Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeBudgetGrilled Chicken Margherita - Sustainable Cooks

Grilled Chicken Margherita – Sustainable Cooks

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hello, summer and hellooooo grilled chicken Margherita! Tender, juicy chicken breast is paired with a garlicky sauce, pesto, jammy tomatoes, and melty mozzarella for an easy dinner packed with flavor.

a grey plate with grilled margherita chicken topped with basil and sliced tomatoes.

Like its namesake Margherita pizza, this grilled chicken Margherita is all about the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.

Instead of layering the trio onto a crust, it’s added to grilled chicken. Is there anything more summery than that? (Okay, maybe watermelon popsicles or peach ice cream.)

But maybe you don’t have a grill and you also want some carbs to go with your meal? No worries, I’ve got you. Our creamy chicken pasta has all the flavors of this recipe, but it’s made entirely on the stovetop.

Ingredient Notes

a bowl of tomatoes, pesto, cheese, grilled chicken, and other ingredients on a marbled board.
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter; if your butter is salted just use a touch less added salt.
  • Grape tomatoes – I love how these get even sweeter when cooked in the skillet. You can use cherry tomatoes if needed but those will release a lot more juice.
  • Lemon zest – A zested lemon will last a few days in the fridge; if you don’t use it by then, you can pop it in the freezer and you’ll have it on hand the next time you need lemon juice. Check out our tips on freezing lemons.
  • Pesto – I like to use my homemade pesto without pine nuts.
  • Italian seasoning – you can buy this dried blend in any spice aisle, but the recipe card below also has a homemade version if you need it.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Fresh mozzarella is best for this grilled chicken Margherita because it’s creamier and richer.
  • Fresh basil – To cut this into ribbons, roll the leaves up like a herb-based sleeping bag, then use a sharp knife to cut across. 

Sustainability Tip

Sustainability Tip

If you have any leftover pesto, don’t let it go to waste in the fridge! Check out our tips on freezing pesto so that you can be a zero-waste hero.

Step By Step Instructions

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can also click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

Use paper towels to pat the chicken breasts dry.

Whisk together the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a large bowl.

Grill the chicken at 500˚F for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the grill temperature to 350ºF and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. 

2 photos showing the process of marinading and grilling chicken breast.

In a large deep skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. 

Stir in the garlic, shallots, and lemon zest and cook for about 1 minute, or until the shallots start to soften.

Add the chicken to the skillet, then spoon the lemon garlic sauce over the top.

Spread a teaspoon of pesto over the top of each chicken breast. Top them with the mozzarella and basil, then add the tomatoes to the skillet.

Cover the pan and cook until the cheese melts and the chicken reaches 165˚F on an instant-read thermometer.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the grilled chicken Margherita before serving, if desired. The recipe recommends how much to sprinkle, but we all know that cheese should be measured with your heart.


If you have leftovers, allow them to fully cool before refrigerating them in an airtight container for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating in a skillet over medium-low heat, but the microwave will work as well.


  • If you prefer chicken thighs, you can use them in this grilled chicken Margherita recipe. I recommend using boneless, skinless thighs. (You’ll also love my air fryer boneless chicken thighs.) The safe cooking temp for thighs is also 165˚F.
  • No grill? You can make the chicken in the air fryer following the guidelines in our air fryer chicken tenders without breading recipe.
  • To keep the chicken from drying out, I recommend butterflying them if they’re thick. Cutting the chicken thinner will reduce the cooking time needed.
  • An instant-read thermometer is the best way to make sure you don’t overcook your chicken. Since you’ll be finishing the chicken on the stovetop, you can remove it from the grill a touch early—at 160ºF instead of the usual 165ºF. It will come to temperature in the skillet.
  • While I love using homemade pesto, store-bought is just fine! They can sometimes be oily though, so if needed, drain off some of the excess, then give it a good stir before adding it to the chicken.

more Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

chicken topped with mozzarella and shredded basil in a skillet.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Pro tip: if the chicken breasts are thick, butterfly them in half to reduce the overall cooking time and to prevent them from drying out.

    2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

    2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp dry Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • Grill chicken at 500˚F for 2 minutes on each side.

  • Reduce the grill to 350˚F and cook until the internal temperature is 160˚F. Pro tip: the safe cooking temp for chicken is 165˚F, but you’re finishing this chicken in a pan so you don’t want to overcook them on the grill.

  • Transfer grilled chicken to a plate and let it rest while you make the lemon garlic sauce.

  • In a large deep skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat on the stovetop.

    3 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp olive oil

  • Add garlic, shallots, and lemon zest and stir until the garlic and shallots starts to soften, ~1 minute.

    3 cloves garlic, 2 tsp lemon zest, 2 tbsp shallot

  • Transfer the chicken to the skillet, and spoon the lemon garlic sauce over the top.

  • Spread 1 tsp of pesto over the top of each piece of chicken, and then top with mozzarella cheese, and basil ribbons.

    1/3 cup pesto, 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons, 8 slices mozzarella cheese

  • Add the grape tomatoes to the skillet.

    2 cups grape tomatoes

  • Cover and cook the chicken and tomatoes until the cheese has melted and the chicken has reached 165˚F, ~2-5 minutes.

  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before serving.

    1/4 cup shredded parmesan

  1. Fresh mozzarella will melt more quickly than mozzarella sold in a loaf, the kind meant for pizza.
  2. Since you’ll be finishing the chicken on the stovetop, you can remove it from the grill a touch early—at 160ºF instead of the usual 165ºF. It will come to temperature in the skillet.

Homemade Italian Seasoning:
 1/4 tsp dried parsley, 1/8 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried basil, 1/8 tsp dried tarragon, 1/4 onion powder, (optional) pinch of red pepper flakes.

Serving: 1cupCalories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 33gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 532mgPotassium: 552mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 903IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 214mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments