30-Minute Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Bacon and Pesto

This creamy Chicken with Mushroom Sauce is ready in just 30 minutes! It tastes gourmet but is actually so simple to make!


Lighter Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Bacon and Pesto is one of the easiest yet most delicious chicken dinners you will ever make – and all in one skillet! Devour it alone or incredible with pasta, rice or potatoes, etc.  

top view of chicken with mushroom sauce in a skillet.

Creamy Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce really is so craving good, so elegant, yet simple, quick and easy all at the same time AKA you are going to fall in love with this chicken!  I actually made this skillet chicken twice in one week – which is quite a rarity being a food blogger because the only time I ever make something twice in such close succession is to either retest/perfect OR because it is so insanely delicious, I just need to relish all the flavors and creaminess one more time, and I need to now.  It was the latter.  Aaaand I knew it would only take me minutes and one skillet to whip up!

Now there are a lot of Chicken with Mushroom Sauces out there – but I promise this creamy mushroom bath has a depth of flavor you just won’t savor in the other dishes thanks to splashes of pesto, Dijon and balsamic — lick your plate delicious.  

top view of chicken with mushroom sauce in a skillet with a serving spoon.

Ingredients in Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This creamy chicken and mushroom looks like it came from a restaurant, but it’s secretly so simple to whip up. Here’s what you’ll need for the chicken and mushroom gravy:

  • Chicken breasts: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for superior flavor. A mixture of butter and olive oil when cooking the mushrooms adds extra flavor and the olive oil prevents the butter from burning.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt.
  • Cremini mushrooms: I love how flavorful these mushrooms are, so I use them any chance I get.
  • Shallot: One shallot is considered the entire bulb, regardless of how many cloves the bulb contains.
  • Herbs and spices: Oregano, thyme, salt and pepper flavor the sauce.
  • Pesto: Use classic basil pesto in this recipe.
  • Garlic:  I use 6 cloves garlic and it is divine but feel free to use less if you prefer. You may also use 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder – but the real stuff is so much better!
  • Half and half / heavy cream: I’ve tried this recipe with and without the half and half, and both methods work!
  • Chicken broth: Is more flavorful than just milk or half and half. Make sure you use low sodium broth so we can control the salt.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Adds tang and deepens the flavor of the sauce.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a slight tanginess to complement the robust mushrooms.
  • Cornstarch:  Helps thicken the sauce to gorgeously thick and creamy.  
  • Bacon: Optional but highly recommended!
top view of four chicken breasts in a skillet.

How to Make Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This easy chicken skillet starts with either slicing two larger chicken breasts in half horizontally or pounding 4 smaller chicken breasts thin and seasoning with salt and pepper then searing (they will cook more in the sauce) for super quick, moist, tender chicken.

You then saute your mushrooms for a few minutes then add in some shallots, pesto, oregano and thyme and saute another few minutes and top off with some garlic.  Can we say crazy flavorful mushrooms, which means crazy flavorful sauce?  

Stir in some chicken broth, Dijon and balsamic along with some cornstarch to thicken, and the option of half and half or heavy cream.  

Stir in some bacon (also optional but totally recommended) then garnish with Parmesan cheese — you are not going to want to skip the Parmesan! It transport this dish into other wordy deliciousness.

And let’s eat! Chicken with Mushroom Sauce — an easy midweek meal or so delicious you’ll be making it twice a week.

process shot showing how to make creamy mushroom sauce for chicken in a skillet.

Tips for Making Creamy Mushroom Sauce for Chicken

  • Don’t wash mushrooms.  You should never rinse your mushrooms or they will absorb water like a sponge and become waterlogged.  Waterlogged mushrooms will not brown as well or become as flavorful, and instead will emerge soggy and squeaky.  Instead, clean your mushrooms with a damp paper towel.
  • Slice to a uniform size. As with all cooking vegetables, try and slice your mushrooms so they are similar in size so they cook evenly.  If you are using a variety of mushrooms, try and slice all of them to a similar size, chopping larger mushrooms down before slicing if needed.
  • Don’t crowd mushrooms in the pan.   This is key!  Mushrooms need enough space so they can sear instead of steam.  If you pile raw mushrooms on top of each other, they will become soggy instead of caramelized.  By spreading them out in a single layer, the entire surface area of the mushrooms comes in contact with the sizzling buttere in the hot pan so they can caramelize and become crispy around the edges.

