This easy Chicken Pesto Pizza is layered with caramelized onions and dollops of creamy goat cheese. It’s baked on a sheet pan for a fun pizza night at home.
Make this recipe entirely from scratch with Homemade Pizza Crust and Easy No-Cook Pizza Sauce. Or, for Chicken Pesto Pizza in a jiffy, pick up store-bought dough and a jar of marinara sauce.
This Chicken Pesto Pizza recipe was inspired by my favorite order at a little pizza place back in California. Instead of spreading a thin layer of pesto on the crust itself, they use a tomato based pizza sauce per usual and add small dollops of pesto and creamy goat cheese over the top. The pesto flavor is so much more vibrant this way!
As if pesto sauce and goat cheese aren’t enough (they are!), this pizza also has sweet, caramelized onions and tender chicken. It’s all topped off with a blend of Italian cheese and baked on a sheet pan.
Table of contents
Sounds fancy but it’s really easy to make and even easier to eat!
Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from pizza night. My Mom loved having our great big family over for pizza parties and it was always a full house. I swear she must have made enough pizza dough to fill a room because there would be a constant stream of different types of pizza coming from the oven over the course of a couple of hours.
I still get that little feeling of excitement when it’s pizza night at home. This Chicken Pesto Pizza and Cheeseburger Pizza are two family-friendly favorites.
- Pizza dough – You’ll need 1 ½ pounds of homemade pizza dough or the bagged, store-bought variety.
- Olive oil – Just a small amount to drizzle over the pizza dough before adding the toppings.
- Pizza sauce – Use my Easy No-Cook Pizza Sauce or your favorite store-bought marinara sauce.
- Red onion – Thinly sliced
- Sugar – A small amount of sugar is added to the onions while they cook to help them caramelize.
- Rotisserie chicken – Chopped into bite size pieces.
- Basil pesto – Check your local big box store for a better value. I always have a jar of Costco pesto in my fridge. It’s an easy way to add a ton of flavor to recipes.
- Cheeses – Goat cheese and a shredded Italian 4-cheese blend. Although I typically stress the importance of freshly shredding cheese for most recipes, I make an exception for this one. It is much easier and far less expensive than purchasing cheeses like provolone, Parmesan, fontina and mozzarella cheese separately.
Pizza Dough Options
I wrote this recipe as a sheet pan pizza using my homemade pizza dough recipe. To save time, you can pick up store-bought pizza dough which is typically sold in 1-pound bags. If you use more than 1 ¾ pounds of dough, I recommend splitting the recipe into two slightly smaller pizzas.
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pizza
This is a quick overview of how to make this recipe. You’ll find detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Caramelize the Onions
- Generously coat the bottom of a skillet (cast iron is best) with olive oil and place it over medium high heat.
- Add the onions and cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
- When the onions have just begun to soften, sprinkle in about a teaspoon of sugar. Continue to cook and stir till they are nice and golden brown and yummy.
Prepare the Pizza Crust
- On a lightly floured board, roll out your pizza crust.
- Transfer it to a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Allow refrigerated pizza dough to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to an hour before shaping. Cold pizza dough will not stretch well.
Assemble the Sheet Pan Pizza
- Top the crust with pizza sauce, using only enough to lightly coat the dough. Scatter the caramelized onions and chicken over sauce.
- Next, use a small spoon to drop dollops of pesto evenly over the top.
- Finally, sprinkle the shredded cheese over the pizza and dot with small pieces of goat cheese. Bake in a preheated 475 degree F oven for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Move your oven rack to the lowest position before preheating your oven. Baking pizza on the lowest rack will help the bottom the the crust crisp up nicely. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats and place the baking sheet on top of the hot stone for the baking time.
Allow the pizza to sit for about 5 minutes while you gaze at it lovingly before slicing and serving.
Reheating Leftover Pizza
As you are probably aware, reheating pizza in the microwave makes it soggy. Maybe okay in a pinch, but for a better result, I recommend reheating pizza in a toaster oven. Many come with pizza settings that will heat the pizza from both the top and bottom. You can also reheat individual slices in a skillet on the stove.
Salads to Serve With Pizza
I love serving a fresh, crisp salad on pizza night. It’s a great way to add a little crunch and nutrition to the menu. Here are my favorites.
- Lemon Parmesan Salad
- Simple Italian Salad
- Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola
- Italian Tortellini Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
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Chicken Pesto Pizza
- 1½ pounds pizza dough, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
- ½ cup no cook pizza sauce, or jarred marinara sauce
- olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1½ cups rotisserie chicken, chopped into bite size pieces
- ⅓ cup pesto
- 1½ cups shredded Italian 4 cheese blend, or more, as needed
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F and move oven rack to lowest position. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet lightly with olive oil and set it aside.
- Use a rolling to pin to flatten the pizza dough out on a lightly floured board. Set the rolling pin aside and continue to flatten and stretch the dough into shape until very thin (about ⅛-inch thick). Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and reshape, as needed, patting it down into the pan.
- Top the crust with the pizza sauce. It should be enough to just lightly coat the dough. Top with the chicken. Using a small spoon, dot the pesto over the top. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese and then drop small pieces of goat cheese over the top.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, on the bottom rack of your oven, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and allow the pizza to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
- Allow refrigerated pizza dough to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to an hour before shaping. Cold pizza dough will not stretch well.
- Baking pizza on the lowest rack will help the bottom the the crust crisp up nicely. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats and place the baking sheet on top of the hot stone for the baking time.
- To save time, you can pick up store-bought pizza dough which is typically sold in 1-pound bags. If you use more than 1 ¾ pounds of dough, I recommend splitting the recipe into two slightly smaller pizzas.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on June 10, 2012. It has been updated with new text and images.
Questions and Reviews
wowwww..it look’s so great and crunchy and fluffy in the same time, a recipe that gives you the pleasure of tasty goat cheese and not only that, let’s enjoy it untill get cold 😛
This pizza has so many things I love!! The pesto, and the chicken, and the onions, and the cheese… I feel like there is no better way to bring those things together than on a crust, in the oven, as a pizza. Great recipe, I can’t wait to try it! 🙂
mmmm. I love the clumps of pesto! Usually when I make a pesto pizza, I will use it as the base sauce, but this is a great idea to switch things up!
I just saw that pesto at Costco and it seems like a good thing to keep on hand, since I don’t always have 4 cups of fresh basil at my disposal to make a fresh batch. 🙂
Pizza just makes me happy and this one sends me to the moon. Delicious in every sense of the word.
There is nothing better than homemade pizza!!! Love everything about this one! Definitely one that I would have any leftovers for breakfast in the morning! I’m a big fan of cold pizza for breakfast as long as it’s a good one like the one you have here!
Delicious! I buy the same pesto from Costco but mainly use it for pasta or sandwich. I have never put pesto on the pizza yet. This is a must try! And the goat cheese from costco? I should take a look. Never paid attention to that brand before… looks like it’s a small container which is perfect! I love the caramelized onions on the pizza. This is really delicious pizza!
Beautiful! So many delicious foods in one place.
I haven’t had pizza night in quite a while. It’s a lovely tradition and one I should get back to. This chicken pesto pizza looks terrific but add the caramelized onions and I’m in heaven.