Tender chicken strips are sautéed and then finished in a creamy pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes in this quick and easy recipe for Creamy Pesto Chicken!
Easy, Creamy Chicken Skillet Dinner
This dish is creamy, fragrant and deliciously craveable. It’s total comfort food. I call it the warm hug of one-pan dinners!
That makes it the perfect meal for a weeknight, especially a busy Monday. After the draining return to your weekly grind, you need something comforting, but also easy and fast! Enter this super simple supper.
While this chicken dish is already really easy and quick, sometimes I like to use frozen bell peppers and pre-diced onions to make it even easier. Then, it’s just a quick sauté of everything and a gentle simmer of the sauce for a few minutes. Perfection! 👌
What You’ll Need
This is a great, easy dish to pull together! The combination of sun-dried tomatoes and pesto give it so much flavor with minimal prep. Grocery stores typically stock sun-dried tomatoes in the produce department, or near the olives, pickles and capers.
- Oil: For sautéing. I use light olive oil, because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin.
- Chicken: I like white meat with pesto, so I use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips.
- Italian Seasoning: Half a teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend brings a lot of flavor to the pan.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Onion: Dice one small yellow onion. You can also use a sweet or white onion.
- Garlic: You’ll need 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed.
- Sun-Dried Tomato: Drain and chop half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
- Bell Peppers: Cut two small bell peppers into long thin strips.
- Cream: Half a cup of heavy cream adds a ton of richness to the sauce.
- Chicken Broth: You’ll need half a cup of broth; I use low sodium chicken broth, but you can substitute homemade, regular or vegetable broth, if desired.
- Pesto: Few tablespoons of prepared basil pesto gives the dish its fresh, flavorful bite.
- Chopped Fresh Basil: For garnish.
- Grated Parmesan: For garnish.
How To Make Creamy Pesto Chicken
Creamy pesto chicken is easy to make with just one pan! Now that’s a dinner I can get behind, you know?
- Cook Chicken: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season your chicken breast strips with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the chicken strips to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- Prep Sauce Ingredients: Combine the cream, chicken broth and pesto in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined and set aside.
- Sauté Veggies: Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining oil; stir in the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Then, stir in your garlic and sun-dried tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat for just 30 seconds to release the fragrances. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking until fork tender.
- Cook Chicken in Sauce: Add your prepared pesto sauce to the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook for couple minutes, or until heated through and sauce is a little thickened. Garnish with parmesan and basil, then serve.
Tips for Success
Here are my top tips for cooking this easy dinner. I know you’re going to love making chicken this way – it’s so good, but so quick and easy!
- Don’t Overcook Chicken: Chicken breast is very lean, which makes it easy to accidentally overcook. The recommended temperature for cooked white meat chicken is 165°F, but you can pull it off of the heat at about 162°F since it will continue to cook briefly.
- Use Thighs: You can also substitute a pound of chicken thighs, cut into one-inch pieces; thigh meat is less lean, and it needs to cook to about 170°F.
- Use Kale Pesto: Another delicious option is kale pesto, which tastes similar to basil pesto but has a slightly different taste due to the included kale, but it’s healthy and delicious!
If you’re wondering what you can serve with this chicken, pasta and gnocchi are both great options to start with. Here are a few other good ideas:
- Fresh, Crusty Bread: Bread is a delicious way to soak up the delicious pesto sauce in this yummy dinner! Try my No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread – it’s a cinch!
- Garlic Mushrooms: One of my favorite healthy sides, these Garlic Butter Mushrooms go with everything, but especially chicken and pesto!
- Sugar Snap Peas: The sweet and mellow flavor of Roasted Sugar Snap Peas pairs beautifully with pesto chicken.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- To store your leftover chicken, place the meat and sauce together into food storage bags or containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- To reheat leftovers, place the meat and sauce in a covered skillet or saucepan over low heat, and cook until heated through. Do not overcook.
Can I Freeze Pesto Chicken?
- You can definitely pack cooled leftovers into freezer bags or containers and freeze for 2 to 3 months. However, the sauce will separate due to the cream. It will still taste fine, but the texture won’t be as good.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Creamy Pesto Chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 2 small bell peppers, cut into long thin strips (any color)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto
- Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- Grated parmesan, for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet.
- Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Add chicken strips to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet, and set aside.
- Combine cream, chicken broth, and pesto in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined and set aside.
- Return skillet to heat and add remaining oil; stir in onions and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and sun-dried tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add bell peppers and continue cooking for 4 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Add the prepared pesto sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
- Return chicken to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through and sauce is a little thickened. Taste for salt and pepper; adjust to taste.
- Garnish with parmesan and basil, serve.
More Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas
Want more quick-fix chicken dishes? You have to check out the following recipes!