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Dukkah Chicken (Oven and Air Fryer)

The easiest chicken dinner you'll ever make! Just 2 main ingredients to make flavorful and juicy Dukkah Chicken Breast in the air fryer or oven. Dukkah is a delicious and fragrant middle Eastern seasoning blend, and you'll love the flavor that it gives to chicken breast. The tasty little sesame seeds and seasonings in the dukkah get nice and toasted in the oven while the chicken bakes, and yields super flavorful chicken.

Sliced dukkah chicken over a salad
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What is dukkah?

Dukkah (also sometimes spelled duqqa) is a seasoning or condiment mixture originating in Egypt and the Middle East. It typically consists of ground nuts (usually hazelnuts or other nuts) as well as dried herbs and spices, such as coriander seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, marjoram, salt, pepper. Dukkah is typically not spicy at all, just flavorful, but be sure to read the ingredients and watch out for chili or other spicy peppers.

Dukkah is usually much coarser than typical seasoning blends which are blended into a fine powder, and that's because dukkah is typically made by pounding all the ingredients together instead of blending them. 

I have a recipe for homemade pistachio dukkah so you can make the spice mixture yourself!

Dukkah seasoning in a white bowl

The exact components of dukkah vary from family to family (and brand to brand), since everyone has their preferences and traditions that they pass down to the next generation.

Dukkah is often served as a dip with bread—it adds a really nice savory salty flavor and a little texture to the bread and makes for a great appetizer.

Related recipe: Za'atar Smashed Chickpea Pitas

Dukkah chicken breast

In this recipe, I used dukkah to season chicken breast and make a really nice dukkah-crusted chicken! 

I live in a town with a large Egyptian population, and because of that there are so many great Egyptian restaurants and shops where I discovered dukkah and fell in love with its flavors.

Dukkah chicken on a plate with salad

This dukkah chicken is great because it is very lean and high in protein, while being flavorful thanks to Dukkah and juicy thanks to a quick and easy brine. And of course, dukkah seasonings would work really well on other cuts of chicken, such as chicken thighs or chicken leg quarters, and you can even skip the brine in that case!

I hope you give this recipe a try and love the flavors as much as we do!

Related recipe: Ethiopian Berbere Chicken Stew

Where to buy dukkah

You can find dukkah spice blends at many Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Lebanese stores and specialty spice shops, but even large grocery stores sometimes carry it in the spice aisle! Trader Joe's has dukkah, or you can get their brand on Amazon.

If you can't find it locally, there are a few great options on Amazon, that I will link to below. Keep in mind that every dukkah seasoning will taste a little different because there are literally dozens of ways to combine different ingredients in different amounts, and the flavor will also depend on whether hazelnuts or other nuts are used as the base.

Related recipe: Moroccan Meatballs

Ingredients to make dukkah chicken

Ingredients

These ingredients will make 2 chicken breasts, but the cooking instructions and times are the same if you want to double the recipe!

  • For the salt brine: 4-6 cups cold water and 4-6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup dukkah seasoning
  • ½-1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter, for brushing the chicken (I really love this refillable sprayer)
  • Optional: salt and pepper (I skip this when using the Spice Way Dukkah because it already contains salt)

Ingredient tip: Give your dukkah seasoning a taste and see if it is very salty, just a little salty, or not salty at all. If it's pretty salty, you probably don't need to add any more salt to your chicken. If it's not very salty at all, you'll need to season the chicken with a tiny bit of salt before adding dukkah to it.

More Middle Eastern recipes to try: Couscous Tabbouleh

Equipment

  • ~2 quart container big enough to hold salt water + chicken breast, so you can brine the chicken
  • Large plate or cutting board
  • Paper towel to pat the chicken dry
  • Olive oil sprayer or silicone brush to brush on olive oil or melted butter
  • Baking pan or air fryer
  • Meat thermometer (a MUST for making sure the chicken is fully cooked but not overcooking the chicken!)

More Middle Eastern recipes: Chicken Kofta Kabobs

Instructions

Step 1: Combine the water and salt in a ~2 quart container and mix until the salt is half dissolved (it will continue to dissolve on its own). Depending on the container size and the amount of chicken you're adding to it, you might need anywhere between 4 and 6 cups of water. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Add the chicken to the container and make sure it's covered. Let it sit for at least a half hour, or up to 6 hours. If brining for more than a half hour, place the chicken in the fridge. Otherwise, the cold water and cold chicken will stay cold enough for a half hour at room temperature to keep the chicken safe.

Brining two chicken breasts in a container

Step 2: Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the salt water, rinse it carefully (try to minimize splashing, and make sure to wash the sink and your hands after). Place the chicken on a large plate and pat it really dry with a paper towel.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 400F.

Step 4: Place the chicken breasts on your baking pan and brush or spray the chicken with olive oil, or brush with melted butter. 

Step 5: If your dukkah seasoning is not very salty (or salt-free), season the chicken breast on all sides. Otherwise, skip this step.

Step 6: Sprinkle dukkah seasoning on top of the chicken breasts. Use your hands to gently press the seasoning into the chicken and spread it all around the top and sides of the chicken breasts.

Dukkah coated chicken breast on a baking pan

Step 7: Bake at 400F for 25-35 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken is at least 165F when measured with a meat thermometer. The exact cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts, the efficiency of your oven, and how close the chicken is to the heat source. Check on the chicken after ~22-25 minutes to make sure you're not overcooking it.

