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Pesto Chicken Pillows

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My family has made some version of chicken pillows or pockets, very similar to Janelle’s recipe for several years. I remember it being my sister’s choice for her birthday meal at least once growing up.

We would usually have it with rice and a simple sauce that involves a can of cream of chicken soup. So, when Janelle posted her chicken pillows and sauce I decided to give it a try. And it was very similar to my family’s version. But the sauce! So absolutely delicious. Who knew that the simple combination of a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of evaporated milk would make such a fantastic sauce? Not me. But it sure does!

My husband’s family actually has a rather different version that also involves chicken, crescent rolls and sauce. But, it’s not really pillows and there is cheese instead of cream cheese. Also tasty, just different. We take turns making my version and his version. Until we found this recipe. Between the pesto mixed in with the chicken and cream cheese, and then Janelle’s recipe for sauce, we have now found what will be our family’s chicken pillows.

I have also found that while pinching 2 crescents together makes it a lot easier to make a pillow, using just one crescent is the perfect size for my kids. But I have also found that it is rather hard to do and make look presentable. It’s kind of like folding fitted sheets. You think you’ll figure out a way to make it nice and neat, and you end up just mashing it into a ball and calling it good.

Well, like I said, I’ve been making chicken pillows for years. And if you care to know how to do it, I’ve taken some pictures to help illustrate how I do it. If you don’t care, you can certainly continue mashing it together however you can or pinching 2 crescent rolls together. It’s totally up to you.



1. Lay out a crescent roll across your hand, place filling in the wide part leaving enough room to seal.

2. Bring the short corners together over the filling and pinch the line that it makes over the filling to seal.

3. I turn it at this point so that the long corner is now draped over the side of your hand.

4. Bring the long corner up and over to run parallel and right alongside the edge you just made (or perpendicular to the seam you pinched together).



5. Turn it on it’s side with the open end up, and pinch together the side.

6. Fold over the little leftover corner and gently press into the pillow.

7. Gently press and shape until it is shaped the way you want it.


Yield: 16 small pillows

Pesto Chicken Pillows

Pesto Chicken Pillows
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 packages crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together chicken, softened cream cheese and pesto sauce until fully combined.
Unwrap crescent rolls and lay one across your hand, place about 1/4 cup filling in the middle. Fold the corners together in order to enclose the filling, pinching all seams closed and then shaping into a pillow shape.
Repeat with each crescent roll.
Dip each pillow in melted butter and then roll in the bread crumbs and place on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:
Mix cream of chicken soup, evaporated milk, basil and any leftover chicken mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Stir and heat until combined and heated through.
Serve pillows warm with rice and sauce.


Adapted from Janelle's recipe and The Girl Who Ate Everything

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