This easy Oven-Fried Chicken turns out perfectly crispy and juicy every time! The special seasoning blend tastes just like KFC, but it’s made with wholesome ingredients in your own kitchen.
Perfectly Crispy “Fried” Chicken in the Oven
I seriously love chicken.
This year, since I really got into using my Instant Pot, I’ve been especially enjoying making chicken breasts in there (check out my tutorial on how to cook chicken breasts from frozen!). But one thing the Instant Pot cannot do is produce crispy, oven-fried chicken.
And that’s why we’re here 🙂
This oven-fried chicken breast recipe is perfectly crispy and juicy, without fail. It captures that KFC, special-herbs-and-spices flavour, without all of the deep frying and processed ingredients that go into the fast-food version.
Most of all, this is a recipe our family loves, and that we make over and over again. The last time I made it, it got rave reviews from our newest taste tester: our 10-month-old daughter! I know it’s a good one when she bounces up and down in her high chair, saying, “Mmm, mmm, mmm!” (and becoming upset when it’s not on her tray fast enough).
What You’ll Need to Make Oven Fried Chicken
For this recipe, I use chicken breast, but you could substitute chicken thighs, chicken tenders, chicken wings, or even legs. The seasonings and crispy coating are always delicious! Just remember that the cooking time will vary according to the cut of chicken.
- Chicken Breast: One batch of this recipe makes about 3-4 chicken breasts, or around one and a half pounds, cut into strips. One chicken breast equals about three strips, the way I cut them.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter is fine.
- Flour: All-purpose flour, or you could use gluten-free flour if you prefer.
- Panko: Panko breadcrumbs give the chicken a crunchy, crispy coating. Original or pork rind panko are fine.
- Salt and Pepper
- Seasoned Salt: This versatile seasoning goes with everything! I use Lawry’s brand.
- Paprika: Made from dried, ground peppers, paprika isn’t spicy, but it adds depth of flavor, a slight sweetness, and lots of colour.
How to Make Oven Fried Chicken
Depending on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces, you may need to adjust the cooking time, so always check your chicken for doneness before diving in. The safest way to do this is with a meat thermometer. The chicken should reach 165°F in the thickest part.
- Get the Oven and Baking Sheet Ready. To get started, preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet (10×15) with parchment paper, and brush the butter over the surface of the parchment. It might seem like a lot of butter, but that’s fine. It will help to crisp up the chicken coating!
- Bread the Chicken Breast Pieces. Combine the flour, panko, seasoned salt, salt and pepper, and paprika in a large paper or zip-top bag. Add the chicken to the bag, and shake the bag to coat the chicken pieces.
- Bake. Place your chicken on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a space between each strip. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes, flip carefully with a spatula, and bake for another 10 minutes. (Note: if the parchment is dry when you flip the chicken, add a drizzle of oil, to the to ensure the bottom pieces of chicken get crispy.)
- Check for Doneness. Check to make sure your chicken is cooked (165°F), as the thickness can greatly affect baking time. You want it to be done, but not overdone and dry. If it’s not yet up to temperature, bake for another 4-5 minutes at a time, until it’s cooked through
- Enjoy! Transfer the oven-fried chicken to a plate lined with paper towel, to soak up any excess grease. Serve immediately.
Why is my baked chicken not crispy?
While baking chicken isn’t always known for crispy results, this recipe really does deliver a crispy “fried” main course right out of the oven! Still, I wanted to add some tips that might help, if you find that your chicken is not as crispy as you’d like.
- Use Dark, Non-Stick Pans. Dark pans heat to a higher temperature than light-colored pans, which will help with getting a crispy coating.
- Use Moist Chicken. I keep my chicken breasts in the freezer, and then thaw them in the fridge. So they’re quite moist when it’s time for me to bread them, and a lot of the coating sticks to them easily. If you’re working with fresh chicken breasts, you’ll want to soak them in milk first (or buttermilk, which adds great flavour!).
- Use Butter, Not Cooking Spray. I know you might be tempted to bake the chicken with cooking spray instead of butter, but unfortunately, this just doesn’t work as well. The fat in real butter makes a lot of difference in crisping up the chicken! If you need a healthier substitute, try margarine or reduced calorie margarine.
- Watch the Parchment: When you flip the chicken, you may find that the parchment paper is a little dry. I recommend drizzling more butter or oil onto the parchment to help crisp up the bottom of the chicken as it cooks.
- Serve with Care: As the chicken sits on a plate, the underside may get a little soggy from condensation. Therefore, I recommend serving immediately. If you’re not serving right away, place the chicken on a rack, a plate lined with paper towel, or just keep it warm in a 225°F oven.
Can I make this ahead?
Yes! You can make the breading mixture and bread the chicken pieces, and then “flash freeze” them on a tray in the freezer until frozen solid.
From there, transfer the breaded frozen chicken to freezer bags, and keep for up to 3 months frozen. There’s no need to thaw them before baking, but you will need to add more cook time (around 2 to 5 additional minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken).
When it comes to serving oven-fried chicken breast, I like to go with classic, comforting sides. Here are some of our family favorites:
- Glazed Carrots: These simple Honey Glazed Carrots are made with honey, brown sugar, butter, and garlic. They add a sweet touch to the dinner table, and go perfectly with crispy, well-seasoned chicken.
- Mashed Potatoes: These easy, creamy mashed potatoes come together in the slow cooker, which makes them almost completely hands-off! Try Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes once, and you may just find yourself making them every week! (Looking for something even more indulgent? Try my Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes)
- Baked Beans: A beloved potluck favourite, sweet and savory Instant Pot Baked Beans come together quickly, but taste like they simmered all day.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
To refrigerate leftover chicken, allow it to cool on a wire rack or paper-towel-lined plate. Then transfer the cooled pieces into shallow, airtight containers. Store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze, place the chicken in a single layer on a tray in the freezer, until frozen solid. Then transfer the frozen pieces to freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat oven-fried chicken, place chicken pieces on a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 250 degrees just until heated through.
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The Best Oven-Fried Chicken
- 3-4 chicken breasts about 1-1.5 lb, cut in strips (I get about 3 out of one breast)
- 4-5 tbsp melted butter
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp seasoning salt I use Lawry’s
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- If using frozen chicken breasts, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. If using fresh chicken, soak the chicken breasts for 20 minutes or so in milk or buttermilk before breading (this is optional but it helps the breading stick).
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large piece of parchment paper on the rimmed baking sheet (10×15) and brush butter over the parchment. It might seem like too much butter, but you need it to crisp up the coating!
- Combine all ingredients besides chicken and butter in a large paper or ziploc bag. Add the chicken and shake to coat **
- Place your chicken on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a space between each strip. Bake 10 minutes, flip gently with a spatula, and bake another 10 minutes. (If the pan is dry when you flip the chicken, add a drizzle of oil to ensure the bottom crisps as well)
- Be sure to check to make sure your chicken is cooked (165°F), as the thickness can greatly affect baking time. You want it to be done but not overdone and dry. Bake another 4-5 minutes if needed.
- Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess grease. Serve immediately. To keep warm until serving, place on a wire rack on a baking sheet in a 225°F oven.
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