Fact: Fried food is not really healthy for you, at all.
Fact: The word healthy and fried are ignored when the phrase heard is, “do you want some fried chicken?”
Fact: You can have pretty darn good crispy oven baked buttermilk southern style fried chicken containing juicy and moist chicken inside… and I am here to show you how easy and flawless it is to make.
I love fried chicken, but I don’t love hot oil, it scares me, hot crisco scares me too. As mentioned in some previous posts, hot oil is always, and I mean always trying to fly right towards my eyes, like a blue eyed bulls-eye. It’s either the eyes or somewhere close by with a painful tiny burn on my face, neck or hands. I like to use my oven, a lot, it makes recipes feel easier, one by removing the need to wash the stove and two, you can wash the dishes and bowls while the food is in the oven. In the past I have made my oven baked garlic fries and my spicy peri peri fries, both which were excellent substitutions to a lot of hot oil. Now it was time to make some baked fried chicken.
The process starts with 4 drumsticks and 3 bowls. I copied my schnitzel method and added spices and herbs to the flour, the buttermilk and some herbs to the crust coating. Adding these herbs and spices flavors the chicken within the crunchy layer making it more like a southern style fried chicken.
First the chicken is washed and patted dry, then it is dipped into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk with any excess left to drip off (if you don’t have buttermilk you can use greek yogurt with some milk for this recipe).
The coated chicken gets dunked into the mashed up cereal with more herbs. I recommend corn flakes, I personally used what I had around, which was a multigrain rice flake cereal (Special K), it worked perfectly but the taste was…more like a whole wheat bread crumb.
The last part is the most important part of this chicken, it is the reason this oven baked chicken comes out moist and juicy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The secret…using a roasting rack, the rack keeps the chicken raised so that it can evenly brown and cook, it also keeps the coating from sticking to the baking tray and getting mushy.
It’s also vital to lightly spray or coat the rack with a bit of oil, this will help the coating stay where it’s supposed to, on the chicken. As they say the proof is in the pudding, I had to flake off some of the crunchy crispy skin to show you the wonderfully cooked chicken within… you can just see the juicy tender meat. I would show you the next picture, but then you would be starring at a lonely bone. I paired these drumsticks with a honey mustard sauce made with honey, dijon mustard, and some cayenne powder.
My life feels much better now that I can bake my fried treats and save myself from the threat of splattering hot oil.
The only problem left is… should I eat the next three drumsticks or share.
- 4 large chicken drumsticks, skin on, washed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dried garlic granulas
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne/chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon dried onion granules
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
- pinch of mixed dried herbs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk or a mixture of milk and greek/natural set yogurt
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne/chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 cups cornflakes or rice cereal (special k), mashed
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees (200C)
- Prepare a baking tray with a roasting rack, the rack should be raised to let the chicken cook evenly on all sides. Spray or brush the rack with a bit of oil. If you place the chicken directly on the baking try then the chicken will not be crispy and the skin will stick to the baking tray, it will also cook unevenly.
- Prepare 3 bowls or plates for the dredging. In each bowl combine the ingredients listed in the mixture lists above and mix until well combined.
- Make sure the chicken is washed and patted dry. Dip the chicken drumsticks into the flour mixture until well coated, then into the buttermilk/yogurt mixture letting any excess drip off the chicken, finally dip and roll the coated chicken into the crust mixture. Make sure the whole drumstick is coated very well, use your hands to press crust mixture into any missing spots. Gently place the coated drumsticks on the rack.
- Bake fried chicken drumsticks at 400F(200C) for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 375F (190C) and bake for additional 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown or juices run clear when pierced with a fork (baking time will vary on the size of drumsticks used)
- I used a multigrain cereal, hence the darker color, yet I recommend regular corn flakes or regular rice flake cereal as this did alter the taste slightly.