Pesto Chicken

Baked pesto chicken is an EASY weeknight recipe that needs only 4 ingredients, but tastes like a million bucks! Made with juicy breaded chicken smothered with creamy pesto sauce and topped with melty cheese, it’s ready for the oven in minutes.

If you love this cheesy pesto chicken, be sure to try my equally mouthwatering stuffed caprese chicken and MIYM chicken, too!

Why You’ll Love This Pesto Chicken Recipe

Who’s ready for the most delicious oven-baked pesto chicken (ever)? I’m hesitant to call this chicken dinner a recipe because it’s just so darn simple. Tender breaded chicken breasts get smothered with basil pesto, topped with cheese, and baked until said cheese is gooey and bubbly. You’ll love it because:

  • There are only 4 ingredients. Does a weeknight dinner get much better? I think not.
  • It’s super tasty. Despite the short list of ingredients, this chicken is packed with fresh herby flavor thanks to the pesto. Made crispy with seasoned breadcrumbs and finished with melty cheese, it’s next-level good.
  • It’s crazy easy to make. Once your chicken is prepped and in the baking dish (which takes minutes), the rest of this recipe is hands-off. 
  • Versatile. Leftovers are great to store and freeze, and you can serve your chicken any way that you’d like, over pasta, in a salad, or even in a chicken sandwich.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You can count the ingredients on one hand, but don’t let that fool you. This easy pesto chicken is packed with herby, savory flavor. Check out my notes below, and scroll to the recipe card for a printable list with amounts.

  • Chicken – I make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken breasts. Pounding the chicken thin before cooking is key for even baking. You can also use boneless chicken thighs.
  • Breadcrumbs – Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs have more flavor. If you’re using plain or Panko breadcrumbs, consider mixing in Italian seasoning or salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pesto – Choose your favorite jarred pesto from the store (my go-to is the basil pesto sauce from Trader Joe’s). If you have a homemade pesto recipe, that’s great, too!
  • Cheese – Provolone slices or mozzarella create a melty, gooey layer over top of the pesto. Feel free to skip the cheese if you prefer.

What Is Pesto Made Of?

Traditional pesto sauce combines basil leaves with garlic, pine nuts, salt, and parmesan (or pecorino). The ingredients are blended with olive oil to make a creamy, aromatic paste that’s delicious on everything from pasta to chicken! Pesto originates from Genoa, Italy, and it’s one of my all-time favorite ways to bring a lil’ taste of the Mediterranean to my kitchen. 

Photo collage showing the ingredients for pesto chicken and how to make it.

How to Make Pesto Chicken

This pesto chicken couldn’t be easier. It takes only minutes to prep, and the baking time is around 30 minutes, give or take, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. Follow the steps below. You’ll find printable recipe directions in the recipe card.

  • Prep the chicken. While the oven is preheating, coat your flattened chicken breasts in breadcrumbs. Arrange the chicken breasts in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  • Add the pesto and cheese. Spread pesto evenly on top of the chicken. Top each breast with slices of Provolone cheese.
  • Bake. Bake the chicken uncovered at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes. You want the chicken cooked through and the cheese nice and melty.
  • Serve. Serve your pesto chicken right away over a bed of pasta, or with a fresh green salad. See below for more easy serving ideas.

Tips and Variations

With such simple ingredients, this oven-baked pesto chicken leaves plenty of room for creativity. Here are some helpful recipe tips:

  • Pound the chicken thin. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound the chicken to an even thickness. This way, the chicken bakes evenly.
  • Don’t overcook the chicken. Overcooked chicken is dry and tough. The easiest way to check if your chicken is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
  • Substitute the pesto. Swap basil pesto with marinara sauce to turn this pesto chicken into an easy variation of baked chicken parmesan.
  • Use another kind of pesto. Basil is the classic choice, but you can make this dish with any type of pesto your heart desires. Raid your grocery store condiment aisle. Play around with different flavors by swapping out basil pesto for arugula pesto, red pepper pesto, or parsley pesto.
Baked pesto chicken breasts topped with cheese on a baking pan, next to a fork and knife.

Serving Suggestions

Make a delicious pasta with pesto chicken and dish up these juicy chicken breasts with your choice of cooked noodles. The basil flavors taste great over a bed of lemon spaghetti or fettuccine alfredo. Serve with a side of tender-crisp asparagus or salad for a tasty weeknight dinner. As a starter, try homemade bruschetta spooned over French bread slices.

Another of my favorite ways to serve this pesto chicken is in a sub sandwich. Add the chicken to a toasted hoagie roll spread with extra pesto or marinara sauce, layer in thinly sliced tomatoes, and enjoy.

A fork picking up a piece of pesto chicken next to cheesy pesto chicken breasts on a baking pan.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • Refrigerate. Store leftover pesto chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Reheat. Reheat this chicken in the oven under foil, or in the microwave (without foil) until it’s hot throughout.
  • Freeze. Whenever possible, freeze this chicken without the cheese. Store it in a freezer bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the chicken in the fridge before reheating.

More Chicken Dinner Recipes

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Pesto chicken breasts topped with mozzarella cheese on a baking pan.

Pesto Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Dinner


Pesto Chicken is an easy chicken recipe that needs only 4 ingredients and 5 minutes before it’s ready for the oven. Juicy breaded chicken is smothered with basil pesto and baked with melty cheese, perfect for serving as-is or over pasta.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2 inch (68 pieces)
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 (5-6 ounce) jar pesto
  • 23 ounces sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Coat each chicken breast in breadcrumbs lightly and place into the prepared pan. Spread the pesto sauce on top of the chicken and then top with the sliced Provolone.
  3. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the cheese is melted.
  4. Serve immediately over pasta or a salad.


Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 381
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 613.5 mg
  • Fat: 18.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9 g
  • Protein: 34.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 92.7 mg

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9 comments on “Pesto Chicken”

  1. Simple, elegant and delicious! I added wedged zucchini and chopped tomatoes to the pan and topped them with a dab of pesto. Complete meal and so good!

  2. I just made this recipe tonight for me and my lady friend. We both LOVED it!! We made some garlic mashed potatoes on the side, and those were great for absorbing all the chickeny-pesto-ey goodness!!! Super simple to make, coming from someone who never cooks, and one for the books!

  3. I like this idea. I currently make a cheesy chicken (usually bone-in thighs–take the skin off so the coating sticks to the chicken, not the skin) by mixing almond meal and Parmesan with a dash of ground black pepper, then topping with a slice of smoked Provolone. I’m thinking of trying this using the almond/Parmesan that I use for my chicken in place of breadcrumbs and seeing where it goes.

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