Italian Chicken Bake

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Italian Chicken Bake – just 5 simple ingredients for a delicious, cheesy, and perfect baked pesto chicken dinner for any night of the week.

Easy dinners get you through the week.  Some weeks are just crazy and it is all you can do to get something like Asian Chicken Wrap on the table that take just 15 minutes to make.  So that is where easy baked chicken comes in.  Just 5 ingredients, throw it in the oven and you are done. 

I am a sucker for pesto, it has so much flavor it is one of my favorite ingredients.  These Italian Turkey Cutlets, that totally work with chicken too, are a huge go to on busy nights.  This has many of the same flavors, but in a baked version that is very hands off!

chicken in a dish

 

Baking chicken is super simple to do, but there are always a few key questions. 

What Temp to Bake Chicken

You need to cook chicken to 165º F to kill the bacteria and make it safe to eat.  This means that it is no longer pink on the inside.  You want to be careful to not over cook chicken, or it will get very dry.  So a good thermometer is very helpful!  

I also like to bake chicken at 400º F.  This helps cook the chicken faster without drying it out or cooking the outside too fast before the inside is done.  A lot of recipes call for 350 and that is totally fine, I just like to turn up the heat a little bit. I think the chicken stays moister that way. 

How Long to Bake Chicken

This really depends on how big the pieces of chicken you are cooking are.  The pieces you buy in the store can be almost a pound for just 1 chicken breast.  So I like to divide those into at least 2-3 pieces and pound them, so they are equal thickness.  This way they usually cook in 25-30 minutes.  But if your chicken is thick, it could take up to 40 minutes.  If you are cooking a cutlet, or very thin piece it could be done closer to 20 minutes.  So you really have to check on it and test the temperature.

If you are in a hurry you can use boneless skinless chicken tenders in this recipe or most other baked chicken recipes. They are smaller and will cook much faster.

scooping chicken out of dish

What’s In Italian Chicken Bake

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Pesto
  • Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Fresh Basil

This easy baked chicken always gets people excited because it is covered in melted cheese! Especially when you go to take the first piece out and you get that stringy cheese. Italian Stuffed Chicken has all the cheese on the inside with a crispy outside, and is another favorite at our house. 

This baked Italian chicken has a lot of the flavors you think of when you think Italian….tomatoes, cheese, basil. You get lots of herby flavor going on with the pesto. The chicken stays super moist cooking in the tomatoes. It creates its own sauce as it cooks.

What to Serve with Baked Chicken

A dish of chicken covered in cheese

How To Make Baked Italian Chicken

  1. Pour the tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish. And nestle the chicken down into the tomatoes.
  2. Spread the pesto over the top of the all of the chicken. You don’t need a lot, just a little bit on each piece.
  3. Put it on a hot oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the chicken is almost done.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken and return it to the oven to melt and get golden brown. Once the chicken is at 165º F it is cooked and safe to eat.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil to serve.

Baked Chicken is a staple in so many households, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Just a few simple ingredients and you can have this easy baked chicken on the table.  If you aren’t a huge pesto fan this Garlic Tomato Chicken might be more up your alley.

And if Mexican is more your style, check out this Southwest Baked Chicken for a taco inspired version.  So easy and so good! 

close up chicken with melted cheese in a baking dish

More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes

Yield: 4

Italian Chicken Bake

A pan of chicken with cheese

Italian Chicken Bake - just 5 simple ingredients for a delicious, cheesy, and perfect dinner dinner for any night of the week.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1 (14 oz) can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, , shredded
  • 2 Tbls fresh basil, , finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9” square baking dish (or casserole dish) with non-stick spray.
  2. Pour can of tomatoes into pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Nestle chicken breasts into the tomatoes. Spread about 1 tablespoon pesto over each piece of chicken.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 165°F).
  4. Top with shredded cheese, and return to the oven for 5 minutes until melted. Use broiler if you want the cheese browned.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 453Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 170mgSodium 435mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 61g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.

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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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14 Comments

  1. We love anything around here with baked cheese! This dish was so easy to prep and turned out moist and perfectly cooked!

    1. I usually use a store bought one that is near the fresh pasta in the refrigerated section. But I have used the shelf stable ones and homemade as well. Really, if there is one you like, it will work great!