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Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

These spicy and crunchy pecan-crusted chicken nuggets are paired with a quick, creamy ranch dip.


4 servings

Prep Time

25 minutes

Total Time

40 minutes


  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 3/4cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/2cup pecan pieces
  • 2tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 1egg white
  • 1tablespoon water
  • 1pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4cup low-fat buttermilk or milk
  • 1teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 1/2teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Thoroughly coat a wire rack with cooking spray and set on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, pecans, chili powder and salt in a food processor; process until the pecans are finely chopped and the chili powder is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.
  3. Whisk egg white and water in a second shallow dish. Add chicken and turn to coat, then dredge in the pecan mixture, turning to coat evenly. Shake off excess. (Discard any remaining egg and pecan mixture.) Place the chicken on the prepared rack and thoroughly coat with cooking spray.
  4. Bake the chicken until no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk), dill and garlic powder in a small bowl. Serve the chicken with the dip.


To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (recipe makes 4 servings)

Calories 291kcal
Carbohydrate Total 16g
Total Sugars 2g
Added Sugars 1g
Fiber 3g
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 2g
Mono Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 67mg
Sodium 379mg
Protein 27g
Potassium 339mg
Calcium 53mg
Folate 8mcg
Omega-6 4g
Vitamin E 3mg
Zinc 1mg
Vitamin B3 11mg