Have you ever watched a movie or read a book where the cook served up a delicious southern meal, complete with collard greens, cornbread and, of course, fried chicken? It always looks so tasty, and I am always inspired to give it a try. How hard can it be? The result… a smoke-filled kitchen, the sound of a fire alarm blaring overhead, and a pan of half burnt, half raw chicken. Seriously. Every. Single. Time.
Apparently deep frying anything is not a strong suit of mine. But I still want that fried chicken! I tried a few different approaches to cooking chicken that would produce a crispy skin and flavorful meat without the smoky kitchen. This recipe is as close to real fried chicken as I’ll ever make. The meat is tender and juicy, the skin crispy and full of flavor. The best part: my family loves it! Now, this is not exactly like fried chicken. The skin, while flavorful and crispy does not have the same crunch and thickness that comes from deep frying. But it is still delicious.
It is a super simple recipe. No soaking in buttermilk. No dredging in egg mixture and flour. Just a quick toss in the seasoning and into the oven your chicken goes. The secret to getting a crispy skin is preheating the pan with butter. The pan gets nice and hot and covered in melted butter before you place the chicken on it. This allows the skin to form a crispy crust. So easy!
The seasoning can be completely customized for your family. This recipe uses homemade ranch seasoning, but a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper is more traditional and equally good.
Oven fried chicken can be made with inexpensive cuts of chicken, like the hindquarters. I love to buy 10 pounds of hindquarters when they are on sale to serve a large crowd. When you separate the thighs from the drumsticks with a butcher knife, 10 pounds gets me around 2 dozen pieces of chicken! Perfect for a potluck, and it costs less than $10.
If you have issues with frying food like I do, or just want a healthier option, this oven fried chicken recipe is for you. Serve it up with a creamy salad, homemade rolls and a fresh pie for a meal the whole family will love!
Oven Fried Ranch Chicken
Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 – 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
6 chicken hindquarters, or 10-12 drumsticks or bone in thighs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Homemade Ranch Seasoning (see recipe below)
½ cup butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Cover a large baking sheet with tin foil. Once the oven is to temperature, spread ¼ cup (1/2 stick) of butter pieces on the pan and place in the oven to melt.
- Using a butcher knife, carefully separate the chicken thighs from the drumsticks. This helps the chicken cook more evenly and quickly.
- Mix the flour with your seasoning in a gallon size zip-top bag, or in an ice cream pail with lid.
- Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, to the seasoning and shake to coat well. Throw away any remaining seasoning.
- Carefully pull the hot pan from the oven. Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the melted butter on the pan.
- Place the chicken on the pan, skin side down. Make sure to not crowd the chicken.
- Bake at 400° F for 25-30 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and carefully flip the chicken. Brush the chicken with the additional ¼ cup of butter.
- Place back in the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is a dark golden brown.
- If desired, broil the chicken for 5 minutes for an extra crispy skin.
- Allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes before eating.
Homemade Ranch Seasoning
Makes about ½ cup
2 T. Dried Dill
2 T. Dried Parsley
1 T. Onion Powder
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Sea Salt
2 tsp. Black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar and mix well. Store at room temp. This is so good on potatoes, chicken, roasted vegetables, or mixed with sour cream and buttermilk to make dressing. Plus, it costs a fraction of prepackaged seasonings, and there are no funky ingredients!