Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs

4.45 from 69 votes

A scrumptious fusion of basil pesto, chicken, cheese and more, this Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs Recipe gets baked within 30 minutes and you could spend the rest licking your plates clean!  Here is how to make pesto chicken bake recipe.

Creamy baked pesto chicken thighs in a serving pan.
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Chicken is no longer an ingredient that should not be reinvented.

After having tried a zillion, typical chicken recipes like Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani, Chilli Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, I have realized the former big time.

That’s why I consciously try variations of chicken from different cuisines.

For instance, the Goan “avatar” of chicken, Chicken Vindaloo swept my feet off the floor and so did its Bengali take: Bengali Doi Murgi.

Having tried and tasted that, Baked Pesto Chicken sure deserved a shot after my weekly research, no?

Not only does Baked Chicken with pesto sauce makes up for a decadent dinner option but it also introduces you to a unique and incredible combination of chicken with pesto.

I recommend that you use fresh, homemade pesto instead of the store bought ones because that way the flavour stay really authentic and you would know it by yourself, telling you when you finally taste Baked Pesto Chicken.

Just like my Honey Butter Garlic Chicken, this chicken dish will also blow your mind.

This Baked Chicken is

  • Delicious
  • Creamy
  • Can be made healthier
  • Easy to make
  • Required few Ingredients
  • Complete meal

Wondering how to make Pesto at home? Do read my recipes for the same: Avocado Basil Pesto, Basil Walnut Pesto

With very little preparations, Creamy Pesto Chicken bake can be made by first cooking chicken in a pan with oil.

Once that is taken care of, you could make a white sauce and then add a dollop of pesto to it so that a flavourful sauce is ready to top the chicken.

Now add chicken, the prepared sauce, top with tomatoes, bell peppers, salt, and pepper and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese.

Finally bake this mix up till the cheese is melted.

Simple, no? See how easily Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs gets made? So, try it out for today’s dinner using my easy-peasy recipe for the same!

Wish to try more recipes made from Pesto? Check these out then Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Pro Tips by Neha

Use the best quality and fresh Chicken Thighs. You can even use chicken breast but thighs are the juiciest.

I have used thighs with bone and skin on but you can choose to use boneless thighs as well.

Make the pesto fresh. It makes a lot of difference.

Use a pan that can be put on the stove, is oven safe and is presentable to serve the food in.

You don’t want to transfer this dish to other pans for serving. Cast iron pan or stoneware is my best bet.

Be careful while making the white sauce. There should be no lumps in the sauce.

If by chance, the lumps are formed, pass the sauce through a strainer and then use it.

You can use vegetables of your choice to go along with this dish. Add mushrooms and broccoli if you wish to.

How to make Pesto?

Here is how to make Basil Walnut Pesto at home from scratch. I have a detailed recipe with step by step process which is a keeper.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basil Leaves
  • ¼ cup Walnuts
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil Plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients in the jar of a food processor and pulse to blend everything.
  • Keep in mind to not make a paste of the ingredients.
  • In between blending, keep scraping the sides of the blender using a spatula.
  • Add some more olive oil if required while blending.
  • It is best to use pesto freshly made but you can store it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Basil Walnut Pesto

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this pesto chicken thigh with toasted bread or pasta. My fav is Spaghetti.

A glass of good wine on the side will only add to the experience :).

A side of sautéed veggies will work great if you want to avoid carbs.

I like to serve it with blistered cherry tomatoes, skilled roasted asparagus, beans, broccoli etc.

How to make it healthier?

You can replace the flour with whole wheat flour to make the sauce.

Skipping the butter and using only olive oil to make the sauce is also a way to make this dish healthier.

If you don’t want a creamy sauce and want just basic & healthy baked chicken, you can smear the boneless chicken thighs with pesto and bake for 20-25 minutes.

You can use this grilled chicken for topping your pizza, in pasta, and even as your sandwich filling.

