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!
Oven Fried Chicken Recipe Video
Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
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!
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 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.
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.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture into a freezer bag alongside the chicken and buttermilk. Marinate 6-24 hours.
- 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.
- Remove chicken tenders from buttermilk and dab off excess marinade with paper towels.
- Toss the chicken with the breading mixture to coat.
- Lay breaded chicken in butter on baking tray.
- 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.
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:
- Cook chicken according to directions then let cool to room temperature.
- Space chicken apart on a baking sheet then transfer baking sheet to the freezer.
- Let freeze for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is solid. This prevents the chicken from clumping together.
- Add chicken to a freezer size bag, squeeze out excess air, and label.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- 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.
What to Serve with Oven Fried Chicken
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Award Winning Sweet Moist Cornbread
- Baked Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon
- Kicked Up Classy Creamy Potato Salad
- Company Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Parmesan Fingerling Potato Fries
- Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch
- Perfect Fruit Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing
Looking for More Easy Chicken Dinners?
- Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
- Nashville Hot Chicken
- Homemade Popcorn Chicken
- Baked Cheddar Ranch Chicken
- Baked Coconut Cashew Chicken
- Chicken Divan
- All of my Chicken Recipes!
Now go get crazy and make this healthier Best Baked Oven Fried Chicken – your family and arteries will thank you!
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