Chicken & Poultry/ Low Carb & Keto/ Main Dishes & Entrées

Baked Pesto Chicken

June 19, 2022

This Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe is made in the oven until tender and juicy, then smothered in a delicious 3 ingredient pesto barbecue sauce! It's an easy family friendly dinner recipe you are guaranteed to love all year round and ready in about an hour.

baked pesto chicken in teal lodge cast iron pan

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This Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe is made in the oven until tender and juicy, then smothered in a delicious 3 ingredient pesto barbecue sauce! It’s an easy family friendly dinner recipe you are guaranteed to love all year round and ready in about an hour.

If you are looking for more delicious chicken recipes, then check out this Roasted Herb and Garlic Butter Spatchcock Chicken, Crispy Air Fryer Fried Chicken, or Double-Coated Cornflake Crumb Fried Chicken next!

2 half pesto chicken bake in cast iron skillet in
Saucy Baked Pesto Chicken

Baked Pesto Chicken

Oven baked chicken recipes are always a winner in our household, especially on those days when you want a hands off and easy way to prepare dinner. For this recipe, a whole chicken was halved and then seasoned with the perfect dry rub blend of herbs and spices, baked in the oven and smothered in a pesto barbecue sauce.

By halving your whole chicken, you not only cut down the cooking time, but it results in flavourful, tender pieces of meat that everyone will enjoy. As for the sauce, I would have never thought of combining one of my favourite barbecue sauces with pesto, however once I tried it was a full blown dance party for my taste buds – just so delicious!

You’ll Love This Oven Baked Chicken Recipe! Here’s Why…

  • Simple Ingredients and Easy to Make – less than 10 minutes of prep time!
  • Perfect to serve for as easy family friendly dinner recipe everyone will enjoy
  • Tender, Moist and Flavourful – seasoned with a delicious blend of herbs and spices before being smothered in a pesto barbecue sauce.
  • The Perfect Protein – serve this baked pesto chicken with a plethora or different side options from
  • Great for Leftovers – if you don’t finish it all at dinner, use leftover chicken throughout the week in a variety of yummy dishes
baked pesto chicken in skillet with steamed broccoli
Baked Pesto Chicken with Broccoli

What is Basil Pesto?

If you ever find yourself with a bounty of fresh basil, basil pesto is one of the very best things to make! It’s made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper if you so please. Use this blend as a marinade, sauce, dip, dressing or however you see fit.

Ingredients

This baked pesto chicken requires a simple blend of dry herbs and spices, olive oil, and finally the 3 ingredient barbecue pesto sauce. As always, feel free to adjust the seasoning to your fit your liking and taste buds!

  • Whole Chicken: Use one that is around 3-4 lbs. and then cut in half for quicker, easier cooking.
  • Pesto Barbecue Sauce: this is a simple mixture of your favourite store-bought barbecue sauce, basil pesto and chicken stock which is used to thin the mixture for easier basteing. For this recipe I used the Diana Sauce “Gourmet Rib & Chicken” barbecue sauce.

Baked Pesto Chicken Dry Rub

Dry rubs are a great way to enhance and maximize flavours as well is an excellent base for a crisp coating. So, if you’re looking for the perfect blend of herbs and spices that will make the best flavourful oven baked chicken, look no further and try this dry rub!

  • Olive Oil: This releases the flavour of the herbs and seasonings as well as allows the seasoning to stick better to the chicken.
  • Garlic Powder: use this generously in the place of fresh garlic as it adds great flavour.
  • Onion Powder: same as garlic powder, use this instead of fresh onion to add another layer of flavour.
  • Paprika: this is great for adding a beautiful colour to the chicken.
  • Italian Seasoning (or Herbs de Provence): this is usually a herbaceous blend of basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
  • Salt & Black Pepper: depending on your preference as well as whether or not your other seasoning have salt you may choose to omit, and is used to enhance flavour.
chicken covered in barbecue pesto sauce
Oven Baked Chicken with Barbecue Pesto Sauce

What You Need to Make Baked Pesto Chicken

Sharp Kitchen Shears: using sharp kitchen or poultry shears helps with breaking down the chicken into two halves for easier, quicker cooking.

Large Oven-Safe Enameled/Cast Iron Skillet or Baking Pan: this is what you’ll use to bake the chicken in. Ensure it is large enough to fit both halves, and ideally would have a lid.

Instant Read Thermometer: this is the best way to determine the Baked Pesto Chicken doneness to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.

See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions!

How to Make Baked Pesto Chicken

  1. Clean and prepare the chicken by removing any neck parts and gizzards, and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Combine dry rub in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Then, drizzle chicken with olive oil and season well using your hands to coat the chicken on all sides.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  4. Make Pesto Barbecue sauce by combining barbecue sauce, chicken broth and basil pesto in a bowl, and stir to combine. Adjust the taste to your liking, and set aside.
  5. Bake chicken in oven for 30 minutes (it should be golden brown and crispy). Remove from oven and pour the barbecue pesto sauce over top of chicken and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Then, baste chicken again with sauce and place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove from oven and baste chicken with sauce once more then allow to rest undisturbed for 10-15 mins before carving and enjoy!
chicken baked pesto with pesto barbecue sauce
Baked Chicken Halves Fresh out the Oven with Pesto Barbecue
Sauce

What to Serve with Pesto Chicken

Fresh out the oven, you’ll want to enjoy this delicious chicken with a few yummy side dishes. Essentially, you can choose your favourite which could be either a potato, rice, grain or pasta dish. Alternatively, you can choose steamed, roasted or grilled veggies. Here are some additional tasty ideas:

Common Questions

What Temperature Should You Bake Chicken At?

