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These chicken breasts are sliced into thin cutlets so they cook quickly and really let that pesto flavor shine! Ready to eat in 20 minutes.

If you watch my Instagram stories you’re likely already aware that I love to throw a dollop of pesto on pretty much everything! I tend to make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge so I can use that pesto for days. Eggs, potatoes, roasted veggies, burgers, stir-fries, and (obviously) chicken… They’re all better with pesto!

So it was really only a matter of time before I added this Dairy Free Pesto Chicken to the blog.

There are two secrets to making this entree so yummy.

Secret number one. It’s all about how we treat the chicken before adding the pesto. The chicken breasts are sliced horizontally to create thin cutlets. Then those cutlets are well seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil before sautéing. This ensures they’ll have plenty of flavor on their own. No boring chicken here! No, ma’am!

Secret number two. Oh baby, it’s all about the Pistachio Lemon Pesto. Gah this stuff is SO GOOD! I really think it is far and away the best dairy-free pesto out there. It has that classic pesto flavor but it’s also bright and citrusy thanks to the lemon. And it’s made with pistachios instead of pine nuts. Pistachios are a wonder nut (says me). I prefer them over any other nut because they have such a distinct salty taste.

And there you have it! A quick entree with a homemade pesto that everyone will rave about. Want to try more skillet chicken? My Coconut Lime Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Lemon Chicken are two of my most popular!

More recipes like this:

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

Pesto Steak Kabobs with Tomatoes and Peppers

Pesto Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

5 from 1 vote

Dairy Free Pesto Chicken

By Christina
These chicken breasts are sliced into thin cutlets so they cook quickly and really let that pesto flavor shine! Ready to eat in 20 minutes.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 cutlets


Chicket Cutlets

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, approximately 2 lbs
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil

Pistachio Lemon Pesto

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced, or 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, extra virgin
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  • Slice the chicken breasts horizontally. This will give you 8 thin cutlets so they'll cook faster and more evenly.
  • In a small bowl, stir together salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil. Set aside.
  • Add oil to a large skillet. Heat to medium high heat. Press seasoning mixture into both sides of the chicken cutlets. Once oil is hot, add the seasoned cutlets. Sauté until each side has some browning and chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Depending on the size of your chicken you may need to sauté in two batches. If so, feel free to add an extra tablespoon on oil when beginning the second batch.) 
  • To make the Pistachio Lemon Pesto, add basil, pistachios, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to a food processor or high powered blender. Turn on the blender and slowly pour in your olive oil. Blend until pistachios are no longer chunky and sauce is smooth. For a thick pesto 1/3 cup of olive oil is perfect. You can use up to 1/2 cup if you prefer a thinner consistency. Taste and add more salt if desired.
  • Spread about 1 1/4 tablespoon of pesto to the top of each chicken cutlet when serving. (The pesto recipe yields 10 tablespoons total so you want to divide that evenly amongst your chicken.)


Nutrition information is for 1 cutlet (1/2 a chicken breast because we’ve cut the breasts horizontally to create 2 cutlets from every chicken breast) plus approximately 1 1/4 tbsp of pesto. If you’re having two cutlets (with the pesto of course) just double the numbers.


Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 496mg, Potassium: 494mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 525IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Jessica says:

    This pesto!!!!!!! I could just sit and eat it with a spoon. That would be weird, so I wont! But seriously the pesto is phenomenal!!! And easier than you might think. Comes together very quickly.