Healthier Oven Fried Chicken

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Fried Chicken is no longer just a southern dish– in fact I think it’s as American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. But when many of us hear the words “fried chicken” we immediately think of a lot of fat and grease, as well as a famous fast food chain that can make our arteries go into panic mode. This is understandable if you fry your chicken in a pot full of oil, but keep in mind there are also healthier ways to fry a chicken.

Your Oven Isn’t Just for Baking

The healthiest alternative that I’ve found is to take a cookie sheet, spray it with cooking spray and bake your coated chicken in the oven.

This approach is good and fine, but to me you just wind up with baked chicken. If you really want to have  it crispy outside, you have to keep the skin on and include a little “fat”.

What I am going to share with you is a technique for a healthier version —  not the healthiest, just healthier. The key is to serve fried chicken as a treat, not a staple.

Depending on the method you choose for frying your chicken (and I mean frying, not baking), this technique will save you about 100 to 150 calories per serving. Granted….it’ll still be pushing 350 calories (with 25 grams of fat), depending on the chicken part and how many pieces you call a serving (my estimate is based on two chicken legs per serving). But regardless of the variables, this healthier alternative beats the almost 500 calories (41.5 grams of fat) you take in for a serving of skillet fried chicken. I wonder where that puts deep fried chicken on the calorie meter?

There is another benefit to oven frying… no splatters all over your stove to clean up afterwards. Wooo hooo!!!

You will need a cookie sheet (mine are old, so I line them with aluminum foil which also makes for a super easy clean-up afterwards).

1/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Don’t use vegetable oil because it will spit and spatter and make a huge mess.

Preheat your oven to 425′ F and melt shortening and butter on the cookie sheet. Keep an eye on it cuz your butter will burn (I’ve been there, done that).

Prepare your chicken using your favorite recipe. I have my recipe posted on my blog – Peaceful Cooking – if you’re interested.  Place your chicken on the prepared cookie sheet, skin side down.

Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, then turn the chicken. Be careful to avoid leaving any skin on the pan as you turn.

Cook for another 25 – 30 minutes, until the chicken is done and is nicely browned and crispy.

Remove from the oven, and carefully (again, trying not to leave any of the crispy skin behind) place the chicken on a plate that has been lined with paper towels in order to remove excess fat. Let sit for a few minutes, and then enjoy your crispy, tender chicken with your favorite sides.

I’m a working wife and mom with 2 teenage daughters, living in Burbank Ca. I enjoy cooking and baking and love to share my adventures the kitchen through my blog, Peaceful Cooking. I’ve been a member of BakeSpace since mid 2007, where I am known as “ImStuffed”. It took me about a year to venture into the forums in BakeSpace but I have to say, that is were I was inspired the most. Because of the other members, their ideas, support, and help, I have learned about new foods, and techniques and also found some incredible new friends. It was through these friends in the forum that I discovered the wonderful world of blogging. Read more about Danielle at http://www.peacefulcooking.blogspot.com/.