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3-Ingredient Pesto-Grilled Chicken with Peaches

A plate of grilled peaches and chicken with char marks and dollops of pesto.
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Olivia Mack Anderson
  • Active Time

    20 minutes

  • Total Time

    1 hour, 20 minutes

In Epi's 3-Ingredient Recipes series, we show you how to make great food with just three ingredients (plus staples like oil, salt, and pepper).
Find a great prepared pesto and you can have dinner in no time! In this easy grilled dinner, the pesto works as both a simple marinade for the chicken and a finishing sauce. Grilling the peaches caramelizes their natural sugars and adds a smoky flavor to the stone fruit, turning them into a delicious side.


4 servings

1 3/4 cups store-bought or homemade pesto, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more for grill
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
4 ripe peaches, halved

Step 1

Whisk 1 1/2 cups pesto, 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Add chicken to bowl and slide your hand between skin and meat to loosen skin. Rub half of pesto mixture under skin, then half over outside. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Step 2

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat or heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high; oil grate or pan. Season chicken with remaining 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Grill chicken, skin side down, covered, until golden brown and lightly charred, 7–9 minutes. Turn and grill until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 5–7 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Step 3

Brush peach halves with oil. Reduce heat to medium and grill peaches, cut side down, until warmed through, 2–3 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/4 cup pesto and 2 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Arrange chicken and peaches on a platter and drizzle pesto sauce over. Serve remaining sauce alongside.

How would you rate 3-Ingredient Pesto-Grilled Chicken with Peaches?

  • I would try this again but never on the grill. I am an experienced griller and as other comments mentioned, it catches on fire pretty quickly and it's impossible to keep grilling it. We had to bring it inside to finish cooking. I recommend a cast iron skillet on the stove from start to finish - save the grill for the peaches.

    • snoflake22

    • Washington

    • 6/28/2021

  • I love the simplicity of this recipe, but trying to grill the chicken was pretty disastrous. It kept catching on fire, even though I added very little additional oil to the pesto. I guess the pesto had plenty of oil to feed the flames. Five minutes into grilling I brought the chicken inside & cooked it on a cast iron skillet, then peeled off the charred side before serving. I'll definitely make this again, but no grilling for me.

    • pacific_palms

    • Miami

    • 9/10/2020

  • Finally tried this tonight after saving it to my recipe collection some time ago. Followed the recipe with some minor tweaks (adding a bit less garlic and pesto) and it turned out excellent. Was a big hit with the entire family, and will be adding it to our rotation of summer recipes.

    • natalielogsdon897491

    • Portland, OR

    • 7/19/2020

  • Loved it! Served with couscous

    • Anonymous

    • San Jose, CA

    • 6/29/2020

  • I followed the recipe but switched the grilling method. I cooked it on a Webber smokey mountain, with the bowl removed. Used 1 chunk of Applewood. I hot smoked the peaches (also apples) for 20 minutes at about 360 over maple chunk charcoal. Then I put on the marinated chicken pieces for about 50 minutes until they reached 80c (176f). I flipped the chicken once after 20 mins. Served with smoked corn, chicken, peach combo was amazing. Apples turns out well too. If you marinate the chicken night before, you can have this on the table in 60-90 minutes. The final result was fantastic.

    • prosonik

    • Edmonton, Ab

    • 9/25/2019

  • I was so excited for this recipe since I could use the leftover chicken in a salad I figured and I already had the pesto on hand. However, I really recommend cooking this in a skillet as it was very hard to control on a grill...kept catching fire and the end result was charred and didnt taste like pesto in the end. The peaches tasted lovely though!

    • Trashpanda420

    • San Diego, California

    • 9/25/2019

  • Brilliant use of a little-less-than-fresh greens. I had arugula and spinach, combined with a purple onion, Pecorino Romano cheese and pine nuts. Excellent!


    • Pensacola, FL

    • 9/23/2019

  • I am reviewing this a second time because the first time I did not discuss the recipe. And it has gotten another bad review from someone who either made the wrong recipe or made this one wrong. Nowhere in the recipe does it suggest heating oil to 350 to deep fry the chicken. Grilling is in the title of the recipe. All the griping aside, this really was fantastic. I make pesto from my garden to freeze so it has much less oil than store bought. To minimize flare ups allow the chicken to drain for a few minutes before transferring to the grill.

    • kahlan

    • St. Louis, MO

    • 9/19/2019

  • For heavens sake...Stop nitpicking about the danged nutritional value. Someone obviously forgot to put the serving size in there. Anyone with half a brain could figure out that someone messed up on it. Ever make a mistake? Hope someone blasted you this hard for it... :P Planning on making this tonight, despite the ridiculous nay-sayers who think it's 2100 Calories per serving, or whatever ridiculousness they're saying... :P Starting with 3 stars just bc the ingredients sounds delish, but I will be adding more mango bc 2 small seems not enough.

    • MonicaRayman

    • New Mexico

    • 6/2/2018

  • This might be a really good recipe, but it is definitely difficult to control. I am a fairly accomplished cook and my result was not very good, so beware and be careful. First, the chicken requires a fairly substantial coating of pesto. To me, that means the specified amount won't cover the chicken and the result was pretty much deep-fried chicken with minimal pesto. Second, the oil temperature and cooking time are interactive. Oil heated to 350 degrees will cool when chicken is added, and if you turn up the heat to maintain temp, 4 minutes is too long. This could be a great recipe. But there are too many variables for my taste.

    • wabsci

    • carmel, in

    • 10/31/2017

  • Love it. My family thought it was a delicious dish. Fantastic😊

    • candelariadelsol2017

    • Switzerland

    • 8/28/2017

  • I am planning to make this for my girlfriend and mine's new years dinner this year and cant wait to make it.Yes I see the negative reviews but what foodie counts calories or fat? Its about the taste and experience.

    • 9nines

    • Ohio

    • 8/5/2017

  • Holy grill flames! If you're an inexperienced chicken griller like me, be prepared to do some fancy moving and shaking while this chicken is grilling. I was really worried I was going to have a charred mess when it was all said and done. Fortunately, even though it got quite charred, it was tasty. I will try this again now that I know what to expect, but I don't think I'll add so much (or maybe any) oil to the pesto if I use store-bought. That stuff is oily enough. The flavors were good, and the skin, while fatty, is delicious! :)

    • 92dore

    • SoDak

    • 7/31/2017

  • I enjoyed it but I would remove the skin before throwing it on the grill. I felt it was too oily from the pesto and skin.

    • krhouser

    • 7/19/2017

  • Absolutely loved it! This was a perfect, quick and easy week-night meal that my entire family enjoyed. Because I was in a hurry I used store made pesto and it worked beautifully...the chicken was delicious. The peaches in my area weren't ripe yet, so I substituted nectarines and they were perfect. I'm sorry to see the negative reviews below written by people who never tried the recipe. I highly recommend this one.

    • apcors

    • Baltimore, MD

    • 7/17/2017

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