Oven "Fried" Chicken with all the Fixins. Crunchy, juicy, completely delicious chicken!

Oven "Fried" Chicken with all the Fixins. Crunchy, juicy, completely delicious chicken!

This chicken is unbelievable! So crunchy and so juicy on the inside! I’ve been on a hunt for a good oven fried chicken preparation method for quite a while… Unfortunately, none of the recipes I tried appealed to me.

The problem with “frying” the chicken in the oven is the time variation between how long it takes for the chicken to cook through and for the coating to crisp up. In a deep fryer – the chicken cooks through in the same amount of time it takes for the coating to crisp up. Not the case with the oven! The chicken cooks in about 20-30 minutes, while the coat doesn’t get crispy until about 45 minute mark. Result – by the time the coating is any kind of crispy the meat on the inside is dried out!

I tried lighter coating of just flour and cornmeal, which resulted in the best flavour, but again, less crunch and drier meat. I tried thicker traditional “egg-flour-crumbs” coating. Unfortunately, that resulted in unevenly breaded chicken. I was close to giving up! Then I decided to try a tempura-style coating. I went for the most basic recipe for the batter. Potato starch, different gluten free flours can actually make the batter lighter, but I wanted to stick with the ingredients that most people may already have in their pantries. Next interesting thing that happened was that I didn’t have any seltzer, so I used Ginger Ale in my batter. I thought, not a big deal, I was just checking for the texture consistency… But guess what – Ginger Ale added such nice subtle sweetness to the dish, which I didn’t expect but was pleasantly surprised with!

I’m really not quite sure why the chicken comes out so moist in this recipe. I’m guessing the batter coats the chicken, protecting it during cooking and enclosing it in a way that the meat almost ends up steaming on the inside. Completely delicious and juicy!

Even crunchy coating!

PS. The chicken in the picture above is coated with Panko on the left and crushed Cornflakes on the very right. I preferred the Panko, but Cornflakes variation was not bad either. Give it a try sometimes, if you wish.

I love to pair this chicken with quick delicious and healthier homemade gravy! Yum!

I like to pair this crispy flavourful juicy chicken with celery root, parsnip and potato mash. This lightens up the meal while enhancing the nutritional profile with many additional nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and various health benefits found in this assortment of root vegetables. It also happens to be absolutely delicious! Last but not least, I’m adding some quick homemade gravy. It’s made with celery, carrot, onion, chicken broth, oil, salt and pepper, thickened with just a bit of flour. Typically, when I hear the word “gravy,” I don’t necessarily think “health food.” But with this quick gravy – you get bone broth (that has been touted by nutritionists to be extremely healthy) enhanced with some vegetables. Since there isn’t one diet that we all agree is healthy (otherwise we would all already be on it) – you decide if this gravy feels healthy to you. But the taste will definitely make you happy!

This combination works very well. Although this dinner takes more effort than a typical quick weeknight pan sheet dinner, it’s definitely worth the extra effort!

The result – healthier, delicious, harmonious meal, so very reminiscent of the fast food chain staple, without weighing you down!

Hope you give this a try! Enjoy!

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time55 mins

 ½ tsp kosher salt (or half as much if using fine table salt)
 ½ tsp paprika
 2 - 3 lbs chicken of choice - chicken thighs (about 8-12), chicken drumsticks or thighs. Do not use white breast meat. To lighten the meal - remove the skin.
For the batter:
 ¾ cup flour
 1 tbsp cornstarch
 1 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
 1 tsp fine table salt
 pinch of cayenne, optional
 1 - 1 1/2 cups Ginger Ale, Carbonated or soda water will work
For the crunch:
 3-5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
 pinch of salt
 couple tablespoons of olive oil for the pan and for drizzling
 cooking oil spray, optional if you don't have, but use for best results

1

To get everything ready:

Preheat the oven to 400.
Ensure your Ginger Ale or carbonated water is cold.
Combine the batter ingredients (except Ginger Ale or carbonated water) and sift into a bowl. If you skip the sifting, whisk them to combine and aerate.
Place panko breadcrumbs in a bowl or a large plate.
Generoursly oil a baking sheet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil - use as much or as little oil as desired, but keep in mind that the oil will help the chicken to crisp up.
Remove the skin from your chicken pieces, if desired. This will further lower the calories and don't worry, the chicken won't dry out.

3

Pour1 cup of Ginger Ale or carbonated water into the sifted batter ingredients. Whisk to combine. At first the batter will bubble up. The batter should be quite runny but should still coat the back of your spoon if you use it to test for consistency. The goal here is to gently drench the chicken and get the panko crumbs to adhere. We are not creating the same thick batter we would use for a deep-fryer tempura. To reach the described consistency, add the remaining Ginger Ale 1 TBSP at a time; I almost always use the full 1 1/2 cups of Ginger Ale to get that perfect consistency.

