Pesto-Stuffed Chicken with Tomato Relish

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This dish is so easy to make, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal. But, it’s so amazing, it’s great for entertaining, too.

Cooking with boneless, skinless chicken breast can be a challenge to keep it moist and flavorful. This recipe is foolproof. The homemade pesto couldn’t be easier to make and the tomato relish comes together in minutes. A true winner winner!

A person using a spoon to transfer a chopped tomato relish over slice pieces of cooked rolled up chicken that has been stuffed with pesto sauce.

How To Make Pesto-Stuffed Chicken

We love this dish for a variety of reasons.

It’s easy. Gorgeous. But mostly, it’s absolutely scrumptious.


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The Ingredients You Will Need

The pesto sauce is so easy to prepare, and after that, there are only a handful of ingredients needed. This dish is so deep in flavor, your guests will think you spent hours preparing it!

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

For the Pesto and Chicken:
Garlic – No need to mince.
Basil – Fresh is a must.
Lemon – The juice from 1 fresh lemon.
Pine nuts – Be sure to toast them, but keep an eye on them, they can burn quickly!
Parmesan – Grated.
Mozzarella – Whole milk, shredded.
Chicken – Boneless, skinless, pounded to about 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness. See NOTES.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper is all you need.
Oil – Olive oil works perfectly, as does extra-virgin olive oil.

For the Tomato Relish:
Tomatoes – You’ll need about 2 cups. Slice into wedges, and then removed the seeds, and then chop.
Oil – We go with extra-virgin, but regular olive oil works, too.
Balsamic vinegar – Aged is an excellent choice.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper.

EXPERT TIP: If your chicken breasts are extra large (as they usually are in most supermarkets), simply use a sharp knife to cut them in half, lengthwise. Place the cutlets in a large plastic baggie and pound the meat with a mallet (or the bottom of a measuring cup or wine bottle). Spread the pesto over the chicken and then top with the shredded chicken.

A person sprinkling shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of a thin uncooked chicken cutlet that has a layer of pesto on it.

Tips for Making Perfect Pesto-Stuffed Chicken

Thin Chicken Breasts – This is crucial in order to get fully cooked chicken and even cooking. A meat mallet makes this really easy.

Pesto Made From Scratch – This dish is still yummy with store-bought pesto sauce, but made-from-scratch is so easy and really elevates the dish even more.

Sear and then Bake – After rolling the chicken up and securing it with twine or toothpicks, you’ll want to sear the chicken in a medium-hot skillet with oil until browned all over. They add a depth of flavor and start the cooking process. Finish the chicken off in the oven, but don’t overcook the chicken! Internal temperature should be 165°F. This usually only takes about 15 minutes in a 400°F oven.

A person using a pair of metal tongs to turn a rolled up piece of chicken that is stuffed with pesto sauce and is being seared in a skillet.

How To Serve

We love to serve slice each piece of chicken, and then serve it over a nice pilaf and then topped with the tomato relish.

You can plate each guest’s plate, or, serve it family-style and let folks serve themselves.

How To Make a Wild Rice Pilaf

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in an ovenproof saucepan.
  3. Sauté one minced shallot and 2 cloves of garlic, until soft.
  4. Add 1½ cups wild rice and toast in the pan for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add 4½ cups chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Cover the pan and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and fluff with a fork.

EXPERT TIP: As the stuffed chicken bakes, some of the oil may seep out from the pesto sauce. This is perfectly okay, and actually helps keep the chicken juicy and tender.

An overhead view of four chicken breasts that have been rolled up stuffed with pesto and baked in a dish.

Other Awesome Chicken Recipes to Try

Chicken is a universally loved protein. Here are some of our all-time favorite chicken recipes:

Creamy Tuscan Chicken
Chicken Fricassee
Chicken Florentine
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons
Authentic Chicken Curry
Caprese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Chicken Tinga Tacos
Chicken and Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Cheese

These are all absolutely delicious chicken dishes, but isn’t this plate full of yumminess calling your name right about now?

A close-up view of plate filled with sliced pesto-stuffed chicken with tomato relish all on a bed of rice pilaf.

If you love a good solid chicken dish as much as we do, we’re pretty certain you are going to absolutely love this recipe.

We’ve served it to family members as well as dinner party guests, all to rave reviews.

And in the rare event that you have leftovers, they are nothing short of amazing! Delicious!

Two white dinner plates filled with a helping of pesto-stuffed chicken with tomato relish that has been sliced and placed on rice pilaf.

Ready to make one of the best chicken dishes in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A close-up view of plate filled with sliced pesto-stuffed chicken with tomato relish all on a bed of rice pilaf.

Pesto-Stuffed Chicken with Tomato Relish

This dish is loaded with amazing fresh flavor. Making the pesto sauce from scratch is a snap in your food processor. Store-bought pesto will work, too. Be sure to pound the chicken out to about 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness. Easy and so delicious!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, American / Italian
Keyword: how to make pesto sauce, pesto-stuffed chicken breast
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 723kcal


  • Kitchen twine or toothpicks to secure the chicken rolls


For the Tomato Relish

  • 2 cups tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

For the Chicken

  • lbs chicken breasts boneless, skinless, pounded to 1/8th-inch in thickness
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups mozzarella whole milk shredded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cooking spray


Do Ahead

  • Prepare the pesto sauce (see link in the Ingredients list)
    2 cups pesto sauce

Make the Tomato Relish

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. This can be made up to 24 hours in advance (it's better if it has time to chill for at least an hour).
    2 cups tomatoes, 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt and black pepper

Prepare the Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place the thin chicken breasts on a cutting board. Season them all over with salt and pepper. Spread about 2 tbsps of the pesto sauce over the top of each cutlet. Top each cutlet with a couple of tablespoons of shredded mozzarella.
    2½ lbs chicken breasts, Kosher salt and black pepper, 2 cups mozzarella
  • Roll the breasts tightly and secure with kitchen twine or pierce through the chicken with toothpicks.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and sear the chicken until browned all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • Spray a shallow baking dish with the cooking spray and place the seared chicken in the dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the interior of the chicken is 165°F.
    Cooking spray
  • Remove the twine (or toothpicks) and slice the rolls of chicken with a sharp knife, making 3 to 4 medallions. Top with a spoonful of the tomato relish and serve at once.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
We don't recommend chicken tenders for this recipe. If you can only find the large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then get a sharp knife, and very carefully, cut the breast in half, lengthwise. Pounding them out so they are nice and thin is important. If they are somewhat thick, you'll need more cook time in the oven. Internal temperature should be 165°F. 
We love serving this with rice. See the blog post for a quick and easy recipe for making a nice rice pilaf. 
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. (They are delicious!) Reheat leftovers in a dish, covered with foil, in the oven at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Or, nuke them in the microwave on HIGH in 1-minute increments until heat through. 


Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1230mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2389IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 338mg | Iron: 2mg
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