A crunchy crust wrapped around juicy, tender chicken, this pistachio chicken is easy to make and loaded with flavour. It works just as well as a weeknight dinner as it does for a crowd since it can be prepped ahead and is oven baked.

If you love chicken as much as I do, definitely try this baked salsa chicken and this creamy Tuscan chicken – both are simple and filled with flavour.

Closeup of pistachio crusted chicken breast next to potatoes and salad.

Why you’ll love it

Crunchy, nutty, rich and delicious, this pistachio chicken has everything you need. It works just as well during the week as it does an elegant dinner party.

  • Easy to make – the simplest breading method you’ll ever use
  • Filled with flavour – from pistachios, parmesan, Dijon mustard and the chicken
  • Amazing texture – Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside
  • Can be prepped ahead – so you can enjoy it on busy weeknights or for a crowd.

I serve mine with an elegant asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad and my roasted garlic parmesan potatoes – both recipes coming soon.

My simplified breading method

The problem with breading meats is can be tedious and messy. The seasoning can get left behind leaving you with meat that’s bland and now you have so many large dishes to wash, since they all have to be able to fit the meat in.

With this pistachio chicken, I’ve not only simplified breading but also made it more flavourful in the process. Here’s how;

  1. You normally start with flour. Not today – skip it, we don’t need it in this recipe
  2. Dip it in eggs. No way, too messy. I’ve swapped a number of eggs that you would normally dip your meat in, to just one yolk mixed with Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. This is brushed onto the chicken making it less messy and far more flavourful. No seasoning left behind, no wasted ingredients, no icky hands.
  3. Dip it in crumbs. This part is the same but the crumbs are a flavourful mixture of pistachio crumbs, panko crumbs and parmesan for flavour and texture. Use two forks to press your crumbs into the chicken and you never need to get hands covered in crumbs.

Ingredients for pistachio crusted chicken

Ingredients for pistachio chicken on a marble work top.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  • Chicken breast: I use skinless boneless chicken breast. You can also swap it for skinless boneless chicken thighs. I don’t recommend using bone in chicken here.
  • Egg yolk: You don’t need the white for this, just the yolk. This adds flavour and the right amount of moisture to make a paste perfect for sticking crumbs to.
  • Dijon mustard: Mixed with the egg yolk, this adds flavour without being overpowering.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt and pepper for seasoning, is added to the paste.
  • Pistachios: Unsalted pistachios give this chicken the most amazing nutty flavour. Blend them in your food processor or blend so that you have a mix of fine and chunky crumbs.
  • Bread crumbs: I more often than not, make my own breadcrumbs and they give the best crunchy coating. Feel free to do that or you can use panko bread crumbs which are light and crisp and very convenient. I recommend not using fine bread crumbs.
  • Parmesan: Please, please, please buy a block of real parmesan and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded parmesan has coatings and additives to stop it sticking together and is not always the best quality. Investing in real parmesan adds so much flavour – just use the fine side of a box grater or a microplane to grate it.
  • Olive oil: A little extra virgin olive oil added to the crumb mixture helps to get the outside nice and crunchy.
  • Lemon zest: The zest of one small lemon gives a little bright tang and balance to the rich flavours.

Tools you’ll need

  • A small bowl for the paste and a larger plate for the crumb mixture
  • A small pastry brush to brush the paste onto the chicken. I have one that I use for meat only.
  • Chopping board and sharp knife (if you’re making your own chicken cutlets)
  • A wire rack and baking tray.

How to make pistachio chicken

A collage of 5 images showing how to make pistachio chicken.

Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Prepping the chicken: If you have small chicken breasts, you’re good to go, however if you have larger ones, you’ll want to slice them in half horizontally (parallel to the chopping board) to make chicken cutlets – this way you get two small breast from one larger one.
  2. Make the paste: In a small bowl, mix together egg yolk, Dijon mustard and seasoning (photo 1).
  3. Make the crumbs: In a larger plate, that will fit a chicken breast, combine the pistachio crumbs, bread crumbs, parmesan, olive oil and lemon zest (photo 2).
  4. Brush on the paste: Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with the mustard paste (photo 3).
  5. Coat in crumbs: Use two forks to transfer one breast at a time to the crumb mixture, making sure to press it down firmly all over to coat well and really get the crumbs to stick (photo 4).
  6. Bake: Transfer the coated chicken breasts to a baking tray lined with baking paper (photo 5) preferably on top of a wire rack (which helps them get crunchy all over). Bake for anywhere between 22 and 30 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.

