Pecan Crusted Chicken is perfect for a weeknight meal. The pecan coating adds a crunchy texture, while honey mustard sauce gives a sweet and tangy bite, making a satisfying dinner everyone will love.
Savory, Oven-Baked Chicken with Sweet Honey Mustard
When I want to make something easy that will give my family something to ooh and ahh over, I reach for honey mustard. Somehow, honey mustard just isn’t often on my radar. I’m more of a garlic and olive oil girl most of the time – but when I do drizzle this luscious, creamy, sweet-and-sour sauce on something, it really is a refreshing change of pace.
Whether you serve honey mustard on fries, salads, or this pecan crusted chicken, you can’t go wrong!
Speaking of pecan crusted chicken, how great does that sound for a healthy, low-carb breading alternative? Crushed pecans are naturally sweet and savory, as well as high in healthy fats. By pulsing them in your food processor, it’s easy to make a fresh breadcrumb-like coating that will turn this chicken into a masterpiece.
One of the best things about this dish is that it only uses basic pantry ingredients that you probably keep on hand: a few seasonings, some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, mayonnaise, honey, and mustard. Here’s the list in more detail:
For the Pecan Crusted Chicken
- Pecans: Finely ground in your food processor.
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and paprika.
- Eggs: To coat the chicken and help the breading stick.
- Salt and Pepper
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise.
- Olive Oil
For the Honey Mustard Sauce
- Mayonnaise: Use whatever mayonnaise you love – regular, keto-friendly, olive oil, etc.
- Honey: Whatever kind of honey you like.
- Mustard: Almost any type of prepared mustard will work for honey mustard sauce. I like Dijon, but you could also use yellow mustard, spicy mustard, whole-grain mustard… each one brings a little different flair to the finished sauce.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh or bottled, whatever you have on hand.
- Spices: Garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder.
- Salt and Pepper
What Can I Substitute for Honey Mustard?
You might be loving the idea of pecan crusted chicken, but honey mustard isn’t your thing – or isn’t a good choice for the people you’ll be sharing the meal with. No problem! This chicken is perfectly seasoned and juicy on its own, and the flavor profile is versatile enough to go with lots of other sauces, too. Try serving it with aioli, some barbecue sauce, tzatziki, salsa, or even buffalo sauce. All yummy choices.
How to Make Pecan Crusted Chicken
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you get the crisp breaded coating of fried chicken without actually having to fry it! This easy oven-baking method is uncomplicated and makes a great dish.
- Get Ready to Bread the Chicken. Start by preheating the oven to 400°F and lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Make the Ground Pecan Mixture. In a food processor, make the mixture by combining the ground pecans, spices, salt, and pepper and pulsing a few times. Stop when the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Be careful not to pulse too much, or the mixture will turn into nut pecan-butter! 🙃 Spoon the ground pecan mixture into a shallow plate.
- Bread the Chicken. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl, and set them next to the plate of pecan crumbs. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, and then dip each one first into the eggs, and next into the pecan mixture to coat. You will need to press the pecan crumbs gently into the chicken to help them stick.
- Bake! Place the breaded chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet, and place in the oven to bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
- Rest. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Make the Honey Mustard Sauce. To make the sauce, just stir all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl (mayonnaise, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper). Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning as needed, and place it in a jar or other airtight container in the fridge, until you’re ready to use it.
How Do You Keep Breaded Chicken Moist While Baking?
One key to keeping skinless chicken (in any recipe) juicy is using the right temperature for cooking. You want the chicken to cook properly, without going too long and drying it out. The breading helps take the place of chicken skin, protecting the meat and keeping it juicy longer. But if you cook at too low of a temperature, it will still dry out. I recommend baking at 400°F for this recipe, so that the breading browns and the chicken cooks quickly.
Also, use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check on the chicken. Chicken breasts are cooked through when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
What else should you know about making this easy recipe? Glad you asked! These helpful tips are guaranteed to make your dinner a crowd-pleasing success.
- Ground Pecans: For best results, use finely ground pecans. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can place the pecans in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, small heavy saucepan, or meat mallet. This won’t result in pecans that are as evenly crushed, but it will do the job.
- Seasonings: The seasoning mixture is well-balanced and simple, but you can definitely change it up if you want to. Feel free to add more or less paprika, garlic powder, herbs, salt, and/or pepper. (Hint: A little cayenne is a great way to add heat.)
- Chicken: I love using boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, but you could substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Doneness: Whichever chicken cut you use, make sure to cook it to a safe internal temperature. A meat thermometer makes this easy! The internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 165°F (74°C).
Easy Serving Suggestions
Serve this easy chicken dinner with all of your favorite side dishes! Pecan crusted chicken is great with sides like…
- Asparagus: As long as you’re firing up the oven, throw in a pan of Garlic Butter Roasted Asparagus. This quick, healthy side dish is sure to become a favorite.
- Stuffed Avocado: This cute, wholesome appetizer also makes a great side salad, full of healthy fat and other nutrients. Plus, Caprese Stuffed Avocados are so easy to make.
- Potato Wedges: I am a total fan of potato wedges, and this recipe for Crispy Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges delivers all of that seasoned, steamy, crispy goodness. These will be your new go-to potato recipe!
How to Store and Reheat Pecan Crusted Chicken
- If you have any leftovers, they are so easy to store. Just place them in an airtight container or zip-top bag, and refrigerate for up to three days.
- To reheat, bake the chicken again at about 350°F until it’s warmed through.
Can I Freeze This Dish?
- Sure! Freeze the baked, pecan crusted chicken for up to three months. I recommend placing the chicken in freezer bags and pressing out as much air as possible before sealing, so that the chicken stays fresh for as long as possible.
Pecan Crusted Chicken
For the Chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a food processor, combine the pecans, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Be careful not to over-pulse into a nut butter – just a few pulses until the pecans are finely ground. Spread the mixture onto a plate and set aside.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Dip each chicken breast into the beaten eggs, then coat with the pecan mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere.
- Place the coated chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the pecan coating is lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
For the Honey Mustard Sauce:
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- If not using right away, cover the sauce and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
- Serve the chicken with the honey mustard sauce.