In my mind, I’m a Southern Belle. I wear sundresses, speak in genteel tones, and cook Baked Fried Chicken on Sunday nights.
In my reality, I wear thick wool socks over my leggings and say “bag” in that particular nasal way that only a resident of Wisconsin can emulate. I will, however, stand by my oven “fried” chicken. Juicy on the inside, crisp on the outside, and packing a subtle kick, this is a healthy dinner recipe that Miss Mississippi herself could not resist.
Fried chicken (and the entire concept of “meats and threes”) was mostly unknown to me until two of Ben’s and my best friends moved to Nashville, and I tried the real deal. I didn’t even think I liked fried chicken until I had it in Tennessee. Since, I’ve found good fried chicken a few places Up North, but it’s not something we go out for regularly, and I considered it way too fussy to make at home.
Then, I met this baked fried chicken and realized my unusual (but delectable) dreams of cooking fried chicken on Sundays were attainable after all.
I came upon this recipe for Baked Fried Chicken in one of my newest cookbooks, Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook by David Venerable. David is the program host of QVC’s cooking and dining show “In the Kitchen with David®,” and his latest book offers unique spins on comfort food.
The book is divided into 11 “mini chapters” based on different themes, such as “Low and Slow” and “Fresh and Flavorful.” I found this to be somewhat confusing and would have preferred to see each meal category—appetizers, desserts, etc.—grouped together so that I could view the full breath of options at once, but some might enjoy the more thematic approach. My favorite chapter was “Light and Bright”, from which today’s Baked Fried Chicken recipe (or as the book calls it, “Skinny Fried Chicken”) hails.
How to Make Crispy Oven Fried Chicken
What makes fried chicken additive is the juiciness of the meat and the crispiness of the exterior. This baked fried chicken offers both.
A spicy buttermilk marinade gives the chicken unbelievable moisture and a nice kick, and a coating of crushed corn flakes makes the exterior irresistibly crunchy. I don’t generally care for corn flakes, but after one bite of skinny buttermilk fried chicken, I developed a new level of respect for this humble breakfast cereal.
Although this recipe requires advance planning (I found that letting the chicken marinate overnight really amped-up the “juicy” factor), and the coating makes a bit of a mess, it is absolutely worth it. Even when reheated the next day, the meat was still incredibly sweet and moist, a rarity among chicken breast recipes.
How to Store and Reheat Fried Chicken
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat fried chicken on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot.
More Healthy Twists on Comfort Food
- Butternut Squash Casserole with Sausage and Sage Breadcrumbs
- Ham and Cheese Noodle Casserole
- Creamy Barley Risotto
- Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Baked fried chicken is set to become a Sunday fixture in our house. I’ll likely be wearing in thick wool socks instead of a sundress when I make it, but if I’m holding a mint julep, that evens out, yes?
I think I’m ready for the cotillion ball.
Baked Fried Chicken
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to ½-inch thickness
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ tablespoon hot sauce I used Sriracha
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ cups crushed corn flakes
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Place the chicken in a large ziptop bag with the buttermilk and hot sauce. Close the bag, turn until the chicken pieces are fully coated, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a wire rack with nonstick spray and place it on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Set up your dredging station: Place the flour on a wide, shallow plate. Set a medium bowl beside it (this will be for the buttermilk). In a separate, wide bowl (a pie dish works well), mix the cornflake crumbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and poultry seasoning in a shallow bowl until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and place them on a clean plate. Pour the marinade into the medium bowl.
- Dredge each breast with the flour until fully coated, shaking off any excess. Then coat the chicken in the marinade, shaking off any excess. Last, dredge it in the cornflake mixture, patting it a bit if needed to help the cornflakes adhere.
- Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared wire rack. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until the chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer) and crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes more.
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