE: Once baking is done, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Slice up the breasts. Return them to the pan to get covered in sauce. Divide the entree equally between the number of diners.
  • HOW TO SERVE BASIL PESTO CHICKEN: Serve over a base of thin pasta, mashed potatoes, jasmine rice, cauliflower, cooked zucchini noodles, etc.
Pesto chicken in a Staub universal pan on a  deep-blue, rustic serving table.

HOW TO GET THIS DINNER ON THE TABLE FASTER

These are simple ways to get this delicious pesto chicken bake on the table quicker. Less time cooking in the kitchen means more quality time you can spend with your family!

  • USE THINNER, FLATTER CHICKEN BREASTS. Thinner fillets will cook quicker than thicker pieces.
  • GRATED PARMESAN FROM THE DELI: Rather than grating the cheese at home, buy pre-grated parmesan from the deli.
  • MULTI-TASK IN THE KITCHEN: Prep the base (pasta, potatoes, veggies, or rice) while the poultry is baking.

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Pesto chicken bake in a cast-iron skillet with a silver serving spoon and basil leaves.

MORE EASY DINNER RECIPES

I love sharing flavorful recipes that are easy to make. If you enjoyed this savory pesto chicken bake, you’ll also appreciate these time-tested favorites. Refresh your monthly meal plan now!

PESTO CHICKEN BAKE > RATE THIS RECIPE! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My family says this is the best pesto chicken recipe! If you agree, give this chicken dinner a 5-star rating in the comments.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com
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Pesto chicken in a cast-iron skillet next to a silver slotted serving spoon on a rustic blue table.

PESTO CHICKEN BAKE


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Description

This creamy pesto chicken bake is juicy, tender and delicious! It’s a restaurant-quality meal that’s quick and simple assemble at home. Make this easy recipe in 35 minutes!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breast fillets, boneless/skinless
  • Sea salt, as desired
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, as desired
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons non-pareil capers, drained and rinsed
  • FOR GARNISHING: Fresh basil leaves, hand shredded

WHAT TO SERVE WITH BASIL PESTO CHICKEN: Serve this entree over mashed potatoes, thin noodles, cauliflower rice, jasmine rice, or cooked zucchini noodles (zoodles).


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rinse chicken. Pat the pieces dry between paper towels. Season all sides with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Sear chicken 4 minutes on each side until golden brown, then remove pan from heat.
  3. While chicken is searing, warm cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not allow liquid to boil. Add a pinch of garlic powder and pinch of salt to the warm cream-and-butter mixture. Stir in the basil pesto. Grate parmesan cheese directly over the pan of creamy pesto. With a wooden spoon, stir briefly until cheese is incorporated and has melted in.
  4. Sprinkle cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and capers over the chicken in the cast-iron skillet. Pour the creamy pesto sauce over the chicken.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until poultry is done. The internal temperature of baked chicken should be 165°F in the thickest part.
  6. Garnish with hand-torn basil leaves.

Notes

  • BEST SUBSTITUTES FOR HEAVY CREAM: Half-and-half or evaporated milk.
  • DELICIOUS ADD-INS: Try marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or feta cheese.
  • HOW TO STRETCH THIS RECIPE TO FEED MORE PEOPLE: Once baking is done, transfer chicken to a cutting board. Slice up the breasts. Return them to the pan to get covered in sauce. Divide the entree equally between the number of diners, serving over a base of noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, cauliflower, etc.
  • MAKE-AHEAD RECIPE: When using the freshest ingredients, this pesto chicken bake can be assembled and baked 1 -2 days in advance. Cool and refrigerate in an air-tight container. 
  • MORE INFO ABOUT THIS RECIPE: Further tips are included in the body of the post, along with helpful step-by-step recipe images.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop + Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pesto Chicken, Pesto Chicken Bake, Basil Pesto Chicken

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

PESTO CHICKEN > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Have you added this pesto chicken bake to your recipe arsenal? What sides will you serve with this yummy entree? Join the conversation below!

7 thoughts on “PESTO CHICKEN BAKE”

  1. Yum! This looks so delicious and has a lot of flavor! Can’t wait to make this for my family! They are going to love this!

    Reply
  2. How tasty and comforting this dish is! It was a real hit for dinner – the whole family loved it! We had lots of basil in the garden a whipped up some homemade pesto. Lovely flavours!

    Reply
  3. I love the flavours in this recipe. The klamata olives and capers really make this a standout for me.

    Reply
  4. So easy and super delicious recipe! I will be putting this one into the rotation for sure…thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
  5. This is so yummy! I had so much extra rocket in the garden- so I made rocket pesto and it is perfect with it! Such a delicious meal.

    Reply

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