Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Unfried Chicken (Bobby Deen) - The Buttermilk and Cornflakes Method

Have you tried cooking crispy chicken with no oil and no frying at all? Are they crispy?

When Lena from Frozen wings suggested the theme, baked chicken for Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and I to bake along... I can't stop thinking of unfried chicken!!!

Unfried chicken? Chicken that is cooked with no frying and yet crispy??? To do that, baking seems to be the next-best alternative option.

Are oven baked chicken crispy?

Many years ago, I used to bake oven baked chicken fingers coated with wholemeal breadcrumb and grated Parmesan cheese for my family. Then all I heard were...
"Mum, this chicken is not crispy enough!"
"This chicken is too dry!"
"Huh! NO fried chicken???"

With the least amount of cleaning and fat, I'm not complaining! LOL!

Maybe the wholemeal breadcrumbs and cheese are not fatty enough to coat the oven baked chicken and so I tried other interesting options like Ritz crackers and potatoes chips. I have to say that I like the potato chips coated chicken nuggets the most!!! Afterall, I can't fight the fact that it is the fat on the coating that makes oven baked chicken crispy!

Then, when I saw this highly rated Bobby Deen's unfried chicken recipe from Food Network that uses the 99.8% fat free cornflakes to coat the oven baked chicken, I tell myself... Is this for real? Well, let's see...

unfried chicken oven baked buttermilk cornflakes Bobby Deen
Unfried Chicken baked using the buttermilk and cornflakes method
First, combine these to season the chicken.
It is better to use skinless chicken thighs to cook with this recipe as the low fat coating tends to make chicken breast meat not as moist and delicious as the thigh meat.

Did I just said that the coating that we used here are low fat? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Check these out ...

Instead of the usual eggs and flour, we are using 98% fat free buttermilk to dip the chicken before coating.
Instead of using bread crumbs, we are using 99.8% fat free cornflakes to coat the chicken before baking.
Combine buttermilk, egg whites, lemon zest and juice.
Notice that they are all low fat ingredients?
Place cornflakes in zip lock bag and crush them into crumbs.
Place a little oil to grease the pan lightly and then do these.
After baking ...
unfried chicken oven baked buttermilk cornflakes Bobby Deen
Let's see...
This chicken is tender and crunches when you bite but they are NOT exactly crispy!

I can assure you that this healthier version of unfried chicken is actually pretty good by yielding nice, moist, tender and not dry unfried chicken but... due to the lack of fats in its cornflakes crumbs coating, I have to say that the coating is not exactly crispy. You know... It crunches just once at my first bite but the crunching doesn't continue as I munch.

Once again... With the least amount of cleaning and fat, I'm not complaining! LOL!

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Food Network

1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8-9 skinless boneless chicken thighs, medium pieces, trimmed of all visible fat (about 1 kg/2 pound)
1/4 cup buttermilk (98% fat free)
2 egg whites
zest and juice of 1 lemon
adequate salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp hot sauce, optional and I didn't add it
Nonstick cooking oil spray or 1/2 tsp vegetable oil to grease
about 3-4 cups (200g) cornflakes crumbs

Combine salt, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle the salt mixture evenly onto the chicken. Combine the buttermilk, egg whites, lemon zest and juice and hot sauce (optional) in a large bowl. Season the buttermilk mixture with adequate amount of salt and pepper and toss the chicken to coat.

Preheat the oven to 380°F or 180°C. Grease a large oven friendly pan or a cast-iron skillet with nonstick cooking oil spray or 1/2 tsp vegetable oil. Place the pan or skillet on the stove with medium-high heat until the pan or skillet is hot. Remove from the heat.

Working very quickly; pour the cornflakes crumbs into another large bowl. Dip the chicken into the crumbs, pressing to adhere, and then arrange them in the heated pan or skillet and into the oven. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 to 55 mins or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Serve immediately.

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. Zoe, this is definitely great for children and adult. Must be very crispy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Unfried chicken!! Zoe, you are brilliant :) I like how you use cornflake crumbs to make this buttermilk unfried chicken! I'm going to bookmark this and try it out myself :)

  3. Great recipe Zoe! I always love reading yr post. You bring the dish to me in yr detailed explanation. yum.. yum... !

  4. I had made something similar sometime back after seeing a Tasty video... like you said, not exactly crispy but the kids and the adults in the house really loved it... This version also sounds yum... will try...

  5. Zoe, though not that crunchy, the chicken does look very good. I bet it was delicious!

  6. When you said unfried, I think of baking and airfryer already.. Well coz airfryer doesn't use any oil, haha.. Yummzz, I don't mind the chicken not crispy, it still looks so so good.. I wana dip with honey mustard sauce..

  7. Love the idea of "unfried" chicken! And I'm OK if the coating doesn't continue to crunch as you munch -- just as long as you get a good crunch with the first bite. And the coating tastes good, of course. :-)

  8. easy way and also with less oil.

  9. hey zoe, i can imagine all the crunching sound in your kitchen when your family eating this. LOL! They do look very crunchy and sounds tasty too!

  10. That looks so crispy delicious! I love how you make them

  11. Amazing, Zoe! Even if it's not really crispy, I will still try it because it looks really gorgeous. ;D

  12. Hi Zoe,
    Your chicken sure looks good! Even if these were not so crispy, I bet they taste delicious! I've made oven fried chicken with cornflakes coating too a few months ago, a recipe of Ellie Krieger and they were crispy. Maybe one day when you are up to another fried chicken night, oven-style, you might want to give that a try.
    I'm glad Lena has selected this delicious theme! :)

  13. Soooo yummy! I've seen so many recipes to do with cornflake covered chicken and I really want to try it soon! I love crispy chicken and have no issues with deep fried fattiness but I know I will enjoy this!

  14. Hi Zoe, Is there substitute for the store bought buttermilk? will adding lemon juice to milk work for the buttermilk for this recipe?

    1. Hi Michelle, You can do that but the lemon juice added milk won't be as thick as smooth as the real buttermilk. Normally, I would say that you can substitute buttermilk with plain yogurt for cake baking but I don't think yogurt will work very well with this recipe.


  15. Hi Zoe,
    I am really happy to read your post on Unfried Chicken (Bobby Deen) - The Buttermilk and Cornflakes Method. Here your mentioning recipes are really excellent. I hope it will help me a lot. Thanks for sharing this with us.