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Air Fryer Pesto Chicken Recipe

Best air fryer pesto chicken recipe. Use jarred or homemade pesto sauce to make this with breasts or chicken thighs for a tasty dinner.

Air Fryer Pesto Chicken

Pesto chicken in air fryer turns out great. I like boneless skinless so the sauce really bakes on to the outside when it gets crispy. An easy healthy air fryer meal even your kids will love during the week. (affiliate links present)

Pesto Chicken Thighs

Whether you choose white or dark meat this will add a lot of flavor. I will say that air fryer fried chicken thighs are pretty amazing though. Typically this cut is cheaper with more flavor and very tender. I have done both though and will vouch for the fact that it’s been more popular than just some bbq sauce.

First decide whether you want to buy this already made and bottled from the store. There are several styles but they are all basically using the same ingredients. I will say the more expensive versions use better olive oil. If you make it yourself you can use whatever you like.

Homemade Pesto Without Nuts

Ninja Foodi Pesto Chicken

You don’t have to make homemade pesto with pine nuts, but that is best. Then you can adjust the flavors or even add heat to the mix if you want. Make it as thin or thick as your family likes it.

  • 1 lb chicken breast cut into strips, or thighs, or tenderloins
  • 2 bunches of fresh basil
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Minced garlic
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • salt and pepper

If you skip making your own spread then of course it would take less time. You would just skip those initial steps and continue to follow thru on the other steps to cook them. These were cut into frozen chicken strips sizes so if you left them whole it would take quite a bit longer. You don’t want them too thick though.

For boneless breasts you would at least need to slice them in half so it isn’t as thick. Thighs are usually thin enough and don’t need a lot of adjusting. As always with any poultry you need to use a meat thermometer to ensure the insides reach a safe 165 F.

Pesto Chicken Thighs

Pesto Chicken Breast

If you want to buy a jar you can do that here. For homemade I have instructions on how to do that too. Place basil leaves in a blender, add pine nuts, grated parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper + minced garlic cloves. Add olive oil and continue whisking until you get a smooth, thick pesto.

  • Grind in a blender until smooth to make pesto, or use jarred.
  • Pat dry the chicken with paper towels, cut into strips and put in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Add pesto sauce and mix everything. You can leave for half an hour, covering the bowl with a lid for stronger flavors. Some of the sauce can be reserved for serving.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400 F for 5 minutes. Spray basket with non stick spray.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to the air fryer basket. Air fry for 10 minutes cooking time until fully cooked in the thickest part.
  • Internal temperature needs to reach 165 to be safe
    • If you wanted to add a thin slice of mozzarella cheese on top do that for last min.

Turn the pieces over and bake for 4 more minutes or until middle of thickest piece reaches a safe 165 f. Transfer the chicken to a plate and serve with the remaining sauce on top. You could use this sauce on any of our air fryer chicken recipes.

Ninja Foodi Pesto Chicken

Pesto Chicken Without Nuts

If you need a nut free sauce because of allergies in your home it is possible. It won’t be as thick as the “normal” version but you can use carrot greens instead of nuts. In the event that it is pine nut specific you could use other types in it’s place instead. You want a softer version like walnuts, pistachios or sunflower seeds ideally.

Easy Baked Pesto Chicken

You could do this same thing in the oven if you’d like too. You would want to follow my chicken breast in oven at 350 post but on the last 5 minutes brush this on. Then add more once it is done. Halving some cherry tomatoes and sprinkling those around each piece using this method is a great add on too.

When using boneless skinless chicken breasts you would need to decrease the timing by about 10 minutes. Using simple ingredients is a great way to add a ton of flavor while maintaining a healthy meal with high protein and low fat.

pesto chicken

What Goes with Chicken and Pesto

Well this is just for the meat and sauce on top. Typically you’d want some zucchini noodles or one of our many easy pasta recipes to serve with it. Then you can just keep some aside and toss it with that too so you have the same flavors throughout the dish.

Beyond that more vegetables are always a win. Steam broccoli or corn, or pesto potatoes are another great one. If you aren’t skimping out on the carbs bake some rolls and if you cut them up into smaller pieces like we did here you could even make little sliders out of them! With a bit of cool cole slaw on top of that OMG you’ll get some great texture that way.

If you do have leftovers just make sure they cool off entirely first. Then throw them into a ziploc baggie and once the air is eliminated store in the fridge. Keep any extra sauce you have on the side in a sealed container. When reheating add more on top and heat for 1 minute or so until warmed and moist and tender again.

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Air Fryer Pesto Chicken
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Air Fryer Pesto Chicken

Best air fryer pesto chicken recipe. Use jarred or homemade pesto sauce to make this with breasts or chicken thighs for a tasty dinner.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword air fryer, chicken, chicken breast, chicken tenders, chicken thighs, ninja foodi, pesto
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 343kcal
Author The Typical Mom

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place basil leaves in a blender, add pine nuts, grated parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper + minced garlic cloves. Add olive oil and continue whisking until you get a smooth, thick pesto. Grind in a blender until smooth to make pesto, or use jarred.
  • Pat dry the chicken with paper towels, cut into strips and put in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Add pesto sauce and mix everything. You can leave for half an hour, covering the bowl with a lid for stronger flavors. Some of the sauce can be reserved for serving.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400 F for 5 minutes. Spray basket with non stick spray. Transfer the chicken pieces to the air fryer basket. Air fry for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the pieces over and bake for 4 more minutes or until middle of thickest piece reaches a safe 165 f. Transfer the chicken to a plate and serve with the remaining sauce on top.

Video

Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Pesto Chicken
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 76mg25%
Sodium 212mg9%
Potassium 466mg13%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugar 0.2g0%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 286IU6%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Rating




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