If crispy chicken is what you crave, but standing over a spitting, sizzling pan of hot oil is not your idea of a good time, give oven-fried chicken a try.
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oven fried chicken thighs with crispy coating on a plate with white rice
Credit: Lauren Magenta

With the right tips and tricks, your oven-fried chicken will turn out crisp and golden, and the clean-up afterwards will be a breeze. Read on to get the tips and a 5-star recipe to try.

1. Size Matters

While it might be tempting to grab a cut up chicken and cook all the pieces together, it's best to cook pieces that are the same size so they all cook evenly and are done at the same time. So, choose all thighs, all legs, all wings, or all breasts for best results.

2. Season, Season, Season

"Tastes like chicken" could actually mean it tastes like the seasoning on the chicken, because chicken itself can be bland unless you bump up the flavor. For oven-fried chicken, think of seasoning in layers: Season the chicken, season the breading, and if you need to, season one more time after it comes out of the oven while it's still nice and hot. Some recipes add even more flavor with wet or dry brines before breading.

3. Crunch Time

Pat dry the chicken pieces before breading them so the coating will stick. To get a crunchier outer layer, use a crispy coating such as panko or crushed corn flakes as the breading. After all, without a crunchy coating, you're just making baked chicken.

4. Rack 'em Up

After breading the chicken, lay the pieces on a rack fitted into a rimmed sheet pan. Using a rack in a shallow baking pan allows hot air to circulate around the pieces while they cook. No soggy bottoms!

5. Give It a Rest

Even if your recipe doesn't say to do it, it's always best to let the breading rest on the chicken for 20 or 30 minutes or so before baking. Again, this helps the breading stick to the chicken better. You can pop the chicken back into the fridge if you like, or, if your chicken was quite cool to begin with — and your kitchen isn't too hot — you can leave the chicken on the countertop for no more than 30 minutes.

6. Spritz and Flip

Give the breaded chicken a quick, light spritz with oil right before you pop it in the oven to further crisp up the crust. Flip it over about halfway through baking, spritz again, and finish baking.

Try this recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs

"These oven-'fried' chicken thighs are a perfect go-to dinner. They are budget friendly and can be turned into a compete meal served over rice, quinoa, or a fresh salad." —Lauren Magenta