In my mind, I’m a Southern Belle. I wear sundresses, speak in genteel tones, and cook Baked Fried Chicken on Sunday nights.

Oven Fried Chicken. Baked buttermilk chicken that tastes deep fried, but isn't!

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.

Oven Fried Chicken. Buttermilk chicken that's baked in the oven, but tastes fried!

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.

“Skinny

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.

Skinny Fried Chicken from the Back Around The Table Cookbook

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.

Baked Fried Chicken with Cornflake Crust

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

Oven Fried Chicken. Crispy buttermilk chicken that tastes fried but is baked! Healthy and delicious

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.

Oven Fried Chicken. Baked buttermilk chicken that tastes deep fried, but isn't!

Baked Fried Chicken

5 from 4 votes
A healthy recipe for buttermilk chicken that tastes deep fried but is actually baked! A cornflake crust makes the chicken golden and crispy on the outside, and a buttermilk marinade keeps it juicy and sweet on the inside.

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs

Servings: 6 chicken breasts

Ingredients
  

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to ½-inch thickness
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ tablespoon hot sauce I used Sriracha
  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

*Nutritional information is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. It has been calculated without the buttermilk, as most of the marinade is shaken off.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 474kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 32gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 72mgPotassium: 575mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1776IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 27mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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82 Comments

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  1. I seriously am in love with baked ‘fried’ chicken! I’ve been making a different version for years but seriously cannot wait to try your version! And…I even have buttermilk I was deciding what to with for dinner tonight…bingo! Every time I don’t know what to make for dinner and ask my husband what he wants he says ‘unfried chicken’ lol. And, love the sound of that cookbook, definitely going to add it to my list :)

    1. Hi Deb! Yes the chicken bakes for about 30 minutes, 15 at 400 degrees, then about 15 more at 350, though this may vary a bit depending upon the size of your chicken. Let me know if you need anything else!

  2. My friend is a wiz at buttermilk fried chicken. I’m always so jealous of her ways. I tried doing fried chicken once, and it was a total disaster. But baked fried chicken I can get down with. Pinned!

  3. I am SO excited about this! It looks perfect. We finally have an excellent Nashville-style Hot Chicken restaurant here in Columbus and it *might* be a new obsession. I can’t wait to try to make a baked version.

  4. I’ve never been much of a fan of fried chicken either, but maybe I’m just too far north! I’ll have to try this version, it looks amazing, and no deep fryer! :) I love the use of corn flakes – that would be so crunchy!

  5. Juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside and love the cornflake crumbs. . which I have always been meaning to but have never tried by the way!! love this baked fried chicken.. and I always love your intros!

  6. Hi Erin, I’m so excited to try this! I’ve never made fried chicken in my life. My mother never fried anything. I will share this with our son (and yours and Ben’s friend), Richard – both the recipe and my first attempt at making it! Richard made real fried chicken a few times in his last year of law school. He said it was very labor intensive and extremely messy! He will be thrilled with this new “spin” on an age-old recipe! Many thanks, Erin!

    1. Laurie, I have never made fried chicken in my life either, even though it tastes amazing when it is homemade. This recipe is so much less fuss, I am going to use it every time I have a craving. Hope you and Richard love it too!

  7. Oven-fried chicken is one of my all time favorite meals, Erin! I made some the other night. Yours looks perfectly crunchy and delicious. It’s hard to stop at one piece!

  8. My hubby loves a fried chicken establishment in the South known as Bojangles. I’m not a huge fan because of the grease it leaves all over you…I think this recipe could be a good alternative. The texture (and your photos) look fantastic!

  9. You never cease to make me giggle! I am from Iowa, so my pronunciation of “bag” is made fun of on a regular basis out here in Seattle ;) So I really wish I was a southern belle, so my voice would be cute and I could eat more of this fried chicken!!

  10. Oh my goodness, this baked/ fried chicken looks amazing. I love that it has that same great taste and crispiness of fried chicken – but with tons of the calories cut out!

  11. Okay, my mouth is watering. I LOVE fried chicken, but you’ve totally sold me on this baked version (spicy buttermilk marinade?! Yes please!) I wonder if multigrain flake cereals would work as well… seeing as those are what I have in the cupboard, I might have to give it a try!

  12. Oooooeeee that crunch!! Crispy chicken is one of those foods that just makes my little foodie heart go pitter patter. Love at first sight.

