Chicken Pesto Pasta

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So simple.  Yet, so delicious!  Chicken Pesto Pasta is chicken and penne in a basil pesto sauce.Chicken Pesto Pasta in a white bowl

This is one of those recipes that’s great for a busy weeknight.  You only need a handful of ingredients to make it.  It’s ready in under 20 minutes.  And, it’s so, so good!

Just sauté some chunks of chicken breast with a little seasoning.  Add prepared basil pesto and cooked pasta.  And, that’s it.  You’re done!

skillet full of Chicken Pesto Pasta

Pesto is full of flavor.  Prepared pesto mainly consists of basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.  Which means, pesto is pretty high in calories and fat.

To lighten up this dish, cut back on the pesto and add some of the starchy pasta cooking water.

Watch the step by step recipe video for Chicken Pesto Pasta below.

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white bowl full of chicken pesto pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta

5 from 13 votes
So simple.  Yet, so delicious!  Chicken Pesto Pasta is chicken and penne in a basil pesto sauce.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes


Servings 4 servings
Calories 560 kcal


  • 8 oz. (half a 1 pound box) penne rigate pasta
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto


  • Cook the pasta according to it’s package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve ¼ cup of the starchy cooking liquid.
  • As the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat the chicken. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and the pesto to the skillet with the chicken. Stir well.
  • To loosen up the sauce, add some of the reserved starchy cooking liquid, if needed.


Serving: 1/4th the recipe | Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.8g | Protein: 34.2g | Fat: 25.8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 2.8g
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Keyword chicken pesto pasta, pasta with pesto, pesto pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Author Amanda Finks

Check out all of my great chicken recipes.

Chicken Pesto Pasta 1
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  1. 5 stars
    We enjoyed this very much and I will make it again! The only change I made was to add a little garlic powder at the same time as the other seasonings.

  2. I like to butterfly, season and sear my chicken breast for this one. Once rested I dice it up and toss it in with my sautéed vegetables, cooked pasta and pesto basil. I have not tried adding pasta water to it, but will give that a shot.

  3. 5 stars
    been doing this recipe for a while now. I’ve never actually looked up a recipe for it. Thought I would for a change. what I found works well, believe it or not, is water chestnuts, it adds a great texture to the meal. I also often add many vegetables. Whatever I have on hand, peas, zucchini, broccoli, olives, bell peppers, onions are a must, etc, etc. Thanks for the heads up on the reserved starchy liquid. I would have never thought of that!

  4. 5 stars
    Fast and easy. Great way to use the abundance of homemade pesto on hand this time of year.
    My husband and sons love it

  5. 5 stars
    I had pesto sauce in the cabinet and needed an idea for how to use it. This recipe was simple, quick and delicious!
    I had zucchini that I needed to cook, so I chopped it into bits and added it in. We liked putting Parmesan cheese on it. Grape or cherry tomatoes would make it pretty (but I didn’t have those on hand). Thanks for the quick idea and the video!

      1. I’m going to cook this meal tonight and I’ll also add mushrooms as I like them and they need to be used. I’ll add them when I’m cooking the chicken about 3 minutes before the chicken is cooked through or you could cook the mushrooms separately and then add them to the dish.

  6. Amazing recipe! Easy to follow. My main ingredient was prawns. I needed new inspiration during this lockdown period and I enjoyed cooking this as a meal prep with my son. Bravo! 👏

  7. 5 stars
    Yummers!!! I actually didn’t have Italian seasoning so I made some from scratch – 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil. Mix that together and took 1 teaspoon out for the recipe. I cut up the chicken into very small bites and only cooked it for the six minutes. Delicious!

  8. Made this meal for the wife for the first time. I wanted to try something different. To be more adventures. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and will try out more of your recipes. Thanks.

  9. 5 stars
    Great dish! I sometimes like to pour bechamel sauce on top and make a kind of freak lasagna. Dead easy and ever so traiz bong!

  10. This looks exactly like a dish we had in Italy. It was so delicious that I am going to ha e to try this one!

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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