Dip the chicken into the batter, hold it above the bowl letting the excess batter to drip down. Then drench the chicken lightly into the Panko breadcrumbs and place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

MORE IS NOT BETTER when breading this chicken. Bread lightly. You want the panko to be distributed evenly but lightly. This will result in crunchy, properly cooked chicken and coating.

4

Very lightly drizzle with olive oil. If you have an oil spray - that would work best as it will evenly coat the chicken with oil, help it crisp up while using as little oil as possible.

5

Bake your chicken in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, turning it 180° after about 30 minutes of cooking. If you breaded the chicken lightly, everything should be properly cooked at about 40 minutes - the breading should be crisp and the chicken should still be very juicy. If you breaded the chicken rather heavily, you may need a few extra minutes for the coating to crisp up. Check with an instant read digital thermometer - the internal temperature of the chicken should be at least 175 (legs are safe at 165, however, the connective tissue is not yet broken down at that temperature and the meat will be too chewy.)

6

If desired, broil the chicken for just a minute or two, but the skin will likely already be quite golden and crispy. Finish with a light sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!

Ingredients

 ½ tsp kosher salt (or half as much if using fine table salt)
 ½ tsp paprika
 2 - 3 lbs chicken of choice - chicken thighs (about 8-12), chicken drumsticks or thighs. Do not use white breast meat. To lighten the meal - remove the skin.
For the batter:
 ¾ cup flour
 1 tbsp cornstarch
 1 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
 1 tsp fine table salt
 pinch of cayenne, optional
 1 - 1 1/2 cups Ginger Ale, Carbonated or soda water will work
For the crunch:
 3-5 cups Panko breadcrumbs
 pinch of salt
 couple tablespoons of olive oil for the pan and for drizzling
 cooking oil spray, optional if you don't have, but use for best results

Directions

1

To get everything ready:

Preheat the oven to 400.
Ensure your Ginger Ale or carbonated water is cold.
Combine the batter ingredients (except Ginger Ale or carbonated water) and sift into a bowl. If you skip the sifting, whisk them to combine and aerate.
Place panko breadcrumbs in a bowl or a large plate.
Generoursly oil a baking sheet with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil - use as much or as little oil as desired, but keep in mind that the oil will help the chicken to crisp up.
Remove the skin from your chicken pieces, if desired. This will further lower the calories and don't worry, the chicken won't dry out.

3

Pour1 cup of Ginger Ale or carbonated water into the sifted batter ingredients. Whisk to combine. At first the batter will bubble up. The batter should be quite runny but should still coat the back of your spoon if you use it to test for consistency. The goal here is to gently drench the chicken and get the panko crumbs to adhere. We are not creating the same thick batter we would use for a deep-fryer tempura. To reach the described consistency, add the remaining Ginger Ale 1 TBSP at a time; I almost always use the full 1 1/2 cups of Ginger Ale to get that perfect consistency.

Dip the chicken into the batter, hold it above the bowl letting the excess batter to drip down. Then drench the chicken lightly into the Panko breadcrumbs and place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

MORE IS NOT BETTER when breading this chicken. Bread lightly. You want the panko to be distributed evenly but lightly. This will result in crunchy, properly cooked chicken and coating.

4

Very lightly drizzle with olive oil. If you have an oil spray - that would work best as it will evenly coat the chicken with oil, help it crisp up while using as little oil as possible.

5

Bake your chicken in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, turning it 180° after about 30 minutes of cooking. If you breaded the chicken lightly, everything should be properly cooked at about 40 minutes - the breading should be crisp and the chicken should still be very juicy. If you breaded the chicken rather heavily, you may need a few extra minutes for the coating to crisp up. Check with an instant read digital thermometer - the internal temperature of the chicken should be at least 175 (legs are safe at 165, however, the connective tissue is not yet broken down at that temperature and the meat will be too chewy.)

6

If desired, broil the chicken for just a minute or two, but the skin will likely already be quite golden and crispy. Finish with a light sprinkle of salt. Enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken

Here’s the potato, parsnip and celery root mash recipe:

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time25 minsTotal Time35 mins

 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
 1 celery root, peeled and cubed (it's not always easy to find, feel free to replace the celery root with a few more parsnips)
 kosher salt to taste
 knob of butter, optional
 milk, only enough to reach desired consistency of the mash
 Parsley, optional

1

Place potatoes, parsnips and celery root into a pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a teaspoon or so of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer with the lid slightly ajar, and cook for about 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2

Drain well, mash with a potato masher into smooth or chunky consistency. Add a splash of milk and a knob of butter and fold it in gently, to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can stir in chopped fresh parsley as parsnips and parsley are closely related and the flavours will work very well together. Serve and enjoy.

