These Cheesy Garlic Pesto Chicken Sliders are gooey, hot, and so easy to make. Made with just 7 simple ingredients, with make ahead and freezer directions, they’re the ultimate delicious party food!
This is one of my Appetizer recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
We’re coming up on prime party food season, which is one of my favorites! Between game day parties and holiday gatherings, you’ll want to have some easy appetizer recipes in your back pocket.
This slider recipe is definitely an easy recipe! Just 7 common ingredients (plus salt and pepper to taste), and they’re loaded with flavor.
The main protein in this recipe is shredded chicken, so it’s perfect for leftovers or a rotisserie chicken.
You can also make these sliders ahead of time, and even freeze them!
So whether you’re hosting the party, or just attending, you can serve/bring the party food everyone will be talking about.
How to make pesto chicken sliders?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Slice rolls. More than likely, your package of Hawaiian rolls won’t come sliced. Slice the rolls in half horizontally, keeping them connected to each other if possible. Transfer to baking pan.
- Combine topping. Stir together melted butter, garlic and parsley. Set that aside for now.
- Spread the pesto. Spread half the pesto on the bottom half of the rolls.
- Layer. Add shredded chicken and cheese.
- More pesto. Spread remaining half of the pesto on the cut side of the top half of the rolls. Add the top half of the rolls on top of the cheese.
- Top and bake. Pour or brush butter mixture on top of the rolls, sprinkle with salt and pepper (if using), then bake covered for half of the baking time, then uncover and finish baking.
If you have to substitute the baking pan, just make sure you use one that has sides. This is pretty buttery and you don’t want melted butter all over your oven!
Variations of this recipe
- Pesto – I love using my homemade pesto recipe for these sliders, but a quality store-bought variety will also work just fine. Buitoni, Dellalo, Rao’s, or Classico are a few of my favorite brands.
- Rolls – any slider buns/rolls will work for this recipe. Hawaiian, potato, or butter slider rolls are my favorites.
- Chicken – I like to use any leftover chicken I have on hand (provided it isn’t covered in bbq sauce or something), but rotisserie chicken is a great alternative. I like to pick up one from the store when they’re on sale, remove the meat, shred it, and freeze it. That way I always have some rotisserie shredded chicken on hand.
- Cream sauce – to make these sliders even more gooey and delicious, spread some roasted garlic cream sauce, or store-bought Alfredo sauce over the bottom bun layer.
- Topping – try adding some everything bagel seasoning, a little more pesto, or some finely minced shallots to the garlic butter topping.
I like to use Kings Hawaiian rolls, but any slider-style bun will work. Potato rolls, or butter rolls are great substitutes.
Leftover chicken is one of my favorite types to use, or a store-bought rotisserie chicken (or make your own!). But in reality, any chicken you have on hand will work, even sliced deli chicken.
Making chicken sliders ahead of time
The great thing about sliders like this pesto chicken variety, is that you can make them completely ahead of time!
Just make the recipe right up until the baking part, and cover tightly with foil.
Refrigerate for up to 1 day, then bake as directed.
Any leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and eaten within 3-4 days.
To freeze, make the recipe right up until baking, then cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.
You can use any 9×13″ pan, but I like that this one comes with a tight fitting lid.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 12 count package slider rolls
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 tsp minced fresh parsley
- 2/3 cup basil pesto homemade or store-bought (divided)
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken a rotisserie chicken is great for this
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9×13" baking pan. Set aside.
- Add unwrapped package of rolls to your cutting board and using a serrated knife (like a bread knife), carefully slice across the rolls, horizontally, keeping one hand on top of the rolls to steady them.
- Once sliced, keep the rolls connected to each other and lift the entire top section off of the bottom section. Add the bottom section of the rolls to the prepared baking pan.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine melted butter, minced garlic, and parsley. Set aside.
- Spread half of the pesto over the bottom half of the rolls in the baking pan.
- Add shredded chicken on top of the pesto, then top that with the shredded cheese.
- Spread remaining pesto over the cut side of the top half of the rolls, then add top half of rolls, cut side down, on top of the cheese.
- Brush garlic butter mixture over the top of the rolls, then sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
- Cover loosely with foil and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes, or until hot and cheese is fully melted.
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- Recipe makes 12 sliders, but can easily be doubled.
- For doubling, use a rimmed baking sheet that’s big enough to hold two 12 count packages of rolls. Bake time would remain the same.
- This recipe serves approximately 6 people, with 2 sliders each being the serving size. Of course, you’re free to divide your sliders up however you’d like though.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.