The Best Oven Baked Crispy Chicken

The best oven baked crispy chicken

These drumsticks/thighs are finger licking awesome, not good, but awesome and that’s why I’m calling them the best oven baked crispy chicken!  If you’re a fan of chicken, then you need to make this ASAP!

My kids and I LOVED and totally devoured this chicken. The kids literally ate every bit of chicken off that bone and even had seconds!  We couldn’t believe how flavorful, tender and juicy the chicken was. It tasted like picnic fried chicken, but there’s no frying involved, and the coating on this chicken is down right amazing and grain-free and chock-full of healthy ingredients, but you would never know that! When I told the kids that the chicken was dredged in almond meal and nutritional yeast, they just rolled their eyes and smiled at one another, because they know how crazy their mama is getting now that she’s in natural chef school, but they’re totally open to all of it!

Let’s be honest about chicken here, most of the time the crispy skin of chicken is the best part and the inside meat is OK, but usually lacking in flavor, and tends to be on the drier side, but not when you brine it. When you brine chicken, the meat is chock-full of flavor and is SO tender and juicy, as the meat absorbs the extra liquid and salt, resulting in a juicer and more flavorful end product.

This was actually my first time brining chicken, and I have to say that I was a bit freaked out at the thought of it. The thought of putting raw chicken into a bowl of room temp water and letting it sit in there for 4 hours seems strange and kind of gross. I thought the chicken would come out all white in color and wet and soggy, but it was a worthwhile experiment, as the chicken was ultra juicy, tender and the skin was all crispy. Honestly this is the best chicken I’ve ever had.

The coating for these bad boys is grain-free, so if you have celiac disease, are gluten-intolerant, or just want to cut back on unrefined grains, then this is the recipe you’ve been looking for. The skin has amazing texture and flavor from the combination of almond meal, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast (yes, I used nutritional yeast folks). The nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, nutty tangy flavor.

Nutritional yeast? Don’t balk at the fact that there’s nutritional yeast in this coating, nutritional yeast is not your typical yeast, it has a cheesy flavor and is used a lot in vegan cooking to give a cheesy flavor to popcorn, pizza and sauces. It actually tastes pretty good, and is a complete protein, providing all 18 amino acids! It’s also a good source of fiber, and contains B-complex vitamins, so why not give it a try, it’s only got good stuff going on!

The only downside to this recipe is that you have to think about it in advance because you will need to brine the chicken  anywhere from 1-4 hours (3-4 being optimal). I tend to make this chicken up on a Sunday, so I have leftovers for either dinner or lunch that week. You can make as much of this chicken as you want, all you have to do is adjust the quantities for the brine and breading. Ok, let’s make us up some finger licking good chicken!!

oven baked crispy chicken

the best oven baked crispy chicken

recipe from Nourished Kitchen
Serves 4-6

Note:  You have to plan ahead to make this, as the chicken will need 3-4 hours to brine before baking. The actually baking time only takes 30 minutes though!

Note: The below chicken quantities are really up to you and depend on the size of your family, and what leftovers you want. Zoe usually has a thigh and drumstick, Eli has 2 drumsticks and I have a thigh, then we have leftovers for school lunch the next day. Easy peasy!  Adjust the breading quantities based on the amount of chicken you’re making.

For the brine: – The chicken will need to brine anywhere from 1-4 hours, 3-4 hours is optimal, don’t brine the chicken for any more than 4 hours, as it can get salty. 

  • 6 chicken drumsticks and 2 thighs (bone-in, skin-on) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks – see my above note on chicken quantities – You can use any combination of chicken pieces for this recipe, even bone-in, skin on breasts. We just prefer the darker meat, as it has more protein and way more flavor. 
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt – Don’t use table salt! Table salt contains iodine, which doesn’t work with brining. 
  • 1 tablespoon honey – honey adds a depth of flavor
  • 1-2 quarts warm/room temp water – you want enough water to cover all of the chicken

For the breading:

In a large (large enough to hold all the water and chicken) stainless steel or glass bowl, (don’t use plastic) whisk together 3 tablespoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon honey and 2 quarts warm water to create a brine.

Place chicken drumsticks and thighs into the brine, cover, and transfer to the refrigerator.  Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.  Make sure that there is enough water to submerge the chicken, if not, add more water.

