Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe

Creamy Basil Chicken with Pesto
Photo Credit: Diana Rattray
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

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.


  • Homemade Pesto
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil (divided)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh 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 

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.

  2. In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of fresh basil in batches until chopped.

  3. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic and 3 to 4 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts; pulse about 6 to 8 times.

  4. Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse until blended.

  5. With the processor running, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil in a steady stream.

  6. Add 1/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and blend well.

  7. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt, as needed.

Make the Chicken

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  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.

  3. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Then dredge it lightly with the flour. 

  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

  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.

  7. Combine cream and pesto.

  8. Cover and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

  9. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

  10. Serve the creamy basil chicken with hot cooked rice or pasta.