Dukkah crusted chicken on a baking pan

Step 8: Remove from oven and let the chicken rest (aka just let it sit) for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Dukkah chicken breast over a salad

More Middle Eastern recipes to try: Shakshuka with Beans

Air fryer instructions

Once your chicken is crusted with dukkah, carefully place it on the air fryer tray or basket. Preheat air fryer to 350F. Air fry for 18-22 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken is 165F when measured with a meat thermometer. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

More chicken dinner ideas: 30 Thin-Sliced Chicken Breast Recipes

Cooking tips

If you don't have a meat thermometer, you can check on the chicken and carefully slice the top to peek inside. If it is all white inside (no pink left!) then it is cooked. 

If you find that the dukkah seasoning is getting too brown during baking but the chicken is not cooked through yet, you can lower the heat and/or carefully cover the chicken with foil. However, I have not had this happen because the salt brine keeps the chicken nice and juicy and doesn't let it dry out enough to burn.

Dukkah is gluten-free, but not nut-free. If you want to make a nut-free dukkah seasoning, you can crush sunflower seeds with coariander seeds, cumin, sesame seeds, and your choice of other seasonings, such as fennel seeds, dried mint, dried marjoram, salt, and pepper/peppercorns.

More air fryer poultry recipes: Air Fryer Cornish Hens

Quick salt brine chicken breast

I brine the chicken breasts in salt water for this recipe, just to make them extra tender and juicy. I recommend that you do the same if you have an extra half hour because it is such an easy step (all you need is water, salt, and container to hold the chicken) but helps make juicy chicken. You can even brine the chicken for up to ~4-6 hours in the fridge, if that helps with planning for dinner prep.

The brining step is optional if you're short on time.

Salad with sliced dukkah crusted chicken on it.

What to serve with dukkah chicken

This dukkah chicken is flavorful yet neutral enough to go with almost anything. By the way, I'm not trying to be an Egyptian food expert here! Just sharing a fun chicken seasoning that might be new to many of my readers, and recommending a few easy dishes that go well with it at our house.

This dukkah chicken is amazing sliced and placed on top of a salad. It makes for a great high protein lean lunch.

Otherwise, serve it with your favorite side dishes! It's great over turmeric garlic rice or with some couscous. It works really well with roasted potatoes and veggies, such as za'atar roasted potatoes. Or pick your favorite canned potato side dish for an easy dinner.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Dukkah chicken breast over a salad
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4.95 from 19 votes

Dukkah Chicken (Oven and Air Fryer)

Nutty, fragrant, flavorful, and so delicious! This Dukkah Crusted Chicken Breast couldn't be any simpler to make and is amazing with your favorite side dishes or over salad. The recipe has oven and air fryer instructions.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Brine time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Egyptian
Diet: Gluten Free, Kosher
Servings: 4
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • For the salt brine: 4-6 cups cold water and 4-6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup dukkah seasoning
  • ½-1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter - for brushing the chicken (I really love this refillable sprayer)
  • Optional: salt and pepper - (use only if your dukkah does not contain salt)

Special equipment

  • ~2 quart container big enough to hold salt water + chicken breast, so you can brine the chicken
  • Large plate or cutting board
  • Paper towel to pat the chicken dry
  • Olive oil sprayer or silicone brush to brush on olive oil or melted butter
  • Baking pan or air fryer
  • Meat thermometer (a MUST for making sure the chicken is fully cooked but not overcooking the chicken!)

Instructions

  • Combine the water and salt in a ~2 quart container and mix until the salt is half dissolved (it will continue to dissolve on its own). Depending on the container size and the amount of chicken you're adding to it, you might need anywhere between 4 and 6 cups of water. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Add the chicken to the container and make sure it's covered. Let it brine for at least a half hour, or up to 6 hours. If brining for more than a half hour, place the chicken in the fridge. Otherwise, the cold water and cold chicken will stay cold enough for a half hour at room temperature to keep the chicken safe.
  • Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the salt water, rinse it carefully (try to minimize splashing, and make sure to wash the sink and your hands after). Place the chicken on a large plate and pat it really dry with a paper towel.
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Spray or brush your baking pan with oil.
  • Place the chicken breasts on your baking pan and brush or spray the chicken with olive oil, or brush with melted butter.
  • If your dukkah seasoning is not very salty (or salt-free), season the chicken breast on all sides. Otherwise, skip this step.
  • Sprinkle dukkah seasoning on top of the chicken breasts. Use your hands to gently press the seasoning into the chicken and spread it all around the top and sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Bake at 400F for 25-35 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken is at least 165F when measured with a meat thermometer. The exact cooking time will vary, check on the chicken after ~22-25 minutes to make sure you're not overcooking it.
  • Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Air fryer dukkah chicken
  • Preheat air fryer to 350F. Place dukkah-crusted chicken on the air fryer tray or basket. Air fry for 18-22 minutes, or until the thickest part of the chicken is 165F when measured with a meat thermometer. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Notes

Try making your own pistachio dukkah!
If you don't have a meat thermometer, you can check on the chicken and carefully slice through the center to peek inside. If it is all white inside (no pink left!) then it is cooked. 
If you find that the dukkah seasoning is getting too brown during baking but the chicken is not cooked through yet, you can lower the heat and/or carefully cover the chicken with foil and let it continue cooking.
Dukkah is gluten-free, but not nut-free. If you want to make a nut-free dukkah seasoning, you can crush sunflower seeds with coariander seeds, cumin, sesame seeds, and your choice of other seasonings, such as fennel seeds, dried mint, dried marjoram, salt, and pepper/peppercorns.
The nutrition facts are estimated assuming a portion of ½ chicken breast per person, but will vary depending on the size of chicken breasts and the brand of dukkah seasoning used.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal (9%) | Carbohydrates: 2g (1%) | Protein: 25g (50%) | Fat: 8g (12%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg (24%) | Sodium: 221mg (9%) | Potassium: 418mg (12%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Vitamin A: 34IU (1%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 6mg (1%) | Iron: 0.4mg (2%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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