Southern Crispy Oven Fried Chicken recipe made with a nice mix of chicken thighs and drumsticks, seasoned in two layers (both base + coating), coated with cornflakes and breadcrumbs for an extra crunch, and a great match for almost any side, makes for the perfect meal addition. You won’t believe how flavor-packed and CRISPY this chicken recipe is! Completely dairy-free. Gluten-free, Air Fryer, + Make Ahead options.
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When it comes to southern fried chicken, I'm obsessed with the idea of an ultra crispy crust with a juicy, savory inside in every bite---much like I'm used to growing up in the South. And while you might assume that "frying" this chicken in the oven won't give the same results as if it were fried in oil, I come to show you otherwise! This Crispy Oven Fried Chicken is by far an easy, jam-packed with flavor, dairy-free option for the entire family to enjoy.
Of course, if you're a lover of southern fried chicken, then you'll love this Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken recipe and these Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders, which are another crowd-favorite. And if you aren't a meat eater---you've got to try these Southern Hot Honey Cauliflower Bites and Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings/Bites. They're the perfect handheld bites and can be turned into a sandwich like this Vegan Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. Plus, you can totally omit the sauces for these bites and enjoy them fully breaded and completely crispy.
This fried chicken recipe definitely puts fast food chicken to shame because it's so delish! And if this is your first time frying your chicken in the oven, then you're still fine----I talk about a few tips and tricks to ensure that your chicken turns out juicy + crusty.
Believe it or not, the number 1 secret to the best fried chicken is a "salty marinade". This is why most Southerners soak their chicken pieces in a well seasoned buttermilk or marinade of some sort, which adds enough salt for the most juiciest meat. In this fried chicken recipe, I love seasoning both layers of the chicken and I also create a nice dairy-free wet batter consisting of Almond milk, dijon mustard, eggs, and seasonings to add that saltiness and moisture to the chicken. It definitely makes a difference.
Cooking crispy oven fried chicken is generally an easy process---in total of about 50-55 minutes. You first start by cleaning and washing your chicken pieces to ensure that they are clean and ready to be seasoned. I like to wash my chicken with both vinegar and lemon to help keep things clean and sanitized.
Once your chicken is clean, then it's patting dry and seasoning time! I'm all about seasoning every "layer" of my food, therefore, the chicken gets direct seasoning and so does the coating. Let everything marinate for 5-10 minutes or overnight (preferably 1-2 days) tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for the best results.
Then you dust the chicken pieces and add them to the wet mixture of some kind, and bread them in a cornflake-breadcrumb crust before baking/roasting for crispness. Finally, you serve them up and add a few drizzles of honey or hot sauce, if that's your thing!
Here’s what you need to prepare this Fried Chicken today:
OK, so this is one of the hot debates as it relates to which one creates the crispier chicken. While cornstarch does add extra layer of crispiness for your chicken, using flour still works too! But to best honest, the best kept secret is the combination of both cornstarch and flour, which creates the crispiest results. Of course, if you're looking to make this fried chicken recipe gluten-free, then substitute the cornstarch or flour with arrowroot starch or a great all-purpose flour.
The greatest secret and tip to ensuring that your crust sticks unto your chicken pieces properly and permanently is to first dust your chicken in the flour-starch mixture and then dip it into the egg mixture, shaking off any excess before rolling it in the breadcrumbs.
To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly.
Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container.
The baking time will vary depending on your oven. Check the chicken after 25-30 minutes, to make sure they’re nice and crunchy but not burning. If they're still good, you can continue baking them for the full 35 or so minutes. If necessary, pop the chicken under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes for an extra crispy crust.
To make your crispy fried chicken in an air fryer, it's very similar to doing it the oven. The only difference would be the cook time and adding them to a basket versus a baking sheet. Once you've seasoned, dusted, and coated your chicken, add them to your air fryer basket, spray with cooking oil, and cook them at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes. NOTE: You might want to spray your basket with cooking oil to ensure that your chicken doesn't stick to it during cooking.
If you're looking to reheat your fried chicken in an air fryer, it's by far the easiest to do. Here's the steps:
Preheat your air fryer to 360 or 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly spray the basket of your air fryer and add the fried chicken pieces to the basket in a single layer. No overcrowding!
Cook for about 5 minutes and then flip chickens to their opposite sides and cook for another 5 minutes. Of course, double check that they are warmed through, depending on the size of the pieces and cook for additional minutes based on that.
Remove chicken pieces with tongs and wallah.
To make sure your Southern Crispy Oven Fried Chicken get as crispy as possible with the use of a “coating”, follow these simple tips:
You can absolutely substitute the chicken in this recipe for other pieces of the chicken or with another meat alternative altogether such as:
You can serve this southern crispy oven fried chicken with your favorite side, whether traditional or not. Also, enjoy this Fried Chicken recipe with a side of bread (for a simple lunch) or with your favorite side (i.e. rice, mashed potatoes, mac + cheese, cornbread, fries, veggies, salad, etc.). Here are a few great recipes to serve this fried chicken with:
The calcium in milk is thought to kick-start a natural enzyme in the chicken that helps it tenderize. This is the same for using plant-based milk also.
Absolutely! If you'd like to keep things traditional by using buttermilk, you can always use regular milk and create an alternative to buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar per 1 cup to your milk.
Believe it or not, this has happened to me plenty of times. Moisture is the worst enemy in frying chicken. This is why dusting your chicken with flour as I've mentioned before should be enough to create a moisture barrier around the chicken; otherwise, the moisture created during the cooking process is going to create steam that will cause your breading to flake off.
Of course! All ingredients can be made and individually stored as meal prep (up to 2 days prior) and assembled when ready to serve. Be sure to store crushed corn flakes + seasoning mixture in a nicely sealed zip loc bag, kept at room temp. Once chicken is cooked, you can easily store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yup! To ensure that this chicken recipe is completely Gluten-Free, simply substitute the flour, breadcrumbs and cornflakes with GF-friendly ones. Also, you can substitute cornflakes with all-purpose flour for your favorite GF-friendly flour (i.e. GF All-purpose flour, 1-to-1 baking flour, etc.). Also, you can use arrowroot starch for a great GF-friendly option instead of regular cornstarch or flour.
As I've mentioned, adding a good amount of salt to your chicken helps to keep your chicken moist without adding extra moisture to the coating. However, if you don't want to add too much salt to your chicken, adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour before dredging helps to create a crispy coating and do the same thing as salt would!
You can always keep things simple with drizzles or honey or a few drops of hot sauce, however, to add additional flavor to your fried chicken, I love switching things up with this Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing as a light drizzle.
Place any leftover ingredients in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply add chicken to a baking sheet and bake for a few minutes until completely warmed through.
Now that you're loving this fried chicken recipe, give these other chicken recipes that your entire family will love a try next:
If you tried this Southern Crispy Oven Fried Chicken recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.