Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

This meal is one of those that defies description. I mean, what could be simpler than oven-baked chicken? And it is simple, I can promise you that. However, what amazes me each time I make it is how juicy and tender the chicken is and how utterly flavorful the crispy crust becomes. This is most definitely our favorite way to eat a healthier version of fried chicken.

What To ServeI serve it with anything from these baked mashed potatoes, cheesy broccoli and rice casserole, or these blue cheese and cheddar scalloped potatoes. Sometimes we skip the starch altogether and eat it alongside a steamed veggie and salad. The options are endless.

One major key is using fresh breadcrumbs. I like to use two hefty slices of whole wheat bread, but if you don’t have a food processor, you can a) try using a blender to pulse the crumbs (anyone ever done this?) or b) use panko bread crumbs (found in the Asian foods section, usually). The finished texture will probably be slightly different, but it is better than using the sawdust-y bread crumbs from a can. The fresh bread crumbs absorb the butter and garlic and the freshly grated Parmesan adds another layer of flavor and crunch ensuring the chicken is blasting with flavor and tenderness after baking.

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake
Two Years Ago: Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Three Years Ago: French Dip Sandwiches

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

Note: If you don’t have a food processor to make fresh bread crumbs, you can try using a blender and pulsing the crumbs or try using panko bread crumbs (usually found in the Asian foods aisle). If you are using a food processor, you can also add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to the bread crumbs and pulse to combine to create an even finer crumb.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (see garlic tutorial here)
  • 2 thick slices whole wheat bread (for about 2 cups fresh bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Combine butter and garlic in an 8- or 10-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted. Pour the butter/garlic mixture into a shallow pie plate or similar dish and cool to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, tear the bread into large chunks, and pulse until the bread is ground into crumbs. Pour the bread crumbs into a shallow pie plate or shallow bowl and toss with the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Dip each chicken breast in the melted, cooled garlic butter. Transfer to the bread crumb mixture and turn until coated on all sides. Arrange the chicken in one flat layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle any of the remaining melted butter over the chicken. Bake the chicken until it is lightly browned and just cooked through, 40-50 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness and size of the chicken you are using. Don’t overcook or the chicken will be dry.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/crispy-oven-baked-chicken/

Recipe Source: adapted from Sara Moulton

68 Responses to Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

  1. Yummmmmmm! I bet this would be really great sliced on a salad, a different twist from the usual grilled chicken. Can’t wait to try this, thanks!

  2. StephenC says:

    Okay, I’m on a mission here. No one should be buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They are relatively expensive and far less flavorful than other parts of the bird. That being said, you are welcome to eat them, but you must buy whole birds and dismantle them. Any part you don’t want to eat by itself should go into a stock pot with some carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, anything – just do it.

  3. Lisa says:

    I use an ooooold Osterman blender to make my breadcrumbs. We’ve been looking for a food processor for a long time, but I have a feeling it’s going to be even longer before we actually get one.

    It works pretty well! I think you need to get a feel for how your blender works. I can only drop in a few ripped pieces of bread–any more and my blender gets overwhelmed. It’s much easier to do when the ingredients aren’t wet as well.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  4. Karen says:

    This sounds delicious. I made fried chicken last night. I love it… but the best part is the crispy skin, which is so unhealthy. It’s also a messy, greasy meal to prepare.

    This sounds like a great alternative that I’m definitely going to try!

  5. Jolie says:

    We LOVE this recipe, though I haven’t put the garlic in the butter before. Yum! I think it’s the butter…I’ve tried a lot of different oven-baked chicken recipes and the butter seems to make all the difference. Of course. :)

    Love, love, LOVE your recipes! Your such a huge help to my family’s menu!

  6. Michelle says:

    I use my blender to make bread crumbs and it works really well. I have a Blendtec blender {LOVE}

  7. Kathy Davis says:

    I love your recipes too and can’t wait to give this one a try.

  8. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the healthy recipe, Mel!

  9. Meghan says:

    Yummy!! I will have to try this this weekend!

