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.
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 Keto Crack Chicken or Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken, this chicken dish will also blow your mind.
This Baked Chicken is
- 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: Creamy Avocado 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.
- 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
- 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.
To make baked chicken with pesto, you can use any oven-safe pan. I like to use a cast iron pan or a stoneware pan.
A good tong to hold the chicken and a box grater to grate the cheese will come in handy too.
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.
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Step by Step Recipe
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.
Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 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)
- 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.
Just a question; should the chicken be completely cooked when it goes into the oven?
No, it should be cooked just partially 🙂
This recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken Thighs was delicious and fun to prepare! It received rave reviews from family and friends👏🏼
Good to hear 🙂
This was amazing! Easy to make, looks classy and tastes wonderful! Thanks for sharing this.
Happy to hear:)
Came out sooo yummy!
Thanks for trying 🙂
This was super good! Thanks for the recipe.
Happy to hear Jenny 🙂
Just the kind of recipe I was looking for today! Tastes great and kids love it.
This was soooo good!! My picky eaters even enjoyed it. I did make spaghetti pasta to go with it which was a nice compliment. Will definitely make again!!
We loved this recipe. I did add fresh corn from a shucked cob, and more tomatoes and peppers. I love anything with home made pesto in it. We served it on a bed of pesto covered spagetti too. Very yummy.
Would adding spinach instead of peppers work in this recipe?
Super easy and tasty, and accommodates just about any type of veg making it great for fridge clean-out. I’ve made it a few times now with costco pesto and various additions of broccoli, green beans, squash, kale, etc. If you add greens like spinach or kale I’ve found it best to wait to add them until the step where you put on the cheese so they don’t completely disintegrate. Perfect hearty weeknight meal!