When is chicken cooked?

Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 74C / 165F in the thickest part. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature or, if you don’t have one, make a small cut in the chicken and make sure it’s not pink.

Tips and tricks

  • Use fresh pistachios. If your pistachios have been sitting in your pantry for a while, get some fresh ones. The flavour will be much better. Also feel free to swap to other nuts – macadamias, almonds, cashews and pecans all work a treat.
  • Don’t blend the pistachios too long or they will release oils and won’t be nice and crunchy. When you blend them, you want a good combination of bigger chunks and fine crumbs. Too chunky and they won’t stick well, but too fine and you won’t get the crunch.
  • Don’t overbake: Chicken breast can become quite dry if overbaked so keep an eye on it and I really recommend using a digital meat thermometer, so you know when it’s just perfect.
A baked crusted chicken breast, cut open on a dinner plate.

What to serve with pistachio chicken

Pistachio crusted chicken works well with so many sides.

  • Potatoes: Sweet mashed potato and regular mashed potato are both great. I served them here with garlic parmesan potatoes but classic roast potatoes or this easy cheesy potato bake work great. You could also try this warm potato and asparagus salad.
  • Vegetables: This rainbow vegetable tray bake adds colour, flavour and keeps things really simple. Or try this cheesy broccoli bake. Cauliflower is also delicious here.
  • Salad: I love love love my asparagus rocket and parmesan salad with this (recipe coming soon) but also this roasted beetroot and feta salad is an all in one side and can be semi-prepped ahead.
  • Pasta: Carb lovers like me will love a simple pesto pasta on the side – in this one, swap the celery pesto for your favourite, store-bought or homemade.
  • Sauce: This recipe does not have a sauce, however, serving it with a well dressed salad is sauce enough. If you want to serve it with a sauce, a gorgeous honey mustard dip would be great.

You’ll find loads more side dishes here that you’ll love.

Storage

  • Prepping ahead: You can prep this pistachio crusted chicken ahead of time, right up to the point that they would go into the oven. Prepped pistachio chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days (check the chicken use-by date) or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking as normal.
  • Leftovers: Leftover pistachio chicken will lose it’s crunch. While still tasty it won’t be as crunchy and you risk drying it out when reheating so try to make just enough to eat fresh.

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Top down view of pistachio crusted chicken on a dinner plate.

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A baked crusted chicken breast cut open to show the tender inside.

Pistachio Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Pistachio chicken is chicken breast crusted with a pistachio crumb mixture and oven-baked to juicy perfection. Quick and easy, this nutty chicken breast can be prepped ahead and works for a family meal or a dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 4 small chicken breasts (or chicken cutlets, see notes 2)
  • 1 egg yolk, from a large egg
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard (notes 1)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup shelled unsalted pistachios (100g / 3.5oz)
  • cup homemade or panko breadcrumbs (40g / 1.4oz)
  • ¼ cup packed finely shredded parmesan (25g / 0.9oz)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (notes 1)
  • zest of one small lemon

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 200C / 395F / 180C fan forced. Line a rimmed baking sheet with baking paper and sit a wire rack on top if you have one (it will give a crunchier result).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard, salt, pepper. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, or blender, process the pistachios to crumbs. You want it somewhere between chunky and fine crumbs.
  • In a high sided dish, large enough to fit a chicken breast, mix together the pistachio crumbs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, olive oil and lemon zest. Mix well so everything is coated in the oil.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the egg / mustard mixture over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Using two forks, dip the breasts in the pistachio mixture, pressing very firmly to coat well all over.
  • Place on your prepared tray, then bake for 22-30 minutes or until a digital thermometer reads 74C / 165F in middle of the thickest part.
  • Shown here served with Asparagus, Rocket and Parmesan Salad and Roasted Garlic Parmesan Potatoes.
  • Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I really appreciate it and it helps me create more recipes.

Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a 20ml Australian standard tablespoon – equal to 4 teaspoons worldwide.
  2. Chicken cutlets are chicken breasts that have been sliced in half through the thickness to make two small breasts. You can use 2 large chicken breasts in this recipe, then turn them into cutlets with this method.
  3. All ovens vary – many run hot or cold. I recommend keeping a separate oven thermometer inside your oven when baking so you can check the temperature.
  4. For more serving suggestions, see an extensive list of side options in the post above.
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