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Basil Pesto Chicken

Two Pans, Cheesy, Fresh and Delicious with Cheese Pulls, Pesto and Lovely Bright Red Tomatoes! Who Can Resist this restaurant quality Basil Pesto Chicken? Not ME!

overhead shot of caprese chicken just out of oven

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy 
  • Beautiful
  • Pesto, Tomato, Basil and Cheese work PERFECTLY together! 

Here’s How You Do It

STEP 1. 

Cut the chicken breasts like a book (don’t cut all the way through) 

chicken breast butterflied with knife

STEP 2. 

Spoon on the pesto and parmesan cheese

spoon and chicken breast with parmesan and pesto butterfly

STEP 3. 

Lay the chicken breast in the baking dish and put the tomatoes on top.

tomatoes on top of chicken breasts

STEP 4. 

Heat the cheese, butter and garlic in a saucepan till melted. 

ingredients for making the cream sauce

STEP 5. 

Pour the sauce over the top. 

cream sauce being poured over caprese chicken

STEP 6. Bake! 

caprese chicken in red baking dish ready for oven

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What IS Pesto Chicken? 

Pesto Chicken is a dish that involves fresh tomatoes, basil, cheese and balsamic vinegar drizzle at the end. Super fine tastes together!

Can I Use a Marinade on the Chicken? 

Yes! By all means use a balsamic salad dressing as the marinade and you will be shocked at how good it is! True Pesto flavor!

How Do I Know When My Chicken Is Done? 

The BEST way to know that your chicken is done is to use a GREAT thermometer. You can check out my resources page for my suggestion. Chicken should cook to 165 degrees!

Can I Grill The Chicken First? 

Yes! Please DO! If you grill the chicken first, you’ll want to pin the halves together with a toothpick first and then baste with a balsamic vinegar oil mix while cooking. Have the cheese sauce ready to go and hot. Just pour it over at the table. No need to stick in the oven unless you just want to. 

How About If I Add a Few Slices of Fresh Mozzarella? 

Wouldn’t that be lovely? Add them on top so that they melt and then stick the whole thing under the broiler for about a minute so that it melts and gets bubbly!

Why Isn’t There Balsamic Drizzled Over The Top of The Ones In the Photos? 

That’s an easy one! I forgot! Sometimes the family is ready to EAT RIGHT NOW and my mind gets on other things. You know how hangry folks are!

Do I Have to Cut the Tomatoes In Half? 

Yes! Please do! Otherwise they are a pain to eat and they squirt all over your mouth and probably on your shirt! 

What if I Can’t Find the Little Tomatoes? 

That’s fine! You can slice Roma Tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (just use bite size pieces). 

How Do I Reheat the Leftovers? 

Cover with aluminum foil and put in a 325 oven for 20 minutes or put your serving on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 1 minute. Repeat until heated through.

Can I Freeze Pesto Chicken? 

Yes! You can freeze this after it is baked OR before. Make sure to wrap tightly and press out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Can I Make Pesto  Chicken Ahead? 

Yes, you can make it up to a day ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Uncover just before baking.

What To Serve With Basil Pesto Chicken

We love this with sweet potato, rice or potatoes

A delicious Adobo Salad is nice. 

Green Beans or Asparagus works too! 

piece of chicken being lifted from baking dish

Tips and Tricks for Basil Pesto Chicken

  • For a lighter version, don’t make the cheese sauce, simply top with fresh mozzarella slices and set them under the broiler until bubbly! 
  • Try mozzarella slices on the inside of the chicken for a different flavor pop! 
  • Sprinkle fresh basil over the top. 
  • Bake as many or as few as you like in a single baking dish. You can see from the photos that I had to use a large baking dish and a small one to serve the crowd that I fed on the night I took the photos! 
  • When cutting the chicken breasts, leave about 1/2 an inch at the side that isn’t cut so that it holds together. 
  • If you buy the chicken breasts that are HUGE (about a lb per each), you’ll need to cut those in half and then butterfly them as I have in the photos. Small organic chicken breasts, you can simply butterfly. 

If You Liked This Creamy Chicken Recipe, You Might Also Enjoy…

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Hey, Ya’ll, Help Me Out, OK? 

Leave me a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. This helps other people to find recipes on Loaves and Dishes!

piece of chicken being lifted from baking dish

Basil Pesto Chicken

Two Pan, Cheesy, Fresh and Delicious with Cheese Pulls, Pesto and Lovely Bright Red Tomatoes!  Who Can Resist this restaurant quality Basil Pesto Chicken? Not ME!
4.5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Basil Pesto Chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 446kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 4 lb chicken breast skinless/boneless
  • 1/2 Cup Pesto store bought is fine
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 4 Tbs Butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 leaves Basil chiffonade
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar

Instructions

for the chicken breasts

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan with non stick spray.
  • Cut 4 large chicken breasts completely in half as pictured.
  • Butterfly each of those chicken breasts by cutting each one nearly in half again
  • Spoon 2 heaping tsp of pesto on each half
  • Top with 2 heaping tsp of shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Close the top half of the chicken over the bottom half and lay it into a baking dish
  • Once all of the chicken breasts have been prepared and laid into the baking dish, sprinkle the tomato halves over the top and sprinkle any remaining pesto and parmesan over the top as well.

For the Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop heat butter, cream cheese, garlic and parmesan until melted. Whisk to remove any lumps as it heats.
  • As soon as the sauce melts, pour it over the chicken

Bake

  • Bake the chicken dish, uncovered for 35 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil chiffonade and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve hot.

Notes

  • For a lighter version, don't make the cheese sauce, simply top with fresh mozzarella slices. 
  • Try mozzarella slices on the inside of the chicken. 
  • Sprinkle fresh basil over the top. 
  • Bake as many or as few as you like in a single baking dish.  You can see from the photos that I had to use a large baking dish and a small one to serve the crowd that I fed! 
  • When cutting the chicken breasts in half, leave about 1/2 an inch at the side that isn't cut so that it holds together. 
  • If you buy the chicken breasts that are HUGE (about a lb per each), you'll need to cut those in half and then butterfly them as I have in the photos.  Small organic chicken breasts, you can simply butterfly. 
PRO TIP:  For best flavor, top with some grated fresh mozzarella as well. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Basil Pesto Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 446 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 178mg59%
Sodium 682mg28%
Potassium 860mg25%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 54g108%
Vitamin A 764IU15%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 195mg20%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Recipe Rating




Sandi Prunty

Monday 25th of May 2020

Trying to post a picture of the dish going into the oven, looks Great! 5 stars for taste, loved the cheese sauce (tasted like Olive Garden alfredo.) Cutting of chicken breasts was not clear. We butterflied the big breasts only once. After the fact we saw "cut and butterfly" however it was too late and we couldn't imagine how we should've cut them. Of course took a long (!) of time to cook in the oven. 350° didnt work for our big breasts. In the end it tasted terrific however it was very soupy. We used bowls, had quinoa and roasted Brussels sprouts as sides and will definitely try again!

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

Hi Sandy, I'll try to go back and improve the instructions for cutting the chicken breasts. If you left them whole, then likely the cooking time will be longer. The sauce is not a super thick sauce going in the oven.

Wendi Spraker

Friday 8th of November 2019

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