Fried chicken is the kind of food I always really love in theory, but end up disappointed with in reality. If you were a well meaning friend trying to talk me out of a toxic relationship, you might say I’m not in love with fried chicken, I’m in love with the idea of fried chicken. In my junk food fantasies, fried chicken is crispy, breaded comfort food perfection. In fast food reality, it always just seems greasy, heavy, and maybe even a little soggy.
There’s nothing worse than giving yourself permission to indulge in a junk food craving and ending up disappointed. That has consistently been my experience with fried chicken. And yet, I still haven’t given up on the fantasy fried chicken I have in my mind. I keep going back to fried chicken expecting it to have changed, but it disappoints me every time. I’m in a toxic relationship with fried chicken.
As it turns out, the fried chicken of my dreams actually does exist! It just happens to not really be fried chicken at all. Turns out I’d been going to the hardware store for milk all along. This crispy “un-fried” herb chicken has all the things I always wanted in fried chicken, but never got. This breaded, oven-baked chicken is flavorful and crispy, without any of the greasy heaviness that comes along with traditional fried chicken. Not only is it a much healthier option, but it’s truly much tastier than anything you can get at a drive through window.
A Simple Oven-Baked Recipe
So, how does this crispy “un-fried” herb chicken manage to do all the things real fried chicken never could? Ditching the greasy frying process in favor of a simple, clean, oven-baked recipe is obviously the biggest transition. You may not think an oven can mimic the effects of a fast-food fryer, but this breaded chicken cooks to crispy (non-greasy) perfection right in your oven.
Breaded with egg whites and whole wheat flour and breadcrumbs, this recipe uses clean ingredients to achieve that crispy fried chicken crunch. Coated with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and onion powders, dried basil and oregano, this tender “un-fried” chicken has the perfect blend of savory herbs and spices.
This quick and easy chicken is perfect served as entree all on its own, whether for a busy weeknight or your next Sunday chicken dinner. It’s also great to use in sandwiches for a healthier twist on the classic fried chicken sandwich.
Whether you’ve always found fried chicken a little too greasy for your liking, or you’re just looking for a healthier substitute, this crispy “un-fried” herb chicken recipe definitely won’t disappoint.
Yield: 4 Servings | Serving Size: 1 Chicken Breast | Calories: 389 | Total Fat: 12 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 0 g | Protein: 45 g | Cholesterol: 124 mg | Sodium: 546 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
- 4 (6 ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. In a second small mixing bowl, place the egg whites and lightly beat with a fork. Finally, in a third medium mixing bowl, place the panko.
- Dip each chicken breast in the flour, followed by the egg whites, and last dip the tender in the Panko. Each time, ensure the chicken in completely coated. Place coated tenders on a nonstick baking pan, do not spray the pan with nonstick spray.
- Combine the oil, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and thyme. Drizzle half the mixture over the chicken breast. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn chicken over, and drizzle the remaining oil mixture on the second side. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until no pink remains in the center and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove from oven and serve hot!