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Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

November 7, 2022
Recipes - Gluten-Free - Lunch/Dinner - Weeknight Meals
Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken without actual frying!

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken made from completely in the oven with chicken thighs and drumsticks, seasoned in two layers (both base + coating), coated with cornflakes and breadcrumbs for an extra crunch, and drenched in a deliciously sweet + spicy hot honey sauce makes for the perfect meal addition. You won’t believe how flavor-packed and CRISPY this chicken is! Gluten-free, Air Fryer, + Make Ahead options.

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.

I seriously can't get enough of this recipe. It's such homage to my Southern roots and I've always been a chicken lover and so this recipe doesn't disappoint one bit. You've never had Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken like this one and I can guarantee that this recipe will be such a staple in your household once you give it a try! Oh and I enjoy "frying" my chicken in the oven as opposed to in a frying pan and with this recipe, you won't be able to tell the difference.

There's just something so satisfying with a sweet-spicy combo and if you're a fan of hot honey, then this chicken is a real treat. I love how easy it is to make, the extra crunch factor involved by simple tweaks, and the versatility of getting to enjoy this chicken with almost any side. It's a win, win.

Besides, if you're really looking to change things up, you can totally turn these into chicken tenders or make this delicious Spicy Gochujang Chicken Tenders. Of course, I also have these Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders which are really amazing as well!

How to Make the Best Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Cooking Southern Hot Honey 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 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 add the chicken pieces to the wet mixture of some kind, and bread them in a cornflake-breadcrumb crust before baking/roasting for crispness. Finish everything off with a sticky sweet-spicy sauce and serve them up!

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

INGREDIENTS

Here’s what you need to prepare this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken today:

  • Chicken. You can use a mixture of thighs, wings, and drumsticks, just remove the skin first, if preferred.
  • Spices. I use salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, thyme, parsley, basil, cayenne powder, and chili powder.
  • Corn flakes. Crush your cornflakes by placing them in a zip-top bag and crushing them with something heavy until you have a fine texture, but not a powder.
  • Breadcrumbs. You can buy store-bought breadcrumbs or panko. Or see the notes below the recipe to easily make your own breadcrumbs.
  • Hot Honey. You can substitute with regular raw honey if that’s what you have on hand. I like Mike's Hot Honey.
  • Butter. I recommend unsalted.
  • Almond milk. Or another plant-based milk (unsweetened). You can also use whole milk or heavy cream instead.
  • Eggs. Acts as a great binder for the wet marinade when coating chicken. You can sub with honey mustard or omit completely if using heavy cream.

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Tips for the Crispiest Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

To make sure your Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken get as crispy as possible with the use of a “coating”, follow these simple tips:

  • Make sure each chicken piece has plenty of space on the baking sheet. The airflow helps things crisp up.
  • When using a baking sheet, add a wire rack atop the parchment paper so that chicken can crisp up nicely on all sides without you having to do any "turning".
  • Cook chicken until completely crisp prior to adding sauce so that they have minimal liquid and avoid soggy-ness.
  • After rinsing your chicken pieces, be sure to pat dry completely until they are as dry as possible before adding seasoning and marinade.

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

How to Make Homemade 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.

How Long to Bake Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

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 necessary, pop the chicken under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes for an extra crispy crust.

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS FRIED CHICKEN!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken. Everything from my fave baking sheet, skillet, mixing bowls, cooking thongs, cooking utensils, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Ingredient Substitutes + Meat Alternatives for Hot Honey Sauce:

Making traditional Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken doesn't have to be left to only chicken. To get creative in the kitchen, you also use this delicious hot honey sauce for other types of meat and the possibility of switching things up with another meat or alternative is also a good idea:

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Other beans (black beans, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Other seafood (lobster, shrimp, etc.)

Is Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken Spicy?

Because I love spicy flavors and I use an entire 2 tsps of cayenne pepper, this recipe works for me! However, you can feel free to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper by half and create a much milder dish. It's all about preference, not necessity.

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Make Ahead Option

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.

How to Make Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer

You'll follow all of the steps to coating the chicken and place them in your air fryer for 20 minutes or so at 390 degrees and flipping them halfway through to ensure that they crisp perfectly on both sides.

How to Best Serve Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

You can serve this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken with your favorite side. Also, enjoy this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken 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.).

How to Store + Reheat Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

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. Drizzle with additional hot honey, if needed.

How to Make this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken Gluten-Free

To ensure that this chicken recipe is completely Gluten-Free, simply substitute the 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.

More Southern Recipes You'll Enjoy

If you love my Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken, then try some of my other favorites!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make these Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

5 from 6 votes
Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken without actual frying!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

CHICKEN:

  • 2 lbs. organic chicken, skins on or off (Drumsticks, Wings, + Thigh pieces work great!)
  • 2 tsps sea salt, divided
  • 2 tsps black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika, divided
  • 2 tsps garlic powder, divided
  • 2 tsps dried thyme, divided
  • 2 tsps dried parsley, divided
  • 2 tsps dried basil, divided
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups cornflakes, crushed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Almond milk, unsweetened (You can also use Whole milk or heavy cream instead)
  • 2 Tbsps hot honey

SAUCE:

  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • ½ cup hot honey
  • 2 tsps cayenne pepper (Reduce this to 1 teaspoon for less spicy flavor)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

MARINATE THE CHICKEN:

  • In a large bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with hot honey, 1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, thyme, parsley, and basil, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. NOTE: Chicken is best when marinated 1-2 days before and refrigerated.

TO MAKE THE COATING:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prep a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a wire rack (this helps both sides to crisp up nicely).
  • In a bowl, add the crushed corn flakes, breadcrumbs, and 1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, thyme, parsley, and basil, mixing everything together until combined. In a separate bowl, add the eggs and milk and whisk together until smooth and combined.
  • Now, dip each piece of chicken into the egg-milk mixture (shaking off any excess) and then add it into the coating mixture, moving it around on each side until well coated. Then lay each chicken, side by side onto the baking sheet (about an inch apart). Repeat until all chicken is coated.
  • Lightly brush or spray tops of chicken with olive oil or cooking spray and bake them for 30-35 minutes or until chicken has fully cooked through.

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

  • In a medium 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and let it melt. Next, add the hot honey, cayenne peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt, stirring everything together until sauce becomes smooth and thick.
  • One the chicken has baked through, remove from oven and spoon sauce unto each piece of chicken.
  • To serve, enjoy chicken with your favorite side dish.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: 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. Drizzle with additional hot honey, if needed.
  • MAKE AHEAD: 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. 
  • HOMEMADE 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. 
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To ensure that this chicken recipe is completely Gluten-Free, simply substitute the 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.
  • EQUIPMENT: Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken. Everything from my fave baking sheet, skillet, mixing bowls, cooking thongs, cooking utensils, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Nutrition

Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1463mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1425IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 6mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken.

Shanika

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  1. This looks so delicious! My family loves fried chicken, but I'm getting bored with the same old same old recipe. Looking forward to spicing it up!