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This easy Baked Pesto Chicken is an easy way to cook up flavorful chicken breasts for dinner. Just a few simple ingredients like jarred pesto sauce, mozzarella slices, and fresh tomatoes pair to make this flavorful 30-minute meal.
The chicken breasts are cooked perfectly, tender, and juicy. The combination of pesto, mozzarella, and tomatoes are what makes this Baked Pesto Chicken recipe so special.
Table of Contents
Why We Love Baked Pesto Chicken
- Simple Ingredients – You only need a handful of easy ingredients to make that you can find at any store.
- Ready in less than 30 minutes – It takes only minutes to prep and just 20 minutes to bake!
- Flavorful – The star of the recipe is the pesto that makes the chicken so flavorful!
- Olive Oil – To add richness and help keep the chicken nice and moist.
- Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts – It’s best to use small-medium sized breasts that are about the same size and thickness so they cook evenly.
- Basil Pesto – You can buy a jar at the grocery store or you can make a batch using this nut-free pesto recipe.
- Sliced Mozzarella Cheese – I like to use the thin deli slices. Shredded Mozzarella works too.
- Roma Tomatoes – Diced with the pulp and seeds removed.
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
How to Make Baked Pesto Chicken
Scroll down to the recipe card for the complete ingredients list and instructions.
This easy pesto chicken bake recipe is ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes!
- Preheat – Start by getting your oven preheating to 425℉.
- Prep Chicken – Pat the chicken breasts dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Drizzle the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil and place chicken breasts in an even layer. It’s okay for the breasts to touch but they should not be overlapping.
- Add Basil and Mozzarella – Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breast and top with the mozzarella slices.
- Bake – Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to 165°F.
- Tomato Topping – While the chicken is cooking, mix up the tomato topping by tossing the diced tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve – Spoon the tomatoes over the baked chicken and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan and the fresh basil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pesto is traditionally made from lots of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and olive oil. You can find it in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores or you can easily make your own homemade pesto.
The cook time for chicken breasts is going to vary based on the size. For smaller chicken breasts, they will cook in about 15-20 minutes at 425°F. The results are super juicy and tender.
The best way to tell that the chicken is cooked is to use an instant read thermometer and cook until 165°F. While some recipes call for cutting into the chicken to check that the juices run clear, I find that using the temperature gives you more consistent results.
This chicken bake is so versatile and can be served with so many different dishes. For a super filling meal, pair it with some cooked pasta or rice. This lemon butter pasta or Garlic Parmesan Pasta adds even more flavor to the meal!
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Cooked chicken leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. I recommend storing the tomatoes separately from the chicken in the fridge.
Freezing: Prepare the chicken and put the cheese slices on top. Before baking, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then foil, and pop it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating: For best results, reheat the chicken in a 350°F oven until warmed through.
- Use an Instant Read Thermometer – The best way to tell that chicken is cooked without overcooking is to use a thermometer. The cook time can vary depending on how large the chicken breasts are so I like to test the temp and cook until 165°F.
- Pound Chicken – This is optional, but if your chicken breasts aren’t an even thickness you can gently pound them so they cook evenly.
- Pesto Freezes Well – If you buy a large jar of pesto or make a big batch yourself, the extra pesto can be frozen for months.
- Tomatoes – Roma tomatoes are firm and meaty, making them my favorite choice. If you would prefer, cherry tomatoes are a little sweeter and an easy swap.
More Easy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- Crispy Chicken Carbonara
- Chicken and Rice Bake
- One Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe
- Cheesy Baked Buffalo Chicken
- Chicken Fried Chicken
Pesto Chicken Bake
- Olive oil
- 4 small-medium chicken breasts even in size and thickness
- 1 6- ounce jar basil pesto about a cup
- 6 thin deli slices mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup diced roma tomatoes pulp and seeds removed
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh basil
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.
- Arrange chicken in the baking dish. They can be touching, but should not overlap.
- Spread the basil pesto evenly over the chicken. Top with Mozzarella slices. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato topping. Place diced tomatoes in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange tomato mixture over the chicken, sprinkle with fresh Parmesan and fresh basil just before serving.