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2-Ingredient Pesto Chicken (Oven/Stovetop/Grill)

2-Ingredient Pesto Chicken (Oven/Stovetop/Grill)

30-minutes, 2-ingredients, and one pan is all you need to make this pesto chicken recipe. Chicken Pesto is loaded with juicy chicken breasts, and either homemade basil pesto or store bought, for a quick and delicious meal.

This chicken recipe can be made into a complete one-sheet meal. Just throw some tomatoes or vegetables onto the same baking sheet to round out the dish. Think zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus or bell peppers. Or throw on top of Penne Pomodoro.

If you’re looking for more easy chicken recipes, here are some reader favorites: Shake and Bake ChickenMilanesa de PolloEmpress ChickenAir Fryer Cornish Hen, and Instant Pot Chicken Adobo.

Raw chicken with basil and tomatoes.

Ingredients

If utilizing store bought sauce, you only need one other ingredient: chicken breasts! This is truly a 2-ingredient recipe. Of course a little salt and pepper over the top never hurts, but isn’t required as the sauce is so flavorful.

If making your own sauce, in addition to chicken, you’ll need: basil, pine nuts, quality olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon and salt. It’s imperative you use high quality basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese when making. 

Pesto Sauce

The basil sauce is the star of this chicken dish, so pick a brand you enjoy! Brands we enjoy: Costco, Trader Joe’s or DeLallo’s. You can’t go wrong sticking with a popular name brand.

If you’re looking to make your own homemade basil pesto, we have a great recipe for ya! It’s no longer a 2-ingredient chicken recipe, but worth the effort if you can swing it. Especially if you have a surplus of fresh basil growing.

White bowl of basil pesto.

How to Make

Making this chicken pesto recipe is a short and sweet process. Prep time is around 5 minutes. The recipe card below details the exact steps, however we wanted to provide a few step-by-step photos for those who prefer visuals vs written instructions.

Prep the Chicken – Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat hammer to thin. You want them as equal in thickness as possible.

Season the Chicken – Coat each chicken breast with sauce. You’ll reserve half of the sauce to serve with the cooked chicken.

Bake the Chicken – Transfer the chicken breasts to the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. Add the tomatoes, or your favorite veggie, and cook return to the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (approx. 10 more minutes).

Chicken breasts in a white baking pan.

Chicken Pesto Bake

This baked chicken recipe can be made with a few different cuts of chicken, including:

Chicken Thighs

To make with chicken thighs, just cook until meat thermometer registers between 165°F and 185°F. Tip – cooking your thighs to 185°F will break down the collagen leading to a more tender bite.

Bone-in Chicken Breasts

Looking to save money? Bone-in chicken breast is the best way to go. The only edit is to the baking time as it will take longer to cook. Bake it for 45-50 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 165°F.

Tenders

While boneless skinless chicken breasts are our favorite, chicken tenders will also work. The only edit is to the baking time as they won’t take as long to cook. Bake it for 15-20 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Chicken tenders vary wildly in size. The bigger the tender, the longer it will take to cook.

Cut poultry on a white plate with tomatoes.

Recipe Variations

Mozzarella Pesto Chicken

Add either a slice of fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella to the top of the chicken for the final 5 minutes of baking time. Keep your eyes on it as cheese tends to burn quickly. As soon as the cheese starts to bubble it’s good to go.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Mix a 1/2 cup of basil sauce with 4 oz of cream cheese before you coat the chicken with it.

Grilled Chicken

Prefer to break out the grill? Full instructions to grill these bad boys are in the recipe card. It’s actually quicker to make this on the grill than it is to bake!!

Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

This chicken is a great addition to pasta. Full recipe is coming soon! Stay tuned.

Pasta loaded with basil sauce in a dutch oven.

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making:

  • Pound the chicken breasts with a meat hammer for even thickness. This ensures even cooking.
  • If your kitchen isn’t stocked with a meat hammer, have no fear. Just grab a heavy rolling pin or heavy skillet to use as a meat hammer instead. It’s how we rolled for years.
  • Pat dry the chicken with paper towels before coating with the sauce.
  • Don’t love tomatoes? Replace them with bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, etc. Use whatever you love and adjust the final cooking time as needed.
  • Thicker chicken breasts will require up to 45 minutes of cook time. Keep cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Make sure to use a digital thermometer to ensure accuracy.
  • This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Just keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Side Dish Ideas

Our favorite side dish is grilled tomatoes (cherry tomatoes to be exact) and rice or even a green side salad. Here are a few other options that would pair well.

Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes

Air Fryer Baby Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Bread

Arugula and Parmesan Salad

Baked chicken and small tomatoes in a white baking pan.

Drink Recommendations

Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, or Pinot Gris

Pesto chicken and tomatoes in a white baking square.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Pesto Chicken

30-minutes and one pan is all you need to make this pesto chicken recipe. This chicken recipe is loaded with juicy chicken, and either homemade pesto or store bought pesto, for a quick and delicious meal.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: basil, Chicken Breasts, pine nuts
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 518kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $7

Ingredients

  • 4 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breasts (*Note 1 & 2)
  • Salt, To Taste
  • Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 1 cup Pesto Sauce, Store Bought or Homemade (*Note 3)

OPTIONAL

  • 16 oz Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini or Bell Peppers (*Note 4)

Instructions

PREP THE CHICKEN:

  • Pound chicken to even thinness with a meat mallet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Coat each chicken breast with approx. 2 tbsp of pesto. (Reserve the balance of the sauce to serve with the cooked chicken).

BAKE THE CHICKEN:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and place the tomatoes around the chicken.
  • Transfer the baking dish back to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° F. Thicker breasts will require a bit more time.
  • Remove from the oven and serve with extra basil sauce.

GRILL THE CHICKEN:

  • Pre-heat an outdoor grill over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the breasts and tomatoes for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  • Remove from the grill and serve with extra basil sauce.

SKILLET CHICKEN:

  • Pre-heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the breasts for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add the tomatoes and flip every few minutes, until soft.
  • Transfer the chicken and tomatoes to individual plates and serve with extra pesto.

Notes

Note 1 - Thicker chicken breasts will require up to 45 minutes of cook time. Keep cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165° F-185° F.
Note 2 - If using chicken thighs, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165° F-185° F.
Note 3 - Store bought pesto sauce and homemade pesto sauce both work great! 
Note 4 - Use any variety of tomatoes. If using larger tomatoes, such a Roma, make sure to quarter them before baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 854mg | Potassium: 1083mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1872IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 2mg
Recipe Rating




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