Oven Fried Chicken (KFC Copycat)

4.94 from 131 votes

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My recipe for oven fried chicken has everything you love about crispy chicken with way less hassle. Chicken is marinated in buttermilk, dredged in a batter with 11 herbs and spices, then baked to crispy perfection. This baked version is easier, healthier, and loaded with just as much crunch and flavor!

holding a crunchy drumstick over a basket of oven fried chicken


This recipe for oven fried chicken is one that I had been working on perfecting for a long time. Through much trial and error, I finally came up with the winning formula back in 2014. I’m sharing this again with new updated information, photos and a new video below in the recipe card to see how to make this.

Like any decent KFC copycat recipe, this recipe features a blend of 11 zesty and robust herbs and spices. Instead of going into the deep fryer, however, this chicken gets rendered and crispy right in the oven. This method leaves you with tender, juicy meat on the inside and a delightful crunchy exterior. Plus, it makes both cooking and cleanup easier!

basket of oven fried chicken KFC copycat

For more tasty chicken recipes, check out my Habanero Apricot Chicken, Baked Cubano Chicken, and Creamy Chicken Madeira.

closeup: spices for this KFC copycat recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – I like to use bone-in, skin-on cuts for this recipe, and I use all the different pieces. Using boneless chicken breasts is also an option, but you will need to decrease your cooking time to 10 minutes per side. 
  • Buttermilk – Keeps the chicken tender and moist while helping the breading stick. 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – These light, airy bread crumbs add an extra layer of crunch. 
  • Butter – Added to the baking pan, this adds an extra layer of crispness and flavor. 
  • 11 Herbs and Spices – A combination of salt, white pepper, black pepper, celery salt, Italian seasoning, garlic, mustard, paprika, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne make this a true KFC copycat recipe. 
  • Baking Powder – Gives the seasoning mix an added crunch factor.
overhead: KFC copycat recipe on a baking sheet

Tip From Kevin

To double dip and dredge or not?

  • The image above and 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 (see image below), 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.
  • I prefer how the recipe is listed below in the recipe card (watch the video!), but feel free to experiment if you like!
sideview: oven fried chicken in a basket

How to Make Oven Fried Chicken

  1. Marinate the Meat. Place all of the chicken pieces, skin intact, in a sturdy ziploc bag. Pour the buttermilk into the bag and squeeze out any excess air. Use your hands to massage the buttermilk into the chicken, then place the whole bag in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours. 
  2. Mix the Seasoning. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, panko, and 11 herbs and spices. Set the bowl aside. 
  3. Batter the Chicken. Place a 13×9 inch pan in the oven to get hot for at least 15 minutes. In the meantime, remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off any excess. Then, use one hand to dredge each piece in the seasoned flour mix, coating on all sides. 
  4. Transfer to Baking Dish. Drizzle the melted butter into the bottom of the heated pan and arrange each piece of chicken, skin side down, in the pan. Make sure to leave plenty of room so they fry rather than steam. 
  5. Bake Until Crispy. Keep the pan uncovered and bake the chicken for 12 minutes. Flip the pieces over, return the pan to the oven, and bake for another 12 minutes. You may need to add more time for larger pieces, but your chicken will be done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. 
  6. Serve. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before diving in.
overhead: a basket of this KFC copycat recipe

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my oven fried chicken soggy?


To get the crispiest, crunchiest fried chicken possible, be sure not to overcrowd the baking pan. Air needs to be able to circulate around each piece to get the oven-fried effect we are aiming for. 

Make sure that your oven is fully preheated and set to 425 degrees F. Cooking at too low of a temperature will also lead to less-than-crispy results. Don’t forget to preheat the baking pan too! 

When dredging and battering your chicken, be sure that you shake off any excess liquid and leave only what you need for the breading to stick.

What should I serve with oven fried chicken?


Since this is a KFC copycat recipe, I like to pair it with homemade versions of some of my favorite KFC sides like Mashed Potatoes, Brown Gravy, and Biscuits

Oven fried chicken is also tasty with classic comfort foods like Baked Mac and Cheese or with lighter sides like a Classic Caesar Salad. The possibilities are endless!

How long does fried chicken last in the fridge?


Cooked leftovers will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. 

If you end up with lots of leftover fried chicken, freezing is also an option. Arrange cooked pieces on a baking sheet, then place the entire sheet in the freezer and let the chicken flash freeze for about an hour. After that, you can transfer the pieces to a freezer-safe bag and store them for 3-4 months. Be sure to label and date!

