Pesto Stuffed Chicken – Air Fryer Recipe

air fryer recipe, pesto stuffed chicken

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The AeroGarden we bought for Cappuccino is currently hosting herbs. The basil was growing big and tall but it was only one stalk which was a little bit of a disappointment. There was a second kind of basil – don’t ask, I can’t remember at the moment – and it was growing a bit better, but still not as much as I had hoped for. Nonetheless I found myself with some basil but not enough to make a full batch of homemade pesto. It’s not the time of year when I have homemade tomatoes so I could make my favorite meal of the summer – caprese – so I had to come up with something to do with the herb. Especially as the big stalk had fallen over. I thought I would make an easy chicken dinner so I pulled what I thought was boneless chicken breast out of the freezer from my recent Perdue Farms order. When I went to actually make dinner I found that I had actually thawed bone in chicken thighs. Oops. I had to totally rethink what I had planned. I ended up making an air fryer recipe for pesto stuffed chicken.

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Air Fried Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Serves 2

  • 2 skin on, bone in, chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Finely chop basil, add to a small bowl.
  • Chop garlic and it and parmesan cheese to the bowl with basil.

pesto ingredients in a bowl

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  • Roughly chop pine nuts (I saved a few out for sprinkling over the finished plates) and add to the bowl along with half of the salt and the olive oil.
  • Mix well
  • Pat the chicken thighs dry. Carefully loosen the skin and spread half of the pesto under the skin of each chicken thigh. Replace the skin over the pesto and gently rub with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the remaining salt.

air fried chicken thighs

  • Place on a rack for the air fryer and set for chicken. My air fryer cooked it at 370 for 32 minutes and they were perfectly cooked; crispy skin and juicy chicken. Refer to your air fryer instructions.

How Was the Pesto Stuffed Chicken?

It was really, really good. The pesto paired perfectly with the juicy chicken. I served it with some Jasmine rice and green beans. It’s definitely a meal I’ll be making again when I have more basil to make pesto. It was not difficult to make and was tasty.

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