Creamy Pesto Chicken Recipe

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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 43 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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103 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    Love this! Easy to put together after work…yummy & healthy. Than you so much for sharing 🥰

  2. Susan says:

    I absolutely love this recipe. It’s great for entertaining if having a family with kids. I double the recipe using a Costco or Family Pack of chicken. When doubling recipe, I use 1 can (348ml) of evaporated milk and top up to 2 cups using whatever milk I have in fridge (ususally 1% or2%).

  3. Jacky F. says:

    Absolutely delicious and easy to make. We loved it, added the parmesan cheese while cooking the sauce at the end and it was perfect. Served over linguini. Will be making this again.

  4. Erica says:

    Hello!! I am very excited to make this. Are there any changes to the cooking process to make in an air fryer?

    Thank you!

  5. Bonnie says:

    This was tasty and easy to make. It’s a great weeknight dinner because it requires very little prep and is simple to cook. I only had chicken tenderloins and they cooked up just right. I used low fat evaporated milk rather than fat free and I think that made the sauce a bit thicker. Next time I’ll use the fat free as I’d like a thinner sauce.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  6. Mr Hart says:

    Excellent dish might add asparagus instead of the tomatoes. Still scrumptious either way

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  7. travis.anderson@exprealty.com says:

    WOW! This recipe is fantastic! I’m the chef in the family. I’m always trying to make new things. I searched for a low-carb, high protein dinner option and came across this one. Very few ingredients needed and came out nice! My wife loved it.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s wonderful! I’m very glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

  8. Katie Hunter says:

    Had this tonight and both husband and I loved it! Probably won’t even have pasta next time. Super yum!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

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

  9. Alyson says:

    This recipe is delicious, healthy and very easy to make! It is perfect for meal prepping lunches for work or for a quick and yummy dinner. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  10. Amarpreet Randhawa says:

    Loved your recipe Katerina !! Simple and delicious ..