Everybody needs easy recipes that they can rely on when things get crazy, and this Keto Pesto Chicken is just that! Fresh and fragrant Pecan Pesto makes a ridiculously flavorful marinade. I like to double the recipe and skip the final addition of Parmesan and tomato to have chicken to make a Pesto Chicken Pizza then next night.
I can barely remember the days when I was all about fancy and elaborate cooking. I spent hours pouring over recipes from my latest cooking magazines or cookbook acquisitions and carefully planned out meals.
It didn't have to be a special occasion. Tuesday night was more than enough for me to drive to three specialty markets searching for the perfect ingredients and spend three hours preparing dinner.
Of course, this was before kids.
These days, my cooking style most definitely leans towards relaxed and easy. Unless it is a special occasion, you won't find fussy meals on my dinner table. (And even then, I try to keep things simple.)
This Keto Pesto Chicken is just the kind of dish that I reach for time and again. With just a handful of fresh ingredients, it comes together in a flash.
I used my homemade Keto Pesto, which I like to make on the weekends when I meal prep. Making pesto chicken keto is so easy!
Ingredients for Making Keto Chicken Pesto
- Keto Pesto: Making homemade pesto is super-easy but isn't necessary for this recipe. If you are short on time and haven't made it ahead, feel free to pick up prepared pesto at the grocery store. Most basil pesto is keto-friendly but always read the label.
- Oil: I like to use avocado oil anytime I am cooking above medium heat. Use any heat-safe oil that you like.
- Chicken: This pesto chicken recipe will work with either breasts or thighs.
- Tomato: If you prefer, you can use seeded diced tomatoes in place of the tomato slices.
- Parmesan Cheese: I recommend using freshly grated parmesan; avoid the kind in the can that is shelf-stable.
Frequently Asked Questions
My favorite way to serve this is over zucchini noodles, but cauliflower rice is also fabulous. A simple Keto Asparagus also makes a fabulous side dish.
Leftovers are fabulous on a Pesto Pizza, or in a low-carb wrap. They are also fabulous on a salad. (Skip adding the tomato and Parmesan.)
Tools Needed to Make Keto Pesto Chicken Breast
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- Shallow Dish (for marinating)
- Oven-Safe Skillet or Instant Pot
You can store this recipe in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you are planning on freezing it, I recommend leaving the tomato and cheese off and adding them when you reheat.
How to Make Keto Chicken Pesto
First, start by whisking together your fresh basil pesto and 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil. (If you don’t have time for homemade pesto, purchased works as well. I use pecan pest, but pesto made with pine nuts works too.)
Place the chicken in a zip-top bag or shallow casserole dish and coat with the pesto. (If desired you can add in a little extra salt and fresh black pepper for good measure.)
Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Add the oil to an oven safe skillet and heat to medium-high.
(If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can use a regular skillet and transfer the chicken to a baking dish to finish.)
Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side.
Top with the remaining pesto, tomato slices, and Parmesan.
Cook under the broiler until the cheese melts.
Instant Pot Keto Pesto Chicken
Set your Instant Pot to saute and allow to preheat.
Add the remaining oil and chicken.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken from the pot. Place the trivet and 1 cup of water (or broth) in the bottom of the pot.
Arrange the chicken in a single layer. Top with the remaining pest.
Allow to cook at high pressure for 6 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, and then do a quick release.
Remove the lid and add the tomato and cheese. Return the lid to the pot and allow to sit until the cheese melts.
More Keto Recipes to Try
Keto Pesto Chicken
- In a small dish, whisk together ⅓ cup pesto and 2 tablespoons of avocado oil.
- Place chicken in a zip top bag or shallow dish and toss with pesto sauce mixture. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Heat remaining ½ tablespoon of oil in a large oven safe skillet to medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until cooked through.
- Top chicken with the remaining pesto, tomato slices and Parmesan.
- Place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- First, set your Instant Pot to high saute. When your pot says HOT, add the oil and chicken. Cook for 3 minutes per side, until browned.
- Remove the chicken from the pot. Place the trivet and one cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and top with the remaining pesto.
- Place the lid on your Instant Pot and set it to high manual pressure for 6 minutes.
- When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick release.
- Carefully remove the lid and add the tomato and cheese. Return the lid to the pot and allow it to sit until the cheese melts, about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.