Recipe Variations to Try

  • Omit the half and half. I have made this skillet both with and without the half and half/heavy cream (not using either) and it was absolutely divine each way.  So if you are trying to cut some calories, then this can be a super lean meal with the omission of the cream.  On the other hand, it is only ¼ cup heavy cream so if you want to revel in extra creaminess, then add the cream. Totally up to you. Deciding what to do will be the hardest part of this dish.
  • Use another mushroom variety.  Use more exotic mushrooms such as maitake, oyster, and/or shiitake for the most intense mushroom flavor.  
  • Add veggies: Peas, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, spinach etc. would all be delicious additions. You can even add leftover roasted veggies such as roasted broccoli,cauliflower etc.
creamy chicken and mushroom sauce in a skillet with a serving spoon.

CAN I PREP CHICKEN with Mushroom Sauce IN ADVANCE?

Yes!  While this creamy mushroom chicken doesn’t require much prep, you can still prep everything in advance so your dinner can come together in minutes.

  • Prep chicken.  Create chicken cutlets by slicing chicken breasts in half and pounding to an even thickness.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Chop veggies. Mince the garlic, slice the mushrooms, chop the shallot.  Store in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT CHICKEN with Mushroom Sauce

  • Storage: creamy chicken and mushroom sauce should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three to five days. 
  • Microwave: chop up chicken so it reheats more evenly, then transfer a small portion to a microwave safe dish.  Heat for 1 minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals. 
  • Stove: chop up chicken, then transfer to a skillet. Heat over medium heat stirring often. 

HOW TO FREEZE CHICKEN in Mushroom Sauce

  • Let the chicken cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air.
  • Label and freeze for 2 to 3 months. 
  • Defrost in the refrigerator before using.
serving of creamy chicken and mushroom sauce on a plate with broccolini. A fork rests on the edge of the plate.

What to Serve with Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This creamy chicken and mushroom sauce recipe is fabulous served with rice or noodles to soak up the flavorful, creamy sauce and for a neutral textural component.

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

30 Minute Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Bacon and Pesto is one of the easiest yet most delicious chicken dinners you will ever make! Love it with pasta, rice or potatoes, etc..

Skillet Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Bacon and Pesto

Servings: 2 -4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts sliced horizontally or 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream, optional*
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4-6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

Garnish

  • fresh parsley
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Rinse and pat chicken dry then season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes or until golden, flip, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook 4-7 minutes (depending on thickness) or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium and melt 1 tablespoon butter in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes then add shallots, pesto, oregano and thyme and cook another 3 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.
  • Stir in 1 ½ cups chicken broth, cream or half and half (optional), Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. Whisk cornstarch with remaining ½ cup chicken broth and add to skillet. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened. Add chicken back to skillet, stir in half the bacon and leave the rest to garnish.
  • Garnish with remaining bacon. freshly grated Parmesan (highly recommended) and fresh parsley. Serve with/over noodles, potatoes or rice.

Notes

*This sauce is still wonderfully flavorful without the half and half/heavy cream so if you want to save calories you can definitely skip it – but if you want to add some extra creaminess, its divine!

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27 Comments

  1. Cara says

    Can’t wait to try the chicken and mushroom sauce.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Cara, I think you will love it, can’t wait tot hear what you think!

  2. Sandy says

    Oh. MY , I cannot wait to try this! I might have to rearrange my menu to make this tonight – sounds delicious!

