Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce Recipe

Basil chicken with cream sauce

The Spruce Eats/Nita West

  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

    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 fresh 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 rice or pasta.

    Creamy basil chicken
    The Spruce Eats/Nita West

Variations

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