Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers.

Tender, juicy chicken fingers coated in crunchy toasted pecans. The flavor is amazing and they are faux-fried in the oven!

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chicken fingers, chicken tenders, chicken strips, whatever you call them is fine by me as long as you at least ONCE try them coated in crushed pecans.

Since the day I shot these photos two weeks ago, I’ve made pecan crusted chicken fingers for dinner 3 times. Part of it is me being lazy since they’re so simple and an even bigger part of it is because they are so damn good! Served with a little honey mustard, this dish is by far our favorite way to enjoy chicken finger tender strips.

Bonus: they’re baked, not fried. Yay.

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Since these pecan chicken fingers aren’t fried, it’s important to smother them in lots of flavor before going into the oven. This way, you won’t feel like you’re missing out by eating a healthier version. Start with some really, really good pecans. My favorite brand, and has been for years, is Diamond of California. My mom got me hooked on this brand. Rather than being sold in the snack aisle, these quality nuts are sold in the baking aisle. When it comes to cooking and baking, they’re the simply the best.

If Northshore nuts were US Weekly, they’d always be on the cover. (<– name that quote!)

Quality pecans… √

Coarsely chop the pecans– these will be your crust. Obviously. Not only will pecans be used for the crust, they will act as the “binder” for the crust. When it comes to oven-frying, you’ll usually have to coat your food in a little flour, then egg, and then whatever crust you’re using like Panko or crushed pretzels. The flour helps the egg stick, the egg helps the crust stick. Easy, right? Instead of using just plain flour (boring! no taste!) today, you’ll use ground pecans mixed with flour and some seasoning. You don’t want to grind/process the pecans too much or you’ll end up with greasy nut butter.

So, just a few pulses until they look like this:

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Dredge the chicken in this seasoned flour/pecan mixture, then the beaten eggs, then the coarsely chopped pecans. My best tip for coating is to use three separate bowls and both hands. 1 dry hand, 1 wet hand. In other words – use 1 hand to dip into the flour. Use the second hand to dip into the beaten egg. Use the first hand to coat in the crushed pecans. This will save you from losing your mind/washing your hands between each chicken finger. FYI: things may still get a little messy!

Now it’s time to bake. Baking is my preferred cooking method for pecan crusted chicken tenders. There is just no need for excess oil to take away from the fabulous toasted pecan flavor. Plus, healthy-ish.

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

So much pecan goodness!

Crunchy Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers-- baked, not fried! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chop these up and toss them onto a salad, eat straight up, enjoy with BBQ sauce or honey mustard, eat leftovers for lunch, etc. I have big plans to make these again for the big game next weekend. Maybe cut the chicken into little bite size pieces and serve with little toothpicks? Touchdown.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers

Tender, juicy chicken fingers coated in crunchy toasted pecans. The flavor is amazing and they are faux-fried in the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 2 cups Diamond of California pecan halves
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika1
  • 2 large eggs
  • chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Set out 3 medium size bowls. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat/parchment paper or coat heavily with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. If using chicken breasts, pound down and cut into strips. If using boneless, skinless chicken tenders (chicken tenders are the lean strips of meat found attached to the underside of chicken breasts - they can also be purchased separately.) - cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.
  3. Pulse 1/2 cup of pecan halves in a food processor or a blender until fine crumbs are formed. Be careful not to pulse into a nut butter, just a few pulses until they are ground up. See photo above in this post for a visual. In one of the medium bowls from step 1, mix the pecan crumbs with flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Set aside.
  4. Pulse the remaining pecan halves into coarse crumbs-- larger pieces than the ground pecans from step 3. Pour them into another medium bowl. Finally, whisk the 2 eggs until beaten in the 3rd medium bowl.
  5. Coat each chicken strip in the flour/ground pecan mixture, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then, generously roll in the coarsely chopped pecans, shaking off any excess. Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Baking times may vary, just make sure yours are cooked through. If you like them more brown, bake longer. Careful, you don't want to burn the nuts.
  7. Serve chicken fingers with a garnish of parsley, some honey mustard, and/or your favorite condiment. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 
  8. Make ahead tip: Chicken fingers freeze well, up to 2 months. Bake frozen for about 18 minutes (flipping once) at 300F degrees

Recipe Notes:

  1. I love to use smoked paprika for added flavor - use your favorite seasonings if you do not have any on hand.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Try my Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites next.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Fingers

 

You might like my Easy Coconut Shrimp too!

