Crunchy Baked Chicken

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Juicy, flavorful chicken in a spicy, crunchy crust is possible without a frying pan or a minute spent standing in front of the stove. This Crunchy Baked Chicken is made crunchy with a sprinkling of an unexpected ingredient.

Crispy Cholula Chicken {Oven-Fried} - recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

I remember tasting chicken breaded with corn flakes years ago, but it sure didn’t taste anything like this! A reader mentioned corn flake crusted chicken to me the other day and one thing led to another. I wanted to play with that idea and it turned out amazingly well.

My family couldn’t guess the ingredient in the crunchy crust, and even after I told them what it was, they still didn’t believe that there were corn flakes in the recipe. I’ve now made this chicken three times, with boneless skinless chicken breast fillets, with boneless skinless chicken thighs, and with bone-in chicken drumsticks.

The chicken turns out juicy inside and crunchy outside every single time. I served this dinner with a Vegetable Tian and steamed corn, however, this chicken would work nicely with almost any side dishes.

 You’ll notice that there is a large quantity of hot sauce in the marinade, and it works to provide a deep level of flavor to the chicken. Surprisingly, the hot sauce does not serve to make the chicken very spicy. The Mexican spice mix will, however, add a good bit of heat to the crust, so if you are leery of the heat, start with a more traditional taco seasoning and adjust the amounts for your family.

Kitchen Tip: I use this sheet pan to make this recipe.

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Crunchy Baked Chicken

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Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs, or 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless breasts or thighs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce *
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups corn flakes cereal crushed
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons  Mexican spice mix or taco seasoning mix

Instructions

  • Place the chicken is a large gallon size Ziploc bag. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, stir together the olive oil, hot sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag. Place in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. Turn the bag over a time or two to ensure the meat is thoroughly coated.
  • When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the corn flakes cereal in a large Ziploc bag and crush by rolling over the bag with a rolling pin. The goal is to turn the crushed flakes that are a course powder. This should only take a minute or two. Place the crumbs in a pie plate or flat bottomed bowl and stir in the taco seasoning.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil and set it next to the bowl of crumbs. Remove one piece of chicken from the marinade, roll it in the crumbs to thoroughly coat it, and then place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with all the chicken. Sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the chicken. Bake bone-in chicken pieces about 1 hour until cooked through and lightly browned. (Boneless skinless chicken thighs will take about 50 minutes, boneless skinless chicken breast fillets will take about 20 minutes.) Let the chicken rest a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe works great with both bone-in and boneless and/or skinless chicken pieces. If you are using a boneless chicken breast, pound it slightly to even it out a bit before marinating. Adjust the times as noted below to account for the different cuts of meat.
* The hot sauce adds a deeper flavor to the chicken marinade, but it truly adds very little heat. The spiciness in this chicken is created in the crunchy breading with Mexican spices. Feel free to reduce the amount of Mexican spice mix if you're leery of too much heat.
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 8/15/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 8/21/17}

{Oven-Fried} Crispy Cholula Chicken - recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says

    This is basically every that I could want in a chicken. My hubby is obsessed with Corn Flakes and Cholula hot sauce and I am obsessed with the fact that I can have crispy chicken without the deep fryer. You, my friend, are a rock star. Pinned!

  2. Sue @ yahoo.com says

    This sounds delicious. I have used corn flakes before, but not with all these seasonings. Can't wait to make me some chicken like this…Thanks, I love your recipes & watching you on TV….

  3. Jan says

    I love crunchy baked chicken, and really liked this recipe. I used chicken tenders, with plenty of the spice because I like spicy. I did exactly as your recipe stated. My only question is–should I have sprayed the foiled pan before putting the chicken on it? A significant amount of the bottom coating stuck tight to the foil. There was really plenty of coating since tenders are fairly small. But I just wondered. Thanks for the recipe.