This pesto melt chicken is a super simple weeknight meal! Marinated chicken, seared until golden then topped with pesto and baked with mozzarella cheese. So delicious and easy!

Super easy late-summer dinner is here!

pesto melt chicken

If you have some basil or pesto to use up and want an easy meal tonight, make this pesto melt chicken skillet. It’s so easy and super flavorful, and you know we’re always looking for non-boring chicken recipes over here.

pesto melt chicken

Things have been very pesto-forward on the blog lately! It’s the perfect excuse to use up all those herbs as summer comes to a close and I can’t get enough. 

homemade pesto

When I say I make my pesto nearly every single week in the summer… that is no exaggeration.

We love it, not just on pasta, but as a spread, in a dip and more. Eddie drizzles it on just about anything.

seared chicken with pesto

This chicken is embarrassingly easy. The pesto on top browns a bit in the oven, so don’t be alarmed. It’s covered by cheese, so you’ll barely notice!

pesto melt chicken

Let’s make it!

To start, I like to marinate the chicken. You can use either boneless chicken breasts or thighs here – your preference! I do an easy marinade of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lots of garlic and spices. Sometimes I marinate for 30 minutes, other times it’s overnight! Just depends on how prepared I am. 

I sear the chicken in a hot skillet. Just until it’s all golden and browned and delicious looking! 

Then, I top with pesto. We are obsessed with my homemade pesto and I use it on this chicken 95% of the time. But you can use ANY pesto here. Any flavor, any variety, homemade or store-bought. 

pesto melt chicken

My favorite part comes next… the cheese. Of course! I top with a slice of fresh mozzarella. You can also do a handful of grated provolone or any italian blend cheese. 

Then I throw the whole skillet in the oven! I like to sear the chicken in an oven-safe skillet so I can use the same pan the whole way through. Bake until the cheese is melty and the chicken is 165 degrees F, then serve! Ooooh it’s good.

pesto melt chicken

You can really serve this with anything, but here’s an easy hack: stir some pesto into your grain. I’ve done this for years with my couscous or quinoa or rice – that’s what I do here for an easy side dish. I also toss roasted vegetables with pesto too for an easy zing. You can also slice it over a huge salad for a super savory topping. When it’s warm, it’s divine on salad! 

Now that’s easy enough, right?!

Pesto Melt Chicken

Easy Pesto Melt Chicken

This pesto melt chicken is a super simple weeknight meal! Marinated chicken, seared until golden then topped with pesto and baked with mozzarella cheese. So delicious and easy!
5 from 3 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ cup your favorite pesto
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil, for serving
  • parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions 

  • Note: If you'd like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, I would cook for a bit less and check the internal temp for doneness.
  • Place the chicken in a resealable bag or a baking dish. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, basil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Pour it over the chicken and make sure it’s covered evenly. Stick in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before to take the chill off. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat a large oven-safe (cast iron, ceramic, etc) skillet over medium heat, with a drizzle of olive oil. Grab a piece of chicken with tongs and let the excess marinade run off. Place in the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken. Sear until golden and deeply browned on both sides.
  • Turn off the heat until the chicken. Top with a few spoonfuls of pesto, right on top of the chicken. Top with a slice or two of fresh mozzarella.
  • Place the whole skillet in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove and cover with fresh basil and parmesan. Serve!
  • Note: I like to stir pesto into a grain, like rice or couscous, etc, for a super easy side dish.
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