Oven-Fried Pesto Chicken

Oven Fried Pesto Chicken
Photo: Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 2 chicken breasts
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
323 Calories
10g Fat
31g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 323
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 666mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 118mg 9%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 285mg 6%
*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.)

Purchased prepared basil and Parmesan pesto give these oven-fried chicken breasts plenty of great flavor. The chicken breasts are pounded to thin out then they're coated with pesto and a panko breadcrumb mixture and baked to crispy perfection.

If you have fresh basil, make the pesto from scratch in your food processor. Follow the easy instructions below the recipe.

Serve these flavorful coated chicken breasts with a tossed salad and this quick shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon recipe for a delicious everyday family dinner.


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared pesto

  • 4 chicken breast halves

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.

  3. Gently pound the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness. Alternatively—especially if the chicken breasts are large—slice each chicken breast half horizontally to make 2 cutlets.

  4. In a food processor,* pulse the panko and dry breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese (if using), paprika, salt, and freshly ground black pepper until well combined.

  5. Rub each chicken breast with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of pesto, then press in the crumbs to thoroughly coat.

  6. Arrange the chicken pieces in the prepared baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

  7. The minimum safe temperature for poultry is 165 F (74 C). If in doubt, check the chicken pieces with an instant-read food thermometer.

*Skip the food processor step if you like the texture of the larger panko breadcrumbs. Just combine the crumbs, Parmesan, and seasonings in a bowl and blend well.

Tips and Variations

  • Substitute about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders for the chicken breast halves.
  • Replace the plain breadcrumbs with garlic seasoned bread crumbs or use all panko crumbs in the recipe.
  • Easy Homemade Pesto - Chop 1 cup of basil leaves (packed) and put them in a food processor with 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic and a tablespoon or two of pine nuts, pecans, or walnuts. Pulse a few times and then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil while the machine is running. Add 3 tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and blend thoroughly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.