Unbelievable Walnut Crusted Chicken

Or try my baked pecan crusted chicken fingers.

walnut crusted chicken in a skillet

This recipe comes straight from mama’s kitchen.

She makes it every spring and, depending how many join us for Easter supper and if we’re not in the mood for ham, she fixes it for the big meal. We enjoyed it for my high school gradation meal (whoaaa 14 years ago) and I can’t remember any other spring without it. Over the years, mom’s perfected her walnut crusted chicken recipe by adding a little more of this and a little less of that. I called her for the recipe the other week and she texted me a picture of it– an ancient magazine clipping that’s losing color with her little notes scribbled all over it. I darted to the kitchen like a hungry hangry madwoman.

walnut crusted chicken breast on a white plate with asparagus

I love this walnut chicken more than practically any other dinner. It’s those toasty walnuts, tender + juicy chicken, and sweet honey mustard for sure, but the nostalgia of the dish brings me right back home. I’ve waited too long to share this gem of a recipe with you!

So we’ve got the overall “this walnut chicken is so unbelievable” taken care of, but let’s chat about how practical this dinner is. It’s fancy enough for company and holidays– spruce it up with lots of bright herbs, homemade biscuits, fresh veggies and salad. It’s comforting enough for Sunday dinner with just the fam, but can also be pretty low key for a quick weeknight meal. If there’s only 2 of you, leftovers keep like a dream and a quick reheat in the oven brings the crisp coating back to life.

4 Steps to Walnut Crusted Chicken

  • Step 1: Marinate the chicken. Do this in the morning before you begin the day
  • Step 2: Coat the chicken in walnuts + flour + salt + pepper
  • Step 3: Sear the chicken to lock in flavor
  • Step 4: Bake until golden brown

You’ll marinate the chicken in a combination of olive oil, dijon mustard, white wine, garlic, and some thyme. The white wine certainly adds depth of flavor to the chicken, but if that’s not your thing: chicken broth works just as well.

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

I like to use whole wheat flour for the coating, but mom usually uses all-purpose. Either work. For walnuts, there’s no wiggle room. It’s gotta be Diamond! We’ve both been baking and cooking with Diamond of California for years. Best quality nut on the market and most certainly my favorite brand for baking. I’m grateful to work with such a well respected brand as well. FAN GIRL.

And hey! Instead of walnuts, finely diced pecans work just the same.

Searing the chicken is mom’s secret and here’s 3 reasons why she swears by it: the searing step locks in the flavor, ensures the walnuts adhere to the chicken, and gives that coating a head-start crunch. You’ll sear both sides in the hot skillet for only a couple minutes before transferring the dish to the oven.

SHORTCUT ALERT: Make life (and clean up!) a breeze by just using an oven-safe skillet that can go from the searing step right into the oven.

As the chicken bakes, whip up a sweet honey mustard glaze. Two ingredients for the glaze: dijon mustard again (what you used for the marinade) and honey. If walnut crusted chicken was an ice cream sundae, the honey mustard glaze would be the whipped cream + cherry on top. Both make it a truly delicious sundae, just as the glaze completes this delicious dish.

honey mustard glaze in a glass measuring cup

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

This unbelievable walnut crusted chicken is everything you want dinner to be, whether that’s a special gathering or a casual meal. Savory and wholesome, impressive and simple, toasty and crisp, saucy and straightforward. And if you’re a texture freak like yours truly– it totally delivers.

overhead image of walnut crusted chicken in a skillet

PS: those browned crispy walnut bits at the bottom of the pan are THE BEST PART.

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walnut crusted chicken breast on a white plate with asparagus

Walnut Crusted Chicken

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


My favorite chicken dinner is this unbelievably delicious and simple walnut crusted chicken. It’s an easy, savory, satisfying, crispy, and delicious make-ahead meal!


