Oven Fried Chicken (Video!)

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?”

They.

Are.

Now.

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

Oven Fried Chicken 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.

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

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!

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

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.

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

What to Serve with Oven Fried Chicken

Looking for More Easy Chicken Dinners?

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?

Pin it to your CHICKEN, DINNER or HEALTHY Board to SAVE for later!

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

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
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 10 chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Spice Mixture

  • 1 tablespoon salt (it won't taste salty)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (may sub. regular)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • 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 oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper (foil will NOT work because the chicken sticks to it). Add butter to baking tray and melt in oven while it preheats. Remove baking tray once butter is melted.
  • Mix together 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 chicken and bake another 5 minutes then broil to desired crispiness.*
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

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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Reader Interactions

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164 Comments

  1. Judy Barbi says

    Could I use my air fryer for this? Looking to cut calories!

    • Jen says

      Hi Judy, I am not experienced with air fryers but I don’t see why not!

  2. Donna says

    Would it be possible to marinate and bread the chicken and freeze ithem before cooking?

    • Jen says

      Hi Donna, I don’t see why not! Just make sure they are fully defrosted before breading. Enjoy!

  3. Shristi says

    Hi,
    I made this recipie and the flavors and seasoning were on point. However, my chicken did not get crispy even after broiling. I felt my breading was the consistency of flour mainly even though I used Panko, flour and cornmeal as mentioned in your recipe. Any suggestions?

    • Jen says

      Hi Shristi, make sure you dab off most of the buttermilk or else there will be to much moisture and it won’t get crispy. I hope that helps!

  4. Kristin says

    I’ve had this recipe pinned for a LONG time, but I haven’t tried it until today. It is DELISH! I have 5 sons, and they are picky eaters. It’s very difficult for me to find any recipe where they all like it. After each son took a bite, they all said, “Mmmmm, Mom, this chicken is really good!” This chicken has great flavor! This is definitely a keeper. Easy and flavorful, and without all the extra fat of frying. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Kristin, thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m so pleased (and relieved ;)) this Oven Fried Chicken did not disappoint after you had it pinned for so long! I’m so glad it was a hit with all your sons and that its a keeper – the ultimate compliment, thank you!

  5. Jen says

    Thanks for this recipe. I’m a terrible freeloader who often pulls recipes from the internet but rarely comments. Had to come here to testify to how good — and easy— this recipe is! With the added time in the broiler, absolutely got cast iron skillet fried chicken results, without all the hassle of frying. A keeper for sure.

    • Jen says

      LOL, I love your “freeloader” description 🙂 Thank so much for taking the time to comment and endorse this oven fried chicken!

  6. Terri says

    Can I use it with regular milk instead of buttermilk. Because I find buttermilk has a very strong taste and I don’t want buttermilk taste in my chicken.

    • Jen says

      Buttermilk is used because the acid tenderizes the chicken, so you can use the DIY buttermilk substitute – add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup then add enough milk to equal one cup – give it a stir and wait 10 minutes. It will look slightly curdled which means it’s working. I hope that helps!

  7. Jennifer says

    This is one of our favorite chicken recipes! My kids are picky eaters and all of them will eat this chicken. I also like how it’s not fried so it’s a bit healthier. Also love that you can add any side to it. Mashed potatoes, French fries, salad, any veggie really.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Jennifer! I’m so happy even your picky eaters like this oven fried chicken!

  8. Tonya says

    Do you have a recipe for the sauce you show it being dipped in?

    • Jen says

      Sorry for the delay Tonya as I’ve been in Italy for two weeks. The sauce is actually just barbecue sauce – pick your fav or I have a homemade one coming soon.

  9. Carolyn says

    This chicken is delicious! Outstanding flavor and so incredibly juicy and tender! I do not do well frying anything, so this is an easy solution to fried chicken. I have made this recipe twice. Once with garlic Parmesan potato wedges and sauteed zucchini and then another time with broccoli rice casserole. Both times were a success. Will definitely be making this recipe again! Your blog is so helpful! Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your awesome comment Carolyn, I’m so pleased you’re loving the oven fried chicken and find my blog helpful! Both of your complete meals sound absolutely incredible!

  10. Cheryl says

    I’m so excited to try this recipe! I thought I had all the ingredients but I am missing cornmeal and not able to find it in any of our grocery stores right now. Is there a substitute for cornmeal that you would suggest? Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Cheryl, there isn’t really a good substitute. I would split it and use half flour and half panko in its place. Good luck!

  11. Marge says

    As per usual with your recipes, this was really yummy. The spices were perfect and we enjoyed it very much. You’re always brimming with wonderful ideas! Thank you so much

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your kind comment Marge! I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my recipes and that this was another winner!

  12. Jennifer Van Horn says

    Could I use the buttermilk and breading recipe for actual fried chicken? My family wants to use the fryer for chicken and waffles.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jennifer, I haven’t personally tried it, but I think it would be tasty!

  13. Sarah says

    This is a go-to recipe for me that always gets rave reviews from my kids. My husband and I enjoy it too! Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Sarah, I’m so pleased it’s a repeat favorite!

  14. Michele says

    This was awesome! I also had not-crispy chicken but I think I left behind too much marinade and I may have used too small a pan. However, even with a bit of extra moisture it was delicious! Thank you!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Michele, I’m so pleased it was a winner!

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