You might also like

Spicy Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia

Instant Pot Chicken Breast

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Greek Fries

Step by Step Recipe

Heat oil in an oven-safe pan.

Oil heating in an oven safe pan.

 

Once the oil is hot, add chicken in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is nicely browned. Remove the chicken from the pan on a plate.

Chicken thighs frying in the pan.
Fried chicken in the pan.

Add butter in the same pan.

Butter heating in the pan.

Add flour and cook until flour is slightly browned.

Flour added in the pan.

Now add milk and mix well to make a lump free sauce.

Milk added in the pan.

Cook until sauce thickens. Add pesto in the sauce and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper.

Pesto added in the pan.

Transfer the chicken in the pan. Add cherry tomatoes and bell pepper in the pan.

Chicken, tomatoes and bell peppers added in the pan.

Bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes. Take out the pan from the oven and sprinkle cheese on top.

Cheese added over Baked pesto chicken

Bump the oven temperature to 230 degrees C. Bake the chicken for another 5-6 minutes until the cheese starts to brown. Garnish with chopped parsley and basil leaves. Serve hot with some bread or pasta.

Finished chicken pesto bake.
A gluten-free, scrumptious fusion of basil pesto, chicken, parmesan cheese and more, this Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs Recipe gets baked within 30 minutes and you could spend the rest licking your plates clean, ha!
4.45 from 69 votes

Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs Recipe

A scrumptious fusion of basil pesto, chicken, cheese and more, this Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs Recipe gets baked within 30 minutes and you could spend the rest licking your plates clean, ha! 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 400 g Chicken Thighs
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • ½ cup Basil Pesto
  • ¼ cup Cherry Tomatoes (Cut into half)
  • ¼ cup Yellow Bell Pepper (Cut into stripes)
  • ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper (Cut into Stripes)
  • ½ cup Mozzarella Cheese (Grated)
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Instructions 

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Heat oil in an oven safe pan. 
  • Once the oil is hot, add chicken in the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until chicken is nicely browned.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan on a plate.
  • Add butter in the same pan.
  • Add flour and cook until flour is slightly browned.
  • Now add milk and mix well to make a lump free sauce.
  • Cook until sauce thickens.
  • Add pesto in the sauce and mix well.
  • Adjust salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the chicken in the pan.
  • Add cherry tomatoes and bell pepper in the pan. 
  • Bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes.
  • Take out the pan from the oven and sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Bump the oven temperature to 230 degrees C.
  • Bake the chicken for another 5-6 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and basil leaves.
  • Serve hot with some bread or pasta.

Notes

Use the best quality and fresh Chicken Thighs. You can even use chicken breast but thighs are the most juiciest. I have used thighs with bone and skin on but you can choose to use boneless thighs as well.
Make the pesto fresh. It makes a lot of difference.
Use a pan which can be put on the stove, is oven safe and is presentable to serve the food in. You don’t want to transfer this dish to other pan for serving. Cast iron pan or stoneware is my best bet.
Be careful while making the white sauce. There should be no lumps in the sauce. If by chance, the lumps are formed, pass the sauce through a strainer and then use it.
You can use vegetables of your choice to go along with this dish. Add mushrooms and broccoli if you wish to.

Nutrition

Calories: 519kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Sodium: 507mg, Potassium: 355mg, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1340IU, Vitamin C: 31.1mg, Calcium: 198mg, Iron: 1.1mg
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Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made fresh pesto today and found this recipe. Really nice just needed some hot pepper flakes to spice it up.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m guilty of never leaving feedback on recipe sites, but this is one of the most delicious dishes I’ve eaten in a long time. Adults and grown ups loved it. I didn’t have basil or walnuts so used rocket and pine nuts and it was absolutely fantastic served with spaghetti. Thank you so much!

  3. I have no peppers or cherry tomatoes. What do you think of adding frozen peas at the end? Or sun dried tomatoes?