  10. SJ says:

    Thanks for the dinner idea, now I know what we’ll be eating tonight. The Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes look wonderful, that’s on the menu too. I’ll be trying the chicken with Panko bread crumbs that I have in my pantry, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  11. yuuuum! I’m not a huge fan of eating straight up chicken but this really looks so good!

  12. Lisa says:

    Do you put the fresh slices of bread in the blender/food processer or do you dry them out first?

  13. Brittany C. says:

    This looks and sounds really good, can’t wait to try it.
    A tip I have for making bread crumbs, roll your piece of bread into a ball and then toss in into your blender, through the hole in the lid, after turning it on. Works like a charm.

  14. Laura says:

    This recipe looks delicious. I’ve made chicken fingers for my kids and toasted dry panko bread crumbs in a pan first before coating. It gives a really nice crunch without adding butter or oil.

  15. Sheila says:

    Love this recipe. We call it crispy buttered chicken and I finally found a way to make it just as moist but healthier. When we need to save a few calories:
    Rather than using the butter to hold the coating, use light sour cream to coat the chicken and then dip it in the bread crumbs. This does require a spray of cooking oil on the chicken but it is still crispy and healthier than the butter.
    Also, I have one of those Magic Bullets and I use it to process bread crumbs.

  16. Lisa says:

    I pop my slices of bread into the toaster oven for a few minutes before using the blender. It helps stiffen the bread up just enough. If I want crispier bread crumbs I leave the slices in longer.

  17. Terri says:

    I find it difficult to cook chicken breasts ‘evenly’ so I recommend pounding them a bit.

  18. Marie says:

    HI,
    So, when you make homemade breadcrumbs…is this to be done with old, stale-like bread? Or with soft bread?

    • Mel says:

      For those wondering about using fresh versus stale bread, I usually always use fresh bread that is on the softer side. It makes the bread crumbs very, very soft. If you prefer a crispier, drier bread crumb, by all means, use stale or slightly toasted bread. Either way, the bread crumbs get browned in the oven while baking. The only disadvantage to using soft/fresh bread is that sometimes it is harder to chop it up into smaller crumbs. It takes longer than with stale bread.

  19. Kim in MD says:

    This looks amazing, Melanie! I am making this for dinner tonight! :-)

  20. This chicken dish looks so delicious, Mel! Great job on it. Thanks for sharing this simple and scrumptious recipe!

  21. brandy anderson says:

    Do you cover the top of the pan with foil too, so the chicken doesn’t dry out??

  22. Tanya says:

    Wow! This looks delicious! I love fried chicken but hate all the work and mess. I can’t wait to give this a try. Beautiful picture too.

  23. Monica says:

    My blender has a crumb setting and it works great! I don’t have a food processor so I was very excited when I discovered this :)

  24. Erica says:

    40-50 minutes for boneless chicken breasts?? Isn’t that a very long time? Most boneless chicken breast recipes bake for about half that time! Are you sure that is the right amount of time?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Erica – if you notice in the recipe instructions, I say that the cooking time will ultimately be dependent on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces you are using. As with any piece of meat, if this chicken is overcooked it will be dry. I based the cooking time off of the chicken that I used – very large, thick chicken breast pieces. Feel free to adjust according to the chicken pieces that you use.

  25. Sarah says:

    Had this tonight for dinner – perfect! Baked for 45 minutes and they were absolutely delicious. Moist and flavorful; a big hit! Thanks!

  26. angie says:

    I was going to make fried chicken last night, but saw this recipe and made it instead. Wow, it was really good. Thanks!

  27. Stephanie says:

    Yum, yum, yum. We had this for dinner tonight with a batch of mixed roasted vegetables and it was the best dinner ever. If I hadn’t had to go somewhere, I probably would have licked the plate clean. Another winner! Thank you!

  28. Susan says:

    This couldn’t have been simpler and it was quite tasty. The fresh breadcrumbs were especially good. I will say it was a bit rich/buttery for my taste (but that’s just a question of taste). I love the idea, though, and might try tweaking it a bit with olive oil for the butter or something.

