Mother Earth Living

5-Ingredient Recipe: Buttermilk Pecan Crusted Chicken

A buttermilk marinade and pecan-panko breading combine to create a tender, juicy chicken with a crunchy exterior in this recipe for Buttermilk Pecan-Crusted Chicken.
By Claire Robinson
May/June 2012
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Crunchy Buttermilk Pecan Chicken is coated in panko and pecans.
Photo By Stephen Murello

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Buttermilk Pecan Chicken

Four 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

1. Place each chicken breast on a cutting board and gently flatten it with a meat mallet or heavy, flat object to an even 1/3-inch-thick.

2. Marinate chicken in buttermilk for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

3. Create breading by pulsing pecans and panko together in a food processor until fine. Transfer breading to a large, rimmed dish.

4. Remove marinated chicken from buttermilk and shake off excess. Dip chicken in breading, evenly coating both sides.

5. In a large skillet, heat oil. Working in two batches, add breaded chicken breast and shallow fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from oil and drain on a towel-lined plate; season with salt and pepper immediately and serve. Serves 4. 

Note: If you’d rather not fry the chicken, bake it on a lightly greased baking dish for 25 to 30 minutes in a 375-degree oven.

Why this recipe sings: Highly acidic buttermilk is a fantastic tenderizer; soak any chicken you plan to cook—whether fried, baked or grilled—and you’ll be amazed at how juicy and tender the meat becomes.

If you have it: A couple splashes of your favorite hot sauce into the buttermilk marinade adds a pleasant heat to the chicken. Grated lemon zest stirred into the pecan and panko breading mixture will add a bright note to this deliciously crunchy chicken.

For more 5-ingredient recipes, see the original article, “5-Ingredient Recipes for Simple Cooking.”

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