Air fryers are changing the way we cook our favorite meals, and it's no different when it comes to making chicken pesto. Whether you're looking for a delicious weeknight dinner or something new to try in your air fryer, chicken pesto is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
How to Make Chicken Pesto in an Air Fryer
Making chicken pesto in your air fryer is a quick and easy process that yields incredibly tasty results. First, preheat your air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While it's heating up, season your chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides. Once the air fryer is heated, place the chicken in it and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the chicken and add a tablespoon of pesto to each piece. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the great things about making chicken pesto in an air fryer is that it's a healthier alternative to traditional frying methods. Air fryers use hot air to cook food, which means you can achieve that crispy texture without the need for excess oil. Plus, the air fryer is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for a variety of dishes, making it a great investment for any home cook.
The Best Air Fryer for Making Crispy Chicken Pesto
When it comes to making crispy chicken pesto in an air fryer, you'll want to choose one that has a decent-sized basket and high heat. Our top pick is the Philips HD9641/96 Air Fryer. It's compact, powerful and provides a great balance of features. Other great options include the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker and the Cuisinart AFR-25 Compact Air Fryer.
It's important to note that the cooking time and temperature may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and the amount of pesto used. It's recommended to preheat the air fryer before cooking and to flip the chicken halfway through for even browning. Additionally, using a cooking spray or brushing the chicken with oil can help achieve a crispier texture. With the right air fryer and technique, you can enjoy delicious and healthy crispy chicken pesto in no time!
Quick and Easy Chicken Pesto Recipe for Busy Weeknights
If you're short on time but still want to enjoy delicious chicken pesto, we have the perfect recipe for you. Start by seasoning your chicken with salt and pepper. Next, spread a tablespoon of pesto on top of each piece. Place the chicken in your air fryer basket, and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes. Serve with your favorite salad or veggies and enjoy!
Did you know that you can also make your own pesto at home? All you need is fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Simply blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, and you'll have a delicious homemade pesto that you can use for this recipe and many others.
If you don't have an air fryer, you can also bake the chicken in the oven. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You can also broil the chicken for the last 2-3 minutes to get a crispy, golden-brown crust on top.
Air Fryer vs. Oven: Which is Better for Making Chicken Pesto?
While you can definitely make chicken pesto in the oven, using an air fryer will yield a crispier texture and shorter cooking time. Air fryers use hot air to cook food quickly, while ovens rely on convection currents to cook food. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to make chicken pesto with a nice, crispy texture, the air fryer is the way to go.
However, it's important to note that air fryers are typically smaller than ovens, so you may need to cook the chicken in batches if you're making a large quantity. Additionally, some people prefer the taste of oven-baked chicken pesto, as it can have a slightly smoky flavor from the oven's heat.
Ultimately, the choice between using an air fryer or oven for making chicken pesto comes down to personal preference and convenience. If you're short on time and want a crispy texture, go for the air fryer. If you have more time and prefer a slightly different flavor, stick with the oven. Either way, you'll end up with a delicious and satisfying meal.
Tips for Getting Perfectly Cooked Chicken in the Air Fryer
To ensure your chicken comes out perfectly cooked and juicy, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to preheat your air fryer before adding the chicken. This will help it cook more evenly. Also, avoid overcrowding the basket, as this can lead to uneven cooking. And finally, use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked before serving.
Another important tip for cooking chicken in the air fryer is to season it well. While the air fryer can produce crispy and juicy chicken, it can also be bland if not seasoned properly. Consider using a dry rub or marinade to add flavor to your chicken. Additionally, try flipping the chicken halfway through cooking to ensure both sides are evenly browned. With these tips, you'll be able to enjoy perfectly cooked and flavorful chicken from your air fryer.
Health Benefits of Using an Air Fryer for Cooking Chicken Pesto
Air fryers cook food with hot air rather than oil, making them a healthier alternative to frying in oil. This means you can enjoy the delicious and crispy texture of chicken pesto without the added calories and fat of traditional frying methods.
Additionally, air fryers are known to retain more nutrients in the food compared to traditional frying methods. This is because the hot air used in air fryers cooks the food quickly, which helps to preserve the nutrients that may be lost during prolonged cooking times.
Another benefit of using an air fryer for cooking chicken pesto is that it is a more convenient and time-saving method. Air fryers require little to no preheating time, and the cooking process is faster than traditional frying methods. This means you can have a healthy and delicious meal ready in a shorter amount of time, making it a great option for busy individuals or families.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Pesto Made in an Air Fryer
If you have leftover chicken pesto, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Make sure to reheat it thoroughly before serving. You can also freeze your leftover chicken pesto for up to three months. When you're ready to eat it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the air fryer or oven.
It's important to note that when reheating your leftover chicken pesto, you should add a splash of water or chicken broth to prevent it from drying out. You can also add some fresh herbs or grated Parmesan cheese to enhance the flavor. Another tip is to store the chicken and pesto separately, and mix them together when reheating to ensure that the chicken stays moist and the pesto stays fresh.
Delicious Variations of Chicken Pesto You Can Make in the Air Fryer
There are countless ways to mix up your chicken pesto recipe in the air fryer. Try adding different herbs, spices, or even different types of cheese to the pesto sauce. You can also try using different types of chicken, such as chicken thighs or chicken breasts. And don't be afraid to add veggies to the mix, like roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes.
Another great way to switch up your chicken pesto recipe is to experiment with different types of pasta. Try using penne, fusilli, or even spaghetti instead of the traditional linguine. You can also try adding some cream to the pesto sauce to make it richer and creamier. And if you're feeling adventurous, try adding some nuts like pine nuts or walnuts to the pesto sauce for an extra crunch.
Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Options for Making Chicken Pesto in the Air Fryer
If you're looking for gluten-free or low-carb options for making chicken pesto in your air fryer, there are plenty of substitutions you can make. Opt for a gluten-free pesto sauce or make your own with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. For a low-carb option, try swapping out the pasta for zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
Another great option for a low-carb version of chicken pesto in the air fryer is to use cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice. Simply pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains, then cook in the air fryer until tender. You can also add in some roasted vegetables like bell peppers or cherry tomatoes for added flavor and nutrition.
Serving Suggestions and Sides to Pair with Your Chicken Pesto from the Air Fryer
Chicken pesto is a delicious and versatile dish that pairs well with many side dishes. Some great options include roasted vegetables, garlic bread, or a simple side salad. You can also serve your chicken pesto over pasta or with some rice for a more filling meal.
If you're looking for a healthier option, try serving your chicken pesto with some quinoa or a side of steamed vegetables. The nutty flavor of quinoa complements the pesto sauce perfectly, while steamed vegetables add a fresh and light touch to the meal.
For a more indulgent meal, consider serving your chicken pesto with some creamy mashed potatoes or a side of mac and cheese. These rich and comforting sides will balance out the bold flavors of the pesto and create a satisfying meal that everyone will love.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Chicken Pesto in the Air Fryer
Still have questions about making chicken pesto in your air fryer? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
-Can you make chicken pesto in a basket-type air fryer?Yes, you definitely can. Just make sure to avoid overcrowding the basket and cook in batches if necessary.-Can you make chicken pesto with frozen chicken in the air fryer?We don't recommend it. Always defrost your chicken before cooking in the air fryer to ensure even cooking and prevent food-borne illnesses.-Do you need to flip the chicken when cooking chicken pesto in the air fryer?Yes, you should flip the chicken halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking on both sides.-Can you make chicken pesto in an air fryer without preheating?While you technically can, we don't recommend it. Preheating your air fryer ensures that the cooking temperature is consistent, which leads to better results.