Easy Coconut Shrimp

 

 

73 comments

  1. I’d like to start by saying that I love the addition of savory recipes to Sally’s Baking Addiction. This site is my typical go-to when I need a dessert and I think this recipe just became my go-to weeknight dinner for nights when I have no other ideas. I had been using another recipe for pecan crusted chicken which involved sauteing on the stove top – really a hassle, no big chunks of pecans, time consuming, and difficult to keep it from burning while cooking it through. This recipe is not the neatest or the fastest, but after tasting the results, I don’t think that matters one bit. When I first pulled them out of the oven I thought they might be dry and I was already thinking of how I might have to cook them next time at a lower temp. However, my husband had one bite and declared his love for this recipe and essentially forbade me from using my old one. Thanks for making your posts enjoyable and your recipes delicious!

    • Thank you so much Rachael– for both reporting back about this recipe and for saying you enjoy my savory recipes. Happy you both enjoyed these chicken fingers!

  2. I made this for dinner tonight and it was a serious hit!! I replaced the 1/2 cup of finely ground pecans with Panko bread crumbs and served it with two dipping sauces. I will definitely be making this again.

  3. Do you think this recipe would work with strips of frozen cod?

  4. Can you guess what’s for dinner tonight. Thanks

  5. Pecans go soooooo well with chicken like this! Always up for a bit of a twist on the classic chicken tenders go-to meal option. Thanks!

  6. Made these for dinner last night and they were quite good! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Hi Sally,

    Do you have a recommendation for a good store-bought honey mustard? I’m super picky about honey mustard and hoping the “condiment queen” has a suggestion 😀 Thank you!

  8. Hi! I only have roasted pecans on hand. You’re not specific about whether the pecans should be raw. Do you think they would burn if I tried it with roasted pecans, or did you use roasted pecans as well? Thanks! 🙂

  9. I just finished your Pecan Chicken and I just had to tell you how amazing it was!!!
    I put a few bits on a bed of coleslaw with chipotle dressing. I just loved it. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  10. I made these tonight for dinner and the pecan crust was absolutely delicious!! However, no matter what recipe I follow my breaking never stays on 🙁 I followed the recipe perfectly too! 

  11. If freezing do you freeze cooked or raw?

  12. Here in Fort Wayne, we have a local restaurant that has the best pecan crusted chicken. (In fact, we had them catered at our wedding reception.) I just made your recipe for dinner and they were the closest we have ever had to our local favorite. They serve them with raspberry chipotle sauce, which is to die for, so if you have a good recipe for that, too, I would love to try it!

  13. Help! Could I please have the nutrition information for this recipe? I need to know Calories, fats, carbs, and protein. Thanks

  14. Hi Sally:
    First off, I LOVE your food blog. Thank you for sharing so many great recipes. 

    I plan to make this maybe tomorrow night. But, I’d also like to make extra to freeze for nights when I have little time to cook (ok, ya, that’s most nights).  Do you coat the chicken and then freeze BEFORE cooking?  Then cook them directly from frozen?  Just confirming that I’m reading the directions correctly. Thanks a bunch. 
      Lisa

    • I freeze them AFTER baking. Then I reheat them while their frozen (do not thaw)– as if they were frozen cooked chicken fingers bought from the store. Does this make sense?

  15. Anyone have suggestions as to what would be great side dishes for this? 

  16. Do you think I could use almond or coconut  flour instead of all purpose? I saw this recipe and fell in love, can’t have regular flour. If not what do you suggest as an alternative?

    • Coconut or almond flour would be just fine for coating these chicken fingers.

    • Fun, that’s exactly what I am doing tonight!  I also used Coconut flour in my Swedish meat balls last week and no one could tell the difference! 

  17. My grocery store Publix sells pecan flour. It comes in a I thimk 12 oz. bag it is pricey but worth it. It is all ground up and ready to go.

  18. These turned out just like you said! Delicious! I put the chicken (I cut it in pieces after baking)  on a bed of baby spinach with chopped cucumber; red onion – sliced thin & mandarin oranges. I drizzled with a sauce/dressing made with equal parts of honey & spicy mustard. 
    EASY & YUMMY!

  19. These are such a favorite for the entire family! We love them chopped over a fresh salad! It’s our go-to dinner when we want something ‘light.’ Thank you for sharing!

  20. I’m prepping some freezer meals for post pregnancy… quick question (may be dumb, haha), do you bake these and then freeze? Or freeze unbaked?

  21. Can you tell me the calorie count per serving?
    Thanks!

    • I’m unsure. Calorie counting calculators online can often be inaccurate (different brands/products/etc) and I would hate to publish wrong information on my website. Sometimes I share an estimate, but that’s rare– feel free to calculate at your own discretion!

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