Walnut-Coated Smart Fried Chicken


Crunchy on the outside from walnuts and moist in the center, this chicken is healthy too. Ask your meat market to cut the chicken into pieces and save the backbone for stock. Any leftovers can be added to noodle soup for a spicy chicken version.

Total Time
3 Hrs, 20 Mins

Total Time

Prep Time
20 Mins
Cook Time
3 Hrs
Total Time
3 Hrs, 20 Mins


500 cal
Total Fat
15 g
Polyunsaturated Fat
7 g
190 mg
620 mg
24 g
Dietary Fiber
3 g
63 g


  • 1 (3 1/2-pounds) skinless chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup California walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Place the chicken pieces and garlic in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover tightly and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a large, low-sided baking pan; set aside.
  3. In a large paper bag, large plastic bag, or bowl, combine the panko, walnuts, cornmeal, garlic salt, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano and black pepper. Shake well, or whisk, to mix.
  4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk allowing any excess to drip off. Set one piece at a time in the panko mixture. Shake the bag, or toss in the bowl, until well coated.
  5. Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared baking pan, leaving space between the pieces. Bake until deep golden brown, about 45 to 60 minutes. (An instant read thermometer should register 160°F for the white meat and 170°F for the dark.)
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature with Mollie’s Chicken Gravy or Brilliant Mushroom Gravy.