This easy pesto chicken pizza recipe is easy to customize and perfect for busy weeknights!
For the pizza:
- 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 heaping cup cooked shredded chicken
- 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
- Flakey salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons thick balsamic vinegar (or balsamic reduction)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Heat oven to 500° Fahrenheit with a baking stone or pizza steel inside. For best results, let the oven heat 30-60 minutes to get the baking steel nice and hot.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper over a large cutting board. Roll or stretch the pizza dough into shape and place it on top of the parchment (this will make it easier to slide in and out of the oven!)
- Spread pesto over the pizza dough, then top with mozzarella, shredded chicken, and parmesan cheese. Finish with a pinch of flakey salt and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper (optional).
- Slide pizza onto the hot baking steel and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is browned and cheese is bubbling. Note: The exact bake time here will depend on your oven, equipment, and pizza dough: Check the pizza every few minutes and pull it out as soon as it looks done!
- Use a pair of tongs to carefully pull the cooked pizza out of your oven and back onto the large cutting board. Transfer pizza to a wire cooling rack for 5-10 minutes (this helps the crust stay crispy instead of getting soggy while the pizza cools) then return pizza to the cutting board and slice. Drizzle with a bit of thick balsamic vinegar, then serve immediately.
Add extra toppings before baking for a heartier pizza. We love adding caramelized onions, sliced shallot or red onion, sliced mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes (or diced tomatoes), roasted garlic, or grilled corn.
Substitutions. Use arugula pesto, cilantro pesto, garlic scape pesto, or pea shoot pesto instead of basil pesto. Swap the pesto for traditional pizza sauce or alfredo sauce if you prefer. Use prosciutto, bacon, Italian sausage, or pulled pork in place of the chicken. Replace some or all of the cheeses here with fresh mozzarella, asiago, havarti, white cheddar, goat cheese, or burrata. Use hot honey instead of thick balsamic vinegar if you like.
What kind of chicken should I use? We used a leftover piece of grilled chicken in this recipe. This is also a great place to use slow cooker meal prep chicken or a store bought rotisserie chicken.
Can I bake this pizza without a baking stone or pizza steel? Yes! If you have a sturdy sheet pan - one that doesn't warp in high heat - you can use that in place of a pizza stone (if your sheet pan has edges, turn it upside down in the oven to make it easier to slide the pizza on and off). Pop the sheet pan in the oven while it heats, but you don't need to heat it for longer than 10-15 minutes (like you would for a baking steel). You can also make this recipe as a pan pizza - just press the dough into a pan (or use a large cast iron skillet), add toppings, and bake!
Do I have to heat my oven to 500° F? Nope - you can absolutely use a lower oven temperature if you prefer! We find that the high temperature yields the best crust, but we've also baked this pizza at 450°F and 475°F with great results: just make sure you give your baking steel or pizza stone plenty of time to heat up (ideally 30 minutes to an hour) and extend the cooking time if you need to.
Keywords: pizza, flatbread, weeknight