When we’re short on time but I still want to put a delicious home cooked meal on the table, I often turn to recipes that combine a simple pan-seared chicken breast with a flavorful sauce. This Honey Garlic Pecan Chicken is a perfect example.
A thin chicken breast is seasoned and lightly dusted with flour, seared in olive oil, and then the sauce comes together by toasting some pecans and adding some butter, fresh garlic, and honey.
This is great served alongside some jasmine rice and a fresh vegetable side like broccoli or green beans. And the sauce is great served over the rice too!
Now, lots of folks avoid using boneless skinless chicken breast because they dry out so easily. The trick is to make sure not to overcook them. And the only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to equip yourself with an instant read thermometer.
Doing so will allow you to get that chicken right to 165° without it drying out. The thermometers are relatively affordable and can be use for so many things.
A few things to keep in mind with this recipe:
- The big thick chicken breast they sell in the store won’t work well in this recipe. It takes too long to cook them through. If that’s your only option, you can buy them and slice them in half for two thinner portions. And even though it might seem like a hassle (I know, been there, done that), pounding the chicken to a thin uniform thickness is super important. It allows the chicken to cook quickly and evenly. Just put the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a gallon ziptop bag (not sealed) and pound it to about a 1/2 inch thickness. They’re more expensive, but you’re paying for the convenience.
- Searing the chicken in the same skillet helps to build flavor. All the browned bits on the bottom of the pan (knows as fond) add flavor. You’d want to use a wooden spoon scrape all that off for your sauce when you add the broth. That said, you don’t want to burn all that goodness either, so watch and adjust your heat when searing the chicken as to not burn everything that hangs out in the pan.
- Toasting the pecans in the butter is key to getting tons of great flavor. Be sure to get them nice and toasty before moving to the next step.
- Garlic burns easily when added to a hot pan and can give your dish a bitter flavor. It only needs about a minute to cook before you add the broth.
Honey Garlic Pecan Chicken
- 4 thin, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Place chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to about 1/2-inch thick. Place on a tray and season both sides of the chicken with the seasoned salt. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
- Add the flour to a plate and lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Add it to the oil. The chicken should sizzle when you put it in the skillet. If not, allow the oil to heat a little longer.
- Sear the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and set on a wire rack. Cover with foil.
- Add the butter to the skillet and allow it to melt. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the pecans are fragrant. The butter will foam up. That's normal.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet to get the browned bits (also called fond) off the bottom – there's lots of flavor there.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the honey, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens – about 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.
Nutritional values provided are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
This was SO GOOD. I love pecans, so I was really looking forward to it, and it still exceeded my expectations by a mile.
Fantastic! I love reading comments like this one, Allison! Glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you for this recipe. What type of olive oil do you prefer to use (for searing in this recipe)? So many cooks these days call for olive oil in their recipes (as opposed to vegetable oil), but I am not sure which type is best for the various tasks. When shopping, I generally see options such as “classic,” extra virgin, or extra light. Do you have a preference?
Vegetable oil works just fine in this recipe. For searing like this, I generally prefer a light olive oil.
Fabulous thank you for sharing this recipe. Easy to prepare and everyone raved about it!!
Loved loved loved it!!!💕
Definitely going to save this in my top 5
That’s high praise! Glad everyone enjoyed it!
what a delicious dish! Definitely keeping this in my rotation!
Absolutely delicious! Served this with broccoli and rice. A keeper!!
Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it!
Wish the recipes from southern boys include nutritional values.
Many of my recipes call for convenience products and canned goods as shortcuts. The nutritional content of those types of products can vary wildly based on brand. Me including the nutritional content of one brand in the recipe and you using another could make the nutritional calculations wildly inaccurate. I think that’s pretty irresponsible. It’s super easy to find the info by choosing your favorite products and plugging them into a site like myfitnesspal.com to get the calculation. Hope that helps!
I made this last night for supper. It was outstanding and so easy to put together. Another SB homerun!!
Karen k Goodwin
wow, this is a winner winner chicken dinner, oh so good
Thanks, Steve! So glad you enjoyed it!!
Southern Home Express
I’m always looking for different ways to cook chicken, and this looks absolutely delicious! I always keep a variety of nuts, so I’ll try this soon. Thanks so much for all your delicious recipes!
Sure hope you’ll enjoy it!!
What you recommend serving with this?
Rice and a green vegetable side is what I normally do.
I’d make a chicken salad with it. Yum
I just made this tonight for my picky-eater husband and he did not complain. Since I had a lot of chicken, I doubled the sauce and it took a few extra minutes to thicken a bit, but it was delicious and I highly recommend it. I served it with some steamed white rice and veggies and the sauce was so good on top. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
So glad y’all enjoyed it, Brenda!
Stacey: This looks exceptionally nice, but unfortunately I can’t have nuts. Do you think it would work either without them, or with pistachios? I can have pistachios, which actually are not nuts, but seeds.
The Farmer's Daughter
I don’t know if this helps, but I’ve made this with toasted sesame seeds and it was delicious. I would think pistachios would work very well!
Thanks, Farmers Daughter, however, I can’t have sesame seeds either, my late father would have loved it with sesame seeds and would have eaten every single one off of his plate and left in the serving plate and skillet, he loved them so.
I have used pistachios in place of walnuts in my apple brownies, and I now do them without as I didn’t think that the pistachios contributed much flavor at all. I will have to try them with the chicken and see if they do better. The pecans would be great in this, they almost look like sticky bun chicken cutlets. 8). I will have to see if the pistachios do half as well.
I think it would be just fine without the nuts or with pistachios – either way. Enjoy!