Olive Garden Chicken Margherita

The Olive Garden Chicken Margherita is an easy chicken recipe to make and it’s so easy it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Homemade Olive Garden Chicken Margarita on a square plate.

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All About the Olive Garden Chicken Margherita

People love the Olive Garden with its home-style Italian food. In fact, the majority of Americans will tell you they love to “mangia italiano” — or eat Italian. I wonder about the minority – they just don’t know what they’re missing!

Once you’ve eaten at the Olive Garden, you will always crave the restaurant’s freshly made pasta sauces and its famous breadsticks.

Fun fact – someone has estimated that the Olive Garden serves about 700 million breadsticks per year. Their signature starters are baked in hundreds of batches each day and delivered fresh to every Olive Garden restaurant; the breadsticks, like the chain’s soups and sauces, are never frozen.

Did you know that you can make Olive Garden’s famous breadsticks at home? Get the Olive Garden breadsticks recipe.

Americans are Chicken Lovers

The Olive Garden caters to everyone’s love of chicken by serving up several delicious chicken dishes. Olive Garden’s Chicken Margherita combines grilled chicken breasts with a delightful medley of mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil pesto, and a garlic/lemon sauce, served with Parmesan-crusted zucchini.

This dish is so enjoyable because it combines many bright and vibrant flavors. Complete your meal with a side serving of pasta.

A plate of Olive Garden Chicken Margarita

The Story of Margherita

Legend has it that in 1889, Queen Margherita, while staying in Naples, grew tired of the French gourmet food that was the standard cuisine served to European royalty at the time. The queen summoned the famous pizza-maker, Raffaele Esposito, and instructed him to bake her three pizzas with different toppings.

She wasn’t keen on the one with garlic (pizza marinara) or the one with anchovies (pizza Napoli). However, she absolutely loved the pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a sprig of basil.

Esposito immediately named his invention after the queen – and the now-famous Margherita sauce was born.


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Italian salad dressing or chicken marinade
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Lemon juice
  • Sliced mozzarella
  • Pesto
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
Chicken margarita ingredients

How to Make Chicken Margherita

  1. Pound chicken out between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Place the chicken breasts into a gallon-sized zip-top bag.
  3. Add Italian dressing and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. Wash grape tomatoes and slice them in half. Set aside.
  5. Pour olive oil into a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add chicken and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is almost done.
  7. Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and place them in a baking dish.
  8. While the chicken is cooking, heat butter, minced garlic, and lemon juice in a small pot until butter is melted, stirring to combine.
  9. Brush the lemon butter garlic sauce on the chicken breasts.
  10. Top the chicken breasts with mozzarella cheese.
  11. Place pesto on top of the mozzarella.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese begins to melt and brown.
  13. When you serve the chicken, brush it with additional lemon butter and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and basil.
Chicken Margarita on a plate.

More Olive Garden Chicken Dishes

As well as this wonderful Chicken Margherita, the recipe for which is given below, you can also make the following Olive Garden chicken dishes at home.

I don’t want you ever to run out of Olive Garden chicken recipes that will delight your family.

Favorite Italian Recipes with Chicken

Check out more of my easy Italian recipes and the best Olive Garden recipes here on CopyKat!

Homamde Olive Garden Chicken Margarita on a plate.

Olive Garden Chicken Margherita

Chicken breasts, pesto, and tomatoes make for a great weeknight dinner.
4.7 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken Recipes, Olive Garden Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 870kcal


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts 4 portions
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing Or your favorite marinade
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup basil sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 pound sliced mozzarella 1 slice for each piece of chicken
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Pound chicken out between two sheets of plastic wrap. This will even out the thickness of the chicken, and it will make the chicken cook more evenly. Place the chicken breasts into a gallon sized zip top bag. Add marinade, and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Wash grape tomatoes, and slice in half.  Set aside. 
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Cook the chicken on medium-high heat for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is almost done (it will continue to cook in the oven), remove chicken from the skillet and place in a baking dish.
  • While the chicken is cooking add butter, minced garlic, and lemon juice in a small pot. Heat thoroughly. 
  • When the chicken is fully cooked brush it on the chicken. Add a slice or two of mozzarella to the chicken. Add a tablespoon of pesto on top of the mozzarella cheese. Place the chicken in the oven, and bake until the cheese begins to melt and brown.  This should take 7 to 10 minutes.
  • When you plate the chicken, brush with additional lemon butter and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes, and sliced basil.


Calories: 870kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 237mg | Sodium: 2177mg | Potassium: 1003mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1990IU | Vitamin C: 10.7mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 1.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Frank Mosher

    3 stars
    A couple of problems with this recipe which I did not try? Firstly, I was stymied by the Lee and Perrins Chicken marinade which is not available in Canada, Secondly, “or your favourite chicken marinade”, which in my cooking world covers Chinese/Thai/Italian/Greek/Filipino/Indonesian, etc.? All would make a big difference in taste? Finally, I dispute your carbohydrate count as being very high unless the Lee & Perrins marinade is loaded with same? Even so, it is a marinade. I have tried a liked several of your other offerings,and found them very good. This one needs a rewrite. Cheers!

    • Stephanie

      I really appreciate your comment. I didn’t realize I should get ingredients that are common to the Canadian as well as the US market. I appreciate your comment about the marinade, I will revise the recipe.

  2. Migel Valadez

    Olivetto’s has a Chicken Caliente that I would love to know how to make. Does Olive Garden have something similar? I try other dishes at Olivetto’s but I keep coming back to the Chicken Caliente.

  3. Sue Ricker

    Thank you for this recipe. I am looking forward to trying it. I was wondering the nutritional values you have for this recipe, are they for the whole recipe or just one serving? Thanks again!

  4. Drew

    5 stars
    I had this at the Olive Garden recently, and I am so glad to find this here. I have to say, while I thought the recipe was close to the Olive Garden, this was much better.

  5. Liz

    Hi Stephanie i love all your recipes by the way…. but i will like to know how you can make a homemade presto for this recipe tnx

  6. happy wheels

    5 stars
    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not that good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading. I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!

  7. Betty

    Stephanie, do you have recipe for the zucchini also? i;m trying the chicken this week and would love to try the parmesan crusted zuchini to go with it. Thank you so much.
    New reader, first request today. so I’ a little hesitant.

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