  29. I have been wondering what I am going to do with a loaf of left over bread I have. Do you think this would be good on pork chops?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Erin – actually, I hadn’t thought of it, but yes, I think this breading would work great on pork chops. Let me know if you try it!

  30. Belisa says:

    I was going to my mother’s house for dinner and she said will be making chicken for me. I sent her the link to this dish amd she was like ok I will do it b/c it looks easy. When we got to mom’s for dinner she made our traditional puerto rican sides with this dish. It was amazing! And to know it was healthier than most we were all in disbelief. thanks so much. I’m a huge fan of your blog. Will be making the health bars today :)

    Thank you!

  31. Nicole says:

    Just wanted to tell you how yummy this was! My VERY picky toddler ate it right up and my husband said he wanted it on our weekly menu. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  32. Recipe Baking Chicken Breast…

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  33. Shannon says:

    This was probably the best breading I’ve ever had on baked chicken, and it was so easy. I definitely now have a go-to baked chicken recipe!

  34. Stacey R says:

    Oh my goodness!! I just made this tonight and have died and gone to heaven. Homemade breadcrumbs are the best…i will never go back to store bought! Also its so moist and buttery and yummy! Served it with roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes! So So So good! Keep the yumminess coming please!

  35. Lacy says:

    Since becoming pregnant, chicken has been a problem for me. The texture, the flavor, if its too moist I feel weird eating it and if its too dry, I can’t handle it. This was simply amazing and PERFECT!

  36. Annie says:

    My blender was overwhelmed by the bread, but I found that if I squished the bread into a ball and ran it across my small cheese grater it turned out perfectly! Thanks for the tasty recipe.

  37. Amber says:

    I made these last night for dinner and they did not come out crispy at all! :( Everyone loved the flavor, but sadly, they were super soggy. Anything I can do differently so they are crispy next time? I followed the directs perfectly, just wish I knew what went wrong!

    • Mel says:

      Amber – I’m sorry this didn’t turn out crisp for you. You might try placing the chicken on a baking rack set over a sheet pan (make sure the baking rack is oven-proof) and baking it that way. I’m not sure why the chicken would have turned out so soggy! Sorry!

  38. Amber says:

    That was my next idea, lol. Thanks! Will give them another try. And if they are still soggy, the kids love em so oh well! :)

  39. Amanda F says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing!
    My hubby does not like breaded chicken (from his past experiences before marrying me) and he loved this! I was amazed at how moist it was!
    I leave my bread slices on the counter for half an hour to an hour before tossing in the blender and pulsing a few times. Turns out great. The breading was so flavorful.
    I like smaller servings so split the breasts in half to be thinner and baked for half an hour instead. My kids gobbled this up too. We served it with roasted veggies.
    I look forward to trying out more of your recipes, thank you for making me look like a good cook! ;)

  40. Brittany says:

    Mel, I just have to say, you’re amazing! I have loved every recipe I have tried of yours. And this…well it was the most delicious thing I’ve had in a while! Oh my gosh, it was so good! I of course had to add it to my blog: http://brittsapron.blogspot.com/2011/11/crispy-oven-baked-chicken.html Thanks again!

  41. Stacie A. says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Although I will say it was tasty, it had WAY too much salt. I did 1 1/2 teaspoons as the recipe calls for, and I should have only done 1/2 t. I had to scrape the top breading off the chicken. I was so embarrassed! (we had company over). I don’t know why it was so super salty. I did use salted butter with the garlic. I guess I didn’t think that mattered since you usually say unsalted if it does matter. I will make this again for sure, I’ll just be sure to reduce the salt. :)

    • Mel says:

      Stacie – so sorry this was salty for you and your guests! After reading your comment I checked the original recipe (from Sara Moulton) and I cut the salt down from 2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 teaspoons…so that’s too bad that it was still too salty. I always use salted butter in this recipe, too. Better luck next time – but seriously, making food that doesn’t turn out just right for company is frustrating!

