Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken - Egg-free, Grain-free, Low-carb, Keto

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Getting a crispy, flavorful crust that stays on chicken without coating it in egg and frying it is tricky, but this recipe does it! Tapioca starch and oil help this gluten-free and grain-free coating stick while making this Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken super juicy and flavorful, all without eggs!
Anyone who's ever tried it knows that it's really difficult to get breading to stick to chicken without using eggs. Take frying out of the equation, too, and it's quite a challenge to get any sort of crispy coating! Well I've been tinkering with this recipe for awhile, and I'm happy to say that I've figured it out. This Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken is super juicy and coated in a flavorful, grain-free crust, all without eggs!
Did you know that egg allergy or intolerance is actually somewhat common? Egg is one of the eight most common food allergens; the others include wheat, soy, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Thankfully, I don't have a life-threatening allergy, but I found out that I was sensitive to eggs just after my son was born. It forced me to rethink most of my recipes. This Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken is a perfect example.

The combination of tapioca starch and oil makes the "breading" stick and keeps the chicken incredibly moist, while the ground cashews add a nice crunch. The buttery flavor of the cashews along with the Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese together give this Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken great flavor! The best part? No breadcrumbs are used in this recipe. That's right, no eggs and no breadcrumbs. No grains at all, actually, which makes this recipe gluten-free as well as egg-free, low-carb and keto diet-friendly!

Health Benefits & Nutrition Information

This Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken provides plenty of protein and healthy fat, which will help you feel full so you don't overeat. But it also provides lots of vitamins and minerals, thanks to nutritious ingredients.
Parmesan cheese in the crust provides calcium and phosphorus as well as vitamin B12 and protein. Cashews also in the crust provide heart healthy monounsaturated fats as well as phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and a whole lot of copper (source). The avocado oil coating the chicken is also an excellent source of heart healthy monounsaturated fat.
The ingredients that make the crust on the chicken provide some good nutrients, but let's not forget about the chickenI feel like all types of meat have gotten a bad reputation in the midst of the saturated fat phobia and vegan craze of late. It drives me crazy because meat is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat! Just look at the all of the nutrients provided in chicken. The table below is from the World's Healthiest Foods website (source).
Chicken Nutrition Info from the World's Healthiest Foods
Image from The World's Healthiest Foods:
 You'll notice that the table above from the World's Healthiest Foods specifies "pasture-raised" chicken. That's because there are significant differences in the nutrients contained in conventional chickens and pasture-raised chickens. Meat from chickens raised in the pasture (instead of packed inside a hen house) contain more vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated and omega 3 fats (source). 

Pasture-raised chicken can be more difficult to find and more expensive, but the differences between pasture-raised and conventional chicken is so significant that I recommend buying it if you can! If you can't, at least insist on organic chicken. Not only is organic chicken far less likely to be contaminated with pesticides and herbicides than conventional chicken, but a side-by-side comparison shows that organic chicken tends to have more nutrients. Also, since organically-raised chickens cannot be given antibiotics, they are less likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria (source). And yes, that is as important as it sounds!

If you are struggling to afford organic or pasture-raised chicken, choose chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Not only are thighs a lot less expensive, they are more flavorful and juicy! 

Helpful Hints About Ingredients & Products

This Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken is juicy, flavorful, and easy to make! It's my hope that the helpful hints, ingredients and product suggestions that I make in this section make this recipe even easier for you. Amazon links to products are included below as part of my helpful hints. Some of them are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you purchase a product through one of my links. Thank you for supporting Taste Abounds!
  • You could use chicken tenders (chicken breasts sliced lengthwise into smaller pieces) for this recipe. But, you could save a lot of money by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead. Whichever you choose, aim for organic or pasture-raised chicken. See the section above for the reasons why. 
  • Grated or finely shredded parmesan cheese both work for this recipe. Again, just aim for organic or pasture-raised cheese. I provide a detailed explanation as to why in my Easy Stovetop Ribeye Steak with Compound Butter post.
  • I use my Ninja Master Prep to grind the cashews. It comes with a blender and food processor both for less than $40! I've been using mine for several years now and it's still my favorite kitchen gadget. You can check it out below and purchase it on Amazon, if you want. 

Check out the following video to see how easy it is to make this juicy Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken! Then keep scrolling for the recipe.


Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken

Grain-free | Gluten-free | Egg-free | Low-carb | Keto Diet-friendly | Nightshade-free | Primal

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6


 -  2 lbs chicken thighs or chicken tenders (about 8-10 pieces of chicken)
 -  3/4 cup cashews, pulsed 5 times to grind
 -  3/4 cup grated or finely shredded parmesan cheese
 -  1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
 -  1/2 cup tapioca starch
 -  1 tsp garlic salt
 -  1/2 cup avocado oil


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the chicken dry and set aside.

Place the cashews in a food processor or your Ninja Master Prep. Pulse about five times, or until the cashews are broken in small pieces about 2-3 millimeters in diameter.

Prepare three shallow bowls by putting the tapioca starch and garlic salt in one bowl, the avocado oil in another bowl, and the parmesan cheese, ground cashews and Italian seasoning in the third bowl. Mix each bowl (except the avocado oil) until well combined.

Dip each piece of chicken in the three bowls, tapioca starch/garlic salt mixture first, avocado oil second, and parmesan/cashew mixture last. Be sure to coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in tapioca starch and then gently shake off the excess. Dip in avocado oil and then press each piece of chicken into the parmesan/cashew mixture, ensuring that each piece of chicken is thoroughly and evenly coated. If there is any of the parmesan/cashew mixture leftover, use it to fill in any empty spots on the chicken (like where you were holding the chicken while dipping it).
Cook at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before devouring. Enjoy!

Getting a crispy, flavorful crust that stays on chicken without coating it in egg and frying it is tricky, but this recipe does it! Tapioca starch and oil help this gluten-free and grain-free coating stick while making this Parmesan Crusted Italian Chicken super juicy and flavorful, all without eggs!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for convenience. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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