Instant Pot Pesto Chicken – Juicy chicken breast stuffed with and smothered in basil pesto, tomatoes, and cheese. A speedy, flavorful chicken dinner cooked in an Instant Pot.Winner, winner! Chicken dinner! This basil pesto chicken made in the Instant Pot is just that, a winner! If you’re a basil pesto fan this pesto, tomato and cheese stuffed chicken is a must try. Juicy chicken breast smothered in fresh bright flavors and cheese. It’s so good!I love using my homemade 5-minute blender basil pesto. It’s way cheaper and fresher than the store-bought stuff! Growing my own basil each summer makes it so cheap (and using an alternative nut in place of expensive pine nuts helps too). At the end of the summer I use what’s left of my basil to make this pesto then I freeze it in half or quarter pint jars. When I’m feeling like making a yummy pesto dish, it’s ready to go. All I have to do is thaw and stir.To see how easy this recipe is to make, here’s a little video. P.S. Make sure you check out the printable recipe below. You will add water or broth to the pot to help bring it to pressure. 🙂
LOOKING FOR MORE INSTANT POT RECIPES? YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE:
- 30-Minute Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Easy Instant Pot Spicy Turkey Meatballs
- Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oatmeal
- Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake
I HAVE A PRESSURE COOKER BUT NOT AN “INSTANT POT.” CAN I STILL MAKE THIS RECIPE?YES! Any electric pressure cooker should give similar results and work just fine. I do have to say though, I love my 6-quart Instant Pot for recipes like this! Make sure you follow the instructions and cook the stuffed chicken breasts on HIGH pressure for the allotted time. I love this recipe because it’s so fast when made in a pressure cooker. It’s ready in about half the time as when I bake it (which leads me into my next question).
DON’T HAVE AN ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER? NO WORRIES! BAKE THIS RECIPE.If you don’t own or have access to an electric pressure cooker, you can make this recipe (with a few alterations) and bake it in the oven. Baking this recipe does take more time but it will taste just as yummy.This recipe is also fabulous as a prep-ahead freezer meal. Awesome, right? Making the baked version of this recipe and freezing in a disposable tin makes this a convenient meal perfect for busy families. You can even cook it from frozen (in about 90 minutes).My sister and I get together a few times a year and prep ahead dozens of meals we can keep in the freezer. This really eliminates the stress of making a hot meal on those crazy busy nights. This basil pesto chicken is one of our favorites.
DO I HAVE TO COOK TWICE?If you want to “set it and forget it” you can add all the tomatoes and cheese to the top of the chicken and cook on HIGH pressure for 10 minutes (instead of 7 then 2 minutes). I prefer to do two cook times so the added tomatoes and cheese stay more intact during the cooking process. As long as the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F you can cook it in one session but beware your tomatoes and cheese may ooze down into the juices rather than stay on top.Also, make sure your chicken breasts are cut thin to 1/2 inch or so. If too thick, they won’t cook through with the times listed on the recipe card.
CAN I USE ROMA OR OTHER LARGE TOMATOES IN PLACE OF CHERRY TOMATOES?Yes! This recipe is very alternative friendly. You can use whatever fresh tomatoes you have on hand whether that is Roma, from your garden, cherry, grape, on-the-vine. Any of those will work. I like to use Roma because they are more fleshy and less juicy. They don’t go mushy as quickly as other tomatoes. Part of the reason I don’t add the cherry tomatoes into the Instant Pot until the very end is that they go mushy after being cooked. The longer they are cooked the mushier they become.
PRICE CHECK ($):This recipe only has 5 ingredients plus salt, pepper, and water (or broth). It is ready in under 30 minutes and perfect for those busy nights. Prices of supplies may vary depending on location and store you purchase groceries from. I shop bulk food stores, use coupons, watch ads and shop sales (like case lot), buy supplies in bulk to save on cost and use homegrown produce and herbs:
- Chicken breast – $3.54
- Homemade basil pesto – $0.63
- Tomatoes – $1.29 (or free when our garden is producing)
- Mozzarella cheese – $0.50
- Parmesan cheese – $0.60
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK IN THE INSTANT POT?
- 2 whole chicken breasts, butterflied to be no thicker than about a 1/2", about 1 1/2 lbs
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 2-3 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or an additional 2 roma tomatoes sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2-1 cup water or chicken broth, helps Instant Pot get up to pressure
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spread a small amount of pesto on inside of butterflied chicken. Add slices of tomato. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese. Close chicken (will be "stuffed").
- Spread pesto on top of chicken.
- Spread any remainder pesto in bottom of Instant Pot. Add water or chicken broth. Carefully place stuffed chicken in bottom of pot.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of chicken.
- Secure lid on Instant Pot. Flip vent to sealed.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 7-8 minutes. Once done do a quick release.
- Add cherry tomatoes on top and remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Close lid again. Set vent to sealed. Cook for an ADDITIONAL 2 minutes on HIGH pressure. When done let natural release for 10 minutes. The internal temperature of chicken needs to reach 165°F.
- Serve with noodles or spaghetti squash if desired.
- **Due to the nature of pressure cooking there is always room for inconsistency. The times given here are based on 4-5 servings fresh. If you are using more servings you may need to increase your cooking time.**
- Can use trivet in the pot to hold stuffed chicken out of the liquid. This will help tomato and cheese from going soggy or being lost in the juices. This is especially helpful if using 1 cup liquid.
- Make sure your chicken breasts are cut to NO THICKER than 1/2 inch thick otherwise they won't cook all the way through. If your chicken is thicker than that, add additional time (1-3 minutes on HIGH).
- Alternate cooking time - Can add all tomatoes and cheese on top then cook once on HIGH for 10 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
- BAKING METHOD:
Cut chicken breasts in half (about 1/2 inch thick). Using a 9x13 inch pan, place a small amount of basil pesto in bottom of pan. Place chicken in a single layer. Spread remainder of pesto onto of chicken. Add sliced tomatoes (3-4 roma tomatoes omit cherry tomatoes). DO NOT ADD WATER OR BROTH. Sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until internal temp of chicken reaches 165°F.
- FREEZER METHOD:
Use a 9x13-in DISPOSABLE pan. Follow directions for BAKED METHOD. Freeze for up to 3-months. When ready to bake, bake from FROZEN- 350°F for 80-90 minutes or until internal temp of chicken reaches 165°F. Bake from THAWED- 350°F for 45-55 minutes or until internal temp of chicken reaches 165°F.