  13. Hi there! What sort of quantities would I be looking at if I only wanted to make 4 chicken breasts? Or even just 2? Also can you use normal milk instead of buttermilk?

    1. Hi Celia! To make a smaller batch, just reduce the quantities in the recipe proportionally. I think 4 breasts would be pretty easy to do-just cut everything down so that you make a third of the recipe total, since the recipe is written for 12 chicken breasts. With two, you’d be dealing with smaller fractions, but the same principle applies. Buttermilk for the recipe is really important, but fortunately you can make an easy substitution. One cup of milk stirred with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar and left to sit for 5 minutes will have the same effect. I hope that helps!

  14. Hi, I was wondering what type of paprika is used? Smoky, Hungarian or Sweet? I managed to convince my health concience Mum into making this as a ‘last meal’ before I move to Uni so I cannot wait to try this!

    1. Hi Ilona! I’m so excited and honored that you are trying this recipe with your mom. I just use plain old paprika (no special flavor), but I think it would be great with any of the ones you listed. Just pick the one you love the most.

  15. Discovered I had no chicken, so I made this using tilapia fillets. I also had no corn flakes so I used panko and replaced the poultry seasoning with Old Bay. It was the best baked fish we’ve ever had. Thanks for a great, flexible recipe!5 stars

    1. Diane, using this method for tilapia fillet sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out, and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it!

  16. When you note needing more breading than the recipe calls for, do I need to make 1.5 times what is listed or have you already upped the quantities from the original published version you mentioned?

    1. Hi Jen! I listed the recipe amount as originally published in the cookbook. I would suggest upping it from what you see printed here (I may have just been a little heavy-handed with the breading, but I figure it’s better to have too much than too little.)

  17. I have a 4 year old that won’t eat stuff that has too much of a kick. Would the recipe work just as well without hot sauce and cayenne? Maybe do a third of the batch without and the rest with…baby coming in 3 months and finding foods everyone will eat that I can make ahead and freeze as well!

    1. Hi Jennifer! You can absolutely leave it out—it will remove the kick, but the chicken will still be juicy and crunchy. Congrats on the new baby too :)

    1. Hi Paula! I don’t actually calc the calorie content of any of my recipes (reasons why can be found on my FAQ page), but I do know that there are many free online calculators available. A quick Google search should give you good options!

  18. Hello! First I’d like to say I got turned on to some of your recipes through My Fitness Pal and I absolutely adore them. I can’t wait to give them a try, especially the chili. I did notice that nutritional information wasn’t available and saw in one of your replies to another person that the reason behind that could be found in your FAQ page. So I gave that a look see, while that got solved, I got turned to a link you put that is supposed to lead to a mini Amazon Store of items you recommend and even use yourself. I thought it sounded lovely, but the link just opens your FAQ page in another tab. I can’t seem to figure out how to get to that amazing sounding store. Any tips?

  19. Hi Erin,

    this looks delicious and I absolutely want to try it! However, I want to adapt this to the Paleo diet. Do you have any suggestions for Paleo substitutes for buttermilk and cornflakes? Thank you!

    1. Hi Brittany,
      I’m sorry, but I’m not super familiar with the Paelo diet, as I don’t follow it myself. For the cornflakes, you’ll want something really crunchy that makes a great coating (but you also need the flour to make sure the coating sticks). Ground nuts might be an option. The buttermilk is harder, as that is what gives the chicken its juiciness. I’d suggest looking for a similar recipe that’s already Paelo-friendly for ideas and seeing if you can create your own fusion of the two.

  20. Is it possible to make this without buttermilk? I saw one of your comments saying that it could be substituted with milk+lemon juice, but will that work with stuff like soy/almond milk? I’m dairy free, but want to give this recipe a go! =)

    1. Hi Alexx! I’ve never tried using soymilk + lemon in place of buttermilk, but the lemon should give you the missing acid component that buttermilk has. I think that it is definitely worth trying. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  21. I was wondering if there is a substitute for the buttermilk? Do you think goats milk might work? I’m allergic to cow’s milk.
    Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try!

    1. Hi Erika! I’ve never tried this recipe with goat’s milk or soymilk, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work (although the flavor will be a bit different). I’d mix one of those two with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (to create a buttermilk substitute), let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then use it in the recipe as directed.

  22. Here, you talk about a marinade….”Pour the marinade into a medium bowl. Dredge each breast with the flour until fully coated, shaking off any excess. Then coat the chicken in the marinade, followed by a dredging in the cornflake mixture.” But what marinade? There isnt anything talking about a marinade prior. Completely threw me off.

