My Oven Fried Chicken is a spin on the classic KFC version, although this is BAKED not fried. To get it super crispy I have a secret I’ll share with you, but read on!
The main thing I look for in fried chicken is a fantastic crunch and flavor. The inside needs to be juicy, not dried out. What more could you ask for in “fried chicken” that’s baked without all the grease and clean up!
My Oven Fried Chicken (KFC Copycat)
Baking instead of frying was the goal and when you bake the chicken the skin renders the fat and gets crispy. The tough part was getting the right consistency in coating the chicken and I believe I have it covered.
First you’ll need to start off by soaking the chicken in buttermilk. This not only tenderizes the chicken, but allows the spice and coating mix to adhere better to the chicken pieces.
While I did a tremendous amount of reading and testing I can’t believe some of the nonsense I saw passing as KFC copy fried chicken out there!
Some even said they got the recipe online from the Colonel’s family, and I’ve seen that “handwritten” recipe from the supposed grandson, but some people didn’t even follow that! He had the ingredients written with “tsp” as in teaspoon and people had tablespoon in their ingredient lists, with the same amounts of flour he had. OVER KILL.
I made several batches with several different versions and techniques.
The image below shows the seasoning and breading I came up with although the photo shows the batch that I double dipped. As in buttermilk marinated chicken, then shake it off, dredge in the seasoned flour and then back in the buttermilk with an added beaten egg and dredged again. Double dipped and ready to bake. Melted butter gets drizzled over each chicken piece and in the oven they went.
What I found out was this double dredge technique is great if your actually frying the chicken (yes, I tested it that way, too!). It was good, though the breading was too much and got slightly steamed on the inside while baking. It was crunchy on the outside, but half of it slide off when taking a bite. Not that crunch-tastic fried chicken feel I was looking for.
While it did indeed taste great, I adjusted the paprika and black pepper and used white pepper for the next batch and liked that better as well only doing one dredge. To get the extra crunch my secret is to add some baking powder to the dredge.
Here is the batch of the double dipped and dredged version. Looks and tastes amazing, but was not perfect.
I wanted a baked version that tasted like it was fried. Back to the drawing board and the store for more chicken (thank goodness it was on sale).
For the oven fried chicken batch I have written in this recipe I added turmeric for added color, lessened the paprika and black pepper and used white pepper, did only one dredge in the seasoned flour with a little Panko for added crunch after soaking in buttermilk and the crunch was spot on! Don’t forget to add that baking powder to your batch, that’s my secret for mega crunch.
I like a bit of heat and kick so a little cayenne was added in the seasoning, too. That is totally optional, but I highly recommend it. This is THE version. What started out as a test to get the KFC version ended up being better than I had hoped. This oven fried chicken is the way to go for me and I hope you enjoy it. Lightly coated, crunchy, flavorful and juicy on the inside. You could tap a fork on it and hear how crunchy it is going to be!
Fried chicken feel and taste, though baked in the oven with just a little butter.
If you like baked chicken dishes try my Apricot Baked Chicken, Cherry Roasted Honey Chicken or my Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Here’s the recipe for my Classic Potato Salad recipe seen in the photos, too. Enjoy!
This recipe first appeared on Kevin Is Cooking in March 2017 and has been updated with new photos and a video.
Watch how to make this below!
My Oven Fried Chicken (KFC Copycat)
- 4-5 lbs chicken (See Note 1)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp butter melted
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Place the chicken parts with the skin on in a plastic bag and pour the buttermilk in to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Massage the chicken and buttermilk with your hands to coat evenly and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes minimum up to several hours.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a medium sized bowl using a whisk, mix together the flour, Panko, baking powder and 11 herbs and spices. Set aside.
- Place a 13x9” baking dish in the oven to get hot for at least 15 minutes (See Note 2). While pan is heating up remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off excess, and dredge in the seasoned flour mixture (See Note 3), coating on all sides with one hand.
- Add the melted butter to the heated baking dish and arrange the chicken pieces on top with plenty of room on each side so they “fry” not "steam".
- Bake for 12 minutes, uncovered. Turn the chicken pieces over and bake another 12 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F depending on the size of your chicken. (See Note 4) Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes and then serve.
- I use all parts of a chicken fryer (breasts, wings, thighs and legs). The photos show 6 chicken drumsticks only.
- Avoid glass bakeware as oven temperature and adding of liquid (melted butter) is not something advised per most manufacturers instruction on care.
- When dredging I keep one hand for the wet part and the other for the dry part. This avoids getting clumpy fingers on both hands.
- If using boneless chicken breasts bake/fry 10 minutes per side instead of 12.