  42. Amy Yaeger says:

    Delicious…as always! We all loved the chicken! I have been thinking about Stacie A.s comment regarding saltiness. Remember folks if you are substituting table salt for kosher salt…cut the amount in half!

  43. Sasha says:

    So delicious and moist! Definitely a keeper :) Thanks for the recipe!

  44. Heather says:

    Made this last night for my picky-eater hubby and he said it was the best chicken I’ve ever made. He’s very tough to please. :) Thanks for the recipe!

  45. Nel says:

    This is the first recipe I got from your site and it turned out pretty well. I had to improvise a bit though (i.e. table salt instead of kosher) since I didn’t have all the ingredients.

    All in all, the dish was well-received by family.

    Cheers,
    Nel

  46. Ariana says:

    Instead of regular bread I used challah and cut out the salt. It’s delicious.

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  48. Jennifer A says:

    Every dinner we have made in the last two weeks had several new recipes from your site. You are now formally a member of our family. Everyone loved this chicken. I used Panko breadcrumbs and it was delicious. My husband said he loved the breading and both my girls (7 & 9) kept saying UMMM. My oldest said, “Is this Mel’s recipe?” Yes, yes it is my love.

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  50. Korinne says:

    In the oven! Can’t wait!!

  51. Leslie J. says:

    I tried this and my family loves it!
    But I’m very curious about how many calories is in it.
    Does anyone know?

  52. Katie says:

    This chicken is fabulous. One bite and my husband and I both said, “Wow!” I cut half of a breast into chunks and made chicken nuggets for my two year old. She downed five of them which is amazing since it is crazy hard to get her to eat anything. We will definitely make this over and over again!

  53. elizabeth tierney says:

    I know you aren’t a fan of prepackaged products, but I use Shake n Bake for PORK breading on my chicken and it always comes out crispy and perfect.

  54. Allie says:

    Made this tonight and it was amazing! This chicken will definitely be happening again at our house. Thanks for the great and easy recipe!

  55. Sarah says:

    Another favorite for us! I used the Panko crumbs and the breaking didn’t brown much, but the chicken was cooked all the way. This will be a repeat recipe for us!

  56. Megan says:

    Awesome! We are big fans of this recipe. It’s easy and delicious. I accidentally thawed chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts and was worried they wouldn’t turn out well but they were amazing! I used the panko crumbs, just because I had them. And I put them up high the last 5 minutes to crisp the top. Amazing! We will make these again for sure.

  57. Abbie Butler says:

    Ok seriously!! I have not commented on this recipe yet…..but I REALLY NEED TO!! This is the BEST CHICKEN EVER!! I made it right after you posted it nearly 2 years ago. We instantly fell in love. The chicken is moist and the bread crumbs are perfect. Not to dry and not to soggy. The taste is out of this world. I have been making it bi-weekly for the last two years and have never commented. I made it again last night with rice, gravy, and corn on the cob. Seriously me and my hubbie just couldn’t stop oohing and aahing while eating. Thank you so much for the effort you put into each recipe and blog post! I always recommend you to my friends and family!!

  58. Natalie says:

    Just came across this recipe today. I have a few questions…

    Will the chicken still be crispy if I use Panko? Or does the recipe work better if it’s fresh bread crumbs? If I use fresh bread crumbs, can I use white bread?

    Every time I’ve tried to make crispy baked chicken in the past, it turns out soggy on one side. Should the chicken be turned?

    • Mel says:

      Natalie – you’ll have to experiment with panko but yes, it should still be crispy (the texture of homemade bread crumbs is delicious, though). You could definitely use white bread for the bread crumbs. If you don’t want the side that is on the baking sheet to get soggy, try placing an aluminum rack (like a cooling rack) on the baking sheet and baking the chicken on the rack so that it sits up off the baking sheet.

  59. doug fuller says:

    pulverize some cornflakes for the coating – and if you are looking for something besides butter to bind the coating – marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnite in the fridge

  60. Morgan says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Your recipes are always spot on!

  61. Cris says:

    I tried your recipe tonight oh men it taste awful makes me wanna throw-up.

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