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Chicken / Dinner Ideas / Gluten Free / Low Carb / Special Diets

Creamy Pesto Chicken

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!

overhead shot of a skillet with creamy pesto chicken strips, peppers, and cream sauce

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! 👌

overhead shot of a skillet with creamy pesto chicken strips, peppers, and cream sauce

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.
sauteeing bell pepper strips and onions in a skillet

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?

  1. 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.
  2. Prep Sauce Ingredients: Combine the cream, chicken broth and pesto in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Enjoy!
cooking bell peppers in a cream sauce with pesto

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!

Serving Suggestions

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.
close up shot of chicken strips, bell pepper strips, and creamy pesto sauce

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.
overhead shot of a skillet with creamy pesto chicken strips, peppers, and cream sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Quick Creamy Pesto Chicken prepared with white meat chicken cooked in a creamy pesto sauce with sundried tomatoes and peppers.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy chicken, easy chicken dinner, pesto chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 405kcal

Equipment

  • Stove

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 860mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2743IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg

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10 Comments

  • Dorothy Reinhold
    April 19, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Look at that creamy deliciousness! I have everything I need to make this for dinner! Win!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      April 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Allyson Reed Zea
    April 20, 2021 at 7:32 am

    5 stars
    Super flavorful and very easy to make! 10/10 thanks!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      April 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm

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

      Reply
  • Cathy
    April 20, 2021 at 10:07 am

    What a delicious flavor combination!!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      April 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Beth
    April 20, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    5 stars
    This is such an amazing dinner and very tasty! My family and I love love loved this recipe! So excited to make this again!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      April 21, 2021 at 11:38 am

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

      Reply
  • Catalina
    April 21, 2021 at 3:50 am

    5 stars
    I cook very often chicken for dinner. But I’ve never tried pesto chicken. Sounds so tasty!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      April 21, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Reply

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