When it comes time to reheat the frozen chicken, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for around 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your portions.

grabbing a drumstick of oven fried chicken over a basket of drumsticks
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A crunchy drumstick and basket of KFC copycat chicken

Oven Fried Chicken (KFC Copycat)

4.94 from 131 votes
Oven fried chicken is moist and tender with an irresistible crunch. Avoid oil splatters and make this baked KFC copycat recipe instead!
Servings: 6
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 24 minutes
Total: 44 minutes

Ingredients 

Seasoning Blend

Instructions 

  • 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 13×9” 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.
  • Drizzle the melted butter in the heated baking dish and arrange the chicken pieces skin side down on top of butter (with plenty of room on each side so they “fry” not "steam").
  • Bake for 12 minutes, uncovered. Carefully 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.

Video

Notes

***Nutrition info should be lower than noted as this currently represents using all ingredients, BUT not all fat from chicken and butter is eaten as it renders and butter “frys” chicken and remains on bottom of baking pan.
  1. I use all parts of a chicken fryer (breasts, wings, thighs and legs). The photos show 6 chicken drumsticks only.
  2. Avoid glass bakeware as oven temperature and adding of liquid (melted butter) is not something advised per most manufacturers instruction on care.
  3. 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.
  4. If using boneless chicken breasts bake/fry 10 minutes per side instead of 12.

Nutrition

Calories: 868kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 251mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 724mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 945IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 4.8mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
KFC copycat chicken drumbstick in basket

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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340 Comments

  1. I am wanting to serve this to a very large crowd. If I cooked the chicken the day before and then reheated it in the oven, would it still taste as crispy?

  2. 5 stars
    This has been my go-to recipe for years and it’s perfect. Just wondering if you’ve ever tried it in an air fryer and if you altered it in any way for that (other than, obviously, time/temp). Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes I have several ceramic ones (Pampered Chef) and metal roasting pans. Hope you enjoy this one Julia!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Kevin Just wanted to know if I could use regular flour instead of Panko bread crumbs thanks so much for the recipe? Linda

  4. 5 stars
    Really helpful video and the chicken is great! I do think it would be easier if the proportions were representative of a smaller amount of chicken though. For example, for 8 pieces of chicken drumsticks only.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this one Kyle. As for “pieces” vs weight, it’s hard to judge when some “drumsticks” are bigger or smaller, all relative. BUT you can alter the ingredient list if you hover your mouse over the NUMBER of Servings and move it up or down, ingredient list changes as well. Hope this helps.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for the seasoning list – but it’s WAY low on salt compared to KFC, though probably for the better. The baking powder and panko bread crumbs are great ideas and I can’t wait to try it.
    I will say that you may be correct about 1 tsp amounts, but NOT for salt.
    I cooked KFC chicken using the original techniques back in the late 60’s working my way through college.

    We had a 20 lb sack of flour and a THREE POUND sack of salt, along with a plastic bag of about two pounds of “The Colonel’s secret ingredients” that we mixed together in a bin. The secret ingredients included a lot of pepper that made you sneeze when mixing it.

    We used an eggwash with real eggs and real milk back then. 18 pieces went from eggwash to flour bin to 350° oil in a pressure cooker brought up to 15 psi then 7 minutes at a medium heat.

    People avoiding salt due to high blood pressure often see their b.p. go through the roof after eating just two pieces of KFC chicken!

    Today, when I make my KFC Copycat, I use 1 tbsp of salt for every cup of sugar – much, much less than KFC chicken.

    That doesn’t mean 1 tsp of celery salt and 1 tsp of salt are any less tasty along with the rest of the seasoning, but I wanted to point out the Colonel was heavy on salt.

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! We are vegetarians but I love the taste of KFC which I remember from my childhood. I made this with mushrooms and halloumi but followed all the other steps and it turned out great. I think the flavours are wonderful and I even made a gravy from the drippings in the bottom of the pan to go with mashed potatoes. With a coleslaw on the side, it was a good as eating out!!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this for my husband, who absolutely loves KFC. He could not believe how wonderful it came out! You definitely knocked it out of the park when you came up with this! I really appreciate all of the effort you put into this recipe, and I look forward to trying out some of your others. Thank you so much!!!

    1. I am so glad Dawn! Nothing beats having a meal you love at home! I hope you find more recipes you enjoy! Thank you!