In our house, and maybe in your house too, we like to name things. At times the names are creative, but a lot of the time names emerge out of efficiency or necessity or a sheer lack of creativity. It’s always the lackluster names that seem to stick for eternity. So it goes with Crispy Chicken.
My Crispy Chicken recipe began as Ina’s Parmesan Chicken (which is delicious and worth trying). My children loved this dish, but the Parmesan cheese gave it a sharpness their tender palettes didn’t care for. I made a few changes, and seeing as Parmesan was the flavor they didn’t care for, decided I couldn’t very well continue to call it Parmesan Chicken. Running low on creativity, I dubbed the new Parmesan-free dish Crispy Chicken, and the rest is history.
Crispy Chicken used to daunt me because of the dredging. Dredging always seems like a big deal. Except that when I actually gather my strength and gear up for all the work dredging requires, without fail I always think to myself, “Oh look at that. Dredging is not that big of a deal. I should remember that for next time.” Narrator: she would not remember that for next time.
It has taken several rounds of gearing up, dredging, and then remarking on how little effort was actually required before I wised up and realized Crispy Chicken, even with its dredging, is not difficult and can be easily executed on busy weeknights.
Crispy Chicken also provides a base for numerous menu options. If you use chicken tenderloins, Crispy Chicken basically delivers the best chicken strips you’ve ever tasted. Top Crispy Chicken with mozzarella cheese, stick it under the broiler until the cheese melts and blisters, and serve it atop spaghetti and you just created a crazy-good rendition of Chicken Parmesan. Slice Crispy Chicken into strips and your side salad just became a main dish. Double (or triple!) the recipe, and you’ve got lunch and dinner options for the week.
Crispy Chicken is the kind of basic recipe that you want to get really good at because at a moment’s notice you can throw it together and save the day.
Not only do I hope you will try this recipe, but I really hope you will purchase Let’s Learn Crispy Chicken from my online store. The learn-at-home cooking video will show you exactly how to make Crispy Chicken from start to finish. If you’ve never worked with chicken, never dredged, or never sautéd, I will walk you through each step and you will emerge ready to dredge and sauté your heart out.
- 1 pound thin-cut, boneless, skinless chicken breast (or, alternatively, you can use chicken tenderloins)
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- The success of this recipe is found in doing the dirty work in a certain order, so that you don’t find yourself covered head to toe in flour and raw chicken. First, set up your dredging station. You can use a number of different vessels including large dinner plates, small baking dishes, or (my personal favorite) disposable aluminum pie plates. You will need a total of three containers. In the first one, place the flour plus the salt and pepper. Combine it lightly with a fork. In the second, crack the eggs and beat them lightly with a fork until well-combined. In the last, pour the panko. Make sure you have an empty plate ready to hold your chicken once you dredge it.
- Second, prepare your chicken. It is vitally important that your chicken be of a thin, uniform thickness. If you are able to find thin-cut chicken cutlets this is best. Chicken tenderloins are another great option, particularly for children. If you are using either of these options, you will only need to remove the wrapper from the package. Make sure you can easily access the chicken pieces with one hand.If you are starting with full-sized, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you have two choices to thin them out. You can put each breast into a zip bag and pound it until thin. Or, using a sharp knife, you can simply slice the breasts into thinner pieces. Either way, once you have the chicken nice and thin, keep it within easy reach.
- Third, dredge all of the chicken. Using your hands, place each piece of chicken into the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. You want to make sure the chicken is covered lightly in flour, but don’t press. Then move the chicken into the egg mixture, quickly dipping it in on either side to coat it. Let any excess drip off. Lastly, place the chicken into the panko. At this point, if needed, press the panko onto the chicken to ensure that it has an even coating on all sides. Set the dredged chicken onto the waiting plate and proceed with the remaining pieces.
- Once all of the chicken is dredged, I suggest taking a cleanup break. Throw away all the chicken trash, dispose of the dredging supplies and ingredients, and wipe down your work area. I find it easier to move forward once I have taken care of the mess.
- Finally, cook the chicken. In a medium to large skillet, over medium heat (about a 4-5 out of 10), heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the butter is melted and bubbling.
- Carefully place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into the hot pan. Do not move the chicken. Allow them to fully brown and release from the pan before turning. Depending on a lot of factors, this will take between 3 and 5 minutes per side.
- Once the first side is nicely browned, flip the chicken and allow it to cook on the other side. Remove the finished chicken to a clean tray or plate. Continue cooking the remaining chicken. If you would like to keep the chicken warm until serving, you can put it on a sheet tray in a 200 degree oven.