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. 5 stars
    Years ago I read an article from a reporter from the Chicago Tribune doing a piece on Col. Sanders 11 herbs and spices. The Col. had passed away but a cousin, who worked for him gave an interview to the reporter. Long story short, the cousin said the key to the taste was the use of white pepper. He said that addition put the mixture over the top in taste and acceptance. So glad you listed it #1 on your ingredients list!

  2. 5 stars
    We made this chicken last night. It was the BEST “fried” chicken we ever had…so moist and crunchy! it is going to be added to our recipe book!

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I did it today for the first time. I’m on a low sodium diet and did the recipe exactly as listed with the exception of the salt. In its place I used a generous portion of Spike and substituted celery flakes for the celery salt. It was a huge hit with everyone and I loved it as well. I also used air chilled, organic chicken thighs. The only roasting pan that I have that was big enough was a Lodge cast iron. It came out perfect. Thank you, Jeff

  4. 5 stars
    very nice Kevin, my thoughts are wondering if this is a good recipe for ‘oven fried fish’ ?
    do you have anything like this for crisp oven fish. thanks

      1. 5 stars
        Got it, so much like the chicken. delicious, just got through with it. I used tilapia.
        it was more like flat type. The idea worked well and we made fish tacos out of it.
        I used my air fryer. Thank you, love your site i love ideas and methods. Jacques
        Pipin is one of my favorites, his experience teaches. As with yours. thank you. Sel

  5. 5 stars
    This is a well-thought out kitchen test article that I’m sure can deliver some excellent results. It should be noted, however, that the real “secret” that sets KFC apart from most other chicken retailers is that KFC uses institutional grade pressure cookers to cook large amounts of chicken quickly. A good home-baked recipe will come close, but cannot really duplicate that type of process.

    1. 5 stars
      Yes but it’s so much healthier! And at home you know the type of chicken you’re using , rather than the battery chickens stuffed with antibiotics!

      1. So sorry for the late reply as I have been away on a much needed vacation outside the USA (York to be exact!). Needless to say, about your inquiry… I agree, homemade is always better.

  6. Do I place chicken skin side down first or later in the cooking process? I’m planning to use bone in skin on thighs.

    1. It works best with the skin, but by all means go skinless and make sure the chicken is really covered from dredging first before baking Shifa.

  7. I made this recipe and followed the instructions to the letter, but it was not crispy at all. Most disappointing. What did I do wrong?
    Ps. Taste was lovely.

    1. This is key: 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”. I can’t think of any other reason that they did not turn out if followed to the letter.

      1. Thank you for your reply. Is it possible that the oven was not hot enough or I used too much butter? ( so the chicken boiled instead of baking?)

  8. 5 stars
    This was excellent! Cook time was perfect. I scaled it down for two 4 1/2 oz drumsticks. I used a foil lined metal pan in the toaster oven. My 84 yr old, chicken drumstick-loving mom loved it! Your experimenting with the spices was very successful. Thank you for sharing your recipe!