These oven-fried chicken breasts are juicy with a nice crispy crust. The keys to avoiding a soggy crust are preheating the pan and only breading one side of the chicken. No flipping required!
Preparing the chicken.
I make an effort to buy small, evenly sized chicken breasts. Unfortunately, those are often the more expensive ones. You want them to be about ¾” thick and fairly uniform for even cooking (I have a metal ruler that I keep in the kitchen). If your chicken is larger or uneven, you have two options.
Option 1: Filet the chicken.
If your chicken breasts are really large, I recommend filleting them lengthwise. Place the chicken flat on a cutting board. Place your palm firmly on the top and, using a sharp knife, slice the chicken into two cutlets.
Option 2: Pound the chicken.
If you just need to even out the breasts, you can place them, one at a time, between sheets of plastic wrap or in a zip-top bag. Using a meat pounder, pound from the center outward until you have achieved the desired thickness.
Breading the chicken.
Make sure that you season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper before breading. A traditional breading process would require flour before the egg, but I don’t find it necessary for this recipe. Generously coat the top side of the breast in the egg and then press firmly into the panko mixture. Once on the plate, I filled in any gaps with extra breading.
Heating the pan.
This step is crucial to achieving a crispy crust. Don’t skip it! Place the pan in the oven when you turn it on and make sure that it stays in there for at least 10 minutes after the oven reaches 450℉. When you take it out to add the chicken A) don’t forget it’s very hot, and B) work quickly.
When you add the olive oil to the pan, the pan may warp. Don’t worry about it; it will even out when it’s back in the oven. Carefully place the chicken breasts, breading side down, on the pan. Lay them down away from your body to avoid splattering. Drizzle the side facing up (no breading) with olive oil and quickly return the pan to the oven.
The chicken breasts should be done in 18 minutes. If they are larger, they may take longer, and you’ll want to keep your eye on the edges of the breading; you don’t want it to burn. The chicken is ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion reads 165℉.
These chicken breasts are delicious with Parmesan and Chive Make-ahead Potatoes.
Panko Crusted Chicken Breasts
Heat the baking sheet.
Place a sheet pan in the oven. Heat the oven to 450℉. Leave the pan in the oven for at least 10 minutes after it reaches that temperature.
Prepare the chicken.
You want four pieces of chicken that are a reasonably uniform thickness of about ¾”. See notes and pictures above for suggestions if your pieces are larger.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Set up your breading station.
You will need two shallow dishes that are large enough to place a chicken breast. In one dish, add the two beaten eggs. In the other dish, combine the panko, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.
One at a time, thoroughly coat the top side of each breast in the egg. Then press the chicken into the panko mixture. Place breading-side-up on a plate until ready to add to the pan. You can add extra breading if you see any gaps.You are only breading one side, the top, of the chicken.
Add chicken to the pan.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and work quickly. Remember that it is HOT.
Add the olive oil to the pan (it may warp; that’s fine) and place the chicken breading side down into the oil. Return to the oven and bake for 18 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion reads 165℉.
These chicken breasts go great with my Parmesan and Chive Make-ahead Potatoes.