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My wife loves pesto and chicken, and she’s the one behind this Pesto Chicken Bake recipe. You see, she loves pesto chicken flatbreads, and I don’t blame her because they’re a delicious combination of flavors. One night, when we weren’t sure what to eat, she said “I’m kinda feeling a pesto chicken flatbread, but I don’t want to go out…can’t you just put all the ingredients together and bake it?”
Well, I never like to make my wife unhappy, and I love a challenge, so I reimagined a pesto chicken pizza into this pesto chicken bake. It’s easy to make, only needs. a few ingredients and tastes SO GOOD. It’s really perfect for any time you’re feeling a meal with fresh, light, Italian flavors without having to do a done of work. Seriously – sheet pan recipes are the best!
Our pesto chicken bake starts with a base of chicken breast, and it requires a little bit of prep. First, pound the chicken breast flat to about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness. This is key to making sure the ingredients all stay on and that the chicken cooks through. Once you’ve pounded it flat, finish your prepping by cutting each breast into equal pieces that are slightly bigger than the tomato you’re using. I like a big juicy tomato for this recipe, so see the upcoming notes on what tomatoes we recommend for this recipe.
Please do take that note that if you’d like to skip all the prep work on the chicken, you could use a boneless skinless chicken thigh instead of chicken breast. They’re about the perfect size for this pesto chicken bake, and already are thin enough to cook perfectly. Plus, they have more flavor than chicken breasts and cost less money, so if you’re looking to save money or chasing flavor, you may want to sub in chicken thighs!
You can use a store bought pesto (which I did) for this pesto chicken bake, or make your own by following a homemade basic pesto recipe like this one. For mozzarella, we strongly recommend using fresh mozzarella. It gives a texture and flavor that push this recipe over the top, but if you don’t have fresh mozzarella, or don’t enjoy it, you could substitute in a few slices of regular mozzarella cheese.
Finally, for the tomato. We know this is a PESTO chicken bake, but in many ways, the tomato is the cherry on top, the star of the show. It’s the last ingredient added, and brings a sweet and tangy flavor that balances all the other flavors else out. We used a large heirloom variety of tomato for incredible flavor, so if you can, find an heirloom, or grab a perfectly ripe beefsteak tomato from your garden if you’re lucky enough to have them!
Alright, we hope you enjoy this super simple, easy to make, and easy to clean sheet pan pesto chicken bake recipe. If you’re looking for something similar but without the cheese (and maybe even easier to make!), you can check out this Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken Thigh recipe. Let us know what you think of the recipe by leaving us a comment or rating below. We hope you enjoy!
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Pound your chicken breast flat to about 1/2″ – 3/4″ thickness, and cut into 3 or 4 evenly sized pieces. Generously season each side with salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven, and then spread an even layer of pesto on top of each piece. Next, tear or slice your fresh mozzarella into pieces that are slightly smaller than the chicken and place one piece on top of the pesto which is on each chicken piece. Finally, add a slice of tomato on top. Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.
Once the chicken has reached 165ºF and your cheese is starting to melt and become gooey, remove the pesto chicken bake from the oven. Garnish with chopped fresh basil, and serve with sautéed spinach and freshly baked garlic bread. Enjoy!