Chicken pesto pizza is an easy pizza recipe made with chicken, basil pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese. This is one of our favorite recipes. The fresh basil packs so much flavor making this pizza absolutely deliver on pizza night.
Fresh Basil Pesto
Homemade pesto is really easy to make and is so much better than store-bought. My basil pesto consists of fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Everything is blended together in a food processor to render a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a standard blender or single-serve blender instead. Just don’t blend too aggressively or it will turn into a creamy paste.
Sometimes small grocery stores or local farmer’s markets will have fresher locally made pesto that is usually better than brand-name pesto sauce. You can tell how fresh pesto is by how green it is. Old pesto will take on a duller and deeper dark green color.
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pizza
Chicken pesto pizza is made without a red sauce. The basil pesto serves as the pizza’s only sauce. Paired with grilled or sauteed chicken, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, it’s a unique style pizza with lots of fresh ingredients for fresh flavor. A few tips:
- Always use fresh basil pesto if you can. Homemade pesto is easy to make and so much better than store-bought. Sometimes small grocery stores or local markets will have fresher locally made pesto that is usually better than the large brand name pesto sauce. You can tell how fresh pesto is by how green it is. Old pesto will take on a duller and deeper dark green.
- Fresh mozzarella is better than processed shredded mozzarella. You can use the 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella and slide it or use the little mozzarella pearls, which are small circular balls of mozzarella. Think of this pizza like a Caprese salad.
- Don’t go too heavy on toppings in general—lighter toppings yield crispier pizza.
How to Cook Better Pizza Using a Pizza Stone
Since we don’t have a 1000° F wood-fired pizza oven lying around, I opt for a pizza stone. I heat the stone up for one hour in the oven at 500° F before baking. Then I throw the pizza in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes for the perfect finish every time. The pizza stone allows for better crust due to the high temperatures generated by the stone while it sits in the oven.
One final and really important step. Once the crust is golden and the pizza is near complete, I like to switch the oven to broil and crisp the top of the pizza for about a minute. Carefully monitor the pizza during this stage as it can turn from delicately charred to burned very quickly.
Here are a few tips on cooking the perfect pizza at home.
More Pizza Recipes
- Butternut squash pizza
- Fig and proscuitto pizza
- Margherita pizza
- Buffalo chicken pizza
- Grilled pizza
- Skillet pizza
Chicken pesto pizza is an easy pizza recipe made with chicken, basil pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
- 18–20 ounces pizza dough
- 2 cups, fully cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup basil pesto
- 6–7 1/4 inch slices fresh mozzarella or mozzarella pearls (8 ounces)
- Flour, for pizza peel
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt
Homemade basil pesto
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto
- Combine all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixed and smooth. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until combined. Pesto should not be too soupy or fine.
For the pizza
- Preheat the oven to 500° F. Place the pizza stone in the oven and let preheat for one hour.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a 12 inch crust. Be sure the dough is adequately floured and not sticky. A little extra is better.
- Place a small handful of flour onto a pizza peel and spread evenly to prevent the dough from sticking to the peel.
- Transfer the dough onto the peel. Top with a light coating of evenly spread olive oil. Use the backside of the spoon to spread the oil over the entire crust. Sprinkle with a little salt. Evenly coat with pesto sauce leaving a 1 inch crust all the way around. Add the chicken, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes.
- Slide the finished pizza onto the pizza stone and bake for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to carefully watch the pizza because all ovens will cook at different rates. Sometimes it will only take 10 minutes to fully cook.
- Optional: Once pizza is golden, turn the oven to high-broil and let broil for about 1 minute, or until crust and cheese presents a few lightly charred spots.
- Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve.
Homemade pesto can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days and still taste fresh. Pesto also freezes well and can be kept for 3-6 months in air tight Ziploc bags.
- Serving Size: 2 slices
- Calories: 620
- Sugar: 4.3g
- Sodium: 636mg
- Fat: 6.9g
- Saturated Fat: 2.7g
- Carbohydrates: 68.4g
- Fiber: 3.7g
- Protein: 57.1g
- Cholesterol: 115mg
Keywords: chicken pesto pizza