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Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

November 7, 2022
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with this Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken without actual frying!

Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Crispy 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.

Plate of Hot Honey Fried Chicken

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I seriously can't get enough of this oven fried chicken 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 Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken like this one and I can guarantee that this recipe will be such a staple in your household and one that the entire family will love 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. Don't believe me? Try this Crispy Oven Fried Chicken recipe for yourself!

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 possible. It's a win, win. Don't believe me? Try these Southern Hot Honey Cauliflower Bites for a meatless option!

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!

What is Hot Honey Chicken Sauce Made of?

Basically, this hot honey chicken sauce is made from honey plus a kick of heat created by cayenne pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, + salt. You can also use hot honey itself for an additional flavor of heat, but it's not necessary.

Jump to:

How Do You use Mike's Hot Honey?

Literally, one of my favorite hot honey brands is Mike's! I love using it on everything from chicken to meat to sandwiches, you name it. It's so versatile and can be easily used in:

  • Mocktails (I made this Fancy Hot Honey Lemon Mocktail)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Glazed on chicken
  • Stirred in tea or a hot toddy
  • Substituted for honey
  • Added sanwiches
  • Added in homemade sauces or dressings
  • Drizzle on roasted veggies
  • Added to baked goods, etc.
Seasoned chicken in a metal bowl

How to Make the Best Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken Recipe

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 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. Finish everything off with a sticky sweet-spicy sauce and serve them up!

Ingredients for Crispy Fried Chicken

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 Seasoned Toasted Panko Bread Crumbs).
  • Flour. You'll need all-purpose flour to dust your chicken. This creates a barrier to keep moisture in so that the breadcrumb coating stays on and the chicken crisps up nicely.
  • 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.
Breaded chicken on a wire rack

Tips for Making Crispy Oven 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.

How to Make Your Own Hot Honey

If you don't have any hot honey on hand or you simply just want to make your own hot honey, no worries! It's really simple and only requires a few ingredients. You'll need: 1 cup raw organic honey (or regular honey)1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.

To create your own hot honey, just bring to a simmer all ingredients in a saucepan and then remove it from heat and let it cool before adding in with the remaining sauce ingredients. Feel free to store any remaining hot honey in an airtight glass jar (straining red pepper flakes) if desired and keep stored for up to 6 months at room temp.

Cooked, breaded chicken on a wire rack with tongs

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 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.

Overhead shot of a plate of 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.

How to Best Serve Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

You can serve this oven 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.). Here are a few great recipes to make this fried chicken with:

Overhead shot of a plate of Hot Honey Fried Chicken

Common Q + A's for Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

What is the secret to good Fried Chicken?

The top secret to a good fried chicken is in the marinade, which should be well seasoned and include a good amount of salt (which keeps your chicken moist). Also, I've learned the importance of adding your chicken to flour and then the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumb moisture to ensure that the crust stays on perfectly.

Why put chicken in milk before frying?

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.

Can I soak chicken in regular milk instead of buttermilk?

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.

Why does the coating fall off my fried chicken?

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.

Can I Make this Crispy Hot Honey Fried Chicken Ahead of time?

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.

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.

Can I Make this Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken Gluten-Free?

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.

How do I get flour to stick to chicken?

The order of the steps makes the difference! First pat dry your chicken to remove excess moisture, then dredge in flour, dip in egg mixture, coat in breadcrumbs/cornflakes, and pace your chicken on the prepared baking sheet with a wire rack to let it rest.

Why do you add baking powder to flour for fried chicken?

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!

How to Store + Reheat Hot Honey Oven 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.

More Family-friendly Southern Recipes!

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

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken 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.

Closeup of Hot Honey Fried Chicken
Fried chicken on a white plate with honey sauce on chicken.

Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken

November 7, 2022
5 from 8 votes
Add some delicious flavor to your lunch or dinner meal with this Crispy Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken without actual frying!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
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
  • ½ cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (You can make your own Seasoned Toasted Panko Bread Crumbs)
  • 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

  • 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).

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.

DUST IN FLOUR:

  • Add the flour to a plate or ziplock bag. Pat dry chicken and dust each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess.

TO MAKE THE COATING:

  • 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 flour dusted 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. 
  • 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

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Script text: Xx, 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!