Diversify your weeknight meals with this delicious pistachio crusted chicken recipe. Packed with flavor, nutrients and lean protein, and naturally gluten-free, it’s the perfect dinner main. Get directions to cook it 3 ways; all come together quickly and easily.
Sharing great chicken breast recipes is something I’ll never grow tired of! Chicken for dinner is one of the most cost effective, healthiest options out there. And because chicken breasts are so mild in flavor, you can create a variety of flavors and textures.
This particular pistachio chicken recipe is perfect because it is gluten free, high in lean protein and healthy fats. And the coating creates the most unbelievable texture!
Why this recipe works
Creating delicious crusted chicken breasts often sacrifices nutrition for flavor. Heavy breading and/or deep-frying adds unnecessary calories or trans fats. Alternately, when you try to healthify breaded chicken, you’re often left with flavorless, dry breasts.
This recipe works because it sacrifices neither flavor or nutrition. The pistachio coating adds dynamite crunch, while a salt water brine packs in juicy flavor. No dry, bland or soggy breasts with this recipe!
And whether you decide to air fry, bake or pan fry, these are guaranteed to come out delicious.
- Chicken Breasts – I recommend using 4 breasts all uniform in size, and soaking them in a brine if time permits. Brining the chicken breasts first will produce exceptionally tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.
- Pistachios – Definitely go for unsalted and raw shelled pistachios, over dry roasted and salted. This will allow the flavor of the lemon zest and pistachios to come through a bit more.
- Lemon zest – While this is an optional ingredient, I would recommend adding it, as it complements the pistachio flavor just perfectly and adds just a hint of flavor that is hard to beat!
Step 1 – Place pistachios in a food processor or high speed blender, and process until finely chopped, but not powdery. You want to retain the crunchy texture. Transfer to a shallow bowl and add the lemon zest, garlic powder, dried rosemary and salt and pepper.
Step 2 – Place egg in a separate shallow bowl and whisk until well combined. Dip chicken in eggs and coat well, shaking off excess, then dredge in pistachio mixture. Place finished breasts on a parchment lined sheet pan.
How to Cook Pistachio Crusted Chicken- 3 Ways
Pan Fry – Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat and add about 2-3 tbsp of oil. Warm till oil shimmers, and add chicken. Cook approximately 5 minutes on one side, spraying with cooking spray before carefully flipping chicken, and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
Finish cooking in a 400 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Bake – Heat oven to 400 degrees, and place breasts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Air Fry – heat your air fryer to 390 for a basket fryer, and 400 for an oven fryer. Place chicken breasts in a single layer on the basket and lightly spray with olive oil or vegetable oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes for a basket or oven fryer. Flip over and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.
Yes! If you don’t have pistachios on hand, almonds, walnuts or pecans would be wonderful!
Yes! Pistachio crusted pork chops would be amazing, as well as a firm fish like halibut or salmon.
No, you certainly don’t *have to* brine the chicken, but it definitely makes a difference in how juicy and flavorful the chicken turns out. You can read about why that is in my Basic Brine recipe post. Even if you don’t have hours to brine the breast, soaking them for 1-2 hours will actually make a big difference!
Use a very thin spatula, like a seafood spatula to carefully flip the chicken during the frying process. This will keep as much of the pistachio crust on as possible.
When pan frying, do not heat the pan past medium, as a too hot pan will burn the pistachios before the chicken has been cooked enough.
If brining your chicken ahead of time, no need to salt before adding the coating. If you do not have time to brine ahead of time though, make sure to sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper before coating with the pistachio crust.
Why this dish is healthier
These pistachio crusted chicken breasts are healthier than traditional breadcrumb crusted chicken because of the added nutrients. Pistachios have several amazing health benefits, including high levels of unsaturated fats, fiber and protein. Some studies also indicate pistachios can lower the amount of fat and sugar in your blood.
In addition, the crust in this dish is naturally gluten free and low-carb, making it a great option for those following a Keto, Paleo or gluten-free diet.
Pistachio Crusted Chicken
- Food Processor
- 1 cup Unsalted shelled pistachios processed until finely chopped
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 4 Chicken breasts approximately 6 ounces each
- 1 Zest of lemon
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt & pepper plus 2.5 tbsp Kosher salt if first brining chicken breasts
- Optional first step is to brine chicken for 1-8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Place pistachios in food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
- Place pistachios in a shallow bowl, and mix in rosemary, garlic powder and lemon zest.
- Whisk egg in a separate shallow bowl.
- If you've brined the chicken first, sprinkle with pepper. If you have not brined, generously sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper.
- Dip each chicken breast into egg, then dredge in pistachios, pressing to adhere pistachios to chicken breasts.
- Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to pan and cook on each side for 4 -5 minutes.
- Place pan in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.