Step aside, Shake ‘N Bake. There’s a new Crunchy Baked Chicken in town.
Monday’s post about breadcrumbs was a little bit of a means to an end. Without the breadcrumbs, you wouldn’t have this Crunchy Baked Chicken, but splitting this recipe into two separate posts served a couple purposes. First of all – you don’t have to limit the use those breadcrumbs to just coating chicken breasts. Second – I felt it would be easier to digest all this info two shorter posts rather than putting everything into the longest post. Ever.
In actuality, I like to make the breadcrumbs ahead of time to take some of the prep work out of the equation on the day I make the chicken. Life’s a little easier when you don’t do everything all at once, isn’t it?
Here’s a picture that will really wet your appetite! Mmmm! Chicken breasts…all stacked up on a plate. Using a meat mallet, I gently, but firmly pounded each breast after placing it between a couple pieces of plastic wrap. This process not only tenderizes the meat, but it also evens out the thickness so that the chicken will cook in a more uniform manner.
Okay – we gotta put something on those guys – they’re making me cold.
Our chicken is going to get a triple layer of scrumptiousness before being baked in a hot, hot oven. Be sure to mentally prepare to get a bit messy. It’ll happen, but it’s worth it. Just wash your mitts before touching/contaminating everything.
Above are our dredging stations – here we have some white whole wheat flour and another plate full of a substance that – I’ll be honest – looks a little scary. Fear not – it’s just a slurry, made out of eggs, mustard and flour – and it’s going to act as a glue to adhere our breadcrumbs.
Oh yeah…you remember these from Monday, don’t you? After being baked to a golden brown all by their onesies in the oven, they’ll only continue to get crispy and crunchy. To make a long story short – they’ll be the perfect coating for our chicken.
When it comes to the flour and the egg mixture, you want to shake or scrape off the excess, but these crumbs are an entirely different story. Make sure you push and smoosh them into the chicken so that you get a nice, thick coating. After all, you won’t be able to save the extra breadcrumbs if there are any – so you might as well use ’em up!
As each piece of chicken reaches the end of the assembly line, rest them on a parchment lined pan until they’re ready to hit the oven.
I feel like I say this a lot, but I’ll risk sounding like a broken in order to say that this chicken looks good enough to eat – and it’s not even cooked yet.
As tempted as you may be, please refrain from eating the raw chicken. It really wouldn’t be worth it considering you’ll be biting your way into a rather unpleasant experience in addition to facing the threat of salmonella.
Crunchy Baked Chicken
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded so that they’re 1/2″ thick
1 cup white whole wheat flour, divided
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons Dijon, honey or yellow mustard
1 recipe homemade breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 425.
Place 1/2 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk eggs and mustard until combined; add remaining 1/2 cup flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.
Line a rimmed baking pan or cookie sheet with parchment. Season pounded chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge 1 chicken breast in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chicken breast with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chicken to pan. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breast. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving.
- The bread crumb mixture can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.
- The breaded chicken can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don’t need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time to 35 to 40 minutes.
- Feel free to use chicken tenders or to cut your breasts into strips to make kid- and adult-friendly chicken fingers.
- You can also use these as a base for a killer chicken parm. Just top with sauce and cheese!
Come on…Shake ‘N Bake ain’t got nothin’ on this Crunchy Baked Chicken.
This go ’round, I served mine with garlic roasted potatoes and a simple green salad topped with homemade, healthier bleu cheese dressing. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? A not-so-bad bleu cheese dressing does exist though – and I’ll share the recipe with you so you can start making it asap. Truth be told, it doubles as an awesome dipping sauce for this chicken.
Two birds, one dressing 🙂