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Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

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This Instant Pot Pesto Chicken is an easy-to-make keto friendly recipe made with chicken thighs and covered with mozzarella cheese and a delicious creamy pesto sauce.

a white plate with Instant Pot Pesto Chicken with two bowls or rice and Instant Pot in the background.

Looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal? This Instant Pot Pesto Chicken is the perfect dish!

The chicken is covered in a creamy pesto sauce, making it so flavorful. Plus, this dish is ready in just 35 minutes! So, pull out the pressure cooker, and let’s get cooking because you will love this easy recipe.

Easy Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

Easy dinners are what we are all about here. This Instant Pot recipe is a combination of creamy pesto, mozzarella, and boneless chicken thighs which makes for a very flavorful dish. And this dish is keto-friendly and low-carb.

The second thing is I love pesto, it is a very flavorful sauce with fresh basil, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. Plus, this dish only has a few ingredients, especially if you buy pesto sauce, which makes it super simple to make.

The third and final reason why I love this chicken with pesto and mozzarella is that it is ready in just 35 minutes!

This is the perfect meal for busy weeknights. Simply throw all of the ingredients into your Instant Pot and let it do its thing.

So if you are looking for a quick, easy, and delicious meal, then this Instant Pot Chicken Pesto is the perfect recipe for you! Trust me, your family will love it as much as mine does.

Instant Pot Pesto Chicken in a white plate with a golden spoon on it and a stack of plates, and a striped cloth in the background.

Check out our other Instant Pot recipes: Instant pot chicken thighs and potatoes, Instant pot pork tenderloin with potatoes and gravy, and Instant pot turkey tenderloin with potatoes and gravy.

Ingredients for Making Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

  • Chicken thighsboneless, skinless
  • All-purpose seasoningto season the chicken thighs
  • Olive oilany cooking oil to sauté the chicken
  • Chicken brothor chicken stock
  • Cherry tomatoes – can swap with sun dried tomatoes (see variations)
  • Pesto saucemake it using our homemade recipe or buy pre-made
  • Cream cheeseto make the creamy, delicious sauce
  • Mozzarella cheesefor a rich, cheesy topping
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Basil for garnish

Ingredient Notes

To use frozen chicken thighs, skip searing then add 2 minutes to pressure cooking.

To use other cuts of chicken:

You can make your own fresh pesto sauce with our basil pesto sauce recipe.

ingredients for making Instant Pot Pesto Chicken which includes boneless chicken thighs, chicken broth, pesto sauce, olive oil, cream cheese, salt and pepper, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and all purpose seasonings.

Equipment Used for Cooking Easy Pesto Chicken

How to Make the Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

Sauté the Chicken. Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Add olive oil and then rub all-purpose seasoning all over the chicken thighs.

When the pot is ready, brown each thigh on all sides until golden brown. Do this for about 3-4 minutes total.

an open Instant Pot with Ingredients at the side.

Pressure cook the Pesto Chicken. Take the boneless thighs out of the pot and let them rest on a plate. Add the broth to the pot and stir it around to get all of the good bits off the bottom of the pan.

Put the chicken and cherry tomatoes back into the Instant Pot. Push the cancel button. Twist on the Instant Pot lid, turn the pressure valve to close if needed, and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.

Instant Pot with chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and broth inside.

When the pressure cooking is complete, let the pot rest undisturbed(natural release) for 10 minutes. After that, turn or depress the pressure valve to release the pressure quickly.

Let it Sit. Transfer the cooked chicken and cherry tomatoes to a serving platter. Cover them with foil so they will stay warm.

Prepare the Creamy Pesto Sauce. Drain the chicken broth from the pot, reserving 1/2 cup. Leave the pressure cooker warm, and stir in the pesto sauce and cream cheese.

chicken broth, cream cheese, and pesto sauce inside an Instant Pot.

Then stir the pesto sauce mixture until it is smooth. Add reserved chicken broth, as needed, to make the pesto sauce smooth.

Pesto sauce mixture for Instant Pot Pesto Chicken inside an Instant Pot.

How to Serve Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

For serving, add a mozzarella slice to the top of each chicken thigh. Then, spoon over the creamy pesto sauce. Top with cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh basil (optional) to garnish.

a white plate with chicken, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes.

Also, this keto pesto chicken tastes great when paired with:

For non-keto sides:

a semi close up photo of white plate of Instant Pot Pesto Chicken with two bowls of rice and an Instant Pot in the background.