    1. Hi MW—since “marinade” is a common term used for liquid mixtures that are used to marinade meat, here I was referring to the buttermilk marinade that the chicken rested in the ziplock back. I went ahead and added “buttermilk marinate” to the recipe directions. I hope that makes things more clear!

  23. Another new favorite recipe from your site! My husband always loves when I try your creations.  I definitely recommend extra cornflake mixture!  I ran out and I was only doing half a recipe with 5 pieces of chicken. 5 stars

  24. I made this tonight–super delicious and easy! I couldn’t believe how moist the chicken was and how crispy the coating. I have a non stick chicken roasting rack which worked beautifully. Will definitely make again. 5 stars

  25. Well, as a southern girl who has lived her whole life in Mississippi I have yet to successfully fry chicken! This recipe might possibly be my saving grace :) and shock my sweet hubby who eats whatever I cook…no matter how burnt it is! I cannot wait to cook this for our Saturday night supper club! 

  26. This looks delicious! However, I have a ton of chicken pieces in my freezer I’d like to use so I’m gonna go ahead and use legs and thighs and cook accordingly. I have used Panko to make fried chicken and since I don’t have cornflakes in my house would you recommend I can substitute? 

  27. I love fried chicken and the best I ever had was at a Cracker Barrel on Sun. nights. We were coming home from a fair in MA and we stopped there to eat. We got 2 huge chicken breasts that were so crisp and juicy I thought I had died and gone to heaven! LOL I’ve made fried chicken at home and your right, it’s a real pain and a mess to make. Its never come out like in a good restaurant. 
    I’ve never made this before  but I am dying to try it. Did you know you can buy corn flake crumbs in a box? Then you don’t have to buy a box and crush them up. Since I don’t like spicy and neither does my nephew and my mom gets a lot of heartburn, we will leave out the spicy, otherwise I will make this just the way you wrote it. With some amazing mashed potatoes, or french fries, I can’t decide which, and some green beans with butter and bread crumbs this will be an amazing meal! Now I’m making myself hungry! LOL

    1. Gail, good fried chicken is truly something special! I’ve never seen cornflake crumbs for sale already crushed, but I promise it’s not hard to do. If you try this recipe, I hope you love it! You are making me hungry too :)

  28. I have a box of already crushed corn flake crumbs. I have to check the date on it and if it’s not expired, I’m making this chicken this week! Will let you know how much I love it but I know I will. 

  29. Hi Erin! I know you said 12 chicken breasts, but do you have an approximate weight worth? I have massive chicken breasts (like 1lb each! They’re insane!) And I usually just cut them into quarters or halves etc for recipes. A rough estimate would be so helpful! Thank you!

      1. I know, they’re huge! But really convenient to divvy up for meals lol. I’ll probably try doing them into quarters!

        Thank you so much!

        1. Hi Kaity—just FYI: If you cut them into quarters for this recipe, you’ll need to reduce the cooking time, since it’s currently planned for 1 whole chicken breast (which would be about 1/2 the size of yours). Just wanted to make you aware!

  30. This was WONDERFUL! They are so full of flavor and moist… sometimes chicken breasts can be dry but these were perfectly juicy! I have Celiac Disease so I had to make a few changes. Instead of flour I used corn starch and instead of corn flakes (NOT a gluten free cereal because of the coloring) I used crushed up ruffled potato chips (ruffled because they are thicker). I will definitely be using this recipe again, thank you so much!5 stars

    1. I am soooo happy to hear this Dawn! Thank you for trying the recipe and for leaving this lovely review. Your tips to make the recipe gluten free are great too!

    1. Carole, since the chicken bakes in the oven afterwards, I didn’t have an issue with it, but certainly just do what you are comfortable with!

    1. Hi Lisa, I began adding nutrition estimates in 2016, but unfortunately it’s fairly time consuming so I’m not able to go back to previous recipes to add it. If you’d like, you can calculate it yourself for free at MyFitnessPal.com (what I use) or another online calculator. I’m sorry I’m not able to provide it for this recipe, but I hope MyFitnessPal will be a helpful resource for you!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Personally, I think that would throw off the flavor, since Wheaties are sweeter than cornflakes and wheatier in taste and texture. But if that doesn’t bother you, you can experiment.

    1. Hi Christina! I’ve only tested this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so it would be a complete experiment (and the cook times will vary). If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!