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet Sandy, thank you! I hope you can try it soon if not tonight 🙂

    • Jen says

      Crazy rain, huh?! we are supposed to have an outside Birthday party for my dad today but don’t think that’s happening! Hope you enjoy the rain – and dinner 🙂

  3. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! I love mushroom gravy! This is on my soon to make list! I also am really fond of smashed potatoes with gravy…I believe this would be better than good with the potatoes smothered in your gravy! 🙂

  4. Mary Martin says

    Jen you are amazing! My sister brought me your salsa verde honey lime chicken enchiladas right after I had a baby and I’ve been hooked to your recipes ever since! A couple of my favorites are the Stromboli YUM just made that last night and your pineapple ginger baked chicken- seriously better than restaurant quality. I look forward to trying many more of your recipes! Thank you!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Mary, aren’t you the sweetest?! and thanks to your sister to introducing us to each other 🙂 I am so flattered you have been enjoying my recipes – we must be foodie taste bud kindred spirits! I love hearing what your favorite recipes are – you have very good taste 🙂 Thanks for saying hi and I hope you continue to have fun making and tasting!

  5. [email protected] says

    We are foodies and last night our son and his girlfriend came for dinner. My hubby was going to make chicken marsala, and then I showed him this! He made it, and oh, my! It is divine! Yum, yum, yum! Definitely a keeper recipe, thank you! He pounded the chicken breasts, he had to cut them as they were huge, and his turned out a bit stringy and chewy, so he thinks he overcooked them, which is rare for him, he is so good at making tender chicken breasts on the grill. So next time he is just going to use small chicken breasts, and not pound them. I could see this served over pasta or baked potatoes, there’s so much divine sauce! He mad lyonnaise potatoes, which were also so good. Ca’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • Jen says

      I Nancy, I love hearing that you opted for this recipe over Chicken Marsala and loved it, thank you! I feel like I cook for “foodies” who don’t mind a few extra ingredients if it means the food is going to come out more delicious – so I hope you have fun exploring and trying more of my recipes!

  6. Tonya says

    I would love to try this recipe…..looks delicious! Do you think I could use some fresh basil instead of pesto? I don’t have enough basil to make pesto on hand. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Yes, fresh basil would be absolutely delicious!! I would add it toward the end of cooking – enjoy!

  7. Kristen says

    This was an incredible recipe. I made it with the half/half and it tasted fabulous! Thank you, Jen!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Kristen, so happy you loved it, thank you!!

  8. Aliyah - Tasmania says

    Wow! Had to modify the recipe somewhat as I only had chicken drumsticks on hand, but seriously yum. Sending this one to my son in Queensland too.

    • Jen says

      Love the idea of making this recipe with drumsticks – yum! I’m so glad you were able to modify the recipe successfully and it was hit enough to send it to your son! Thank you!!

  9. Anna Connelly says

    This was seriously amazing!! Jen you’re a genious. I’m so glad I happened to have all the ingredients in the refrigerator. I made it with brown rice and broccoli and the whole family loved it!

    • Jen says

      Hi Anna!!! I am thrilled this was a hit at your house, yay! I’m so glad you had all the ingredients and were able to whip it up -and it sounds perfect with brown rice and broccoli. Thanks for taking the time to comment! xo

  10. Flora Lew says

    Wow, thanks for another awesome recipe! The Dijon and balsamic vinegar was genius, totally elevated the sauce to a different level of depth with layers of complexity. Tasted like a complicated sauce taking hours to create, but was so simple. Where did you learn to cook like this, you’re definitely celebrity chef status!!! I’m just thankful for your website!!!!!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Flora! Thank you so so much for your humbling comment! I just love being in the kitchen and exploring new flavors together – unique flavor profiles are my fav! I am so happy you are enjoying my recipes! xo

  11. Joddi says

    I made this for dinner last night and we loved it! Thanks for another amazingly delicious recipe!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Joddi, I’m so happy you’re enjoying my recipes!

  12. Terry Stenson says

    OMG! Just finished making this for dinner and this was absolutely the best! At first I questioned the pesto, but put it in anyway – so glad I did. This is truly restaurant quality. I will be making this over & over again. 30 minute meals are a godsend. Thank-you so much for your creativity.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment Terry! I’m thrilled you found this chicken and mushroom sauce “restaurant quality!”

  13. Nicole N says

    Delicious! You have a way with flavors. This is going in my recipe catalog. My husband and small children devoured it!

    • Jen says

      You and your family have great taste! Thanks so much Nicole!