Creamy Pesto Chicken Recipe

4.84 from 42 votes
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Make a restaurant-quality meal with this creamless, Creamy Pesto Chicken recipe! Ready in just 30 minutes, this dish delivers big flavors, using a tasty basil pesto sauce that perfectly coats the juicy chicken and fresh tomatoes.

Creamy Pesto Chicken in a skillet with cherry tomatoes, basil pesto, and evaporated milk.


 

Hello there! Happy Monday—wait, is it already Monday? I feel like we’re all still waiting for that extra day between Sunday and Monday to really soak in the weekend, right? I know I’m not the only one wishing for it!

My grandma used to remind me, “Don’t wish away these busy days. There’ll come a time when you’ll miss them and long for these hectic moments back.” It’s a daunting thought, isn’t it? But let’s not dwell on that this Monday. Instead, let’s shift our focus to something more uplifting—food!

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken Recipe

So, let’s dive into a recipe that’s sure to brighten your day: pesto chicken! Sometimes, all I crave is a simple, satisfying chicken dinner, which is exactly what sparked this dish.

My workflow has seamlessly adapted to this less-is-more culinary style, and honestly, I’m not complaining. And why would I? This pesto chicken really gets us. It delivers all the rich, herby flavors of a creamy pesto sauce, minus the cream. Plus, what’s even better? It comes together in a single pan and is ready in just 30 minutes.

Who else loves this kind of meal? I know you do—that’s probably why you’re here! This dish comes together with about six ingredients (not counting salt and pepper).

Chicken breasts in a creamy sauce made with basil pesto and evaporated milk.

What You’ll Need

The ingredients for this simple chicken dinner include chicken breasts, basil pesto, evaporated milk, flour, garlic, and cherry tomatoes. And if you’re into pasta, throw in some spaghetti, too! Here’s a grocery list for you:

  • Chicken Breasts – You’ll need about a pound to 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper – Used for seasoning, enhancing all the flavors in the dish.
  • Basil Pesto – Adds a vibrant flavor to both the chicken and the sauce. If basil pesto isn’t available, try arugula or sun-dried tomato pesto for a twist.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Used for cooking the chicken, it adds flavor and helps brown the meat. Canola or avocado oil are good substitutes if you’re looking for a milder taste.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Contributes texture, sweetness, and a bit of acidity to the dish.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Thickens the sauce. Cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend could be used.
  • Garlic Cloves – If fresh garlic isn’t available, garlic powder or granulated garlic can be used.
  • Fat-Free Evaporated Milk – Provides the creamy texture of the sauce without the added fat of regular cream. Coconut milk could be used for a dairy-free version, but it will alter the flavor.
  • Freshly Shaved Parmesan – Asiago or Pecorino Romano can serve as substitutes.
  • Fresh Basil Ribbons: Used as a garnish. If fresh isn’t available, a sprinkle of dried basil can work.

How To Make Creamy Pesto Chicken

To prepare this delicious meal, you’ll simply coat the chicken in pesto, brown it on the stovetop, then create a savory sauce with evaporated milk, toss in the tomatoes, let it boil, and you’re done. Trust me, your bellies will be grateful!

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then coat them with basil pesto.
  2. Cook the Chicken: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the chicken on each side for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked.
  3. Make the Sauce: While the chicken cooks, whisk together the flour, minced garlic, additional basil pesto, and evaporated milk in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Cook the Tomatoes: Remove the chicken from the skillet. Add a bit more oil if needed and sauté the cherry tomatoes for about a minute until they start to soften.
  5. Combine and Simmer: Pour the sauce into the skillet with tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and return the chicken to the skillet. Let everything simmer together for a couple of minutes to heat through.
  6. Garnish and Serve: Remove the skillet from the heat. Before serving, garnish the chicken with freshly shaved Parmesan and basil ribbons.
Four cooked chicken breasts in a sauce with halved cherry tomatoes.

Serving Suggestions

Serve pesto chicken over a bed of fresh pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine, to soak up the creamy sauce. A side of fluffy Mediterranean rice makes for a filling meal. Steamed broccoli or a medley of roasted vegetables are always welcome!

Lastly, I always include a crisp green goddess salad, or a Tabbouleh salad, and zucchini breadsticks.

Sliced chicken served over a plate of spaghetti with cherry tomatoes mixed in.

Proper Storage

Allow the chicken and sauce to cool to room temperature before storing the leftovers in an airtight container. Store the containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. For longer storage, you can freeze the dish for 2-3 months. Reheat the leftovers in the microwave or on the stove.

Easy Creamy Chicken Recipes

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4.84 from 42 votes

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Create a restaurant-quality meal at home with this flavor-packed, creamless, Creamy Pesto Chicken dinner, which comes together in just 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For the Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 4 pieces)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes,, halved

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic,, minced
  • ½ tablespoon basil pesto
  • 1 cup fat free evaporated milk
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • freshly shaved parmesan,, for garnish, optional
  • fresh basil ribbons,, for garnish, optional
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Instructions 

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and rub it with the basil pesto.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the heated oil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked.
  • In the meantime, prepare the sauce by combining flour, garlic, basil pesto, evaporated milk, salt, and pepper in a mixing cup or bowl; whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
  • Return the skillet to the heat and stir in the tomatoes. If the pan is dry, add a little more olive oil.
  • Cook the tomatoes over medium-high heat for about 1 minute or until just beginning to soften. Add the prepared pesto sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil.
  • Place the chicken back in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Remove from heat and garnish with cheese and basil ribbons.
  • Serve with pasta, rice, and/or salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 794mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 840IU | Vitamin C: 19.6mg | Calcium: 217mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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101 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    Oh my gosh! Had to use heavy cream, that’s all I had….but…yummy! Thank you ever so much for sharing this with us❤️

    1. Katerina says:

      So glad to hear it turned out delicious with heavy cream! It’s great when substitutions work out well. Thanks for sharing your experience! ❤️

  2. Kim says:

    Yum yum – hubby love it!!

    1. Katerina says:

      That’s great! I’m very glad you and your husband enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Lori Leigh Grant says:

    This recipe was very good! The only thing I would change is the fat-free evaporated milk- It didn’t taste right! I have never had fat-free evaporated milk, and it was pretty bad. I know this would add some calories to have regular evaporated milk but I think it would taste much better.

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for the feedback on the fat-free evaporated milk. Using regular evaporated milk for a richer flavor sounds like a great idea for next time. It’s all about finding the right balance works for you. Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Pam says:

    This was amazing! I made it as stated and it came together so easily. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. Katerina says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that the recipe worked out well for you and that it was easy to put together. Thank YOU! 🙂

  5. Patty says:

    I made this tonight for dinner. My husband loved it. It will become a regular meal. I used heavy cream because that’s what I had for the sauce and it was the perfect consistency. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Lisa D says:

    This turned out so yummy…and it was so easy to make! I served it with fresh green beans steamed in chicken broth and chopped garlic!

  7. Rachel says:

    Wow delicious! I swapped whipping cream for the evaporated milk (that’s what I had on hand) so yummy!