  • 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) finely diced walnuts
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • optional: fresh parsley for serving

Honey Mustard Glaze

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


  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 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Combine the walnuts, flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish– I like to use a 9×9 baking pan or pie dish. Remove the chicken, shake off a little excess marinade and dip both sides of the chicken in the walnut mixture. Make sure you coat it real well so there’s lots of delicious walnut coating!
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  4. Over medium-heat, heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet1. Add the chicken and sear for 2 minutes, 1 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.
  5. Whisk the glaze ingredients together and serve with chicken.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours in step 1.
  2. 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.
  3. From mama’s recipe book– we think originally from an old Bon Appetit issue.

More chicken dinners: easy sweet chili chicken | southwestern chopped chicken salad | skillet garlic chicken | slow cooker chicken chili | skillet lemon thyme chicken | baked pineapple teriyaki chicken | skillet cilantro lime chicken

walnut crusted chicken in a skillet


  1. Just made this for dinner today – awesome! I love your savory recipes – I am not much of a cook (hey, kitchens are made for baking, aren’t they?), but your recipes always turn out great!

  2. Jennifer @ Because Food Is Love says:

    This sounds amazing! I’ve never crusted chicken with nuts before and I love the combo of Dijon mustard with chicken and walnuts. Yum! Have you ever tried using almond flour instead of whole wheat? 

  3. I learned the hard way that walnuts go BAD! I had no idea until I finished making this and something tasted… off 🙁 Apparently when walnuts go bad they smell and taste like paint. I will try again with a brand new bag of walnuts!!!

    1. I freeze my walnuts as well as any other nut.

      1. Linda A Cece says:

        I also put my walnuts, pecan, etc in the freezer from the moment I purchase them. They stay a really long time in there.

    2. Great recipe taste great the only thing I added was a pinch of homegrown Greek oregano

  4. This looks really yummy! 🙂 Can the garlic be left out of the recipe?

    1. Sure can!

  5. Do you use around 2 lbs of chicken? Thanks!

    1. 4 large chicken breasts are usually a bit over 2 pounds 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh, Sally! I tried cooking it today and my husband absolutely loved it! When I pulled it out of the oven, my husband peeked a little below the aluminum foil; He was very excited to try it cos it’s sizzling! I drizzled it with honey mustard glaze and it’s the bomb!!! Will def make it part of our weekly/monthly dinner 😉 thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. You are welcome, Kate! Glad you like it too!!

      1. Hi Sally! can I Substitute the white wine with red wine? 🙂

      2. I don’t suggest it for this recipe.

  7. I had my in-laws over for brunch and EVERYONE loved this! Thank you!

  8. Jaclyn Culbertson says:

    Cooking this tonight!!! I love your savory recipes!! 

    1. ENJOY! I have a new dinner recipe coming this week! 🙂

    2. I’m not usually a subber on your recipes but my peeps don’t like walnuts or pecans! Would cashews work on this? Thank you as always!

  9. I made this last night and it turned out great! I was worried about the walnuts falling off the chicken but they stayed on just fine. I let the chicken marinade overnight and the next day prep was a breeze. The glaze is a perfect ratio of mustard and honey too. My *very* picky boyfriend approved of this dinner, whew! I paired this with homemade drop bisquits and a fresh salad, yum! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. So happy it was a hit all around!!

  10. Hi Sally! This looks amazing! I’m going to make this for dinner tomorrow but I’m wondering what kind of white wine you use for this? I never know what kind of wine to cook with‍

    1. Lately I’ve been using Sauvignon Blanc for this 🙂

  11. Would this work if I only marinated the chicken for one hour? I forgot to marinate the chicken this morning, and was going to try to make this for dinner tonight, but 1 hour is the max amount of time I’d have to marinate. I’d rather have it turn out, though, and make it tomorrow instead if need be!

    1. 1 hour would be fine, but when it comes to flavor and a tender texture– the longer the better!

  12. This was FANTASTIC. I’ve never made chicken breasts this tender before! FYI, I didn’t put the glaze on top (completely forgot haha) and it was still great, so if you want to avoid the extra sugar that’s an option.

    Can’t wait to make this again!

    1. Yes, they stay super tender! I have skipped the glaze before and agree they are still great!

  13. Unbelievable is right! We loved this chicken! I made this a day after I intended, so my chicken marinated for a day and a half, and it was great! My whole family enjoyed this very much, and I will be adding it to our regular rotation. Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe!

    1. So glad you tried and loved it!

  14. Very good, quick and easy too. I halved the recipe since the whole thing would have been way too much for just me and my two little ones. My son didn’t like the glaze, but liked the chicken without it.

  15. I just tried to make this and the walnut coating ended up kind of soggy. None of that delicious looking crispy texture. It was also coming off the chicken as I was flipping it in the pan before I seared it and it just falls off now, after I’ve taken it out of the oven. What did I do wrong? Is it possible the walnuts were *too* finely diced?

    1. Hi Mary! Too finely chopped walnuts could be it. Are you coating and then searing right away? It’s best to coat and then put directly in the pan to sear.

  16. Hey! I’m planning on cooking this for dinner tomorrow and was wondering what kind of veggies you think would go best with this?! Green runner beans maybe?

    1. I always serve with steamed or roasted green beans or asparagus. A light garden salad is wonderful too!

  17. Hi Sally,

    These are delicious! Ok, so I didn’t quite make chicken – I used tofu instead. But I followed the rest of the recipe pretty closedly (I also added some siracha to the honey mustard, only because I like a little kick). I saw the recipe on your facebook page and I just had to try it. For people who want to try this recipe using tofu, I suggest the puffed tofu (usually found in Asian grocery stores). I tried with pressed tofu, as well as puffed, but both my husband and I preferred the crispy texture from the puffed version. And when I reheated the leftovers at work, everyone was ultra jealous because it smells so darn good!

    Thanks for sharing your mom’s delish recipe 🙂

  18. Made this recipe, the chicken was super moist, delicious with the walnut crust/ Dijon mustard combination. The glaze tasted so wonderful with the chicken we drizzled it on a rice side dish we had with the chicken. I could definitely see using the glaze for dipping with other meats such as pork. Thank you, Sally!

  19. Would this work with bone-in chicken if I increase the bake time to an hour?

    1. Yes, it should!

  20. Stephanie says:

    The flavor was great, but the walnuts didn’t stay on. Any suggestions? Mine didn’t look anything like yours. Mine looked very dry. Please help as my husband wants it again, but would like the walnuts to stay on the chicken.

    1. Hi Stephanie, Are you coating the chicken and then searing right away? It’s best to coat and then put directly in the pan to sear.

  21. LOVE! One of our new fav’s (along with your chili topped with cornbread)

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. Absolutely fabulous recipe! My picky kids had second helpings! Definitely saving this one to go into the rotation. It’s really delicious!

  23. Patricia holt says:

    Could you use almond flour for lower carbs?

    1. Definitely!

  24. Michelle Strydom says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was incredible, so tasty and so tender! Would it be possible to marinate the chicken and freeze it?

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Yes, you can freeze it after step 1.

  25. Heather Gilbert says:

    This was really delicious. I made a number of changes, swapping out the herbs for fresh coriander. I would use ordinary French mustard rather than Dijon next time. I found the Dijon a tad too strong. I had no white wine, so used a splash of liquid Maggi seasoning and a splash of red balsamic vinegar, with a sprinkling of celery salt too. I forgot all about the foil. Seared it in a cast iron frying pan and then straight into the oven. I shall definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I’m so glad you were able to make it work and enjoyed it so much Heather!

  26. I would love to try this recipe but I absolutely HATE mustard of any kind. What would you suggest subbing for it Sally?

    1. Hi Bethie, Without the glaze on top it really doesn’t taste like mustard, but you can try simply leaving it out. It won’t be a flavorful but it should still work.

  27. Susan Jodon says:

    I made this last night and it became my favorite chicken dish!!! I marinated the chicken for about 6 hours and I used almond flour. SOOOOOOO GOOOD!!!!! Will be saving this once for sure.

  28. Vicki Zielinski says:

    My favourite chicken dish. So yummy and easy. I’m addicted 🙂

  29. Sally Richardson says:

    This was really good! Mine was a little oily even after baking, but I think the pan wasn’t hot enough and I had a little too much oil in it when I seared it. Next time I will measure the oil, and make sure it is screaming hot when I put the chicken in. But we loved it anyway! There will be a next time. . .

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