Oven Baked Fried Chicken

This OVEN FRIED CHICKEN tastes like KFC but with a fraction of the fat, which means you can eat your very own baked “fried chicken” whenever-you-want!!!

Your search for the best crispy Oven Fried Chicken recipe stops here.  This Baked Fried Chicken has been a family favorite since the day I first made it – and is about to become a new favorite of yours too!  The chicken is marinated in spiced buttermilk then breaded with flour, panko, cornmeal and spices then baked in a little butter for the BEST Baked Oven Fried Chicken ever!

There is nothing better than juicy, crispy chicken! If you’re looking for more breaded chicken recipes to sink your teeth into, don’t miss: popcorn chicken, baked chicken nuggets, Nashville hot chicken and baked Parmesan chicken tenders,

Oven Fried Chicken Recipe Video

a plate of crispy Oven Fried Chicken tenders with barbecue sauce and mashed potatoes


Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Recipe

America has some pretty awesome food, from Barbecue Ribs to Philly Cheeseseak Sandwiches to Beef  Brisket Sandwiches to Thanksgiving Turkey — but the best of all might be Fried Chicken!

I am not going to lie, I love fried chicken, especially my Nashville Fried Chicken.  BUT I honestly loved these Baked Oven Fried Chicken Tenders just as much!   NO EXAGGERATION.  So I think it’s safe to warn you that you  might go a little crazy for this Baked Fried Chicken recipe.  

And when I say crazy, I mean can’t stop obsessing about it, craving it, wanting every meal to be it.  Because this Oven Fried Chicken tastes like KFC but with a fraction of the fat – which means you can eat your very own KFC whenever-you-want.

I made this oven baked fried chicken while my brother was in town from New York over the holidays but it was coming out of the oven right when he had to leave to pick my other brother up from the airport….but he couldn’t pull himself away.  He said he would “try” the chicken, ended up eating his share of chicken tenders, taking one on the road and asked if I could bring any leftovers over – and “are they on the blog yet?”




In researching and testing this crispy oven fried chicken recipe, my goal was to create a baked fried chicken with a spectacular crunch on the outside but with a juicy, tender inside.  The chicken needed to boast loads of stand-alone-flavor without knocking your socks off.  Mission accomplished!  Now you can enjoy Oven Fried chicken without all the mess of frying or the clogged arteries!

showing how to make Oven Fried Chicken by marinating chicken in spiced buttermilk

What Makes This Chicken So Good?

And what makes this BEST Oven Fried Chicken so much better than other baked “fried” versions?

  • The chicken is marinated in buttermilk so it becomes super tender and also allows the breading to adhere better to the chicken.
  • The buttermilk is spiked with spices so the chicken not only becomes tender but infused with flavor as it bathes in spicy goodness.
  • The chicken breading isn’t just flour but a harmony of flour, panko breadcrumbs and my secret ingredient – cornmeal for extra crispiness.
  • The chicken breading is spiced to perfection with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika – no weird or exotic seasonings in this classic – just pantry staples!
  • The breaded chicken is baked in a little butter (a fraction of the fat from frying) resulting in moist chicken on the inside, crispy breading on the outside but without the guilt or soggy grease of their fried counterpart.  winning!
oven fried chicken tender being dunked in bbq sauce

Baked Fried Chicken Recipe ingredients

This baked fried chicken requires fewer ingredients than you’d think! Here’s everything you’ll need to make crispy oven baked chicken:

  • Chicken tenderloins: You can likely use chicken breasts as well, but you’d need to pound them to an even thinness and slice them into smaller strips.
  • Buttermilk: This tenderizes the chicken. You may also substitute with DIY sour milk (a mixture of regular milk and lemon juice or vinegar).
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour, but I’m sure gluten free flour, almond flour, etc. would also work.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko is much lighter and crisper than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Cornmeal: Be sure to use a finely ground cornmeal.
  • Unsalted butter: I prefer using unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in my healthy fried chicken.
  • Spices: I used a blend of salt, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and onion powder. So. Much. Flavor!

Can I Use a Buttermilk Substitute?

Yes! If you don’t have real buttermilk on hand, you can make your own. Simply combine 1 scant cup milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or neutral vinegar (like white or apple cider vinegar). Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, and then use as instructed in the recipe card below.

Can I Use Regular Breadcrumbs Instead of Panko?

I don’t recommend doing so, no. Regular breadcrumbs won’t give you the same crisp exterior as panko breadcrumbs.

pile of oven fried chicken tenders on blue plate

How to Make Oven Fried Chicken

This is such an easy oven fried chicken recipe! Just note that this recipe requires some advance planning since the chicken needs to marinate for a while.

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture into a freezer bag alongside the chicken and buttermilk. Marinate 6-24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper and add butter to the baking tray. Let it melt in oven while it preheats. Remove baking tray once butter is melted.
  3. Remove chicken tenders from buttermilk and dab off excess marinade with paper towels.
  4. Toss the chicken with the breading mixture to coat.
  5. Lay breaded chicken in butter on baking tray.
  6. Bake until crispy and cooked through.

