Pesto Chicken Hot Pockets

If you're feeling nostalgic about yesteryear and remember "Hot Pockets®" - those convenience snacks that we used to pop into the microwave for a quick fix - this recipe is for you!

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Several hot pockets on a wooden board with one cut open.

What is a Hot Pocket®?

Hot Pockets® are a microwavable calzone-style turnover that you can buy to re-heat in your microwave. They were popular in the 80s and 90s and grew to include over 50 different varieties. This recipe for Chicken Pesto Hot Pockets is a homemade version of the popular convenience food. 

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Ingredients on a cutting board with two knives - pizza dough, sun dried tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, cooked chicken breast, oregano and basil.

Filling Ingredients

There are three components to the filling for these chicken pesto hot pockets. First is the chicken and sun-dried tomato mixture. You can use leftover cooked chicken, or you could quickly cook a couple of chicken breasts in your air fryer, in a skillet or by poaching them in chicken broth. Simply dice and mix the chicken with some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. My preference is for the oil-packed tomatoes, but you could use soft dried sun-dried tomatoes too. The second component is the fresh mozzarella cheese. Finally, you will need some basil pesto. Making it yourself is very easy, but store-bought is fine too. 

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Six images showing how to make a hot pocket.

How to Make Homemade Hot Pockets

Make your hot pockets by rolling your pizza dough out to a rectangle of 18×10-inches. To make this as easy as possible, make sure your pizza dough has come to room temperature. Cold pizza dough will continue to shrink back on you as you roll it. Brush the perimeter of each portion of dough with egg wash and then layer the filling ingredients in the center of each dough – pesto, then cheese, then chicken mixture. The pizza dough is flexible, so pull and stretch the dough over the filling, pinch the dough together and then turn the pockets over, seam-side down and shape them into nice rectangles by just patting the edges with your hands. 

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A hand brushing egg wash onto hot pockets in an air fryer basket.

Before Air-Frying or Baking

Before you pop these hot pockets into the air fryer or oven, brush the outsides with egg wash, sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top and pierce each one with a fork to create vent holes. 

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Hot pockets in an air fryer basket, ready for the oven.

Bake OR Air-fry

You can air-fry the pockets at 350˚F for 10 minutes on one side, flip them over and air-fry for 5 minutes on the second side. You can also bake them in the oven at 400˚F on a baking tray for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

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Cooked hot pockets in an air fryer basket.

Let them Cool

If you do remember eating these in the 80s or 90s, you might remember because of the trauma of biting into a Hot Pocket® too soon. Ouch! The insides of these pockets will be very hot when they come out of the air fryer or oven, so do try to be patient and let them cool for just a few minutes before wrapping your hands around one and enjoying at home or on the go.

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Several hot pockets on a wooden board with one cut open.

Make Ahead

If you’re making these chicken pesto hot pockets, it’s a good idea to make a batch or maybe two and freeze them before baking. You can freeze them after the egg wash and Italian seasoning and then store them in freezer bag with as little air as possible. When you are in the mood, pop them into your air fryer or oven and add an additional 5 minutes of air-frying time or 10 minutes of baking time. 

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Homemade Pesto Chicken Hot Pockets

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    6
    pockets

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • All-purpose flour for rolling dough
  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup prepared pesto
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with the dried thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Air-fry chicken breasts at 380°F for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping over halfway through the cooking process.
  3. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and cut into ½-inch cubes. Place the chicken cubes in a bowl, add the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh oregano. Toss to combine and set aside to cool.
  4. Lightly coat your countertop or a silicone mat with a little flour. Roll the pizza dough out into a 10x18-inch rectangle. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and then cut each half in 3 pieces. You should have 6 rectangles of dough. Brush the beaten egg around the edges of each rectangle.
  5. Spread about one tablespoon of the pesto sauce in the middle of each dough rectangle leaving the egg-washed boarder uncovered. Place a slice or two of the mozzarella cheese on top of the pesto and then top with the chicken mixture, dividing it equally between the 6 rectangles.
  6. To make the pocket, first fold the short edges of the rectangle over the filling and then fold the long edges over the filling, overlapping and pinching to seal the dough together. Lightly oil the air fryer basket and place the pocket, seam side down into the basket. Brush the top of the pocket with the remaining egg wash or a little olive oil. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top. Using a fork, gently pierce 3 sets of holes across the top of the pocket to vent the dough. (At this point you can freeze the pockets and then store in a zipper sealable plastic bag for a future snack.)
  7. Air-fry at 350°F for 10 minutes and then flip the pockets over and air-fry for an additional 5 minutes. OR bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is lightly browned.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate or cutting board. Remember they are hot pockets, so let them rest for a few minutes before digging in!
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