Parmesan, Pistachios & Chicken…an Unexpected Match Made in Heaven!
If you ask me, quick & easy chicken recipes do not get better than good ol’ homemade chicken cutlets. It’s pretty hard to beat the contrast of perfectly juicy & tender chicken with a crispy, flavorful crust. (Fun fact! ⇢ This Crispy Parmesan Chicken is one of the first recipes I ever “developed” years back & to this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite chicken dishes!)
Today we’re taking classic chicken cutlets to new heights with this Pistachio Crusted Chicken recipe. It’s basically chicken cutlets turned fancy – you’re going to be obsessed.
While the combination of pistachios & parmesan cheese may be a little unexpected, they’re a seriously dynamic duo. Pistachios highlight the natural nutty richness of good parmesan cheese. When combined with panko breadcrumbs, this mixture of savory, nutty, & slightly sweet creates a beautiful coating for chicken cutlets. The chicken is then quickly pan-fried until gorgeously golden & completely juicy & tender. It’s so simple but feels like such a special treat.
I love making pistachio crusted chicken as an easy weeknight dinner, but this dish is also such a crowd pleaser! It’s the perfect main course for a date night in or for easy entertaining with friends. Everyone will LOVE these elevated chicken cutlets – they’re simply irresistible!
Parmigiano Reggiano Pistachio Crusted Chicken Recipe Highlights
You’re going to love this Parmesan Pistachio Crusted Chicken recipe because it’s…
- CRISPY & FLAVORFUL. There’s so much to love about tender chicken coated in nutty pistachios + savory parmesan, but the absolute best part is everything gets totally golden brown & crispy as the chicken cooks. It’s so good!
- EASY TO MAKE. While it sounds super fancy & looks super impressive, it all comes together in 30 minutes or less! This recipe is simple enough for weeknights yet special enough for an easy dinner party.
- VERSATILE. Serve pistachio chicken on its own, with a fresh salad, over pasta, alongside roasted veggies…whatever! It’s endlessly versatile, & that’s why I love it so much.
Who knew humble chicken cutlets could be so heavenly?! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Parmesan Pistachio Crusted Chicken, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
Pistachio Chicken Key Ingredients
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
You only need 7 simple ingredients to make this pistachio crusted chicken…
- Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts work best in this recipe, but they’ll need to be pounded pretty thin into cutlets. If your chicken breasts are large, butterfly them before pounding them into thin pieces. You can skip butterflying if your chicken breasts are on the smaller side. More info in the Recipe Notes!
- Panko breadcrumbs – This flaky Japanese-style breadcrumb creates an extra crispy texture that makes the pistachio chicken cutlets downright craveable.
- Pistachios – Buying shelled pistachios will save you loads of time! Finely chop them in a food processor for best results.
- Parmesan – For best results, splurge on real-deal Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s a super special Italian cheese with absolutely amazing complex umami flavor. Learn more about Parmigiano Reggiano below!
- Other basics – Namely all-purpose flour & eggs to dredge the chicken cutlets & high-quality olive oil to pan-fry the chicken.
Parmigiano Reggiano is an authentic Italian cheese with a full flavor that cannot be imitated. It’s exclusively produced in 5 specific provinces around Parma, Italy – so it’s super special! When I cook simple recipes with minimal ingredients, I like to splurge for authentic Parmigiano Reggiano because it’s an umami bomb of salty, nutty, rich, & savory flavor. It adds so much complexity to even the most simple dish!
Where to find Parmigiano Reggiano? ⇢ Look for it in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store. You’ll know you’ve found the real deal if you see pin dots on the rind!
Parmigiano Reggiano Tip! ⇢ This pistachio crusted chicken calls for a heaping pile of grated cheese, so you’ll likely need to break down a large hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano. The easiest way to do this is with your food processor! You can also finely grate the cheese in advance to save time around dinner. See the Recipe Notes for more info!
How to Make Pistachio Crusted Chicken Cutlets
If you’ve ever made breaded chicken cutlets before, the process used for prepping pistachio chicken will be pretty familiar to you! It only takes a few steps to prepare & bread the chicken, then everything cooks up quickly in a pan. Not to mention, it all comes together in about 25 minutes or less!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Prepare the chicken cutlets. If working with large chicken breasts, butterfly each into 2 thinner pieces. Place the chicken on a sturdy surface, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, & pound the chicken into ¼-inch cutlets. Why? ⇢ Thin, uniform cutlets ensure that the chicken reaches doneness just as the parmesan & pistachio crust turns golden brown. If the cutlets are too thick, the outside of the chicken will burn before the inside cooks through – no good! Getting an even cook makes the pistachio chicken a perfect balance of juicy + tender & crispy + golden.
Prepare the dredging station. Creating a dredging station helps makes breading the chicken a super streamlined process. Grab three large plates: place flour in the first, whisk eggs in the second, & mix the pistachios, panko breadcrumbs, & parmesan in the third. Reminder! ⇢ Be sure to add a dash of salt & pepper to each plate or bowl in your dredging station. This adds an extra bit of flavor to each layer of the pistachio chicken crust.
Bread the chicken. Work one by one to lightly dust the chicken with flour, submerge in the eggs, & finish with a coating of the pistachio-panko-parmesan mixture. Press the chicken into the final mixture to coat the chicken as completely as possible. Chicken Breading Tip! ⇢ To streamline the process, designate one hand as a “wet” hand for handling the chicken & the other as a “dry” hand for handling the flour & breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess coating as you work to keep each cutlet nicely breaded. This helps prevent pieces from falling off into the pan & burning as the chicken cooks.
