Creamy Pesto Chicken

5 from 18 votes
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In this quick and easy Creamy Pesto Chicken recipe, tender strips of chicken are sautéed and simmered in a rich, creamy pesto sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, creating a deliciously satisfying dish.

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

Indulge in this creamy, delicious, and irresistible meal that is the definition of flavorful comfort food. This dish is like receiving a warm hug from a one-pan meal, making it the perfect comfort food for a hectic weeknight, especially after a busy Monday. To streamline the process even further, consider using frozen bell peppers and pre-diced onions. With just a quick sauté and a gentle simmer of the sauce for a few minutes, this Creamy Pesto Chicken not only looks impressive but is also incredibly quick and simple to make.

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

Creamy Pesto Chicken Ingredients

  • Oil: For sautéing. I use light olive oil because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin.
  • Chicken: I use one pound of boneless chicken breasts cut into strips, but you could also use boneless chicken thighs.
  • 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: A few tablespoons of prepared basil pesto gives the dish its fresh, flavorful bite.
  • Chopped Fresh Basil and Grated Parmesan: For garnish.

How To Make Creamy Pesto Chicken

This is a great, easy dish to pull together. Pesto is my go-to ingredient for adding a burst of flavor, and the combination of sun-dried tomatoes and basil pesto gives it so much flavor with minimal prep.

  1. Cook Chicken: Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken breast strips with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and cook them for 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. Then, stir in the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes; cook for just 30 seconds to release the fragrance. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking until fork tender.
  4. Cook Chicken in Sauce: Add the prepared pesto sauce to the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes or until heated through and the sauce is a little thickened. Garnish with parmesan and basil, then serve.

Tips for Success

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

Serving Suggestions

Serve this chicken with pasta or gnocchi. This No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread is a delicious way to soak up the delicious pesto sauce. One of my favorite sides to serve are these Garlic Butter Mushrooms – they go with everything. Also, the sweet and mellow flavors of Roasted Sugar Snap Peas pair 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 or freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 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.

More Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

5 from 18 votes

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Quick Creamy Pesto Chicken prepared with chicken strips cooked in a creamy pesto sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and peppers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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 cloves garlic,, minced
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil,, drained and chopped
  • 2 small bell peppers,, cut into long thin strips (any color)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto
  • chopped fresh basil,, for garnish
  • grated parmesan,, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet.
  • Season the chicken strips with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and add them to the skillet; cook over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • Combine heavy cream, chicken broth, and pesto in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining olive oil; stir in the 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 the chicken to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes or until heated through and the 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

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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40 Comments

  1. Janelle says:

    5 stars
    Dang, this was seriously tasty. Thanks!

    1. Katerina says:

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