This chicken pesto pizza recipe will make you feel like you are eating at a high end pizza place! A chewy pizza crust, plenty of fresh pesto, shredded chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, and fresh tomatoes make every bite of this pizza simply mouthwatering!
It’s a perfect recipe for using leftover chicken, and if you use store-bought pizza dough, it’s even faster to whip up. If you’re in the mood for pizza, but want something out of the ordinary, this recipe is the perfect solution!
GREAT PIZZA FOR PESTO LOVERS
If you are a fan of pesto, this pizza is going to be life changing. At least it was for me! Instead of using traditional tomato sauce as a base for your pizza, you will use pesto instead.
You can use either homemade pesto, or pick some up at your local grocery store. I’ve been using the Costco brand, and it’s a great time saver.
No matter what kind you use, it adds such great flavor to the pizza! I honestly think I would love it with just pesto sauce and cheese. But throw on some chicken and tomatoes, and I was in pizza heaven!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO PIZZA
- DOUGH – In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly. Add the salt, olive oil, and enough flour to form a soft dough.
Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes. (You can skip this step if using instant yeast, but it does add to the overall flavor of the crust.)
- PREP – Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray. (I also like to sprinkle them with cornmeal.
- CRUST – Cut the dough into two equal pieces. Roll out into a 9-10 inch circle. Transfer to one of the baking sheets and press the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Poke holes in the crust with a fork.
- TOPPINGS – Spread 1/2 cup pesto sauce on the dough, leaving a 1/2-1″ rim around the edge. Sprinkle with cheese, then chicken, then halved tomatoes. If desired, sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
- BAKE -Bake at 500° for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese melts. Garnish with fresh basil if you have some. Slice and serve while hot. Delish!
You can store any leftover pizza in the refrigerator for 3-4 days either in an airtight container, or on a plate covered with plastic wrap.
To reheat, I recommend placing it on aluminum foil in an air fryer, toaster oven, or oven. I like to place it in a cold oven, then turn the heat to 300. When the oven is ready, the pizza is done.
I’m not a big fan of reheating pizza in the microwave because the crust gets soft. But it will do in a pinch.
- I always make homemade pizza dough, but you can absolutely sub out premade pizza dough, or even frozen bread dough, thawed.
- Just about any cooked chicken will work for this recipe. If you don’t have leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken, you can cook one large chicken breast either in the oven, in a skillet, or in a pressure cooker.
- If you are looking for a vegetarian option, simply leave off the chicken. The pizza will still be out of this world!
- Feel free to add or subtract any of your favorite pizza toppings. Red onion, sliced mushrooms, and pine nuts would all be tasty! You can even add red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Instead of shredded mozzarella cheese, you can use fresh mozzarella. A sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan either on top of the pesto sauce or on top of the pizza is also delicious.
- If you would rather make one large sheet pan pizza, simply press all of the dough into a rimmed sheet pan instead of making two circles. Keep in mind that the pizza will take a bit longer to cook.
- If your dough keeps shrinking as you are trying to roll it out, simply let it rest for about 5 minutes, then try again. The gluten will relax, and it will be stretchy again.
- Sprinkling the pan with cornmeal before adding your dough will not only help it slide off the pan easier, the cornmeal adds a nice crunch.
- For crispy crust, place your pizza pan on the lowest oven rack, or use a pizza stone. For extra crispy crust, you can prebake the crust for 4-5 minutes before adding the toppings.
- Sliced fresh basil leaves make a fantastic garnish for the pizza, and really brings out the flavor of the pesto.
- This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken!
MORE PIZZA RECIPES:
- Mini Pizza Recipe
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
- Barbeque Chicken Pizza
- Bacon Potato Pizza
- Homemade Taco Pizza
- Cinnamon Dessert Pizza
- Apple Crumble Pizza
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I use SAF brand.)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups flour (approximately)
- 4 tsp cornmeal (optional)
- 1 cup pesto
- 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
- 2 cup shredded cooked chicken breasts (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or grape tomatoes)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Mix the instant yeast, sugar, and warm water (between 105° and 115°F) in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbly. Add the salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Stir or beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter until smooth. Place in a large bowl (I wash & dry the one I already used). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 60 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 500°. Spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal if desired.
- Punch dough down and cut in half. Roll each piece into a circle about 9 inches across. Transfer to prepared pan and press out until you get a 12" circle. Poke holes in the crust with a fork.
- Spread 1/2 cup of pesto on the crust, leaving 1/2-1 inch around the edge.
- Sprinkle mozzarella, then chicken on the pesto. Arrange halved tomatoes on the pizza. If desired, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
- Bake at 500 degrees until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. (I like to bake mine on the lowest rack so the crust gets crisp on the bottom.)
-Feel free to use 2 pounds of store bought pizza dough or frozen bread dough in place of the homemade dough.
-You can skip the first rise if you are in a hurry. Your crust won't have the same texture and flavor, but it will still be good. If you are using regular yeast, you must let it raise first.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 559Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 857mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 30g
One serving is 2 slices of pizza.
I hope this pizza becomes a family favorite at your house. If you make it, don’t forget to come back and leave a comment letting me know how it turned out!