You can bake or roast chicken anywhere from 325 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. As a rule of thumb, when preparing a whole chicken start at a high temperature anywhere between 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit then lower the heat after 10-15 minutes and cook until done. This helps give the crispy outer skin, and juicy tender inside. Alternatively, using a lid part way can achieve similar results.

How Long Do You Cook Chicken in the Oven for?

Depending on the cut, size and thickness of your chicken, when cooking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes to cook a whole chicken. Cut your chicken in half or spatchcock/butterfly for quicker cooking.

What Else Can You Do With Pesto?

You can use basil pesto in the following ways; as a dip, marinade, dressing, or as a sauce. The options are endless, as you can use it with a variety of meats, veggies, breads, pastas etc.

How to Bake Pesto Chicken

Bake chicken in oven for 30 minutes (it should be golden brown and crispy). Remove from oven and pour the barbecue pesto sauce over top of chicken and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Then, baste chicken again with sauce and place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, juices run clear when poked and sauce thickened.

baked chicken pesto in teal lodge cast iron skillet
Baked Pesto Chicken with Sauce Fresh Out the Oven in Teal Skillet

Tips for Best Results

Season Generously: a key component to flavourful chicken, is the seasoning. Apply the dry rub liberally and allow to soak into the meat of the chicken.

Marinate: it’s most beneficial to allow your chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight, covered, if time permits. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate the skin and get into the meat. Although it is not required for this recipe, it is recommended.

Use the Broil Function: you can choose to broil your chicken for the last few minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize and skin to crisp up as well as allow the chicken too get to that golden bright colour we all love to see!

Add in Veggies: like carrots, potatoes, brussels sprouts, any firmer vegetable of your liking. This helps turn a simple chicken dinner into a whole flavourful meal perfect for the family.

Temperature: bake your chicken at 400°F (200°C) and baste occasionally while cooking.

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If You Love This Chicken Recipe, You’ll Want to Check Out These Other Tasty Recipes Next!

baked pesto chicken in teal lodge cast iron pan

Baked Pesto Chicken

This Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe is made in the oven until tender and juicy, then smothered in a delicious 3 ingredient pesto barbecue sauce! It's an easy family friendly dinner recipe you are guaranteed to love all year round and ready in about an hour.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Chicken & Poultry, Low Carb & Keto, Main Dishes & Entrees
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 195 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Enameled or Cast Iron Skillet or oven friendly shallow pan

Ingredients
  

Chicken Dry Rub

  • 1 3-4 pound Whole Chicken halved
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning Herbs de Provence or herb blend of choice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

Pesto Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Broth or Stock
  • 1/4 cup Basil Pesto

Instructions
 

  • Clean and prepare the chicken by removing any neck parts and gizzards, and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Combine dry rub in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Then, drizzle chicken with olive oil and season well using your hands to coat the chicken on all sides. If time permits, allow to marinate for at least 2 hrs, or overnight. Place the chicken halves in the skillet, inner cavity side down.
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Make Pesto Barbecue sauce by combining barbecue sauce, chicken broth and basil pesto in a bowl, and stir to combine. Adjust the taste to your liking, and set aside.
  • Bake chicken in oven for 30 minutes (it should be golden brown and crispy). Remove from oven and pour the barbecue pesto sauce over top of chicken and place back in the oven for 15 more minutes. Then, baste chicken again with sauce and place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, juices run clear when poked and sauce thickened.
  • Remove from oven and baste chicken with sauce once more then allow to rest undisturbed for 10-15 mins before carving and enjoy!

Notes

  • Always use a thermometer to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the chicken and read 165°F (74°C).
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking and the best results!
  • Using the broil function of your oven, broil chicken for 2 to 3 minutes until sauce caramelizes for added flavour. 
  • If the skin gets too dark, cover it up with baking paper or foil.
  • Keep covered for the first part of cooking, then uncover. This helps to keep all the moisture in, in turn making a very tender, and juicy chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 1169mgPotassium: 123mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 472IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 1mg
Keyword baked chicken, baked chicken pesto, baked chicken with pesto, baked pesto chicken, basil pesto, chicken baked pesto, chicken pesto bake, dinner recipe, easy dinner recipe, easy family dinner recipes, family recipes, half chicken, oven baked pesto chicken, oven baked recipes, pesto baked chicken, pesto chicken, pesto chicken bake
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below I always love hearing from you! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Maria
    June 24, 2022 at 9:12 am

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe as soon as I saw it on Instagram! Omg the pesto barbecue sauce is so good I wanted to drink it! Thanks so much, definitely making again.

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      June 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Yayyy! Loved reading this Maria! So happy you enjoyed, thanks so much for the review!!

  • Reply
    Carita
    June 27, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe did not disappoint, and I have to say, after seeing your recipe video on IG, I was so encouraged to try cooking the recipe as written- utilizing the whole chicken. It was a SCORE and I’m shocked how easily it all came together. The basil/BBQ sauce was spot on, and I broiled the chicken for a couple of minutes for a satisfying extra crisp. Will definitely be making this again!!!!

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      June 28, 2022 at 10:17 am

      Yayyyy!! This made my entire day!! So happy to hear that you loved the recipe as much as I do!! The extra few minutes under the broiler is just everything!! Thanks so much!!

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