If you’re craving a bucket of fried chicken but need a healthier alternative, look no further than this crispy baked chicken with brown butter honey sauce.
Who else loves fried chicken but hates the guilty sting of knowing their arteries are slowly clogging after enjoying a piece (or two)? There’s something so divine about the crispy skin combined with the moist juicy chicken meat that makes my heart skip a beat (in a good way). I try to only make “real” fried chicken a few times a year as a special treat. However, that’s often not enough to satisfy my fried chicken craving. Today I’m sharing with you how I make a healthy, crispy baked chicken that’s just as satisfying as the real thing.
This crispy baked chicken gets an extra punch of flavor with a brown butter honey drizzle that’s infused with rosemary and thyme. I just love the sweet, woodsy flavor this sauce gives the chicken. I like to serve this chicken with mashed potatoes but I think it would also be divine with stuffing too.
How to Make Crispy Baked Chicken
There are lots of different options for coating chicken to make it crispy in the oven. My absolute favorite has to be crushed cornflakes. They create insane texture and add a touch of sweetness to the chicken’s coating. I mix the crushed cornflakes with a little flour seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.
Before coating the chicken with this tasty coating however, we need to give it a long bath. Why? Because soaking chicken in a gentle, slightly acidic bath helps tenderize the meat. For this recipe, I’m using a bath of low-fat milk and apple cider vinegar.
You could also use buttermilk, which would have a similar result. However, I know most people don’t often keep buttermilk around the house so I’m using this simple DIY buttermilk hack to make this recipe as easy as possible.
For best results, I like to soak the chicken overnight, but an hour will also provide substantial benefits. After soaking the chicken, coat each piece of chicken with the cornflake mixture, pressing it evenly onto both sides of the chicken.
Once coated, spray the chicken with cooking spray and bake the chicken in a 400°F oven for 15-8 minutes, turning over with tongs halfway through cooking.
Fun Fact: If you have a convection setting on your oven, use it when making this chicken. The oven will help circulate the oil to crisp up the chicken. It works essentially like a giant air fryer. You could also totally try this recipe in an air fryer. Bake in a preheated air fryer set to 380 degrees for 8 minutes then flip, spray again and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes.
How to Make Brown Butter Honey Sauce
In the fall and winter, brown butter is one of my favorite ways to add flavor to different dishes. In this sauce, I brown the butter with a little fresh rosemary and thyme. The flavors of the herbs get infused into butter and make the house smell amazing! Then when the butter ready, honey, brown sugar and maple syrup. The combination of these three sweeteners is the perfect trifecta for this sweet and savory sauce and pair perfectly with the crispy baked chicken.
When the chicken comes out of the oven, simply drizzle or brush the sauce over the chicken. then just sit down and dig into one of the juiciest, crunchy, flavorful pieces of chicken you’ve ever had.
I’m not sure how much healthier this chicken is than traditional fried chicken. It may be baked but it’s also slathered in a sticky butter sauce. I like to think it’s a step in the direction at least!
If you make this crispy baked chicken, let me know your thoughts below in the comments and tag me on social media. It’s @frydaeblog and #frydaeblog absolutely everywhere! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy. Happy Frydae!
Looking for other great, chicken recipes? Try this Easy Stovetop Coq au Vin next.
Crispy Baked Chicken with Brown Butter Honey Sauce
- 1 pound chicken breasts, butterflied
- 1 cup milk*
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar*
- 1/4 cup sour cream*
- 2 cups cornflakes, crushed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- olive oil cooking spray, or another neutral-flavored cooking spray
Brown Butter Honey Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 spring fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Crispy Baked Chicken
- In a bowl, whisk together the milk, apple cider vinegar and milk. Next, add the butterflied chicken breasts to the mixture. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. When you're ready to bread the chicken, preheat the oven to 425°F. Then, mix the crushed cornflakes, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper and dried thyme on a large piece of parchment paper. Next, remove a piece of chicken from the milk bath and coat all sides with the cornflake mixture. I like to press the cornflakes onto the chicken to get a thick, even coating. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts and then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray each piece of chicken generously with olive oil cooking spray.Place the chicken into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning each piece of chicken over after 12 minutes. If you have a convection setting on your oven, I highly recommend using it.** It helps circulate the oil and make the chicken extra crispy. Continue to bake until the chicken is crispy and golden brown. Remove when internal temperature reaches 165°F. While the chicken is still warm, drizzle or brush each piece of chicken with the warm brown butter honey sauce. Serve chicken with mashed potatoes or your choice of side. Enjoy.
Brown Butter Honey Sauce
- While the chicken is baking, prepare the brown butter sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat. A pan with a light-colored bottom works great for this so you can monitor the color of the butter. As the butter melts add the sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme. Continue to let the butter cook, stirring occasionally. The butter will begin to turn from yellow to a golden brown. The butter is ready when the butter beings to foam and emits a nutty aroma. This process usually takes 4-5 minutes.Remove the butter from the heat and discard the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. To the warm butter, add the honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
* You may substitute 1.5 cups for buttermilk for the milk, sour cream, and apple cider vinegar if you have buttermilk on hand. ** Try this recipe in an air fryer. Bake in a preheated air fryer set to 380 degrees for 8 minutes then flip, spray again and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes.