Balsamic and Pesto Grilled Chicken

By Rena Awada |

A quick and easy dinner option that’s full of flavor, this Balsamic and Pesto Grilled Chicken is the perfect meal for busy weeknights. Chicken breasts are marinated in a simple balsamic marinade and then grilled until juicy and tender. Just before coming off the grill, they are topped with mozzarella cheese until melty. Serve with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes for the ultimate grilled chicken dish!

top view of balsamic grilled chicken breast with tomatoes and pesto, topped with melted cheese

We’re all about grilling these days, and every weekend we cook up some type of grilled chicken, like Boneless BBQ Chicken, Lemon Chicken Skewers, or this Pesto Grilled Chicken.

When it comes to cooking on the grill, I often turn to a flavorful marinade to make my chicken extra delicious. These grilled chicken breasts feature a super easy balsamic marinade, which takes just minutes to put together. Cook your chicken on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan.

When the chicken is almost done cooking, add a slice of mozzarella cheese until nice and melty. The finishing touch is the addition of pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, and fresh parsley. Pesto, tomato, and cheese is a classic flavor combination that never goes out of style. This pesto chicken combines all of these fabulous flavors in the form of a hearty dinner option that’s sure to please both kids and adults alike.

Why you’ll love this easy recipe

  • Simple and easy: This pesto chicken recipe takes little effort to make. It only needs to marinate for 15 minutes and takes just 15 minutes on the grill. An effortless dinner in just over 30 minutes!
  • Healthy: Lean chicken breast grilled to perfection with a flavorful marinade. This dish is high in protein, low in carbs, and packed with nutrients. Perfect for those looking for keto-friendly dishes.
  • So tasty: This grilled chicken could not be more delicious! You will love how tender, juicy, and flavorful it turns out. And the addition of cheese, pesto, and cherry tomatoes takes this chicken recipe to the next level!
Grilled chicken topped mozzarella, pesto and tomatoes.

Ingredients needed

  • Chicken breasts: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are ideal for this recipe because they are lean and cook up super tender. You will need four small chicken breasts.
  • Marinade: We are seasoning the chicken with a simple marinade made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, and salt & pepper.
  • Cheese: Mozzarella melts perfectly over the chicken and is a key ingredient in this pesto grilled chicken recipe. You can substitute provolone or gruyere cheese in a pinch.
  • Pesto sauce: Feel free to make your own Homemade Pesto to serve over the grilled chicken. It is delicious! However, if you’re pressed for time pre-made pesto sauce from the store works great too.
  • Tomatoes: Cherry or grape tomatoes are quartered and spooned over the chicken. They add a delicious pop of flavor that bursts with juiciness in every bite.
  • Fresh parsley: Optional, for freshness and color.
Ingredients for pesto grilled chicken divided into small bowls.

How to make this recipe

Marinate chicken: Place the chicken breast in a medium bowl together with the oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat. Allow the chicken to quickly marinate for 15 minutes on the counter.

Pouring balsamic vinegar over raw chicken breasts.

Grill chicken: Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken breast for around 5-7 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reads 165F.

Chicken breasts grilling on a grill pan.

Top chicken breasts and serve: Once the chicken is almost done and still hot, top each with a slice of mozzarella. Transfer the chicken to a platter and top with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Chicken topped with cheese, pesto and tomatoes.

Recipe notes and tips

  • We recommend choosing chicken breasts that are approximately the same size so that they cook at the same rate. 
  • We suggest marinating the chicken for at least 15 minutes. However, you can marinate the chicken, covered in the fridge, for longer or overnight.
  • You can make your own pesto, or use a store-bought version. If using pre-made pesto, we recommend the fresh pesto found in the refrigerator area along with the fresh ravioli and pasta.
top view of pesto chicken with tomatoes

Frequently asked questions

How do you know when chicken is fully cooked?

You can check to see if your chicken is done by cutting into a breast; there should be no pink inside and the juices should run clear. Alternatively, you can use a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast needs to register at least 165 degrees F.

What sides go with this pesto grilled chicken?

We love this grilled chicken served with a fresh green side salad! It’s also delicious paired with a side of pasta tossed in butter or olive oil. We also always serve a green vegetable alongside the chicken, such as asparagus, green beans, or broccoli.

How long does this grilled chicken last?

Store leftover chicken and pesto sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
For best results, reheat leftovers in a skillet on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Chicken served with cheese, tomatoes and pesto on a large white serving plate.

MORE DELICIOUS CHICKEN RECIPES:

chicken breasts with pesto and tomatoes on a plate

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top view of balsamic grilled chicken breast with tomatoes and pesto, topped with melted cheese

Balsamic and Pesto Grilled Chicken

A quick and easy dinner option that’s full of flavor, this Balsamic and Pesto Grilled Chicken is the perfect meal for busy weeknights. Chicken breasts are marinated in a simple balsamic marinade and then grilled until juicy and tender.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 mozzarella slices
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Place the chicken breast in a medium bowl together with the oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well to coat. Allow the chicken to quickly marinate for 15 minutes on the counter.
  • Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken breast for around 5-7 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reads 165F.
  • Once the chicken is almost done and still hot, top each with a slice of mozzarella.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and top with pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Notes

  • We recommend choosing chicken breasts that are approximately the same size so that they cook at the same rate. 
  • We suggest marinating the chicken for at least 15 minutes. However, you can marinate the chicken, covered in the fridge, for longer or overnight.
  • You can make your own pesto, or use a store-bought version. If using pre-made pesto, we recommend the fresh pesto found in the refrigerator area along with the fresh ravioli and pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 1045mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 740IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 1mg
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