What screams kid-approved, Southern, summertime dinner more than fried chicken? Try this oven baked method for a healthier alternative, using whatever neutral-tasting cereal you have on hand!
Growing up it seemed like my mom always had something special on the dinner table. Even with a thousand things going on, between orchestra rehearsal or flute lessons for me, soccer practice for my sister, school, homework, and more, she was always able to have a delicious, complete meal on the table. This chicken reminds me of something she would have made for us. An entrée or meal that's delicious, but also super simple to throw together with just a few ingredients.
The breading for this chicken is something most parents have on hand - cereal! Now I can't say that I would necessarily recommend a sugary cereal, but anything like rice or corn Chex, corn flakes, bran flakes, or similar neutral-tasting cereals would be perfect. All you have to do is pour some in a sealed bag and take your rolling pin to it! This step would be perfect for involving the kiddos - it's fun for them, and mess-free for you, as long as you've sealed your bag tightly! 😉
The other main ingredient, one that I don't typically have on hand, is buttermilk. You can definitely just add buttermilk to your weekly grocery list (that's what I did, and it was totally worth it!), or you can use an ol' standby kitchen hack. Just combine a scant cup of milk with one tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar! Easy peasy! The acidity works in the same way as the buttermilk where it helps tenderize the chicken as you let it sit.
If you want, you can also cut the chicken into more kid-friendly sizes, especially if your kids like to dunk in ketchup or other sauces. You can cut chicken breast into nuggets, tenders, or into fun strip/ "chicken fry" pieces like I have here! I will say, they were especially tasty in some ketchup. 😉 Heads up, if you are cooking as nuggets or small strips, adjust the cooking time accordingly - it'll take likely take between 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the nuggets/ strips.
Try this simple recipe out! Let me know what cereal you use and how you like it. And of course, have fun with it and make it a family affair! Be well!
Oven Baked Cereal Chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts cut in half (you should have 4 chicken pieces total)
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 2 cups crushed cereal rice or corn chex, bran flakes, corn flakes, etc.
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika optional - gives a very subtle smoky flavor
- Place chicken in a Tupperware container and cover with buttermilk. Let sit at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more tender the chicken will be!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by brushing with oil or nonstick spray.
- Mix the crushed cereal, salt, pepper, and paprika together.
- Dip the chicken pieces into the crushed cereal. Cover the chicken completely and pat the crumbs into the chicken/ buttermilk. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes (or until chicken reaches 165 degrees).
- Let cool a few minutes, and then serve!