Pan-fry the pistachio crusted chicken. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pan. Once hot, carefully add in the chicken cutlets & cook about 2 minutes per side until the pistachio coating turns crispy & golden brown. Why ⇢ The oil gives the pistachio-panko crust its gloriously crisp texture & golden brown color, while the quick cook time ensures the pistachio crusted chicken breasts stay completely juicy & tender.
*Recipe Tip! Serving a Crowd.
If you’re prepping a large batch for a crowd, you’ll want to cook the chicken in batches & keep the pistachio chicken warm & crisp for serving. Transfer cooked cutlets to a large baking sheet & keep warm in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven. I also like to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean-up. More info in the Recipes Notes, below!
Pistachio Chicken Serving Suggestions & More
One of the absolute best things about this pistachio crusted chicken is its versatility. While the pistachio chicken cutlets are amazing on their own, they’re also an easy add-on for any number of dishes.
Some of my favorite ways to serve pistachio crusted chicken:
- On its own, with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice & an extra sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano.
- With a simple, fresh salad: Pistachio chicken elevates a traditional Caesar salad beautifully. I also love serving it alongside a light & bright arugula salad with extra shaved Parmigiano Reggiano on top!
- Over your favorite pasta. I absolutely love tossing fettuccine or tagliatelle with Damn Good Kale Pesto & piling diced pistachio chicken over top.
- Alongside risotto. Pistachio crusted chicken & creamy risotto is the perfect menu for an easy-yet-elevated dinner party!
- With roasted veggies or potatoes. Always a classic! Roasted asparagus, green beans, carrots, or any of your other favorite vegetables make a great side for pistachio chicken. You also can’t go wrong with roasted potatoes or garlicky mashed potatoes!
I can’t wait for you to try this Parmesan Pistachio Crusted Chicken recipe! Despite being seriously quick & easy to throw together, it’s seriously flavorful & feels seriously special to serve & enjoy.
If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡
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Classic Chicken Dinners
Think of this Parmesan Pistachio Crusted Chicken recipe as chicken cutlets 2.0! Thinly sliced chicken breasts are coated in a mixture of crispy panko breadcrumbs, finely chopped pistachios & parmesan cheese, then pan-fried until perfectly tender & golden brown. Serve your alongside a light & bright arugula salad with shaved parmesan or on top of a bowl of your favorite pasta or cozy risotto!
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (roughly 1.5 pounds – see Recipe Notes)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 1 cup pistachios, finely chopped (see Recipe Notes)
- heaping 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- heaping 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Prep the chicken: First, butterfly the chicken. Use a large knife to carefully slice a chicken breast open lengthwise, creating 2 nice pieces. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast. Once butterflied, pound the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch thick cutlets. Cover the chicken breast with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it out to uniform thickness, about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside & repeat with the remaining 3 chicken breasts. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Set aside.
- Prepare the dredging station: Grab 3 large plates or shallow bowls. Place the all-purpose flour on one, whisk the eggs on the second, and mix the pistachios, panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the third. Lightly season each plate with kosher salt and ground black pepper, mixing to combine.
- Bread the chicken: Working one by one, give each chicken breast a light dusting of flour (shaking off any excess), followed by a light coating of egg (shaking off any excess). Place the chicken into the pistachio-panko-Parmigiano Reggiano mixture, pressing to adhere & coat the chicken as completely as possible. Shake off any excess breading and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
- Cook the pistachio crusted chicken: Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, give the skillet a swirl to ensure its entire surface is coated in oil. Working 2 chicken breasts at a time, carefully add the pistachio crusted chicken cutlets to the skillet. Be careful to avoid overcrowding the pan as it prevents browning. Cook 90 seconds – 2 minutes per side, until the pistachio coating is crispy & golden brown & the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate. If needed, add the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet & repeat with the remaining 2 chicken breasts.
- Serve immediately. These crispy Parmigiano Reggiano pistachio crusted chicken cutlets are great served with a simple salad or with a Caesar salad, over a simple pasta dish or alongside risotto – pretty much everything! Enjoy!
- Chicken breasts: It is very important to pound the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch thick cutlets, otherwise the Parmigiano Reggiano pistachio crust will brown before the chicken is completely cooked through. If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, pounding out to 1/4-inch thickness shouldn’t be too much of a problem! If your chicken breasts are larger, it will be helpful to butterfly them before pounding them out, as described in Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Prepping pistachios & Parmigiano Reggiano: If you’re working with whole, shelled pistachios & a larger piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, the quickest way to break them down is with a food processor:
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano: Chop a large piece of Parmigiano Reggiano into a few large pieces, transfer to the food processor, pulse to roughly chop, then let the food processor run until the Parmigiano Reggiano is as finely grated as desired. Grated Parmigiano Reggiano will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month.
- Chopped pistachios: Add the pistachios to the same food processor used to grate the Parmigiano Reggiano (no need to wash it, just wipe it out well between). Pulse 10-12 times, chopping the pistachios into fine pieces.
- Serving a crowd: If you’re prepping a larger batch to serve to a crowd, it’s helpful to keep the chicken warm once it’s cooked to ensure everything is warm when you serve dinner. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place cooked pistachio crusted chicken on the baking sheet after Step 4 & keep warm in the oven until serving.
- Storage & reheating: This pistachio crusted chicken is best served fresh, though leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The best way to reheat is to toast in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pistachio crusted chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes per side, until toasty & warmed through.
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: While these pistachio crusted chicken cutlets come together really quickly, you can eliminate nearly all of the active prep time involved by pounding out the chicken cutlets ahead of time. To prep, pound out the chicken according to Step 1. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. At dinnertime, all you have to do is dredge & cook – easy!
Keywords: pistachio crusted chicken recipe, pistachio chicken, chicken cutlets, easy chicken recipe, 30-minute recipe, dinner recipe, date night, pantry staples
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.