Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe

Basil chicken with cream sauce

The Spruce Eats/Nita West

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
567 Calories
41g Fat
7g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 567
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 53%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 340mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 42g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 122mg 9%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 497mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This basil chicken is a quick and easy skillet preparation, and it is a fabulous meal for any day of the week. Prepared pesto makes it easy and convenient, but feel free to use your own homemade pesto if you have plenty of fresh basil leaves. You'll find instructions for a quick homemade pesto below the recipe.

See Also
Chicken With Bacon

Chicken and Spinach Bake

Ingredients

For the Homemade Pesto:

  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts, or walnuts

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the Chicken:

  • 4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons pesto

  • 8 ounces pasta, optional, for serving

  • 1 cup cooked rice, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this chicken dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking

Make the Homemade Pesto

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pesto
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  2. In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of fresh basil in batches until chopped.

    Pulse fresh basil
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic and 3 to 4 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts; pulse about 6 to 8 times.

    Chopped garlic
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  4. Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse until blended.

    Add olive oil
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  5. With the processor running, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil in a steady stream.

    Pulse
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  6. Add 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and blend well.

    Add parmesan cheese
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  7. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt, as needed.

    Season to taste
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West

Make the Chicken

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for basil chicken
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  2. Put the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer to thin to about 1/4-inch thickness. Alternatively, use horizontally sliced chicken breast cutlets.

    Put chicken in plastic wrap
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  3. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Sprinkle the chicken
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  4. Then dredge it lightly with the flour. 

    Flour chicken
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

    Heat olive oil
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  6. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring mushrooms and turning chicken about halfway through the cooking time.

    Add chicken and mushrooms
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  7. Combine cream and pesto.

    Combine cream and pesto
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  8. Cover and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

    Cover and continue cooking
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West 
  9. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

    Taste and add salt
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West
  10. Serve the creamy basil chicken with hot cooked pasta or rice.

    Creamy basil chicken
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West

Variations