Almond crusted chicken is really easy to make and super delicious. Plus it's healthy, low carb and high protein! This recipe uses only a handful of ingredients and comes together in around 30 minutes, so it's great for busy weeknights. And, you can even make it gluten free with one simple ingredient swap.
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I love an easy chicken dinner on a busy weeknight. If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to try my Garlic Butter Chicken Pasta, Creamy Skillet Chicken Thighs, Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts or Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir Fry.
All of these recipes are super scrumptious and can be made in around 30 minutes.
This salt and pepper chicken is also fabulous, and can be made in a mere 20 minutes!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Easy: this easy recipe requires only 9 common ingredients and comes together in 30 minutes.
Healthy: it's also low carb, high protein and keto friendly. Easily make it gluten free, if necessary, with one simple ingredient swap (details below)! Plus, this chicken is oven-baked and has substantially less calories than fried.
Reheats well: sometimes I don't like reheated chicken, but this particular recipe reheats really well and makes a great little lunch the next day.
Versatile: pair your chicken with almost any side or use it in a salad. You could even make it into a healthier "fried" chicken sandwich!
Tasty: it's just REALLY yummy, flavorful and juicy.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chicken: I have found that smaller chicken breasts are easier to work with, typically I buy organic because they're a much more manageable size and less woody in texture.
- Raw almonds: look for packaging at the store that specifies almonds as raw and unsalted rather than toasted. I find these taste best and are less likely to burn in the oven since they aren't cooked already.
- Flour: you can use regular, all-purpose wheat flour or a gluten free baking flour substitute. I've tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour and it worked fabulously.
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, ground black pepper and dried/crushed oregano.
- Egg: just one large egg whisked up with some water should be enough to coat your chicken and bind on a coating of crushed almonds.
How To Make Almond Crusted Chicken
Keep scrolling for the full recipe card and measurements. We’ll start here with a quick overview!
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Place chicken on a cutting board and slice in half, lengthwise, to create four smaller pieces or cutlets.
- Place all four pieces in a large Ziploc bag and pound with your first, or a meat mallet. About 15 seconds for each piece is plenty, you don't have to go too crazy, here.
- Now, add 2-3 tablespoons of salt to a large bowl of cool water.
- Place chicken in the salted water, or brine, and let it soak for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Don't skip this step! It will make your chicken SO much juicier and add great flavor.
Prepare breading station:
- While chicken soaks in brine, measure flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper onto a large plate and whisk.
- Place egg and water in a big bowl and whisk vigorously!
- Crush almonds in a food processor and transfer them to a large, shallow dish or plate.
- Remove chicken from salt water brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Coat each piece of chicken in the flour and spice mixture. Next, dip chicken into the egg wash.
- Last, coat chicken with ground almonds!
- Bake chicken at 400°F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown with an internal temperature of 165°F. I like using a meat thermometer to avoid under or over cooking.
Rest and serve:
- Allow chicken to rest for about 10 minutes, this will help the meat to retain juices and keep it from tasting dry.
- Serve chicken with all of your favorite sides and enjoy!
- Use raw almonds: at the grocery store, you can purchase bags of roasted almonds, or raw almonds (packaging often specifies). It's better to use raw nuts in this recipe, that's because they're going to spend some time in the oven! Already toasted almonds have the potential to burn, since they're already cooked.
- Reduce food waste: nuts can be expensive, so don't waste extra crushed almonds. If you have leftovers, after coating chicken, toast the crumbs on a separate baking sheet for a few minutes and use them as a topping for salads.
- Tenderize and brine: take a few moments to pound chicken pieces with your fist, or a meat mallet, and then brine in salt water for at least 15 minutes. Your efforts will pay off because these steps make a WORLD of difference and result in flavorful, tender, juicy chicken.
Can I use chicken tenders for this recipe?
Most definitely! You can absolutely buy a pack of chicken tenders from the store and use them in lieu of breast meat.
Fun fact: tenders are actually a totally different muscle than breast meat, whereas chicken strips are made by cutting a chicken breast into small, thin pieces. (source: national4hpoultry)
You can also make, or buy, strips if you want! Cut against the grain of the meat for optimal results.
When using tenders or strips for this recipe, you may need more crushed nuts simply because you'll be working with additional surface area. This would also apply for chicken nuggets, another tasty option.
What To Serve With Almond Crusted Chicken
This super versatile recipe goes with so many different side dishes, the options are truly endless! Here are some delicious ideas to get you inspired:
- Hot Honey or Baja Sauce (for dipping)
- More dip inspo: honey mustard, Dijon mustard, ketchup, ranch, poppy seed dressing, creamy balsamic dressing, barbeque sauce, buffalo sauce or mayonnaise.
