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Nutty Fried Chicken with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Milk Gravy

Nutty Fried Chicken is a fresh take on southern fried chicken. Coated in panko crumbs and ground mixed nuts and served over creamy mashed sweet potatoes.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4
Author Christin Mahrlig


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted and salted mixed nuts
  • 2 cups canola oil

Smashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Milk Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for 1-2 hours. Skip below to proceed with sweet potatoes and gravy while the chicken marinates.
  • Use a food processor to grind the panko crumbs and nuts until finely ground.
  • Heat oil in a cast iron skillet to 325 degrees.
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk and coat in panko/nut mixture.
  • Fry in oil until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Place chicken on paper towels to drain.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, maple syrup, and butter in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until potatoes are tender.
  • Place potatoes in a large mixing bowl and reserve any liquid that is in baking dish. Using a mixer, beat potatoes until smooth, adding reserved liquid as needed. (You can use a fork to mash the potatoes instead of a mixer.)
  • Mix in cream, salt, and both peppers. Keep warm.
  • Make gravy. Melt butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan.
  • Add flour and whisk into butter. Increase heat to medium and stir continuously for 2 minutes. (Do not let it brown.)
  • Gradually mix in milk and add salt. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick enough to coat back of spoon. Season with more salt if desired.


Cooking time is for chicken breasts on the thin side. I either flatten them or if they are really thick, I cut them in half horizontally.