4 Ingredient Pesto Chicken Bake is healthy, simple, delicious and requires just 5-minutes prep. Juicy chicken topped with fresh basil pesto, melty mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes.
Welcome to the most epic 4-ingredient recipe on Simply Sissom. It's everything you want an easy weeknight dinner recipe to be: packed with flavor, 5-minute hands on prep, basic ingredients only (chicken, tomato, basil-pesto and mozzarella), optional shortcuts and quick cleanup. Let's get this one on the table, stat!
I'm always skeptical when a recipe sounds too easy to be good! Well....this one proved me WRONG! I absolutely loved it and have filed it for the future. Thank you for this super recipe!-Susan Sommers
With over 1,000,000 views, this 4-Ingredient Basil Pesto Chicken Bake is THE MOST LOVED recipe on this site. Although, simple yogurt parfaits are a VERY close second!
This isn't just any old basic weeknight chicken dinner. The Italian ingredients bring a whole explosion of flavor. A little zest from the pesto, a punch of comfort from the mozzarella, and a pop of freshness added straight to the top courtesy of the juicy tomatoes. It all just sort of works together to bring maximum flavor to this pesto + chicken dinner situation. And, did I mention .... it's oven ready in just 5 minutes ?!?
- chicken breasts (thinly sliced or flattened)
- mozzarella cheese
See recipe card for quantities.
🍗 How to flatten chicken breasts
For this recipe, it is very important that you use thin chicken breasts to reduce cooking time. If you only have thick breasts ... no problem! Just use one of the methods below to flatten out/thin your chicken breasts.
- Place your chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap, or in a resealable plastic bag. Starting in the center and working out to the edges, pound lightly with a meat mallet until the chicken is an even thickness.
- Alternatively, you can slice through a thick chicken breast horizontally. Holding one hand flat over the top of the chicken breast, slowly use a sharp knife held parallel to the cutting board to slice chicken breast in half.
- **OPTIONAL FIRST STEP: I like to give the chicken a good sear before assembling this recipe. It makes the chicken cook faster AND it gets a pretty layer of caramelization on the outside. That said, it is NOT necessary. If you are short on time, just season the chicken breast and start assembling.
2. Top the chicken breasts (raw or seared) with a thick layer of basil pesto.
3. Place sliced mozzarella cheese on top of the basil pesto.
4. Finish the assembly of the pesto chicken by layering on a couple of thinly sliced tomatoes.
5. Bake the Pesto Chicken in the oven at 350 degrees until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.
Hint: Store-bought basil pesto can be very runny. While this will NOT impact the taste of your dish, it can make your final dish look "soupy." To avoid this, pour off the top layer of oil from your pesto and give it a good stir. This will change the texture of your pesto to a thick paste and make it easier to apply to the chicken.
- Mozzarella - Fresh sliced mozzarella is recommended, but shredded can be used if it's what you have on hand.
- Low Carb - skip on the tomatoes to make make this recipe lower-carb.
- Basil Pesto - basil-pesto is my favorite, but feel free to swap it out for your favorite flavor of pesto.
This pesto chicken bake is more of a concept than an actual recipe. Here are some ideas on how you can change it up to suit your family needs.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes prior to baking
- Deluxe - pour the juices remaining in the pan over angel hair pasta or rice for a simple side dish!
- Kid friendly - skip on the pesto and tomato and serve up "cheesy chicken" instead!
- Lower calorie - skip mozzarella cheese to reduce calories.
Refrigerate leftover chicken pesto bake in an airtight container for up to 2 days. I love chopping up the leftovers and serving it on top of salads for lunches.
Extra pesto can be frozen into individual portions inside of an ice cube tray. Once "pesto cubes" are frozen through, pop them out and store them in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 months.
I always use Dellalo’s Simple Basil Pesto when I make this recipe. It is available in most grocery stores.
Of course. The idea of this recipe is EASY + SIMPLE so I did not include instructions for homemade pesto, but I think it would be fantastic.
It is very important that you use thin or pounded chicken breasts for this recipe. If you use a thick chicken breast, your cook time could more than double.
This is normal for this recipe. Use extra oils and juices to flavor some rice or pasta to use as a side dish!
🎥 Video: 4-Ingredient Chicken Pesto BakePrint
4 Ingredient Pesto Chicken Bake is healthy, simple,delicious and requires just 5-minutes prep. Juicy chicken topped with fresh pesto, melty mozzarella and topped with vine ripened tomatoes.
- 3 chicken breasts
- 6 oz. jar basil pesto
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 3 - 6 slices mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper.
- OPTIONAL STEP: While the oven is preheating you can heat some olive oil or butter in a skillet. Once hot add the chicken breast and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until caramelized. The chicken should still be raw in the center.
- Arrange chicken breasts (seared or raw) onto a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
- Use a spoon to cover chicken breast with pesto.
- Top each chicken breast with 1 thin slice of mozzarella cheese and 2 thinly sliced tomatoes.
- Bake for 20- 30 minutes (time will vary based on chicken thickness) or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. Broil the chicken the final 2 minutes so that the cheese is bubbly and golden. Serve immediately.
- The recipe directions are written for THIN chicken breasts. If using thick, use a meat mallet to reduce thickness or slice them horizontally to avoid longer cooking times.
- To reduce the amount of liquid in your baking dish, pour a little bit of the oil off of the top of your pesto jar. This will give the pesto a thick paste consistency that works well for this recipe.
Keywords: pesto, chicken, bake