Creamy Pesto Chicken

$10.70 recipe / $2.68 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.85 from 33 votes
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I love using pesto in recipes because it adds tons of flavor in one fell swoop, which is super important when it comes to busy weeknights. This Creamy pesto Chicken is absolutely stunning on the plate, yet it’s super fast and easy. This is another one of those great “date night” dinners for when you want to impress someone, but you’re nervous so you also need something easy and fool-proof. 😅

Overhead view of creamy pesto chicken in the skillet.

What Kind of Pesto to Use

The beauty of this dish is that you can use just about any type of pesto. I used a basil pesto this time around, but a red pesto would also be awesome. Pesto can be on the pricey side, but there are several brands that are a bit more affordable. Look for Alessi, Barilla, Classico, or Filippo Berio.

What Else Can I Add?

This deliciously creamy pesto sauce pairs well with several different ingredients, if you want to take this dish up a notch. Try adding spinach, artichokes, or broccoli for some extra veggies. Or if you want to make this dish extra indulgent, add some grated Parmesan on top, too. I probably also wouldn’t be against adding bacon. 😏

What to Serve with Creamy Pesto Chicken

This chicken has a super lush and creamy sauce and you won’t want to waste a single drop, so make sure to serve this chicken with pasta, rice, or garlic bread to soak it all up. You can spoon the chicken and sauce over a bed of pasta or rice, or serve the chicken and sauce in a bowl with some crusty bread for dipping.

Because the sauce is so rich, you’ll definitely want to serve up something light and fresh on the side, so this is the perfect opportunity to make a simple side salad.

side view of sliced creamy pesto chicken on a plate with a salad.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

4.85 from 33 votes
Creamy pesto chicken is a fast, easy, and impressive main dish for dinner, whether you just want to treat yourself or impress guests!
Overhead view of a skillet full of creamy pesto chicken.
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1.3 lb. total) ($6.59)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/8 tsp pepper ($0.01)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half ($2.00)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream ($0.62)
  • 1/4 cup pesto ($0.99)

Instructions 

  • Fillet the chicken breasts into two thinner pieces (or pound the chicken to an even thickness then cut each breast in half to create four portions). Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through (about 7-10 minutes total). Remove the chicken to a clean plate.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet along with the minced garlic and halved grape tomatoes. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften and lose their shape.
  • Add the heavy cream and pesto to the skillet with the tomatoes and stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet with the tomatoes and sauce, turning to coat the chicken. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for just a few minutes more to heat through. Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 415kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 34gFat: 28gSodium: 403mgFiber: 2g
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Overhead view of creamy pesto chicken on a plate with a salad.

How to Make Creamy Pesto Chicken – Step by Step Photos

filleted chicken breasts on a cutting board.

Fillet two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into two thinner pieces (or you can pound the chicken to an even thickness and then cut each piece in half horizontally to make four portions). Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides.

browned chicken breasts in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken breast and cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through (7-10 minutes total). Remove the chicken to a clean plate.

Tomatoes and garlic in the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, 1 pint of grape tomatoes (halved) and 2 cloves of garlic (minced). Sauté the tomatoes and garlic in the skillet for a few minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to soften and lose their shape.

Pesto and cream added to the skillet with the tomatoes.

Add ¼ cup pesto and ½ cup heavy cream to the skillet. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Taste the sauce and add salt or pepper if needed.

Chicken added back to the skillet with the creamy basil sauce.

Add the chicken back to the skillet and coat it in the sauce. Simmer the chicken in the sauce for a few more minutes or until heated through.

Side view of creamy pesto chicken in the skillet.

This sauce is so creamy and delicious, you’ll want to lick your plate!

Creamy pesto chicken on a plate with pasta and a salad.
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Comments

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  1. I loved this! Very easy to make, and love how flavorful it is with just a few ingredients. I made one change, simply since I was trying to change, and added about half a bag of spinach into the sauce. I also added a bit more heavy cream to compensate for the extra vegetables. I ate it on top of some pasta.

    1. Yes, but add a few pats of butter along with the milk. XOXO -Monti

  2. Good recipe, not sure about the pricing estimate, looks like 1970 pricing, 1 small jar of pesto alone here is $8, chicken is $25, etc etc.

    1. Hi Marshall. It’s not an estimate. We buy our ingredients and test the recipe multiple times. However, we work out of Nashville, TN where the prices aren’t as hardcore as where you live. $25 for chicken is insane. I’m so sorry to hear it. XOXO Monti

    2. Marshall, you also have to keep in mind that I think she prices each ingredient on the recipe list by the amount she uses. So while a bottle of olive oil costs well over .32 cents, and a bottle of pesto costs well over .99, she’s pricing based on the amount that she uses, which makes sense, especially on things people often have in the house anyways (like salt, oil, spices, etc). So if you’re going out and buying all these ingredients, it may end up being more expensive than the prices stated here. That being said, my chicken was even cheaper than hers (5.50 for that same amount of chicken). Even my bottle of pesto was 2.29. I do shop at Aldi though, so take that all with a grain of salt.

  3. I want to freeze this and microwave for later. I am not sure tomatoes will be ok. Anyone try sundried tomatoes? 

  4. Omg. Made this on a day when I was feeling oh-poor-me and I am revived, rejuvenated and.happy. if only Gramma ate tomato skins I’d make this for Sunday dinner with broiled eggplant and cheesecake for dessert. So now I’ll make it for me. And yay! for Aldi’s Priano pesto!

  5. Made this dish for me and my boyfriend after a late shift, was so quick and easy and we both absolutely LOVED it. One for the favourites folder, thank you for sharing this gorgeous recipe!!!

  6. THIS RECIPE IS AMAZING!!!! The tartness from the tomatoes complimented the creamy sauce perfectly! This was so easy to make and soooooo good! I will be making this again soon!