Tender, juicy, crunchy and 100% not greasy. This Baked Panko Crusted Chicken is 100% better than the fried version. Simple easy weeknight dinner just got better.
I’ve made this recipe several times in the past, too many times to count as yet I was surprised I still do not have this in my blog. It’s about time that I introduce you to this crunchy juicy oven bake chicken. It’s insane how delicious and crispy this chicken, all the time. I grew up enjoying traditional fried chicken. The deep fried version, breaded or not breaded. They are delicious, no doubt about that. The crispy skin and the juicy meat makes me drool every time I think of it, never failed. Like right now all I want is fried chicken, even though I just had this chicken already last night. I cannot get enough of chicken, I’m a self confess chicken lover.
When I moved here in Canada, my eating habits dramatically changed, for the better. I got more exposure to different cuisine and different style of cooking. Little by little I realized that there are a lot of non-traditional way to cook food that are not only delicious but most importantly a healthier way. It must be the change of environment and culture, or maybe I’m just simply slowly changing my preference and being more open to try different things. I got myself more and more interested in healthy cooking, healthy food and recently I had been fascinated with healthy desserts. One that I hope to explore more in the coming days, little by little. But don’t worry, I’m not totally giving up traditional way of baking and making dessert (the calorie loaded way, lol).
This chicken was baked not fried, just like my Baked Doritos Crusted Chicken. I tell you, this chicken is so damn good,I’m not my going back to doing the deep fried version again. It’s crispy and juicy without the greasy taste of deep fried version. There’s a secret to this, let me tell you what.
Crispy Without Being Greasy, How?
- It is in the Breading: I’ll go right to the point, the secret is in the breading, and not just any breading. It’s the Panko bread crumb breading. The light, flaky and airy bread crumbs made it possible for the chicken to have a crunchy texture without being greasy. It also gave the illusion of having a crispy chicken skin because of the way that it comes together when mixed with olive oil and spices. That is one thing that I would like to point out, the addition of olive oil into the bread crumbs mixture is very important however little the amount is. The olive oil brings together the bread crumbs, making it clump together and helps in making it stick to the chicken. The clump breading will be the one that will give the chicken the crispy exterior that you get when a skinned chicken has been coated and fried.
- Bake on a Wire Rack: This trick is one major key to achieving a crispy non-greasy chicken, almost like an air-fry chicken without the air-fryer. My obsession to owning an air-fryer is what led me to this discovery. Since air-fryer takes too much space in my small kitchen counter, owning one is not an option for me. So, this is my solution and it works as great as using an air fryer. Arranging the chicken in a wire rack that does not touch directly to the surface of the baking sheet allows the air to circulate around the chicken. Most importantly, as the chicken bakes, the juice and the oil that comes out from the chicken drips into the baking sheet without the chicken soaking the dripping. When you arrange the chicken on a baking sheet, once the oil and juice comes out of the chicken, the bottom of the chicken will start to soak into the juice and oil thus making the bottom of the chicken soggy.
Difference Between Panko Bread Crumbs and Regular Bread Crumbs
Panko Bread Crumbs or Japanese bread crumbs are made from bread without crust (the brown side of the bread). It’s light and airy and so it gave coated food with a light and crunchy coating. The flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease as regular bread crumbs. Panko bread crumbs have whiter color and larger coarse texture. Commonly used for Japanese Tempura or Tonkatsu, but is now gaining popularity as breading for other meat dishes. The regular bread crumb is the opposite. Regular bread crumbs are made from bread with crust so they tend to have a brown color, and they also have a finer texture. It is not as light, flaky and airy as Japanese bread crumbs, and have a tendency to absorb more oil.
Cooking Time for Boneless Chicken
My personal preference is bone-in chicken thigh when making this recipe. Chicken thighs are more juicy and it doesn’t dry out easily, thus giving a nice tender and juicy chicken. But you can also use boneless chicken thigh or chicken breast although they require different cooking time.
- Chicken thighs with bones (about 5 – 6 oz each, after removing skin) will take about 45 – 50 minutes at 400 degrees.
- If using boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each), cook time should be about 20 – 25 minutes.
- Boneless thighs (about 4 – 5 oz) should take about 25 – 30 minutes.
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 3/4 tsp Chili Flakes
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3-4 bone-in Chicken Thighs
- 1 Egg – beaten
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F
- Mix the spices: Mix salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, red chili flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
- Prepare the Chicken: Remove the chicken skin. A small shark knife or kitchen scissor is a good tool to do this. Sprinkle some of the spices mixture on the chicken just enough to season it. Set aside.
- Alternatively, you can also retain the chicken skin is you want a crispier coating and you do not mind the extra fat from the chicken skin
- Prepare the Panko Breading: Mix the remaining spices mixture with the Panko bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil, then use fingers to bring the breading together. It will slightly clump together but still loose.
- Coat the chicken with breading. Prepare 3 bowls. One for the all-purpose flour, one for the beaten egg and one for the Panko breading mixture. Roll the chicken in the all-purpose flour making sure everything thing is coated. Dip the chicken in the beaten egg then shake excess egg, hold it hanging few seconds to allow the excess egg to drip. Last, roll the chicken in the Panko breading. Use your fingers to reach to the inner portion of the chicken. Coat the chicken both back and front sides. If needed, you can add make panko bread crumb mixture.
- Arrange in a Baking Sheet. Have a baking sheet with rim ready. The rim will prevent the oil from sliding when you take the tray out of the oven. Arrange a wire rack on top of the rimmed baking sheet. The wire rack will prevent the chicken from soaking in the fat and water that will come out of the chicken as it bakes. It will also help bake the bottom and top of the chicken by allowing the heat to circulate. Transfer the breaded chicken on the wire-rack and sprinkle top with more paprika and Italian seasoning, about 1/4 tsp each.
- Bake at Pre-Heated Oven. Put the tray in the lower rack and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer in the middle rack and bake for another 15 minutes. If the breading starts to brown fast before the end of cooking time, simply cover it with aluminum foil then continue baking.
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