How Long to Cook Fried Chicken in the Oven

This healthy fried chicken needs to bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 400F.

Can I Prep Oven Fried Chicken in Advance?

You can certainly marinate the chicken a day in advance, but I don’t recommend baking the chicken and serving it later. The breading on the outside loses its crispness as it sits in the fridge!

Tips for Making Baked Fried Chicken

  • You can use DIY buttermilk. Add one tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup  then fill the rest up with milk.  Give it a stir and wait 5-10 minutes to slightly curdle on top.
  • The longer you marinate your chicken, the more tender it will become.
  • Try to use chicken that is uniform in size so it every piece cooks in the same amount of time.
  • Take care to use unsalted butter so your chicken isn’t too salty.
  • Use a rimmed baking tray and to line it with parchment paper, NOT foil. The chicken will stick to foil and pull off the breading — no bueno.
top view of easy Oven Fried Chicken on a blue plate with potatoes and dipping sauce

What to Serve with Oven Fried Chicken

How to Store Oven Baked Fried Chicken

Healthy fried chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, it is good for 3 to 5 days. For best results, don’t stack your chicken directly on top of each other as this will make it more soggy.  Instead, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers. 

How to Reheat Oven Fried Chicken

  • Microwave: The chicken won’t be nearly as crispy if reheated in the microwave but it will still be flavorful.  Transfer crispy baked chicken to a microwave safe plate in an even layer. Microwave for 90 seconds, then in additional increments of 15 seconds as needed.
  • Air fryer: Place chicken in a single layer in the basket without touching, air fry using the “snack” setting  for 4-6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes to ensure the chicken doesn’t burn.
  • Oven: Spread chicken on a lightly greased baking rack set in a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, or until heated through.

How to Freeze Oven Baked Fried Chicken

crispy oven fried chicken being dipped in barbecue sauce in a white bowl

This crispy oven baked chicken actually freezes very well! To freeze:

  1. Cook chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.
  2. Space chicken apart on a baking sheet then transfer baking sheet to the freezer.
  3. Let freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.
  4. Add chicken to a freezer size bag, squeeze out excess air, and label.
  5. Freeze for up to 3 months. 
  6. Bake straight from frozen (so they don’t become soggy) on a lightly greased baking rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Now go get crazy and make this healthier Best Baked Oven Fried Chicken – your family and arteries will thank you!

Want to try this Best Oven Fried Chicken?

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Best Oven Fried Chicken

This Oven Fried Chicken tastes like KFC but with a fraction of the fat – which means you can eat your very own baked “fried chicken” whenever-you-want!!! The chicken is marinated in spiced buttermilk then breaded with flour, panko, cornmeal and spices then baked in a little butter for the BEST Baked Oven Fried Chicken ever!
Servings: 4 -6
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

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Spice Mixture


  • Mix Spices together in a small sealable bag. Add 1 tablespoon Spices, 1 cup buttermilk and chicken to a large freezer bag and marinate 6-24 hours. Store remaining spices.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper (foil will NOT work because the chicken sticks to it). Add the butter to baking tray and melt in the oven while it preheats. Remove baking tray once the butter is melted.
  • Mix together the flour, panko, cornmeal and remaining spices in a large bowl. Add half of this breading mixture to a large freezer bag.
  • Remove chicken tenders from buttermilk and dab off excess marinade with paper towels.
  • Add half of the chicken to the breadcrumb bag and shake until well coated, pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken with your fingers through the bag. Lay breaded chicken in butter on baking tray. Add remaining breadcrumb mixture to bag along with remaining chicken and repeat.
  • Bake at 400F degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden, then carefully flip the chicken over and bake another 5 minutes then broil to desired crispiness.*
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!



Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!
*If your breading is white in some places after you flip your chicken, this simply means it did not come in contact with the butter.  The chicken will still taste great exactly as is or you can lightly spray with cooking spray and proceed to broil.

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  1. Kristen says

    This is literally my go to breaded chicken tender recipe! Spices are on point. Crispiness is perfect! Absolutely delicious every time! I found this on Pinterest a couple of years ago and have never looked back!

    • Jen says

      Thank you thank you! I’m so glad you found a recipe that you love!

  2. Cindy B says

    I so want to make this crunchy baked fried chicken soon, but any idea if they would get crispy in a propane-fired oven? I live in my RV part of the year and have found in the past that tater tots, for example, will cook, but no matter how long I leave them in the oven they just don’t get crispy. 🙁 I will definitely be making this recipe once I return to my home and electric oven in the Spring, though. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jen says

      Gas ovens tend to be more humid, but I have heard that increasing the oven temperature helps. Maybe cooking the chicken at 425 degrees would do the trick, but I can’t know for sure! I hope it works out wherever you decide to make it!

  3. Elizabeth says

    Hello, I was wondering if you use a Tbs of salt or kosher salt? Thanks.

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