Ingredients

 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
 2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
 1 celery root, peeled and cubed (it's not always easy to find, feel free to replace the celery root with a few more parsnips)
 kosher salt to taste
 knob of butter, optional
 milk, only enough to reach desired consistency of the mash
 Parsley, optional

Directions

1

Place potatoes, parsnips and celery root into a pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a teaspoon or so of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer with the lid slightly ajar, and cook for about 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2

Drain well, mash with a potato masher into smooth or chunky consistency. Add a splash of milk and a knob of butter and fold it in gently, to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can stir in chopped fresh parsley as parsnips and parsley are closely related and the flavours will work very well together. Serve and enjoy.

Celery Root Parsnip Potato Mash

And last but not least – the Gravy recipe:

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time40 mins

 3 tbsp butter (you may even use olive oil)
 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
 1 medium carrot, chopped finely
 1 yellow onion, chopped
 ¼ cup flour
 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
 2 bay leafs
 pinch of dried thyme leaves
 1 tbsp soy sauce
 kosher salt to taste
 freshly ground black pepper to taste
 trimmings, wings, chicken carcass, optional (if you are using it, check the note in Step 1)
Optional ingredients:
 a splash of heavy cream, for additional richness

1

Heat butter in a pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add your mirepoix - onion, celery and carrots. Cook for 5-8 minutes or so until well browned, stirring often. Be careful not to burn.

Turn the heat to medium, sprinkle the flour over the veggies and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes or so, to cook off the raw flour taste and allow the flour to slightly brown (aim for golden brown colour, but do not burn.)

NOTE: if you have trimmings, bones, chicken carcass - sear it until golden and well browned before searing the veggies, remove to a plate and add in step 2 after you have added the stock. The addition of these things will further intensify the flavour of the gravy, however, add another 20 minutes to the preparation.

2

Pour about 1/3 cup of stock very slowly while stirring vigorously. The goal is to work out all the little bits of flour into thick paste. Keep adding stock in a steady slow stream while stiring vigorously and working out any lumps that may form. THIS IS IMPORTANT - DO NOT RUSH ADDING THE LIQUID. Add bay leaves and dried thyme. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer uncovered for 25-45 minutes, the longer - the better, but the flavours will start coming together after just 20 minutes or so for this delicious quick gravy. Keep stirring your gravy every couple of minutes to prevent scorching the pot. If the gravy reduces too much, you can always add more stock to thin it out and reach your desired consistency.

3

Pass the gravy through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Add soy sauce, if using. Season your gravy to taste with salt and pepper. You may add the optional cream at this time. Serve.

NOTE:
4

The amount of flour is correct in this recipe. Some recipes call for double the amount of flour. But this recipe extracts the flavour with a lengthy simmering process (at least 25 minutes as per step 2,) so your gravy will reduce and thicken.

Ingredients

 3 tbsp butter (you may even use olive oil)
 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
 1 medium carrot, chopped finely
 1 yellow onion, chopped
 ¼ cup flour
 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
 2 bay leafs
 pinch of dried thyme leaves
 1 tbsp soy sauce
 kosher salt to taste
 freshly ground black pepper to taste
 trimmings, wings, chicken carcass, optional (if you are using it, check the note in Step 1)
Optional ingredients:
 a splash of heavy cream, for additional richness

Directions

1

Heat butter in a pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add your mirepoix - onion, celery and carrots. Cook for 5-8 minutes or so until well browned, stirring often. Be careful not to burn.

Turn the heat to medium, sprinkle the flour over the veggies and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes or so, to cook off the raw flour taste and allow the flour to slightly brown (aim for golden brown colour, but do not burn.)

NOTE: if you have trimmings, bones, chicken carcass - sear it until golden and well browned before searing the veggies, remove to a plate and add in step 2 after you have added the stock. The addition of these things will further intensify the flavour of the gravy, however, add another 20 minutes to the preparation.

2

Pour about 1/3 cup of stock very slowly while stirring vigorously. The goal is to work out all the little bits of flour into thick paste. Keep adding stock in a steady slow stream while stiring vigorously and working out any lumps that may form. THIS IS IMPORTANT - DO NOT RUSH ADDING THE LIQUID. Add bay leaves and dried thyme. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer uncovered for 25-45 minutes, the longer - the better, but the flavours will start coming together after just 20 minutes or so for this delicious quick gravy. Keep stirring your gravy every couple of minutes to prevent scorching the pot. If the gravy reduces too much, you can always add more stock to thin it out and reach your desired consistency.

3

Pass the gravy through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Add soy sauce, if using. Season your gravy to taste with salt and pepper. You may add the optional cream at this time. Serve.

NOTE:
4

The amount of flour is correct in this recipe. Some recipes call for double the amount of flour. But this recipe extracts the flavour with a lengthy simmering process (at least 25 minutes as per step 2,) so your gravy will reduce and thicken.

Quick Gravy
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