- Roasted Broccoli And Cauliflower
- Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Simple Oven Roasted Asparagus
- Honey Feta Roasted Carrots
- Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- Cubed Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
How To Store Leftovers:
Allow leftover chicken to cool and then place it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days! You can also freeze your chicken in Ziploc bag or reusable silicone bag for up to 4 whole months.
To reheat your chicken, simply air fry or bake at 350°F for approximately 10 minutes, until warmed through. You could microwave to reheat, but I don't recommend this as it can lead to sogginess. Using the oven will makes almonds nice and crunchy again.
I really enjoy reheating my leftovers, cutting them into slices and adding to a salad for lunch. It's super delicious and the cold salad paired with warm chicken and toasted almonds is divine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not exactly! However, the flavors do carry a similar sentiment without all of the extra oil and calories. You can definitely use this recipe to make a healthier "fried" chicken sandwhich!
Yes! Each serving contains only approximately 10 net carbs, making this chicken keto-friendly and compatible for a low-carb diet. Breaded/fried chicken can contain a LOT of carbs, so nut-crusted chicken is a nice healthy alternative.
Absolutely! Pecans would work beautifully in this recipe. You could also do half pecans and half almonds.
It may have in the oven too long. I always use my meat thermometer to avoid overcooking! This chicken can also turn out dry if you skip brining or tenderizing, so be sure to complete these steps for TONS of extra flavor and juiciness.
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Easy Almond Crusted Chicken Recipe
- 1 Large baking sheet *the one I use is 13 x 17 inches
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper *optional but makes for easy cleanup
- Non-stick cooking spray (or olive oil) *optional but helps prevent sticking
- 2 8 ounce (1 pound total) skinless boneless chicken breasts *see note below
- ⅓ cup flour *regular flour or gluten free *see note below
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt *plus extra for brining
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup raw almonds *see note below
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons water
Recipe notes:Chicken: I like using smaller chicken breasts. They're easier to work with and taste better, in my opinion. Generally, organic chicken breasts are smaller so I tend to go this route. 8 ounces is a half pound, which means that a 1 pound package of chicken with two breasts in it should work well! Flour: I've tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour and it worked fabulously. Raw almonds: packaging will typically specify if almonds are toasted or not. Look for raw nuts that have NOT been toasted or salted. These taste best, and are less likely to burn in the oven since they haven't been cooked at all yet. General/brining: you can brine your chicken overnight and cook it the next day to save yourself extra time on a busy weeknight. Don't skip brining, it will make your chicken super flavorful and juicy! General/tenderizing: don't skip this step! It will make your chicken extra juicy and tender.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. You don't have to line your sheet or use cooking spray but I find this helps prevent almond crust from sticking to the sheet (and it keeps it on the chicken where we want it)! Plus, cleanup is a snap.
- Now slice both chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, to create 4 thinner cutlets. Place cutlets in a Ziploc bag and pound them with your fist or a meat mallet. About 15 seconds per piece will do, there's no need to pound them super thin.2 8 ounce (1 pound total) skinless boneless chicken breasts
- Add cool water to a large bowl and salt heavily. I typically add 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt, though any kind of salt will work. Stir gently until it dissolves completely, then add chicken cutlets, ensuring meat is completely submerged.
- Place chicken in the refrigerator and allow it to soak/brine for at least 15 minutes. You can also brine chicken overnight if you want to make things easier for yourself and plan ahead for the next evening.
- While cutlets are brining, combine flour and spices in a medium bowl or on a plate. Whisk until well incorporated and set aside.⅓ cup flour, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon onion powder, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- Next, measure whole, raw almonds into a food processor and puree until crumbly. I like leaving some texture/larger chunks, rather than blending until super fine. Transfer crushed almonds to a plate or bowl and set aside.1 cup raw almonds
- Measure egg and water into a bowl and whisk vigorously to create an egg wash, and once again, set this aside.1 large egg, 2 tablespoons water
- Now remove your chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Cover chicken in flour and spices, then dip in egg mixture. Finally, coat each cutlet with almonds. You can gently press crushed almonds into chicken with the back of a spoon, if desired. This can help nuts to stick better, but it's not necessary.
- Line chicken with almond coating on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden with internal temp of 165°F. I always use a food thermometer to avoid overcooking, which will surly lead to dry chicken.
- Allow to rest, then plate and enjoy!
- Refrigerate in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for 3-4 days. You can also freeze for up to 4 months!
- Reheat leftovers in the oven or air fryer at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until warmed through. You can also use the microwave, though I avoid it as chicken can become soggy.
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