Roasted Chicken With Pesto


Hey friends, have you ever tried Pesto Chicken Sandwich? It’s one of my favorites. The way they marinate the chicken with pesto sauce and herbs, then bake it is so simple, but yet so flavorful (I could eat them every day). And I found a new recipe that perfect for those busy weeknights but still want a healthy dinner.

Roast chicken with pesto and veg recipe

Roast chicken is always a crowd pleaser and this Italian inspired pesto chicken accompanied with a side of delicious chunky roast vegetables is a fantastic way to upgrade standard roast chicken for an elegant dinner party.

  • Serves 6
  • 25 mins to prepare and 2 hrs 40 mins to cook, plus resting time
  • 589 calories / serving


  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.6kg chicken
  • 4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 4 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 100ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100ml white wine

For the vegetables

  • 3 red peppers, deseeded and sliced into thick strips
  • 1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 courgettes, sliced into batons
  • 500g baby potatoes, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • small handful fresh basil leaves, to serve
  • 100g rocket, to serve


Each serving contains

  • Energy2450kj
  • Fat39g56%
  • Saturates12g58%
  • Sugars9g10%
  • Salt0.7g11%

Carbohydrate 22.5g Protein 34.8g Fibre 5.4g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 2, 150°C, fan 130°C. Spread the onion out in roasting tin and drizzle with the oil.
  2. Starting at the cavity end of the chicken, gently ease the skin away from the breast and insert the pesto in the gap. Using your fingers, smooth the skin back over the chicken, spreading the pesto out underneath. Rub the skin with a little seasoning. Put the garlic in the cavity.
  3. Transfer the chicken to the tin, breast-side up. Tie the legs loosely with string. Pour the stock and wine into the pan, and then cover with foil – ensuring the edges are sealed. Roast for 2 hrs or until cooked through and the juice run clear.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the vegetables with the olive oil. Season well and spread out over a large baking tray. Set aside.
  5. Increase the oven temperature to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Remove the foil from the chicken and spoon over the remaining pesto. Return to the oven along with the veg and cook for a further 15-20 mins, until golden.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Leave to rest for 20-30 mins, until the veg is cooked. Serve the chicken with the veg and roasting juices. Garnish with the basil and rocket, if you like.

Quick Pesto Roasted Chicken Recipe

Prep:15 mins

Cook:90 mins

Total:105 mins

Servings:6 to 8 servings

Yield:1 chicken

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)SAVE RECIPE

This is a quick and flavorful pesto roasted chicken to prepare for any meal. It is a simple, easy, and tasty recipe. Pesto is pushed underneath the chicken’s skin and then rubbed over it to impart a delicious garlicky and herby taste. You also have the option to stuff the chicken with lemon and orange along with basil which infuses into the meat as it cooks. Doing this will provide more depth of flavor and makes for a juicier chicken. 

Check to make sure the roasted chicken is done using an instant-read thermometer. It is cooked properly when the temperature reaches 165 F.

Get your artistic flair going and garnish the chicken with some fresh basil leaves and sprinkle it with fresh Parmesan cheese and a scattering of pine nuts before placing the platter on the table. Carve the chicken like you would a turkey; using a sharp chef’s knife, carve in this order: thighs, legs, breasts, and then wings.

Serve with some roasted veggies such as a mixture of tomatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash, some roasted baby red potatoes, and a tossed fresh green salad for a delicious dinner. Perfect for a weeknight family dinner, a special occasion, or dinner party. Your family and guests will rave about this roasted chicken and request second helpings. 


  • 1 (4 to 5) pound roasting chicken
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters, optional
  • 1 orange, cut into quarters, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the chicken meat around the breast and legs. Push small amounts of pesto under the skin. Rub any remaining pesto over the skin and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. If desired, fill the cavity with cut-up lemon and orange, along with fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried basil.
  4. Roast at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F. Continue roasting for about 18 to 20 minutes per pound, or to about 165 F on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest meaty part of the thigh.


  • If by any chance there is any chicken leftover, it makes wonderful chicken salad sandwiches or wraps and is also good chopped up to include on salads. You can even add it to cooked pasta for a dinner.
  • To calculate roasting for a larger chicken, figure on roasting for about 20 minutes per pound.

