Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Parmesan Crusted Chicken is guaranteed to be a new family favorite chicken recipe! Both kids and adults can’t keep their hands off of the easy comfort food made with pantry friendly ingredients – and soon you’ll taste why. The chicken is marinated in spiced buttermilk then breaded in a ONE STEP batter, drizzled with butter and baked to golden perfection. The chicken emerges juicy on the inside with a golden crunchy, cheesy crust on the outside and an explosion of flavor in every bite. The Parmesan adds nutty, salty, cheesy notes and the drizzle of butter is a nod to the decadence of frying without the hassle, mess or guilt. Serve this baked Parmesan crusted chicken recipe with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli for the ultimate easy comfort meal.
Servings 12 chicken tenders
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (it won't taste salty)
- 1/2 TBS EACH dried basil, dried parsley, garlic powder
- 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika, pepper
Mix Spices together in a small sealable bag or container; transfer 1 tablespoon spices to a large freezer bag. To the large bag, whisk in buttermilk, Dijon and egg. Add chicken and marinate 1 hour at room temperature or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Store remaining spices separately.
When ready to cook or anytime while the chicken is marinating, spread panko into an even layer on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.
Transfer toasted panko to a wide shallow bowl and whisk in Parmesan, flour, cornmeal and remaining spices.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack on a foil-lined baking tray and spray with cooking spray.
Working in batches, remove chicken tenders from buttermilk and dab off excess marinade with paper towels then add to the breadcrumb bowl. Coat the chicken with a clean hand, pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken.
Transfer breaded chicken to the prepared baking rack. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drizzle chicken with melted butter.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-18 minutes (18 only if tenders are large) then broil for 5-10 minutes until crispy, without moving the oven rack.
Serve with desired dip of choice.
Don't miss the "how to make" recipe video at the top of the post!
Tips and Tricks
- Chicken breasts: chicken tenders are inherently more tender than chicken breasts but you can still use chicken breasts thanks to the tenderizing marinade. To use chicken breasts, slice thick breasts in half through the equator to create cutlets (not necessary for small chicken breasts), pound chicken to an even thickness and then slice them into 2-inch strips. When making your own chicken strips, the key is to try and make them as uniform as possible so you don’t overbake/dry out the smaller pieces while waiting for larger ones to cook through.
- Panko: is a Japanese breadcrumb sold in every grocery store (including Walmart) usually next to the other breadcrumbs. It is the secret behind the CRUNCH in this recipe! Please do NOT use regular breadcrumbs or the chicken won't get crispy.
- DIY Buttermilk: add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring glass. Add enough milk (not nonfat) to equal 1 cup. Give it a stir and let sit for 10 minutes in order to activate and slightly curdle.
- Only use freshly grated Parmesan: grate Parmesan on the finest holes of your grater so it resembles powder. You can also purchase FRESH Parmesan from the deli department but don't use canned Parmesan.
- Bake on a wire rack: if you don’t have wire rack, then lightly grease foil and place in the oven to get nice and hot while you prep the chicken. Take care when adding your chicken because your pan will be HOT!
- Broil chicken: the chicken will be somewhat crispy after baking but broiling takes it to another level. Broil the chicken for a good 5-10 minutes – as long as it takes to get it as crispy as you like.
- Don’t stack chicken: resist the urge to stack the baked Parmesan crusted chicken or it won’t be as crispy. I know I didn’t follow my own advice in the photos so I can speak from personal experience that stacked breaded chicken will steam and you will lose that crispy coveted exterior. It is best to serve the chicken lined in a single layer with a little breathing room in between each piece.
- Dipping sauces: see the post for recipes for ranch dip, honey mustard dip, honey buffalo dip, etc.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, the chicken 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
The Parmesan crust will soften upon refrigeration so I suggest reheating your chicken in the oven or air fryer to revive the crispy texture. The microwave will warm the chicken but won’t improve the texture. To reheat Parmesan crusted chicken:
- Microwave: The chicken won’t be nearly as crispy if reheated in the microwave but it will still be flavorful. Transfer chicken tenders 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, until warmed through.
- Oven: Spread chicken on a lightly greased baking rack set in a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes, or until heated through.
HOW 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.
- 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 chicken 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.