Who doesn’t love fried chicken? That crunchy exterior and juicy interior—fried chicken is addictively delicious. Traditional fried chicken is not very healthy, because it’s fried in oil and heavily breaded. So I created a baked “fried” chicken coated in whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs. I tested this recipe several times to get it just right, and I’m sharing those secrets with you!
Spicy Buttermilk Chicken
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 ml) hot sauce
2 lb (908 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1½ tbsp (23 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Ranch Coating
1 large egg
¾ cup (98 g) whole-wheat flour
½ cup (45 g) whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion flakes
½ tsp dried dill
½ tsp paprika
1½ tsp (8 g) salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp Italian seasoning
To make the spicy buttermilk chicken, combine the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, salt, black pepper and hot sauce in a large ziplock bag or lidded bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated to form a marinade. Add the chicken breasts and seal the bag or container. Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Set out a large baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess buttermilk. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet. Do not discard the marinade.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Put another large baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.
To make the ranch coating, whisk together the egg and ⅓ cup (80 ml) of the marinade in a wide, shallow bowl.
In another wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, garlic powder, onion flakes, dill,paprika, salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning until the ingredients are well combined.
To coat the chicken breasts, first dip the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture and make sure it’s completely covered in the coating. Next, dip the chicken into the egg mixture so it’s completely coated. Finally, dip the chicken again in the coating mixture so it’s completely breaded. Shake off any excess coating. Place the coated chicken on the cold baking sheet. Repeat this process until all of the chicken is fully coated.
Allow the chicken to rest on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes. This allows the coating to completely adhere to the chicken.
Remove the other baking sheet from the oven. Drizzle the baking sheet with the oil. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet.
Bake the chicken for 18 to 22 minutes, flipping it halfway through the baking time, until it is golden brown and crispy. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes.