This Healthy Fried Chicken is baked instead of fried without breadcrumbs, cereal, oil, or flour. It comes out so crispy outside and juicy inside, you will want to sink in your teeth in it immediately!

Kids also would love this almond crusted chicken and coconut crusted chicken.

Healthy fried chicken drumsticks on a wire rack.

I came up with my own version of the best healthy fried chicken! Just ask my kids. The breading for the chicken is made with healthy ingredients. The result is the most crispy oven fried chicken ever!

Even though I’ve spent tons of time in the kitchen making almond flour recipes for baked goods, who knew it would work amazing for savory uses too. In fact, I’ve used it for healthy chicken nuggets as well. It’s so delicious!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy: You do not have to marinate chicken in buttermilk beforehand. It’s simple enough for a weeknight dinner.
  • Wholesome ingredients: Instead of traditional breadcrumbs and cereal I use a mix of coconut flakes and almonds. So, it’s also gluten-free chicken recipe!
  • It’s much lower in fat: Instead of deep frying the chicken, we bake it in the oven.
  • Crispy coating: Using cooking spray ensures the crispy coating without deep frying.

Ingredients for Healthy Fried Chicken

  • Chicken: Chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs. Both should have skin on, so the breading sticks. If using both, make sure to check on doneness of each kind and one might have to be removed sooner than the other from the oven.
  • Coconut flakes: For this recipe, it is important to use short coconut flakes because they stick to the chicken better. If you have long coconut flakes, just give them a few pulses in a blender or food processor.
  • Almond flour: Almond flour is made with blanched almonds, where as almond meal is made with skin-on almonds. I tested both in this recipe and noticed no changes in taste or crispiness of healthy fried chicken.
  • Spices: Garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. You can also use my all-purpose seasoning instead.
  • Eggs: Act as “a glue” for coating. You can try to dip chicken into buttermilk or milk to make an egg-free fried chicken.

How to Make Healthy Fried Chicken

Coconut flakes in a bowl, dredging station with egg wash set up.
  • Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Make sure to spray the wire rack lightly with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  • Form dredging station: Mix coconut flakes, almond meal or flour, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork and set aside.
Person showing how to oil the rack, dredge the chicken in egg wash and coating and then bake fried chicken in the oven.
  • Dredge the chicken: First, dip a drumstick in the egg mixture, then dredge the drumstick in the coating. Repeat this process one more time! Place breaded chicken in a single layer on a wire rack.
  • Fry” chicken in the oven: Bake for 40-45 minutes. The coating will become crispy brown. But don’t worry, it will not burn!
  • Enjoy: Serve immediately for the best oven fried chicken ever!

How Do I Know When my Fried Chicken Is Done?

How long to bake healthy fried chicken in the oven is a very valid question, especially since it is bone in chicken. The best way to tell if your chicken is ready is by using an accurate digital internal meat thermometer.

Insert thermometer into the thickest part of chicken close to the bone but not touching it. Your chicken is ready when thermometer registers 165 F.

Tips for Best Results

There are a few instructions you must follow for crispy chicken. Don’t skip!

  • Dredge twice: Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then in coating and repeat one more time. It creates a thicker, crispy crust.
  • Be sure to use short coconut flakes: If you have long coconut flakes, pulse them in a blender or food processor. They will mix with almond flour, sticking to the coating well this way.
  • Bake on a wire rack: To ensure that heat circulates around coated chicken, baking it evenly on all sides and making the breading crispy. Plus you won’t have to flip the chicken.
  • Oil the rack: You have to spray even a non-stick wire rack with cooking spray or brush with an oiled brush to avoid crispy coating sticking to it when you remove cooked chicken.
  • Remove carefully: Once chicken is baked, don’t just grab it off the rack. You risk leaving a chunk of crispy coating behind. Instead, let the chicken cool for a few minutes. Using a butter knife or spatula, push the chicken off from underneath the rack. Crispy coating in every bite guaranteed!
  • If chicken starts browning too much: If your chicken looks too dark but isn’t cooked inside, cover it loosely with tin foil. It will prevent it from burning and continue to cook through.
  • Make chicken spicy: For a heat kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, chili powder or paprika to the dry coating mix. You might also like this cajun chicken recipe.
10 healthy fried chicken pieces on a wire rack on top of baking sheet.

What Do I Serve Healthy Fried Chicken with?

Here is a list of side dishes I would make while the fried chicken is baking in the oven:

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Leftover healthy fried chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. I recommend to line the bottom of a container and top of chicken with double layer of paper towel to soak up the moisture.

Unfortunately, the chicken will not be quite as “crispy” when reheated.

Reheat: To reheat fried chicken, my best advice would be to use an air fryer, if you have one. Here is a quick tutorial how to reheat chicken in air fryer.

To reheat in the oven, place chicken pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F until heated through. You might regain some of the crispness as well.

Freeze: Bake and cool chicken completely. