Juicy Faux Fried Chicken

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It’s a southern classic. With that juicy, savory goodness, it’s the much-craved entreé called deep fried chicken. The only problem is that most fried chicken recipes are loaded with unhealthy fats, calories, and a plethora of other things that can be extremely harmful to your waistline. For this very reason, we’ve created a Juicy Faux Fried Chicken recipe, so now you can have your “fried” chicken and eat it too!

Classic Fried Chicken Flavors and Textures You Love

You'll love this recipe for crispy, baked chicken.

This faux fried chicken is healthier than most fried chicken recipes because, well, it isn’t fried at all. Based on it’s incredible flavors and textures though, you’d never know the difference! 

Traditional recipes provide us with delectably-juicy, perfectly-seasoned chicken.That said, the fried option is also beloved for it’s classic, crispy coating. The combination of tender meat and crunchy breading makes this Southern recipe an American favorite. But wait. This chicken isn’t fried, so how do we get that classic crispy coating?

Our low-calorie faux fried chicken is coated in a batter that is made with nonfat buttermilk, dijon mustard, garlic, and hot sauce. We then toss the chicken in flour that has been seasoned with paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, and baking powder, before laying the pieces on a baking sheet and brushing them with heart-healthy olive oil. All that’s left to do is place the chicken in the 425 degree oven and let it bake until it’s got a beautiful, crunchy, golden brown color. 

A Healthy Alternative to Traditional Recipes

Better than fried chicken and just as crispy!

On average, one traditionally fried chicken breast comes in at 500 calories. A single serving contains about 28 carbs, 175 mg of cholesterol, and 720 mg of sodium. Additionally, one fried bone-in breast holds 18 grams of fat, 7 of which are saturated. For those of you who aren’t aware, saturated fat is the kind that we want to limit. 

On the other hand, one serving of our baked chicken is only 262 calories, basically half that of a fried chicken breast. Our recipe only contains 10 carbs, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 121 mg of cholesterol, and 358 mg of sodium.

As you can see, ours is significantly healthier than the fried option! With this tasty and nutritious recipe in your back pocket, you’ll never need to go back to high-calorie fried chicken, ever again!

The Perfect Side Dishes for this Juicy “Fried” Chicken

Try this quick and easy Instant pot mac and cheese!

So we have a much healthier main course, but what about sides? When you think about what side dishes to serve with your “fried” chicken, chances are good that your mind automatically goes to more, not-so-nutritious options. We’re talking about foods like mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and more!

Our goal here at SkinnyMs. is to provide you with alternative options for your favorite foods that are not only lower in calories, but also made with cleaner ingredients. We have a plethora of options. The only question is which ones are you going to try?!

Juicy Faux Fried Chicken

Create a new classic in your home with this faux fried chicken recipe that is healthy and tasty.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Budget-Friendly, Diabetic-Friendly, Kid-Friendly, Low-Carb
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 262kcal
Author: Gale Compton

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup non-fat buttermilk OR 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice(or vinegar) mixed with (1/2 cup) 1 percent milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds split chicken breasts bone-in skin removed, optional boneless
  • 1 cup flour we used white whole wheat
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a wide and shallow bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, garlic, and hot sauce. Add chicken and flip to coat on both sides.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place the seasoned flour in a bowl with an airtight lid. Add the chicken 2 pieces at a time and shake with the lid on. Remove the chicken, shake off any excess flour, and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Coat the top and sides of the chicken with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

Notes

In 2013, we photographed the recipe using bone-in chicken breasts. We recently updated the photos using boneless breasts. Either way the process was the same and the outcome beyond delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1each | Calories: 262kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 358mg | Fiber: 1g
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4

Recipe last updated September 10, 2020

Related Recipes

If you enjoyed this tasty and indulgent faux fried chicken, we think you’ll also want to try these similar recipes:

Crispy “Un-Fried” Herb Chicken

Our crispy un-fried herb chicken is loaded with flavor but low in calories.

Who needs fried chicken when you have this crispy, succlent, “un-fried” herb chicken?

Slow Cooker Fried Chicken

You wouldn't believe that this rich and comforting fried chicken is made in a slow cooker!

Fried chicken in a slow cooker? You bet! This simple recipe is bound to become a new family favorite!

Extra Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

This delicious oven fried chicken is perfectly flavored and extra crunchy, making it an exceptional healthy comfort food meal.

This is the perfect recipe for those of you who like their chicken extra crispy! Don’t worry, it’s just as healthy as the options above! Enjoy!

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41 Comments on "Juicy Faux Fried Chicken"

  1. Jennifer Linden Gay  February 17, 2014

    this was wonderful! I'll definitely be making this again

    Reply
  2. Lynda Catterall Turner  February 25, 2014

    Trying this tonight – looks so yummy!

    Reply
  3. Brenda  March 3, 2014

    Why not boneless chicken?

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  March 3, 2014

      Boneless chicken would certainly work.

      Reply
  4. Sue Vreeland  March 3, 2014

    love your recipes

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  March 4, 2014

      Thank You!

      Reply
  5. Lori Yarmal Brown  May 12, 2014

    This was a keeper!! Juicy on the inside & crispy "coating" on the outside!! Very tasty!!

    Reply
  6. Margi  June 5, 2014

    What kind of hot sauce?

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  June 11, 2014

      Margi, Any low sodium, no sugar hot sauce is generally clean eating. Check the label at your local grocers as many brands vary by region and grocer.

      Reply
  7. Jaime  June 5, 2014

    Any ideas make it gluten free?

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  June 6, 2014

      Jaime, Yes. Try the topping that we use on our Almond Crusted Tilapia, https://skinnyms.com/almond-crusted-tilapia/, so make Almond Crusted Chicken, or you can make this Parmesan Chicken instead but be sure to use a gluten free flour blend.

      Reply
  8. Vickie  August 14, 2014

    Just wondering if you're "oven frying" them by putting the rack in the oven also? Love all your recipes and can't wait to try this one. 🙂

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  August 15, 2014

      Vickie, The rack helps the bottom stay crisp, but you can make them without the rack as well.

      Reply
  9. Amber  September 18, 2014

    do you cover the chicken

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  September 19, 2014

      Amber, No, don't cover the chicken.

      Reply
  10. alicia  October 29, 2014

    How can I alter this for boneless chicken? Would it be as good?

    Reply
    • SkinnyMs  October 29, 2014

      Alicia, You would follow the recipe exactly the same, but check the chicken earlier as it might be cooked through faster. It should be good, yes.

      Reply
  11. Chellee  January 19, 2015

    this looks great

    Reply
  12. Cathy  February 21, 2016

    Swat are the green specks in the chicken ?

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  February 21, 2016

      Cathy, The green specks are Thyme. 🙂 I use fresh thyme when available but dry will work as well.

      Reply
  13. Megan  November 2, 2016

    Can u use chicken thighs

    Reply
    • Nichole Furlong  November 5, 2016

      Yes, however it will change the fat content and other nutritional information.

      Reply
  14. Heather  December 19, 2016

    Would rice milk work instead of buttermilk? We have soy/dairy/nut allergies in the house.

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  December 21, 2016

      Heather, Rice milk or just a beaten egg is fine. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Randi  January 8, 2017

    How potent is the mustard taste ?

    Reply
    • Nichole Furlong  January 8, 2017

      Hi Randi, the mustard taste shouldn’t be too potent, but you would be able to taste the mustard. Feel free to reduce the amount of mustard or leave it out all together.

      Reply
    • Karen W  January 13, 2017

      Just made this dish tonight…It’s not potent at all. I wouldn’t have even known there was mustard in there. Make it as it’s laid out and I’m sure you will be thrilled with the outcome!

      Reply
  16. Karen W  January 13, 2017

    This was OVER THE TOP DELICIOUS!!!! Served it with honey glazed roasted carrots. I can’t find buttermilk here so bought the powdered variety that can be found in the baking section. It mixes with water and works out great.

    Reply
  17. Rachel  April 24, 2017

    Delicious recipe. Next time I will marinate the chicken in the buttermilk with herbs although it certainly did not lack flavor. Question, what does the baking powder do? Thanks for a simple very tasty recipe my husband and daughter were very pleased with dinner last night 🙂

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  April 24, 2017

      Rachel, It helps to make it crunchier but can be eliminated. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Elena  July 7, 2017

    I’ve tried this recipe a few times now, and absolutely love it, besides the fact that when done in the oven, the tops of my chicken are still floury. Any suggestions on how to fix this? I tried leaving them in longer once and it just caused the chicken to get dry.

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  July 8, 2017

      Elena, Try rubbing a thin layer of clean mayo on the outsise of the chicken before adding the crumbs. Works every time! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Debbie  September 12, 2017

    I’m not a hot sauce fan – will it still be flavorful if I leave it out?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Hanford  September 13, 2017

      Hi, Debbie. the hot sauce adds an extra kick but the chicken will still have plenty of good flavor without it. Thanks!

      Reply
  20. Linda  January 24, 2018

    Could this recipe be cooked in an air fryer instead of the oven

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  January 25, 2018

      Linda, I haven’t used an air fryer but I’m guessing it should do well. Keep us posted. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Lora  February 18, 2018

    I fixed this recipe today using boneless, skinless chicken breasts and it was fantastic. Definitely a keeper. The only adjustment I made was to use brown mustard instead of Dijon.

    Reply
  22. Beth  April 15, 2018

    Is the baking powder 100% necessary?

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  April 16, 2018

      Beth, You can eliminate if preferred. The chicken is still delicious. 🙂

      Reply
  23. Kristine  July 17, 2018

    Can this be made in an air fryer? If so, fir how long and what temp?

    Reply
    • Gale Compton  July 20, 2018

      Kristine, I’m sure you could. I recommend 360 degrees for 30 minutes. Be sure not to stack the chicken. You will need to turn over half way through. Keep us posted. 🙂

      Reply

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