Can I store Instant Pot Pesto Chicken?

This keto chicken pesto will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Let them cool completely and transfer to individual airtight containers before placing them in the fridge.

To reheat pesto chicken thighs, microwave on 50% power until warm. You can also reheat in the Instant Pot on the sauté function, stirring often. Do not pressure cook to reheat.

Recipe Variations

  • Sun dried Tomato Pesto Chicken: Omit the cherry tomatoes and use sun dried tomatoes instead.
  • Jalapeño Pesto Chicken: Add a diced jalapeño to the pot when sautéing the chicken for a little bit of heat.
  • Pesto Chicken with Bacon: Top each chicken thigh with a slice of bacon before pressure cooking for an
  • Add other vegetables to the pot: mushrooms, zucchini, onion, garlic, etc.
  • Switch up the type of cheese: Parmesan cheese, Asiago cheese, etc.
  • Make it spicy: add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the sauce.
  • Make it dairy free: use full-fat coconut milk in place of the cream cheese and chicken broth.

Check out our other pesto recipes like pea pesto pasta, pesto gnocchi with asparagus, and pesto cheese bread twist.

a white plate with Instant Pot Pesto Chicken and a golden spoon on it with a striped cloth in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze Instant Pot Chicken Pesto?

I do not recommend freezing this pesto chicken thighs dish because dairy doesn’t usually freeze well. The pesto sauce may separate and the cream cheese may become grainy.

Is it safe to pressure cook frozen chicken?

Yes, just skip the saute step. Then, add 2 minutes of cooking time to the chicken on high pressure.

How much liquid do I put in my keto pesto chicken?

For boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you will need at least a cup of liquid in the pot. I like to use chicken broth because it adds flavor and makes the chicken taste better. But water will work in a pinch. If you are using frozen chicken breasts, add an additional half cup of liquid to the pot so they can cook properly.

a white plate of Instant pot Pesto Chicken with two bowls of rice, striped red cloth, and a stack of plated in the background.

Get the Easy Instant Pot Recipe Here

a white plate of Instant Pot Pesto Chicken and a striped red cloth at the side.
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Instant Pot Pesto Chicken

This Instant Pot Pesto Chicken is an easy-to-make keto friendly recipe that is made with chicken thighs and covered with a delicious creamy pesto sauce.
Course Main Course, Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword Instant Pot, chicken dinner, chicken thighs recipe, instant pot chicken, instant pot creamy chicken, poultry recipes, pesto, pesto recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 418kcal

Ingredients

For the Chicken Thighs

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 pounds) see notes for frozen
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock, low sodium
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (can substitute with sun dried tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

optional

  • fresh basil as a garnish

Instructions

Pressure cook the pesto chicken

  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté, by pushing the sauté button until it shows sauté "MORE." Add olive oil to the pot. Sprinkle all-purpose seasoning over all sides of the chicken thighs.
  • When the pot is ready to sauté, brown the chicken thighs on all sides until lightly golden, about 5 minutes total.
  • Remove the boneless thighs and let rest on a plate. Add the broth to the pot and stir to deglaze the pan.
  • Return the chicken to the Instant Pot. Add the cherry tomatoes. Press the cancel button. Twist on the Instant Pot lid, turn the pressure lever to seal (if needed), then press the high-pressure button and set for 6 minutes.
  • When pressure cooking is complete, do a natural release for 10 minutes (let the pot rest undisturbed), then perform a quick release (turn or depress the pressure valve).
  • Transfer chicken and cherry tomatoes to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil.

Prepare the creamy pesto sauce

  • Drain the chicken broth from the pot, reserving 1/2 cup in the pot. Leave the pressure cooker warm, and stir in the pesto sauce and cream cheese. Continue stirring (I recommend using a whisk) until the two combine and are smooth. Add reserved chicken broth, as needed to make a smooth, creamy pesto sauce.

To serve

  • For serving, add a mozzarella slice to the top of each chicken thigh, spoon over the creamy pesto sauce, then top with cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with fresh basil (optional) to garnish.

Notes

To use frozen chicken thighs, skip searing and add 2 minutes to pressure cooking.
To use other cuts of chicken:
  • for boneless chicken breasts, pressure cook for 10 minutes
  • for chicken tenderloins, pressure cook for 4 minutes
  • for large, bone-in half breasts, pressure cook for 12 minutes
Leftovers will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Let everything cool completely and transfer to individual airtight containers before placing them in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 1708mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1011IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 1mg


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