Unbelievable Walnut Crusted Chicken

This walnut crusted chicken served with honey mustard glaze is all at once wholesome and savory, crisp and saucy, super impressive, and very easy to make. It’s everything you want dinner to be, whether that’s a casual meal or a special gathering.

overhead image of walnut crusted chicken in a skillet

We make this dish every spring season and depending how many join us for Easter supper, we fix it for the main meal. Over the years, we’ve perfected this walnut crusted chicken recipe by adding a little more of this and a little less of that. The toasted walnuts, tender + juicy chicken, and sweet honey mustard are made for each other, and it’s truly versatile enough for all occasions:

  1. It’s fancy enough for company and holidays. Spruce it up with fresh parsley and serve it with homemade biscuits, rice, steamed vegetables, and/or a fresh leafy salad. 
  2. It’s also simple, yet special enough for a Sunday dinner with just the family.
  3. Finally, this walnut chicken makes for a quick, low-key meal on weeknights. And any leftovers keep like a dream – a quick reheat in the oven brings the crisp coating back to life.

Tell Me About this Walnut Crusted Chicken

  • Texture: Served warm out of the oven, you’ll enjoy crunchy chopped walnuts, tender juicy bites of chicken, and sticky sweet glaze with every delicious mouthful – if you crave texture, this recipe totally delivers. FYI: those browned crispy walnut bits at the bottom of the pan are the best part. Don’t leave them behind!
  • Flavor: This is a confidently balanced dish. The beautifully seasoned chicken, the nutty walnuts, and the tangy sweetness of the honey mustard glaze work so well together. The white wine in the chicken marinade adds depth of flavor, but if you’d like to skip the wine, you can replace it with chicken stock. And feel free to replace the walnuts with pecans.
  • Ease: This is a recipe for cooks of any skill level. Marinate the chicken, coat it in the nut mixture, and then bake. Serve with a 2 ingredient glaze. 
  • Time: Set aside about 30 minutes for hands-on prep, plus at least 4 hours to overnight for marinating the chicken.

walnut crusted chicken breast on a white plate with asparagus

Overview: How to Make Walnut Crusted Chicken

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it so you understand each step before you get started.

    1. Marinate the chicken. You’ll want to marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
    2. Coat the chicken in walnuts + flour + salt + pepper. The finer you chop the nuts, the more they’ll stick and stay on the chicken. 
    3. Sear the chicken. Searing the chicken before baking it is our secret and here are 3 reasons why: (1) locks in the flavor, (2) helps ensure the walnuts stick to the chicken, and (3) gives that coating a head-start crunch.
    4. Bake until golden brown. Transfer the seared chicken to the oven and bake.
    5. Make the glaze. Mix Dijon mustard and honey in a bowl and serve with chicken. If the walnut crusted chicken were an ice cream sundae, the honey mustard glaze would be the very necessary whipped cream + cherry on top– it just completes the whole dish!

chicken marinating in a plastic bag

ingredients for walnut crusted chicken coating

2 images of using tongs to coat chicken in walnut mixture and chicken breasts coated in walnut mixture in a glass baking dish

Serve With:

If you need ideas for side dishes that pair well with walnut crusted chicken, here are some of our favorites: homemade biscuits or dinner rollsbrown or wild rice, steamed vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, or broccoli, and/or a fresh leafy salad.


Tip: Use This Shortcut

Make life (and clean up!) a breeze with an oven-safe skillet that can handle all the cooking, from searing to baking. And while the chicken bakes, whip up the sweet honey mustard glaze. All you need are two ingredients: Dijon mustard again (what you used for the marinade) and honey.

pouring honey mustard glaze onto cooked walnut crusted chicken breasts in a saucepan

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family has over the years. A familiar dish can remind you of home, but only the best can take you there.

Print
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walnut crusted chicken breast on a white plate with asparagus

Walnut Crusted Chicken

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes (includes marinating)
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This walnut crusted chicken served with honey mustard glaze is all at once wholesome and savory, crisp and saucy, super impressive, and very easy to make. The dish pairs wonderfully with steamed vegetables, rice, and/or fresh salad.


Ingredients

  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 1/4 cup (60g) dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) very finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley for serving

Honey Mustard Glaze

  • 3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup (80g) honey

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken, olive oil, mustard, white wine, garlic, and dried thyme in a large zipped-top bagger container. Seal shut, give it a shake to combine, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Combine the walnuts, flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish such as a 9×9 inch baking pan or a pie dish. Remove the chicken, shake off a little excess marinade and dip both sides of the chicken in the walnut mixture. Coat it really well so there’s lots of walnut coating on each.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  4. Heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet* over medium heat. Add the chicken and sear for 2 minutes, 1 minute on each side. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through. (Chicken is considered done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the thickest part as at least 165°F (74°C).)
  5. Whisk the glaze ingredients together and serve with chicken. Garnish chicken with fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours in step 1.
  2. Walnuts: The finer you chop the walnuts, the more likely they’ll adhere and stick to the chicken. Feel free to replace the walnuts with very finely chopped pecans if desired.
  3. Skillet: If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, simply use a regular frying pan and transfer seared chicken to a baking pan before the oven.
  4. This recipe is a 20+ year family favorite, tweaked over the years and originally from an old Bon Appetit magazine issue.

Keywords: walnut chicken

45 Comments

  1. In place of dijon(I have none on hand) could I use honey mustard or would yellow mustard be a better alternative? Would it also work if I substitute chicken thighs instead of breasts? I rarely buy them and usually opt for chicken breasts but the thighs were on sale and I couldn’t resist. Haha

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brittany, yellow mustard would be a better replacement. Thighs should work as well. Let us know how it goes!

  2. Mary Schoeler says:

    Hi ! I made for the first time and I accidently put the chicken in a baking dish to finish in the oven. My chicken came out delicious but was very moist on the bottom and all the coating came off the bottom. Was it because I put in a baking dish instead of leaving in the skillet?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, the baking dish could be the culprit. It’s best to coat the chicken and then put directly in the pan to sear right away — that helps the crust stay in tact.

  3. One of the best chicken recipes I’ve ever made. I marinated the chicken overnight. Delicious flavor and so tender, it cut with a fork! I’ll make this again for sure!

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