Chicken breasts with a cheddar-crumb topping, nestled in a creamy pesto sauce on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes. This Easy Baked Pesto Chicken is a mouth-watering easy dinner that doesn’t require any pre-cooking. Just add it all into the dish and bake.

baked pesto chicken in a white tray on a blue background. Spoon sticking out of the dish.
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One-pan cooking doesn’t have to be all about same-coloured food that spends all day in the slow cooker.  Whilst I am a huge fan of coming home to a meltingly tender pork ragu or spicy chicken curry, sometimes we’re out too early to start something cooking, and home too late and don’t have a lot of time, but still want a delicious meal.

It’s those days when you need a meal like this.  All cooked in one tray, you can have a beautiful meal on the table in half an hour – and two-thirds of that time can be spent sat on the sofa enjoying a cup of tea.  

The textures and flavours will make you so happy you skipped the beans on toast!

What do we need?

Ingredients for baked pesto chicken on a wooden table

How to make this Pesto Chicken

***Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.***

  1. Chop up cherry tomatoes and mix with a little cornflour, salt and pepper, then stir in garlic, stock and pesto.
  2. Top the tomatoes with chicken breasts and spoon a little pesto on each, then sprinkle on some grated cheddar.
  3. Add my seasoned panko mixture (see the recipe card)
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. If you like, sprinkle on a few pine nuts halfway through the cooking time (Note: I’m adding them halfway through because I’ve tested this recipe and they’ll burn if they’re in the oven for the whole time).
  6. Once cooked, stir a little cream into the sauce.
8 image collage showing how to make baked pesto chicken

Sprinkle with a few fresh basil leaves before serving.

Close up of baked pesto chicken in a dish with a spoonful being taken in the background.

What to serve it with

baked pesto chicken on a white plate with tagliatelle pasta. Dish of pesto chicken just in shot. Dishes are on a blue background.

Ingredient swaps

  • Try swapping out the pesto for harissa and adding olives for a spicy version.
  • Try swapping the pesto for barbeque sauce and throw in some chorizo for a smoky version.

More Italian Inspired Recipes

Close up of baked pesto chicken on a plate, sliced into strip and served with tagliatelle.

Watch how to make it

YouTube video
5 from 16 votes

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

Chicken breast with a cheddar-crumb topping in a creamy pesto sauce on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes. Simply add it all the dish and bake!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian


  • 400 g (14oz) cherry/grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 chicken stock cube mixed with 120ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 4 small chicken breasts or 2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half to make 4 fillets
  • 60 g (2.1 oz or just over half a cup) cheddar cheese grated
  • 25 g (1/2 cup) panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts

To Serve:

  • 3 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh pasta or boiled potatoes
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  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F (fan).
  • Place the cherry tomatoes in the bottom of a baking dish and sprinkle over the cornflour, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Toss together with your hands.
    400 g (14oz) cherry/grape tomatoes, 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch), ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper
  • Add the garlic, stock, red wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp of pesto and stir together.
    2 cloves garlic, 1 chicken stock cube, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp fresh pesto
  • Top the tomatoes with the 4 chicken breasts.
    4 small chicken breasts
  • Spread the remaining 2 tbsp of pesto on the chicken breasts and sprinkle on the cheese.
    60 g (2.1 oz or just over half a cup) cheddar cheese
  • Mix together the panko breadcrumbs, paprika, olive oil, and the remaining ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.
    25 g (1/2 cup) panko breadcrumbs, ¼ tsp paprika
  • Sprinkle the mixture on top of the chicken.
    1 tbsp olive oil
  • Place in the oven to cook for 10 minutes, then sprinkle over the pine nuts.
    1 tbsp pine nuts
  • Place back in the oven to cook for a further 10-15 minutes – until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
  • Remove from the oven and stir the cream into the liquid and tomatoes in the baking dish.
    3 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • Sprinkle fresh basil leaves over the dish and serve with some fresh pasta or some boiled potatoes.
    fresh basil leaves, fresh pasta or boiled potatoes


YouTube video


Can I make it ahead?
This dinner tastes best when eaten right away. However, you can make the tomato mixture (chopped tomatoes, cornflour, salt, pepper, garlic and stock) ahead, place it in the baking tray and cover. It should be fine, like that at room temperature for a couple of hours.
You can also make the panko mixture a couple of hours ahead. Again, mix together, cover and leave at room temperature.  
When you’re ready to cook, uncover the tray of tomatoes, top with chicken breasts, pesto and cheddar, then sprinkle on the panko mixture and cook as per the recipe.
Can I freeze it?
No, I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. The sauce can split if frozen and reheated.
Nutritional information is per serving (this recipe serves 4).


Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 964mg | Potassium: 815mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1147IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 166mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This recipe was first posted in October 2014. Updated in November 2020 with new photos, video and improvements to the recipe.

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Welcome to Kitchen Sanctuary

Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Teri D says:

    5 stars
    This was sensational, and got 2 thumbs up all around! My sister in law even warned us how terrible it was, and said she’d sacrifice by taking home the leftovers. 😂😂 A couple comments on the recipe: I doubled the amount of pesto and it was just that much more amazing. However, what is supposed to happen with the broth mixture? I poured it over the tomatoes and put the chicken on top, which seemed to make sense, but that info is missing from the recipe. Also, cheddar cheese did not make sense to me with the other flavors, so I went with shredded mozzarella and it was perfection. The good news is that I have a whole jar of pesto still, so I’m going to have to make it again soon! Served with a garlic & herb wild rice blend and broccoli.

  2. Ruth says:

    5 stars
    Hands down the tastiest dinner I’ve ever made. So easy and yet so tasty. Absolutely love any recipes I’ve made from this site. Fantastic for tasty family dinners. 5 stars!!!

  3. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    Loved this!
    Never had pesto before, but this is a dish we will definitely have again. So quick and easy to make.
    Might try with fish as suggested by someone else.

  4. Darren says:

    5 stars
    Wow! A real flavour full dish. I used cod loin pieces. Started cooking the tomatoes in the pan and then deglazed with a little white wine and then followed the recipe with 15 minutes in the oven.

  5. Rachael Cohens says:

    5 stars
    Incredible dinner and can say with certainty that it’s the most delicious, flavor banging dish I’ve ever made; I’m 50yrs old with a grandchild and cooked a lot of meals in my lifetime! Hands down, the best! I added a little spicy kick as along w/ sliced black olives but even sticking to recipe (w/o pine nuts), exceptional! Making it this weekend for my son and 4yr old granddaughter! Thank you for the amazing meal ideas, from my 💜!
    P.S. Wish I could embed a photo to show it off! I took plated and dug-in photos of yummyness!

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Nicky is this 200 fan oven.Thanks

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi Debbie, yes, it’s for a fan oven.

  7. Irene Long says:

    5 stars
    Gorgeous! I love your recipes and have used lots of them. They are my ‘go to’ recipes as they are always so tasty and yet easy to make with ingredients that are readily available. Thank you!

  8. Linda, Kefalonia says:

    If you can’t get cherry tomatoes, could you just use ordinary tomatoes cut into quarters?

    1. Sadie Fletcher says:

      Trying this tonight.
      Thanks for the tip Linda, re orzo pasta – wouldn’t have thought about that, but it sounds perfect for my family

  9. Michelle Rolfe says:

    5 stars
    This is a fabulous dish! I very seldom put anything on the table that both my teen girls will devour! This is one of them (the other being your sticky sesame chicken!). Thanks so much, quantities are perfect and we usually serve with orzo pasta. Cheers, Michelle x

  10. Liam Redrup says:

    5 stars
    Brilliant and so easy. Perfect family food.