Or try my baked pecan crusted chicken fingers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PS: those browned crispy walnut bits at the bottom of the pan are THE BEST PART.
Walnut Crusted Chicken
- 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 Diamond of California 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
- 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.
- Combine the walnuts, flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish-- I like to use a 9x9 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!
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
- 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.
- Whisk the glaze ingredients together and serve with chicken.
Make ahead tip: You can marinate the chicken for up to 12 hours in step 1.
- 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.
From mama's recipe book-- we think originally from an old Bon Appetit issue
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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
In partnership with Diamond of California.