How to Make Creamy Pesto Chicken

Our pesto chicken recipe uses heavy whipping cream to make a rich and savory pesto sauce you'll want to slurp up.

No matter the recipe, prepared pesto packs a lot of flavor for a single ingredient. That’s why we love to use it in so many pesto recipes, like creamy pesto chicken. This chicken dinner is quick and easy to make, and easy to customize with extra vegetables or more cheese.

Ingredients for Creamy Pesto Chicken

  • Pesto: Use your favorite store-bought pesto for this chicken dish, or prepare our go-to homemade pesto recipe.
  • Chicken breasts: We pound our chicken breasts down to a uniform 1/2-inch thickness so they cook evenly.
  • Heavy whipping cream: This recipe wouldn’t be creamy without the heavy whipping cream! It cooks with the pesto for a creamy sauce and helps soften the tomatoes.  
  • Grape tomatoes: Tomatoes add little bursts of bright flavor and color.
  • Parmesan cheese: Shredded Parm is the perfect salty finishing touch for pesto chicken. We recommend 1/8 cup per serving, though in practice we often don’t measure it out exactly.

Pesto Chicken Recipe

This recipe from our Taste of Home Test Kitchen takes 30 minutes and makes four servings.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Step 1: Prepare the chicken

Pounding the chicken breastTMB STUDIO

Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound them with a meat mallet until they are 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Brown the chicken

Browning chicken breast in skilletTMB STUDIO

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides, then remove them from the pan and keep them warm.

Step 3: Make the pesto cream sauce

Pesto Sauce with cream, cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in panTMB STUDIO

In the same skillet, add the minced garlic. Cook and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in the halved grape tomatoes, heavy whipping cream and pesto. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the heat.

Step 4: Finish cooking the chicken

Chicken breast in pan with pesto sauceTMB STUDIO

Return the browned chicken to the pan. Cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165°F, about 15 minutes.

Step 5: Add the cheese

When the chicken is cooked, sprinkle Parmesan on top of each piece. Serve the dish hot.

Pesto Chicken Recipe Variations

  • Vegetables: Add vegetables to your creamy pesto chicken. Broccoli florets, red pepper strips or zucchini slices go well with the flavors of the dish.
  • More cheese: Combine the shredded Parmesan with shredded mozzarella, or layer a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on top of the finished chicken breasts.
  • Add crunch: After adding the cheese, sprinkle on crispy prosciutto for a salty crunch.

How to Store Creamy Pesto Chicken

Keep leftover pesto chicken in an airtight container in the fridge and eat it within two days. Reheat the chicken slowly on the stovetop. You can use the microwave, but we prefer reheating pesto dishes on the stovetop for more control—you don’t want to overheat pesto.

If you want to make this pesto chicken recipe for a future dinner, wrap it and then freeze it for up to four months.

What Do You Serve with Pesto Chicken?

Cooked Creamy Pesto Chicken on serving dish on dining tableTMB STUDIO

This creamy pesto chicken is a saucy dish, so it goes well with pasta or bread. We like it with long, wide noodles like pappardelle or fettuccine, or a basket of fresh garlic bread. Orzo or rice work, too. Put more vegetables on the table with a side salad or roasted veggie.

Lauren Pahmeier
Lauren is an associate editor at Taste of Home, focusing on search engine optimization. When she’s not making sure readers can find TOH’s recipes on Google, she’s practicing her food photography, consistently finding new recipes to try and hunting down the most indulgent treats in the Twin Cities.