Add toasty crunch to chicken without the frying – here are tips for making a nut coating – that are so easy you won’t need a recipe.
In the dinnertime rush, sometimes there just isn’t time to search for a recipe for that chicken in the fridge; this simple no-recipe recipe for nut encrusted chicken has saved dinner more than once at my house. Nuts add toasty crunchiness to skinless chicken – plus extra nutrition. It’s perfect for boneless chicken breasts or tenders; it also works for bone-in thighs and/or drumsticks.
Here are some tips to make sure your chicken comes out crispy outside, juicy inside – every time:
How to make nuts stick:
- Honey + mustard – Mix together a spoonful of each and and brush on. Need more directions? For every 1 pound chicken, use 1 tablespoon each of honey + mustard.
- Buttermilk – If you don’t have honey/mustard, pour a little buttermilk in large bowl; add chicken and toss to coat. Specifics: For every 1 pound of chicken, use 2 tablespoons buttermilk.
Which nuts to use:
- Best nuts for encrusting – Peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts or pecans – all work great – especially because they are easy to chop and toast beautifully in the oven.
- Use with care – Macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts are oilier – so watch them in the oven as they burn easier.
Best way to chop nuts for encrusted chicken:
- Add nuts, salt and pepper to a mini-food processor or spice grinder and process for 2 or 3 pulses. Don’t process too long or your nut coating will be all dust, no crunch! (Adding salt + pepper to the processor saves the extra step of salting/peppering chicken later.)
- Dump nuts/salt/pepper onto cutting board to chop remaining bigger nut chunks. Results: You’ll have a bit of finely ground nuts for coating the entire surface of meat with nutty flavor, plus you’ll have bigger nut chunks for crunch.
BIG benefits of ‘nut crust’ chicken are:
- Added flavor! – Toasting any nut adds warm, rich aromas – without lots of ingredients. Anyone in my kitchen always asks, “What smells so good?!”
- Added nutrition – Nuts have several nutrients not found in many other foods like:
B-vitamins – May be helpful in countering stress
Magnesium – Has been shown to help decrease symptoms of headaches, even migraines
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Helpful with heart health!
And for one more reason to make this…Tomorrow is National Nut Day – October 22! So we’re celebrating – along with everyone else at The Recipe ReDux with a theme of nuts. Check out all the nutty and nutritious recipes below!
And if you feel a bit more comfy with a real recipe – instead of a no-recipe recipe, here it is:Print
Honey Nut Crust Chicken
Simple no-recipe recipe and tips on which nuts are best for encrusting chicken. How-to photos included.
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken or 1.5 pounds bone-in chicken (see above post for suggestions on chicken cuts)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (or whatever kind you have)
- ½ cup peanuts, walnuts, pistachios – or any nut or seeds
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Coat a wire rack well with non-stick cooking spray. Place rack on baking sheet or bottom of a broiler pan. Heat oven to 375-degrees
- Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces (if using bone-in chicken, leave as is)
- In a large bowl, combine honey and mustard; add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.
- In a small food processor, add nuts then salt and pepper, pulse 2-3 times until coarsely chopped.
- Dump entire contents onto cutting board and chop larger nuts into pieces the size of sunflower seeds.
- Slide nuts onto a plate and press chicken pieces into nuts. Place chicken pieces on wire rack.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until chicken registers 165-degrees with a thermometer.
What is your favorite nut to use in cooking? Sweet or savory for your nutty creations?