How to Store

To store leftover chicken, place it in an airtight container or zip-top bag and put in the refrigerator where it will keep for three to four days.


Pesto whole chicken baked over a bed of colourful vegetables is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever taste. Seasoned with fresh herbs and pantry staple spices, every bite of this tender chicken dinner is mouthwatering and delicious. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prep before you are ready to pop it into the oven. Although it takes some time to roast in the oven, once you take a bite you’ll know it was worth it.

Pesto whole chicken baked over a bed of vegetables is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever taste. Quick and easy to prep and pop in the oven. |



  • The most tender, juicy, and crispy chicken. This pesto whole chicken is everything you crave in a good chicken recipe. On the inside, it’s juicy and incredibly tender on the inside, and the skin is crisped to perfection.
  • Made with simple ingredients that add tons of flavor. This pesto whole chicken does not lack any flavor. Pesto, herbs, and seasoning pairs bring out the natural flavors of chicken in the best possible way. Throw in some sheet pan veggies, and it tastes even better. Allowing everything to cook in the oven for an hour allows all these delicious tastes to combine and form something truly delectable.
  • The roasted vegetable bed. Even though the brussels sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes lay underneath the pesto whole chicken, they also star in this recipe! Each of these vegetables brings unique flavors, textures, and colors to your meal, and turn it into a more wholesome and filling meal.
Pesto whole chicken baked over a bed of vegetables is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever taste. Quick and easy to prep and pop in the oven. |


To make this easy Pesto Whole Chicken, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in the recipe card below):

  • whole chicken
  • vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika
  • pesto – feel free to use homemade pesto or store-bought, whichever is easier. You can make Basil Pesto in just 5 minutes at home.
  • fresh herbs – I recommend thyme or rosemary.
  • onion
  • vegetables – I used brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes. Feel free to switch it up with different veggies, or you can roast the chicken on it’s own.
  • balsamic vinegar – adds flavor to the vegetables. You can leave this out if you prefer.

You will also need measuring spoons, mixing bowl, and a 2.5 quart casserole dish.

Pesto whole chicken baked over a bed of vegetables is the juiciest and most flavorful chicken you’ll ever taste. Quick and easy to prep and pop in the oven. |


  1. Marinate the chicken. Use a paper towel to pat the whole chicken completely dry. Generously rub oil, salt, pepper, paprika and ¼ cup pesto sauce evenly over the whole chicken inside and out. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerating, it’s ideal to bring the marinated chicken to room temperature when ready to cook. This will help to achieve more tender and juicier meat.
  2. Stuff the chicken. Stuff thyme and onion into the cavity of the chicken.
  3. Prepare vegetables. In a large mixing bowl, combine brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, oil, salt, pepper and vinegar. Toss well to coat.
  4. Assemble. Spread the vegetables evenly in a 2.5 quart casserole dish or roasting pan. Place the whole chicken with breasts side up over the vegetables.
  5. Roast. Bake the chicken in a 425F preheated oven for 20 minutes until nicely brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F and continue baking for 1 hour to 1.5 hours (depending on the size of the chicken) until the internal temperature reaches 165F as read on a meat thermometer. The rule of thumb is 18 to 20 minutes per pound. You can check the internal temperature by sticking a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.
  6. Broil (optional): To make chicken skin extra crispy and brown, turn on the broiler setting to high and let it broil in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Let it rest. Remove the casserole from the oven and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.


Pesto whole chicken pairs well with almost any sides including vegetable sides, pasta, rice, and salad.


Can I roast the pesto chicken by itself?

Absolutely! You can skip the vegetables completely and follow recipe as written (omitting the veggies).

How to store

Keep leftover pesto chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Can you freeze a whole chicken?

Yes! You can also freeze this whole chicken after it’s been cooked. I recommend tearing the meat off the bone, wrapping it in plastic wrap, then placing it in a freezer bag before freezing. It will last for up to three months in the freezer, and will make it easy to throw into Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Recipes.

How to reheat

If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat leftover pesto chicken in a 350F oven for 15-30 minutes until warmed through. Wrap the chicken in aluminum foil to keep it from drying out, allowing room for air to circulate in the foil.

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