This quick Easy Baked Pesto Chicken recipe comes together in about 30 minutes! Can’t beat that. I love it because I almost always have these ingredients on hand so it’s a good last minute dinner. Originally published September 24, 2015.

a fork taking a bite of baked pesto chicken.
Table of Contents
  1. This Pesto Chicken Recipe is the perfect last minute dinner!
  2. Chicken Pesto Recipe ingredients
  3. How to make Pesto Chicken
  4. Baked Pesto Chicken variations
  5. What to eat with Basil Pesto Chicken
  6. How to store Chicken Pesto
  7. Other easy chicken recipes!
  8. Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Have you ever fasted? I’m LDS, and we fast for 2 meals on the first Sunday of every month.

Here’s how you know you’re fasting:

  • Somehow everything smells like chocolate doughnuts
  • the chewed-on crusts from your kid’s abandoned sandwiches suddenly look like the most delicious food you have ever seen in your life.
  • the smell of the crock pot that you inevitably prepared feels like it is actually going to knock you out.
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sliced chicken with pesto mayo.

It’s kind of pathetic how hard fasting is for me. If I’m not being careful, I get super grumpy and lethargic. Only 2 meals! Fasting is not easy…but it is a choice.

I recently read a story about a girl who trained herself to “not think about food” every day until school was over, so that she could focus on not failing out. She’s an American, and she grew up hungry. It was not a choice for her.

And it’s not a choice for way too many kids in our country. I can hardly believe this, but 3 out of 5 elementary teachers say they regularly see kids come to school hungry.

Nobody wants that. Safeway is running their Hunger Is campaign this September (2015), and if you want to help there are two ways: you can donate at the checkout in participating stores (Albertsons, Safeway, Randalls, etc.)

adorable toddler holding a box of cereal.

Or you can buy products from participating brands–awesome brands that you already use, like Con Agra (Marie Calender’s, Healthy Choice, Bertolli’s and PF Changs), Coke, Unilever (with brands like Best Foods and Breyers), Kellogg’s, and Campbell’s. For each product purchased, a meal will be earned for a hungry child.

That’s not hard, right? Certainly not as hard as going a whole school day with nothing to eat.

This Pesto Chicken Recipe is the perfect last minute dinner!

Do you forget about dinner every. single. Day?? Me too, and food is literally my job. Getting actual healthy food on the table fast is a challenge when I’ve spent several hours researching pie. Chicken breasts are every busy person’s solution to cheap, tasty protein. They’re a perfect canvas for whatever flavors you throw at them. I love the simplicity of this one, a FOUR ingredient main dish. It’s rich, flavorful, crispy, and takes no time at all. Steam some broccoli or throw a bagged salad together and dinner is done.

Chicken Pesto Recipe ingredients

Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need to make this pesto chicken. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more details.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Mayonnaise
  • Basil pesto
  • Panko breadcrumbs
sliced breaded chicken on parchment paper.

How to make Pesto Chicken

I used Best Foods mayonnaise in this recipe. It’s a classic: you’ve heard about putting mayo on poultry right? I’ve even seen recipes for Thanksgiving turkeys that call for mayonnaise. I’m telling you, it’s amazing and makes the chicken so moist.

I mixed it with pesto first and sprinkled some panko on top, which added such great flavor and the perfect crunch. These are things I always have in my kitchen, so it’s a perfect crap-it’s-5pm-again-where’s-dinner meal. I also included a little recipe for some pasta I made on my second trial. There aren’t any pictures, but it was so good that I didn’t want to forget what I did.

Baked Pesto Chicken variations

Make this easy dinner your own! Here are a few ways to switch it up.

  • Use a different kind of pesto. You can make your own red pepper pesto, sundried tomato pesto, arugula pesto…the choices are endless. 
  • Switch out your protein. The pesto mayo and breadcrumbs would also work great on top of tilapia, cod, or another simple white fish. 
  • Try a different grain on the side. I love this chicken with a simple pesto pasta (notes included in the recipe on how to throw this together!) but you can make it with rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro, you name it. 
bite of pesto panko breaded chicken on fork.

What to eat with Basil Pesto Chicken

I love serving this pesto chicken with a quick and easy salad or veggie side. Here are some of my favorites!

Fresh Coleslaw with Lemon and Herbs << this is hands down my favorite coleslaw!

Aunt Joy’s Creamy Cucumber Salad << a favorite recipe from my husband’s family.

Easy Broccoli and Bacon Salad << everyone loves broccoli salad! Especially with BACON.

Easy Roasted Broccoli << probably my favorite way to eat broccoli. 

Sauteed Carrots and Shallots with Thyme << you’ll never see carrots the same way again. 

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter << roasted asparagus has SO much flavor, and I can’t ever resist browned butter.

How to store Chicken Pesto

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. I don’t recommend freezing pesto chicken; the texture of the panko will get soggy. This is an easy one, so just make it fresh when you’re in the mood for a quick weeknight dinner.

Other easy chicken recipes!

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Asparagus << one of the top recipes on The Food Charlatan!

Pistachio Pesto Chicken <<

Garlic Lime Chicken << one of those delicious, stupid easy recipes :)

Slow Grilled Mustard Chicken << this is the perfect summer dinner. Don’t turn on your oven!

Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken from Crème de la Crumb

Brown Sugar and Garlic Barbecue Chicken from Yellow Bliss Road

Holy Yum Chicken from Table for Two

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Easy Baked Pesto Chicken

4.75 from 24 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
This quick Easy Baked Pesto Chicken recipe comes together in about 30 minutes! Can't beat that. I love it because I almost always have these ingredients on hand so it's a good last minute dinner. 


  • 4 chicken breast halves, 1.25 pounds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup Hellman’s, Best Food’s Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, panko is best


  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray (lay some foil down first for super easy cleanup!)
  • Pat each chicken breast dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
  • Lay the chicken breasts on the baking sheet a few inches apart from each other.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and basil pesto. Spoon the pesto on top of the chicken, trying to keep it from sliding off the edges. You don’t need to use all the sauce (try not to contaminate what you don’t use so you can serve it with the cooked chicken).
  • Sprinkle the top of each chicken breast with a good amount of panko bread crumbs, I used at least 3 tablespoons total.
  • Bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes. I highly recommend a meat thermometer, you want to get it to 165 degrees. Juices should run clear.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately!

Quick Pesto Pasta (optional)

  • Cook 1 pound of pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 cup pesto, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, and pepper to taste.


Serving: 1chicken breast | Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 498mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 365
Keyword: baked panko, chicken, Pesto
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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