When the chicken is finished brining, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Take out the chicken drumsticks and thighs and pat each piece of chicken throughly dry with a paper towel. Drying the chicken drumsticks and thighs will keep your chicken from getting soggy.

In a shallow bowl, gently whisk together the almond meal, seal salt, nutritional yeast, thyme, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Dredge the chicken drumsticks and thighs in the seasoned breading until well-coated on all sides. Arrange them presentation side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.

dredging the chicken in the batter

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over each drumstick and thigh, and then increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Increasing the oven’s temperature to 425 helps to ensure a crispy skin.

Note: If your chicken is finished cooking, but not browned to your liking, then you can place the chicken under your boiler for a few minutes to brown up the skin.

NOTE: Baking times vary as chicken cuts vary in size. My chicken cuts were on the smaller side, so my total baking time was roughly 30 minutes. Don’t worry if you overcook the meat, brined dark meat chicken is very forgiving and still tastes great even if it’s overcooked! 

That’s it!  Pretty easy right?  We love serving this chicken up with popovers, our favorite kale or arugula salad, or roasted broccoli.  The popovers are amazing dipped in the leftover chicken coating!

The best oven baked crispy chicken

Got leftovers? This chicken makes for awesome leftovers!  I wrap a few pieces of cold chicken in some parchment paper and then wrap that with aluminum foil, toss it in the kid’s lunches with some leftover kale salad or seasonal fruit!

You can also re-heat the chicken in a 250-degree oven till warm. If the leftover chicken’s coating gets soggy, just place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up again.

 I paired a leftover drumstick with an arugula salad with heirloom tomatoes, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, roasted beets and sweet potato tossed in my healthy hemp seed dressing (the bomb.com)! Leftovers rock! Amazing dinner!

healthy hemp seed dressing with oven roasted chicken drumstick

Like chicken? Then try one of our other favorite chicken recipes.

Rosemary skillet chicken.

Rosemary skillet chicken

Citrus marinated chicken.

Citrus marinaded chicken- three pieces on the table.

Buttermilk roasted chicken.

Buttermilk roasted chicken two pieces.

Easy skillet chicken parmesan.

Skillet chicken parm in a skillet on the stove.

With love Jackie

The Best Oven Baked Crispy Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Jackie
Servings

4-6

servings
Prep time

4

hours
Cook time

30

minutes
Total time

4 hours 30

minutes

    Note: You have to plan ahead to make this, as the chicken will need anywhere from 1-4 hours to brine (3-4 hours is optimal). Don't brine the chicken for any more than 4 hours, as it can get salty. The actual baking time only takes 30 minutes though!

    Ingredients

    • For the Brine:
    • 6 chicken drumsticks and 2 thighs (bone-in, skin-on) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks - see my below note on chicken quantities - You can use any combination of chicken pieces for this recipe, even bone-in, skin on breasts. We just prefer the darker meat, as it has more protein and way more flavor.

    • 3 tablespoons sea salt - Don't use table salt! Table salt contains iodine, which doesn't work with brining.

    • 1 tablespoon honey - honey adds a depth of flavor

    • 1-2 quarts warm/room temp water - you want enough water to cover all of the chicken

    • For the Breading:
    • 1 cup almond meal flour

    • 2 teaspoons celtic sea salt

    • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast - I used Bragg's nutritional yeast

    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

    Directions

    • In a large (large enough to hold all the water and chicken) stainless steel or glass bowl, (don't use plastic) whisk together 3 tablespoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon honey and 2 quarts warm water to create a brine.

    • Place chicken drumsticks and thighs into the brine, cover, and transfer to the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Make sure that there is enough water to submerge the chicken, if not, add more water.

    • When the chicken is finished brining, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

    • Take out the chicken drumsticks and thighs and pat each piece of chicken throughly dry with a paper towel. Drying the chicken drumsticks and thighs will keep your chicken from getting soggy.

    • In a shallow bowl, gently whisk together the almond meal, seal salt, nutritional yeast, thyme, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.

    • Dredge the chicken drumsticks and thighs in the seasoned breading until well-coated on all sides. Arrange them presentation side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.

    • Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over each drumstick and thigh, and then increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Increasing the oven's temperature to 425 helps to ensure a crispy skin.Note: If your chicken is finished cooking, but not browned to your liking, then you can place the chicken under your boiler for a few minutes to brown up the skin.

    • NOTE: Baking times vary as chicken cuts vary in size. My chicken cuts were on the smaller side, so my total baking time was roughly 30 minutes. Don't worry if you overcook the meat, brined dark meat chicken is very forgiving and still tastes great even if it's overcooked!

    • Got leftovers? This chicken makes for awesome leftovers! I wrap a few pieces of cold chicken in some parchment paper and then wrap that with aluminum foil, toss it in the kid's lunches with some leftover kale salad or seasonal fruit!

    • You can also re-heat the chicken in a 250-degree oven till warm. If the leftover chicken's coating gets soggy, just place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up again.

    Note:

    • The above chicken quantities are really up to you and depend on the size of your family, and what leftovers you want. Zoe usually has a thigh and drumstick, Eli has 2 drumsticks and I have a thigh, then we have leftovers for school lunch the next day. Easy peasy! Adjust the breading quantities based on the amount of chicken you’re making.

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    12 thoughts on “The Best Oven Baked Crispy Chicken”

    1. These drumsticks look outstanding! I can’t wait to make them up for my family! I love that the breading is gluten-free and not flour based. Thanks Marin mama, keep the recipes coming… Big fan! Julie 🙂

      1. Hi Julie! Yippee! I’m so happy to hear that you’re excited to make these drumsticks for your family! I will totally keep the recipes coming girl! 🙂 xoxo, Jacquelyn

      1. Hi Ann! Yay! I’m so happy that you made and loved the chicken! Yippee! Thanks so much for letting me know! xoxo, Jacquelyn

    2. I tried them and they are really good! I had finished supper and I still took another piece!!! However I had to cook the legs longer (I had two complete legs) so my advise is to cook either only drumsticks or only legs, because their cooking time is different.

      1. Hi Michelle! Thanks for your note, yes cooking times vary on the different cuts, or sizes of the meat! Did you use a whole leg and thigh attached? I usually have the butcher separate the thighs and drumsticks, or I even do it myself as I know how to butcher a chicken from natural chef school! 🙂 I have cooked both thighs and drumsticks together (separated from each other though) and they tend to be done at the same time, but they’re on the smaller side to begin with. I’m glad you’re a fan of this reicpe! Yippee!! Thanks for sharing! xoxo, Jacquelyn

    3. I really want to make this for a weekday dinner but would need to brine for more than 4 hours. Would you suggest using less salt in brine? By the way love your blog. Found it through AMR podcast yesterday.

      1. Hi Kathie! Yay! I’m so happy you discovered my blog via the podcast. 🙂 I’ve always been told not to brine chicken parts for more than 4 hours, but you can try? I wouldn’t cut down on the salt as the salt and water ratio is really what brines the chicken, if you cut down on the salt then you will basically just be soaking the chicken, not brining it. You can even brine for an hour at the minimum if needed. I usually make this dish on a Sunday and make enough for lunch or dinner the next day/night. I either reheat the chicken in the oven at 250 till warmed, or we eat it cold, which is amazing! Let me know what you end up doing and how it turned out for you! Oh, and if you’re looking for a simple but tasty weeknight chicken dinner, try the rosemary skillet chicken. SO GOOD! xoxo, Jacquelyn

    4. Pingback: Oven Baked Crispy Chicken

      1. Hi Janine! Yay, I’m so happy to hear that you love this recipe. It’s one of my faves for sure! Sure, you can try this with boneless thighs or breast, but honestly bone-in, skin-on chicken imparts SO much flavor. Bone-in chicken is less expensive, as you’re not paying for the extra labor as well. Give it a try with the boneless meat and let me know how it tastes! Thanks Janine 🙂

    5. julie another one

      This truly is the best ever baked crispy chicken I have ever eaten. Thank you so much. I had never had nutritional yeast and I love the flavor so much that I double the amount in this recipe. I have only found one other recipe that uses it, not popcorn but best oven-roasted broccoli with nutritional yeast, I have not tried it yet but I will. Thank you again for you chicken recipe.Family favorite, grandchildren included.

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