A Homemade Pesto Panko Fried Chicken & 5 Best Variations

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is a delicious and flavorful dish that features boneless chicken breasts coated in a mixture of pesto sauce and crispy panko breadcrumbs, then fried to golden perfection.

This dish combines the bright and herbaceous taste of pesto with the satisfying crunch of the breadcrumb crust, resulting in a delightful culinary experience.

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is a beautiful blend of textures and flavors, making it a favorite among those who enjoy the classic comfort of fried chicken with a modern twist.

What Is The Pesto Panko Fried Chicken?

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is a dish where boneless chicken breasts are coated in a mixture of pesto sauce and panko breadcrumbs and then fried until crispy and golden brown. The pesto adds a flavorful and herby twist to classic fried chicken.

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

How Long Will It Take To Prepare?

  • Preparation Time: The preparation time includes making the pesto sauce, pounding the chicken, and setting up the breading station. It can take approximately 20-30 minutes.
  • Bread Time: Coating the chicken in the pesto mixture and breadcrumbs is the breading process. Depending on your pace, this step might take 10-15 minutes.
  • Frying Time: Frying time varies based on factors like the chicken’s thickness and the oil’s temperature. It usually takes about 3-4 minutes per side, so a total of 6-8 minutes per chicken breast.
  • Total Time: If you add up the preparation, breading, and frying times for one chicken breast, it would be approximately 36-53 minutes.
  • Serving: This recipe typically serves four people, so you can adjust the quantities accordingly to serve more or fewer people.
  • Difficulty Level: Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is moderately easy to make and suitable for home cooks with some experience. The key is to ensure the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature and the crust is crispy.

How Do You Make Pesto Panko Fried Chicken?

Essential Ingredients For Pesto Panko Fried Chicken:

For the chicken

  • Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • Two large eggs
  • Two tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil (vegetable or canola oil) for frying

For the pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (toasted)
  • Two cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Essential Instructions For The Pesto Panko Fried Chicken:

Step 1

Prepare the Pesto

Combine the fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts (or walnuts), and garlic cloves in a food processor.

Step 2

Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil with the food processor running until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Set it aside.

Step 3

Prepare the Chicken

Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.

Step 4

This ensures even cooking. Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Step 5

Set Up the Breading Station

In three separate shallow dishes, set up your breading station:

Dish 1: Place the flour.

Dish 2: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and water.

Dish 3: Add the panko breadcrumbs.

Step 6

Bread and Fry the Chicken

Dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the floured chicken into the egg mixture, ensuring it’s well-coated.

Step 7

Press the chicken into the panko breadcrumbs, ensuring it’s evenly coated. Gently press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to help them adhere.

Step 8

Add enough cooking oil to cover the bottom by about 1/4 inch in a large skillet or frying pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350-375°F (180-190°C).

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Step 9

Carefully place the breaded chicken cutlets into the hot oil, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. You may need to fry them in batches.

Step 10

Fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).

Step 11

A slotted spatula transfers the fried chicken cutlets to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

Step 12


Serve the Pesto Panko Fried Chicken hot, drizzled with the prepared pesto sauce.

Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Additional Tips For Pesto Panko Fried Chicken:

  1. Toast the Nuts: Toasting the pine nuts or walnuts before adding them to the pesto will enhance their flavor. Simply place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast until they become fragrant and lightly golden. Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Pulse the Pesto: When making the pesto in the food processor, avoid over-processing it. You want the pesto to have some texture rather than being completely smooth. Taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Let the Pesto Rest: After making the pesto, consider letting it rest for a little while to allow the flavors to meld. You can refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Preheat the Oil: Ensure that the oil is properly preheated before adding the breaded chicken. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the chicken can absorb more and become greasy.
  5. Use a Thermometer: To maintain the oil at the correct frying temperature, use a deep-fry thermometer. This helps you avoid overheating and burning the fat or having it too cool, resulting in soggy chicken.

Precautions For Pesto Panko Fried Chicken:

  1. Hot Oil Safety: Be extremely cautious when working with hot oil. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area, and never leave hot oil unattended on the stove. Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
  2. Overcrowding the Pan: Do not overcrowd the frying pan with too many chicken cutlets at once. Frying in batches ensures even cooking and a crispy crust.
  3. Avoid Overcooking: Be careful not to overcook the chicken, as it can become dry. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and remove the chicken from the oil when it reaches 165°F (74°C).
  4. Oil Disposal: Properly dispose of used frying oil. Allow it to cool completely, then strain it to remove any food particles, store it in a sealed container for future use, or discard it safely according to local regulations.

Nutrition Facts Of Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Calories 500 kcal
Protein 40 grams
Carbohydrates 30 grams
Fat 30 grams
Saturated Fat 5 grams
FiberMinimal dietary fiber, as this dish is primarily protein and starch-based.
Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

These approximate estimates can vary based on your specific ingredients and preparation methods.

For more accurate nutritional information, you may want to use online nutrition calculators or consult the packaging labels of your ingredients.

Additionally, the portion size and serving style can significantly impact the overall nutritional content of the dish.

5 Best Variations Of Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

1. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Make or buy sun-dried tomato pesto and use it instead of traditional basil pesto. The sun-dried tomatoes will add a rich, tangy flavor to the dish.

2. Spinach and Artichoke Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Mix spinach and artichoke dip with the pesto to create a creamy and flavorful coating for the chicken. It’s like combining two classic appetizers into one dish.

3. Balsamic Glaze Drizzle

After frying the chicken, drizzle a balsamic reduction or glaze over the top. The sweet and tangy balsamic flavor pairs wonderfully with the pesto.

4. Mozzarella-Stuffed Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Cut a small pocket into each chicken breast and stuff it with fresh mozzarella cheese. The cheese will melt when you fry the chicken, creating a gooey surprise.

5. Lemon Zest and Herb Crusted Pesto Panko Fried Chicken

Add lemon zest and a blend of fresh herbs (such as basil, parsley, and thyme) to the breadcrumb mixture. The lemon and herbs will brighten up the dish and complement the pesto.


In conclusion, Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is a delightful dish that combines the crispiness of panko breadcrumbs with the bold flavors of pesto sauce.

It’s a versatile recipe that can be customized with various pesto variations and creative twists to suit your taste preferences.

Whether you choose to add sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, artichoke dip, balsamic glaze, mozzarella stuffing, or herbs, Pesto Panko Fried Chicken is sure to be a flavorful and satisfying meal that your taste buds will love.

People Frequently Ask Questions

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

You can use boneless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat or have them on hand. Thighs will work well in this recipe and offer a slightly different flavor and texture.

What are some standard sides to serve with Pesto Panko Fried Chicken?

Typical side dishes that pair well with Pesto Panko Fried Chicken include pasta (like linguine or spaghetti), roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, or garlic bread.

Is there a way to make this dish healthier?

You can make this dish slightly healthier by using a lighter coating of breadcrumbs and baking the chicken instead of frying it. Additionally, you can use whole wheat breadcrumbs for added fiber.

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

To reheat leftovers, place them in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes or until heated. This will help retain their crispiness.

One Comment on “A Homemade Pesto Panko Fried Chicken & 5 Best Variations”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *