Almost Bobby’s Oven Fried Chicken

Oven fried chicken, done right! A crispy, crunchy crust and moist, succulent, flavorful chicken – it’s about enough to make one throw away those awful freezer bags of additive laden frozen nuggets! (do it now!) One taste of this chicken and you’ll never go back.

Almost Bobby's Oven Fried Chicken - so good!

Almost Bobby’s Oven Fried Chicken – so good!

Better yet, this full on Retro meal harkens back to my childhood of the 60’s when Shake N’ Bake Pork Chicken or Pork Chops were my favorite – and these are SO much better.

This is for Kevin and all of those others out there who are trying to nudge little people who’ve grown up on Chicken Nuggets towards eating a bit healthier. One of my prime sleight of hands move is to serve familiar food that is slightly more sophisticated and just a bit healthier.

This is one of my son’s favorite dinners – I had to call him to the table twice today. The second time, I added “It’s Oven Baked Chicken!” to which he replied in a voice somehow plaintive and excited at the same time, “Really, Mom?” Five seconds later, he was at the table.

The idea and techniques were “stolen off” Bobby Flay and fabulously frugalized, eliminating some waste and expensive ingredients. As you can see, I went full on Retro with the meal, serving our favorite Glazed Carrots and an Iceberg Wedge Salad with a blender dressing. The chicken for four ran about $1.85 and the sides another 65 cents each: total around $3.15.

Oven Fried Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk or substitution (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika – this is regular old paprika, not the smoked kind
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 ounces each
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I use Olive Oil)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking Spray

Whisk together the buttermilk (or substitute), mustard, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne in a bowl. Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc, add the buttermilk mixture, and squish it around a bit to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 4 hours. (The marinade does seem to make the chicken a bit juicier and slightly more flavorful, but if you don’t have time to marinade, it’s still very good if the chicken is just dipped in the mixture.)

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the canola oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top. Liberally spray the rack with nonstick baking spray. (You could omit the rack and just place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. The bottom will not be as crispy and a bit oilier.)

Working with one breast at a time, remove chicken from the marinade and dredge in the crumb mixture. Gently press the crumbs on, especially on the top where it shows. If it doesn’t seem to want to “stick” in an area, wet the area with a little of the marinade and then cover it with the bread crumbs.

Place on rack. When all the breasts are on the rack, spritz the tops with a bit of cooking spray.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the breast registers 160 degrees, about 30 minutes. (I’ve never actually tested mine with a thermometer. If your breasts are around six ounces or so, they’re always perfect. If in doubt, just make a small nick in the thickest part of the breast and check one.)

If you have leftovers, let them cool to room temperature and then refrigerate, uncovered until they’re cold. After they are chilled, cover them. This helps to keep the crust from softening in the fridge.


  • Buttermilk: This is an ingredient I often do not have on hand – I simply took about 3/4 cup of milk and added a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise and about a 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to slightly thicken the milk and give it the tang from the buttermilk. A little yogurt or sour cream in the milk would work as well.
  • Bread Crumbs: I never buy the expensive store brought bread crumbs because they don’t taste that great and don’t have the beautiful, cragginess that gives such great crunch to the crust. Whiz up your own using my recipe for toasted bread crumbs (they keep in the freezer for several months before losing their fresh taste.) If you don’t have any pre-made, toast them while the oven preheats (watch them like a hawk, though, at the higher temperature!)
  • Panko: Bobby Flay used Panko, but he divided it in half and broke down half of it into finer crumbs in the food processor. I tried the recipe with the Panko and really like the home-made bread crumbs better. I also tried it once and forgot to divide and break down half the Panko, and the crust had an odd texture.

from the kitchen of, adapted from Bobby Flay

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe for saving money/time and managing this recipe on a budget.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

(six ounce serving of chicken)  310 cal, 9g carbs, 38 g protein, 110 mg cholesterol, 13 g fat, 400 mg sodium

If you’re curious to how this stacks up to, say Tyson’s chicken nugget, like the one I reviewed, if this chicken were divided up into the same weight, 2.75 ounces:  calories would be 142; carbs 4; prot 17.41;  chol 50mg; fat 5.95g; sod 183mg.  No trans fat other than the miniscule amount of naturally occurring trans fat in the chicken.

Put Your Own Spin on It:

I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going to try this with a few finely chopped pecans or almonds next time I make it, and maybe even a few herbs mixed in the breadcrumbs.

Recipe made June 2012; Repriced at $3.15in February 2014 for less than the original price.

Bobby Flay's Oven Fried Chicken - So good! One of my son's favorites.

5 thoughts on “Almost Bobby’s Oven Fried Chicken

  1. doris

    Terrible! Completely tasteless. No way this is a Bobby Flay recipe. 1.5 C of breading completely unseasoned except for salt & pepper. Check BF’s fried chicken recipe for 2 C of flour the seasonings are measured in tablespoons. After baking the breading is like sand.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Doris, sorry to hear you weren’t happy with this! And I appreciate the candid review, although, yes, it DID come from Bobby Flay as I stated. It was in Parade magazine. Bobby does advocate a lot of healthier recipes and this is his family friendly answer to chicken nuggets and such and is his take on a retro favorite. Like the shake n bake’s from back in the day. I’ve made it many times and for an oven baked chicken, we enjoy it! Like i said, a favorite of my son’s! He was 10 at the time, but still likes it though he pulls out the Sriracha, these days.

      And I get that it wasn’t the flavorful Bobby Flay recipe you expected, and I can try to stress it more so no one else will expect that, although your comment makes it abundantly clear! 🙂

      I changed four things in the recipe. Flay used 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, which would have been less spice per buttermilk and 2 1/2 cups of panko! I decreased the buttermilk (and the amount of Dijon since I used about half the buttermilk and kept the spices as is) and amount of breadcrumb (you just don’t need it all) and stress to use toasted breadcrumbs rather than the panko which Bobby Flay used, He broke part of his Panko down, half as is and half broken down in the blender. We didn’t like the Panko crumb for this recipe and didn’t care for the texture.

      I’d love to troubleshoot – I get you didn’t like the spicing, which can make sense since it’s a retro family friendly recipe and Bobby Flay is generally known for his big flavors, but I’m even more concerned about the breading! I don’t want anyone else to go through what you did!

      Could you let me know if you toasted your own breadcrumbs or went with the Panko?

      Updated: Found the original Bobby Flay recipe online (I tore mine out of the Parade Magazine back in 2012 or so.)

      Thanks much, Doris!


  2. bethanie

    Looks really good. I noticed that a lot of time recipes that call for buttermilk and stuff use way too much and then it gets thrown out.

    • Waste that’s built into a recipe is just a crazy making thing for me, and I see it often in Chef’s recipes. I guess I never want to have too little and then have to stop, wash up sticky, messy hands, and add more to a recipe like this, but I hate pouring good food into the garbage or down the sink!

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