This amazing Pesto Chicken Casserole has only 5 ingredients and mixes up in 5 minutes. It is a great weeknight dinner. I used chicken I had cooked, cubed, and frozen and no one could even tell. This is the best keto casserole recipe. It’s so delicious and easy to make!
This is a delicious keto dinner recipe that you can cook in less than 30 minutes. It’s a low carb comfort food that will make you forget about pasta, rice, and potatoes. You’ll love how flavorful the pesto is and how creamy the cheese becomes when baked in the oven.
Make this pesto chicken casserole tonight and enjoy the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Cooked Chicken - Any cooked chicken works in this. If you are using frozen cooked chicken make sure to thaw it first.
Cream Cheese - I use full fat cream cheese but you can sub in low fat cream cheese, ricotta cheese, or mascarpone cheese if you pefer.
Mozzarella Cheese - I use both cubed mozzarella in the casserole and shredded mozzarella on top.
Heavy Cream - The amount you use will vary the sauce. More cream makes a thinner sauce, less cream a thicker sauce.
Basil Pesto - I make my own pesto when possible but any jarred pesto will work as well.
How to Make Pesto Chicken Casserole
Step One: Mix together the ingredients for the creamy pesto sauce.
Step Two: Mix the chicken into the sauce and transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Step Three: Top with shredded cheese and bake until hot, bubbly, and golden brown.
Expert Tip: For perfect golden brown cheese on top of your casserole broil them for 2-3 minutes after baking. Make sure not to leave the kitchen, set a timer, and watch them. The cheese can go from golden to burned in seconds.
Sauce - You'll see in the ingredients that I have a range of measurements for the heavy cream. If you use the lesser amount the creamy pesto sauce will be thick. For a thinner sauce to put over veggies use the whole amount.
Vegetables - You can add some veggies right into this casserole like steamed broccoli or green beans, caramelized onions, or grape tomatoes. My favorite variation is adding cooked onions and cherry tomatoes. I just cook the onions right in the casserole dish with a little olive oil before adding the other ingredients. I add the tomatoes raw and they cook a bit while the casserole bakes.
Spices - Since this has pesto it doesn't need much in way of spices but you can add some crushed fresh garlic or garlic powder, minced onion or onion powder, or a bit of an herb like thyme or sage to change up the taste.
What Pesto Should I Use?
As a rule of thumb, when I make sauces and dressings that call for pesto I reach for a basil-based pesto. I used a nut-free fresh basil pesto in this recipe but you can use any variety of pesto sauce. It's great with this almond pesto. It is also fantastic with sun-dried tomato pesto and artichoke pesto. Any pesto packed with flavor can be used to flavor this sauce. Kale or spinach pesto are other choices.
What Do I Serve This With?
I served this over zucchini noodles for dinner and had it over lightly sauteed fresh baby spinach the next day for lunch. I can't decide if I liked this better over zoodles or spinach. I want to try over mashed cauliflower next time. My kids like a side of penne pasta with it. They love the way the sauce clings to the pasta.
Can I Use Frozen Cooked Chicken in Casserole?
Yup! Aren't easy dinners the best? Since I used frozen cooked chicken for this (I thawed it first) the prep time was really only 5 minutes. To thaw cooked frozen chicken breasts, place them in the refrigerator for a day. Place the frozen breasts in a cutting board and use a chef knife to cut into bite-sized pieces.
If you know you are planning to use the cooked chicken for a casserole, soup, or salad, I recommend cutting it up before freezing it.
Can I Use Rotisserie Chicken?
Yes, using rotisserie chicken is another great choice. I prefer white meat in this casserole but you can use the dark meat too if you want. The key is cutting it into small bite-sized pieces or shredding it before adding it to the sauce.
- ¼ cup pesto
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼-1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz mozzarella cubed
- 2 lb cooked cubed chicken breasts (I weighed this after cooking)
- 8 oz mozzarella shredded
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Combine the first three ingredients and mix until smooth in a large bowl. Add the chicken and cubed mozzarella. Transfer to the casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with zoodles, spinach, or mashed cauliflower.
I hope you enjoy my Easy Mozzarella & Pesto Chicken Casserole!
And then come back and try these other chicken casseroles:
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
Originally Published April 17, 2017. Revised and Republished January 12, 2022.
Deanna Blackwood says
This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try!
Jennifer Fox says
Looks so good and is simple with real ingredients, can’t wait to try it!
rana durham says
I really like the idEA OF CHICKEN pesto casserole because i really enjoy pesto so anything with pesto is something I can ejoy. It is a fast recipe and something I know the family will enioy 5 out of 5 stars
This sounds soooo good! I can’t wait to try it! 😋🤤
Looks delicious! Do you have a recipe or recommendation on how to make zoodles? Are they served raw, cooked or sautéed?
All of those ways. I prefer them lightly sautéed for recipes like this.
Is the 8 oz mozzarella suppose to be a block cheese or the soft mozzarella real cheese?
I typically used the block but fresh mozzarella is great in this too.
Kathleen Macdonald says
This is amazing! I used Jasmine rice as suggested, maybe 2.5 cups of broth and covered tightly for 50 minutes. I also added a can of canned Italian style tomatoes (drained) and about 2/3 cup of Grana Pandana pesto because that what I had on hand.
Took out of oven, rice wasn’t quite done, so left uncovered to cook for 10 minutes. Then topped with 2 sliced fresh mozzarella balls. Baked for 10 then put on the broiler for a few minutes to brown up.
Topped with fresh basil and took pictures, it was
So beautiful! Wish I could post the pics!
AMAZING!!!!!! Thanks for this keeper of a recipe!
Are you commenting on the right blog? lol. This doesn't call for rice.
Do you have a suggestion for what to use instead of cream cheese? I always want to make these types of casseroles but my husband doesn’t like cream cheese and can taste it no matter what I do. Thanks in advance!
Cottage cheese, ricotta, or mascarpone should work.
Melodie Angerer says
How many servings is it? And thank you for posting this looks yummy 🙂
Servings are listed at the top of the recipe card. It can be a little hard to find. This has 8.
I know it is a total of 8 servings, but how much for 1 serving?? A cup?
I don't measure that way. I just eye up the portions. For a more exact measurement just weigh the casserole dish empty and then full. Then divide the difference in the weight by 8.
How much longer would you have to cook the dish in the oven if the chicken isn't pre-cooked?
Using raw chicken will make the sauce watery. I would suggest cooking the chicken for 20 minutes (cut into bite-sized pieces) then draining the liquid and adding the other ingredients. Cook again until the cheese melts. Temp the chicken to be sure it is 160.
So how many chicken breasts would you cook to begin with?
The size of chicken breasts varies a lot. Start with 2.5 to 3 pounds raw. Lately, the chicken breasts at my grocery store are humongous. That could be only 3-4 pieces.
Great, thank you
Carrie K says
This looks delicious. What size casserole dish?
It's about 9 x 13. You can really use any medium to large sized casserole for this recipe.
Seriously amazing! I halved the recipe & left out the mozzarella cause I had none & used whipped chive cream cheese. Sauteed my zuuchini noodles with a bit of coconut oil & then halfway through added the sauce instead of cooking in oven. Added cubed chicken last just to heat. Rich, creamy & soooo delish! Using leftover sauce tomorrow over spinach.
This is good enough to serve to company! Loved it!
Are you sure the nutrition facts are right? I input them into MFP and got drastically different numbers. I understand there will be variations based on using different brands, but mine is waaaaaay different.
I just double checked and you are correct. I'll update the post later. It turned out that my original calculations had 8 oz of cream cheese as 30 calories. There was an error in MFP. I do always recommend my readers checking the nutrition facts if their diet depends on them. I do not personally use them but try to provide them as a courtesy. Thanks for letting me know 🙂
Stephanie Johnson says
So what were your results?
The current nutrition should be correct. I did update this 🙂
This was DIVINE! I topped with crispy bacon crumbles!