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Creamy pesto chicken – if you are looking for a fuss-free and flavour-packed dinner, just add some creamy, cheesy, basil pesto goodness to a chicken breast then bake it in the oven. A layer of cream cheese and pesto keeps these beauties lovely and moist while they bake.
A simple & quick chicken dinner, done in 30 minutes. As the saying goes, winner winner chicken dinner!
I’ll be honest, I like the creamy things.
I also like the cheesy things.
This creamy pesto chicken recipe is both of those, then add basil pesto to the mix and I’m in my own little piece of creamy, cheesy baked chicken heaven!
I also love that this pesto chicken recipe is low-carb, it makes me feel like all that creamy goodness isn’t really that bad. Sure – let’s go with that!
All I did was throw together a simple salad while this creamy chicken was baking away, dinner sorted!
How to make creamy pesto chicken
- Sprinkle each side of the chicken breasts with garlic powder and salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large frypan, and pan fry breasts for 2 minutes on each side – see image below.
- Place pan-fried breasts into a baking dish.
- Meanwhile, combine spreadable cream cheese and basil pesto, then top each breast evenly with this mixture – see image below.
- Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the top – see image below – then bake.
Tips for making creamy pesto chicken
- Use a meat mallet to give the thicker end of the breast a bit of a bash – you want to make the thickness of the breast as even as you can. This will help them cook evenly.
- Browning the chicken in the pan or skillet before they get topped with the cream cheese mixture really imparts a lot of flavour into the finished dish. Definitely don’t skip this step!
- I use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked, it should have an internal temperature of 74c (165f) at it’s thickest part. See Cooking temperatures | NSW Food Authority for more info.
- I recommend using homemade pesto for this recipe. Not only does it taste out of this world good, but it doesn’t have any weird ingredients or sugar added! You can find a recipe for basil pesto here.
Other recipes featuring pesto
Baked Mozzarella Chicken Breast with Pastry & Pesto – another quick and easy dish, with a video.
Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich – have a craving for grilled cheese? Try it with basil pesto!
Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad – all the flavours of a Caprese salad, plus basil pesto and prosciutto.
Pesto Lamb Cutlets – 3 ingredient flavour bombs of lamb coated in basil pesto and wrapped in prosciutto.
Creamy Pesto Chicken
Creamy Pesto Chicken - moist tender chicken breasts topped with cream cheese and basil pesto then oven baked for a quick low-carb dinner.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp basil pesto (see notes)
- 4 tbsp spreadable cream cheese/cream cheese spread I used light
- ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180c/350f.
Using a meat mallet, flatten any thicker parts of the breasts to make them as even as possible, then sprinkle both sides with garlic powder (½ tsp) and salt and pepper (to taste).
Heat olive oil (1 tbsp) in a large frypan, and fry the chicken on medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side, then place chicken in a baking dish. The chicken doesn't need to be cooked through at this stage because it will finish cooking in the oven.
Meanwhile, combine cream cheese spread (4 tbsp) and basil pesto (2 tbsp), mixing well to incorporate. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the chicken.
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella (⅓ cup) evenly on top of cream cheese mixture, then bake for 20 mins or until cooked through (see notes).
Use a meat mallet to give the thicker end of the breast a bit of a bash - you want to make the thickness of the breast as even as you can. This will help them cook evenly.
Browning the chicken in the pan or skillet before they get topped with the cream cheese mixture really imparts a lot of flavour into the finished dish. Definitely don't skip this step!
I like to use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked, it should have an internal temperature of 74c (165f) at it's thickest part. See Cooking temperatures | NSW Food Authority for more info.
*Please note that the amount of calories per serve is provided as a guide only, as ingredients and cooking methods can vary greatly*