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These Italian-inspired, Juicy Pesto Chicken Burgers are bursting with flavor- and super simple to make! The flavor-packed burger patties are complimented by gooey melted Italian cheese, a quick and easy pesto mayo, and a delicious bruschetta topping.


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Now, this might not be what Samuel L. Jackson would envision, but this IS a tasty burger. What this burger lacks in fat and cholesterol, it makes up for in flavor. Lean ground chicken is the base of this recipe, and the flavor ante is upped with pesto, roasted red peppers, and parmesan. The addition of egg, couscous and parmesan give the burger it’s great, juicy texture.

pesto chicken burgers with bruschetta

Making the chicken burgers

To make these flavor-bomb chicken burgers, you will need:

  • Lean ground chicken
  • Prepared couscous (leftover is great for these!)
  • Basil pesto- freshly prepared, or use your favorite jarred stuff!
  • A few scallions
  • Some jarred roasted red peppers
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • An egg
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • Your favorite burger buns (I love brioche or potato rolls!)
  • Butter (optional) for toasting up those buns
  • Roma tomatoes 
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Your favorite mayonnaise 
  • Balsamic glaze, such as Roland 

First, you’ll mix the chicken, egg, roasted red peppers, pesto, couscous and spices together with your hands. I know- gross! But it’s the best way to make sure everything is well incorporated into the burgers. Then you’ll form the mixture into 4 equal patties and let them chill in the fridge for an hour, or up to overnight to firm up a bit.

chicken burger ingredients

Once the burgers are formed and firm, it’s time to pan sear them in a bit of olive oil for about 4-5 minutes a side. Top em’ with your favorite sliced Italian cheese right before they’re done and top the pan with a lid to make sure the cheese gets extra gooey.

raw pesto chicken burgers with couscous

Making the flavor-packed bruschetta topping and pesto mayo

While the burgers cook (or up to an hour beforehand, you can make the bruschetta topping and pesto mayo.

To make the bruschetta topping, you’ll simply chop up some tomatoes (I used Roma, but any variety you like will work) and discard the seeds. Toss them with some fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic glaze and salt and pepper, and the bruschetta topping is ready to go.

The pesto mayo could not be simpler- simply whisk the pesto and mayonnaise together and voila- pesto mayo!

bruschetta topping for burgers

Serving suggestions for the pesto chicken burgers

To assemble the burgers, I like to toast the burger buns with a light brushing of butter in a hot skillet or pan, or under the broiler.

Once the buns are nice and toasty- I spread a bit of the pesto mayo on the bottom bun, place the burger on top, and mound some bruschetta on top.

These burgers go great with a side of Italian seasoned oven fries, or a simple side salad. They’re quick and easy to make, and are a great healthy weekday meal!

pesto chicken burgers

If you make my Juicy Pesto Chicken Burgers, please be sure to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you, and value your feedback! Lastly, if you make the recipe and love it, please tag me on Instagram! I love to see your photos!

For more great dinner recipes, visit my dinners page!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Juicy Pesto Chicken Burgers

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Refrigertion/rest1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dinner, game day, lunch
Keyword: bruschetta, burger, chicken burger, pesto, pesto mayonaise
Servings: 4



  • 1 tbsp  olive oil, for cooking the burgers
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken*
  • 1/2 cup prepared Couscous, cold or room temperature*
  • 1 tbsp prepared basil pesto*
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tbsp chopped roasted red peppers*
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • 4 burger buns, toasted*
  • Optional: melted butter, for toasting the burger buns 

Bruschetta Topping:

  • 1 roma Tomato finely chopped, seeds removed*
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons 
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Pesto Mayonaise:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1 tsp prepared basil pesto*


  • Add ground chicken, prepared couscous, basil pesto, sliced scallion, roasted red peppers, parmesan, garlic powder and egg to a medium mixing bowl. Mix well with hands until well incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, and refrigerate on a parchment-lined sheet or plate for 1 hour (or up to overnight) to firm up the burger patties. If refrigerating overnight, cover with plastic wrap.
    2. While the patties are firming up, make your mayo and bruschetta.
    3. To make the pesto mayo, whisk the mayo and pesto together until well combined. Transfer to a bowl or container, and refrigerate until ready to use.
    4. To make the bruschetta topping, combine the chopped tomato, thinly sliced basil leaves, balsamic glaze, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss to coat the tomatoes and basil. This can be done right before serving the burgers, or up to 1 hour in advance.
    5. After the burger patties have firmed up in the refrigerator, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until oil is shimmering but not smoking. Carefully transfer burgers to the pan (burgers will be delicate) and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Carefully flip burger over, top with sliced cheese, and cook 5 minutes more, covering the pan with a lid for the last 2 minutes to really melt the cheese.
    6. While the burgers cook and the cheese melts, toast your burger buns in a lightly buttered pan, cut side down- or cut side up under a broiler (dry, or brushed with a bit of melted butter) for 1-2 minutes, checking to make sure they do not burn.
    7. Spread the pesto mayonnaise on the bottom of each toasted bun. Place the burgers on top of the mayo, and top each burger with bruschetta, and top bun. Makes 4 burgers.


You could also use ground turkey for these.

These are a great way to use up leftover couscous, or you could prepare a small amount for these burgers.

You can use jarred or homemade pesto for the burgers and mayo.

I used jarred marinated roasted red peppers, but any jarred variety will do, or even homemade.

I love a brioche bun or potato bun for these, but use your favorite burger buns!

Any tomato variety will work for the bruschetta topping.

Any type of mayo works for these (regular, vegan, low fat..)

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