Crispy Pesto Parmesan Chicken


My all time favorite dressing is Old Spaghetti Factory’s Creamy Pesto Salad dressing. I’ve made my own copycat version so I can enjoy it at home all the time. It is definitely a family favorite. Not only do I dress my salad with it but I use it the same way you’d use ranch, for example, to dip fries or pizza in or to drizzle over baked potatoes.

When I serve it alongside a breaded chicken I always end up dipping my chicken in it too. That is why I decided just to create a recipe that incorporated it right in from the start rather than just dipping it. This is similar to a baked ranch chicken only with a Pesto salad dressing and some Parmesan instead of ranch dressing. Technically it should probably be called Crispy Pesto Dressing Parmesan Chicken (because it doesn’t use pesto, but rather pesto dressing) but that’s far to long so I went with the shorter version.

This chicken is so flavorful and delicious! I love the flavor of basil and it works wonders to this chicken. And that perfectly golden, crispy bread crumb coating that you get to sink your teeth into is incredible. Spaghetti Factory should consider adding it to their menu =). I love this as it is but I think sometime in the future I may even try it with a little bit of lemon zest. Enjoy!

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Crispy Pesto Parmesan Chicken

Chicken breasts are coated with a creamy pesto parmesan dressing dredged in breadcrumbs and baked until tender and crisp.

Servings: 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese , divided
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder , divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup dry white bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • Olive oil cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 13x9 baking dish. In a shallow bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, dried basil, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1/8 tsp garlic powder and season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside. 
  2. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together Panko bread crumbs, dry white bread crumbs, remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, onion powder, 1/8 tsp garlic powder then season bread crumb mixture with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Dip chicken in basil (pesto) dressing mixture and coat both sides, then dip in bread crumb mixture and coat both sides (I'd recommend giving a generous dipping in each). Align coated chicken breast halves in a single layer on baking dish. Spray tops of chicken breast halves evenly with olive oil cooking spray. 
  4. Bake chicken in preheated oven 30-35 minutes until cooked through (I wanted mine nice and golden so I moved the oven rack up a bit during the last minute of baking and broiled them. If you do this don't walk away from them, watch them constantly to prevent over browning). Serve warm.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pesto Parmesan Chicken
Author: Jaclyn


  • Salsera77: Thanks a lot Jaclyn, the problem is that I don’t tolerate dairy products too well and try to leave them out whenever I can… All buttermilk substitutes I’ve found are with milk or soy milk (which I don’t like):-(. I might try your substitute using almond milk…let’s see if it works… August 5, 2014 at 6:42am Reply

  • Salsera77: Hi there, no buttermilk available here in France. What can I substitute it with? I found it in your Zucchini-chocolate cake as well and asked myself the same…thanks for your help! August 4, 2014 at 4:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I used this substitute a lot, simply add 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup then add enough low fat milk to equal 1 cup, stir and let rest 3 minutes. I hope you love the recipe :)! August 4, 2014 at 9:38am Reply

  • Camille: Hi. I don’t really like mayonnaise. What can I substitute it with? Thanks! Love your blog. :) May 22, 2013 at 8:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Greek yogurt would probably work well too. Thanks for your nice compliment Camille :)! May 23, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

  • Anonymous: This is my first time here but definately not my last…..I love your recipes and am making a
    list of which ones to try first.
    Thanks so much for this. August 2, 2012 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum: I just have to say that your photos are beautiful. You have a great eye for the lighting! Plus your recipes look really good, too! :) July 27, 2012 at 11:26pm Reply

  • Marilyn Anderson: It looks divine! I actually have all of these ingredients in my kitchen right now so it’s going on the menu soon. Incredible photography skills by the way! July 26, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Ashlee Christopher: WOW you are so talented I am so happy I found this blog! Way excited to be your newest follower! July 26, 2012 at 1:38pm Reply

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