Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce

Creamy Basil Chicken with Pesto
Creamy Basil Chicken with Pesto. Photo Credit: Diana Rattray
Ratings (12)
  • 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.

Make the dish with or without the sliced mushrooms.

Serve this chicken with hot cooked pasta or rice along with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers or a side vegetable or tossed salad.


  • 4 to 6  boneless chicken breast halves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons prepared pesto (see the instructions below the recipe for homemade pesto)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. 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. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then dredge it lightly with the flour. 

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

  3. 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.Combine cream and pesto; cover and continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

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

  5. Serve the creamy basil chicken with hot cooked rice or pasta. Add sliced tomatoes or cucumbers or a tossed salad. Or serve it with this easy zucchini and summer squash casserole.

Serves 4 to 6.

Tips and Variations

Homemade Pesto - In a food processor pulse 2 cups (packed) of fresh basil leaves in batches until chopped. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic and 3 to 4 tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts; pulse about 6 to 8 times. Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse until blended. With the processor running, add another 1/4 cup of olive oil in a steady stream. Add 1/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and blend well. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt, as needed.

Omit the mushrooms or use drained canned mushrooms in the recipe.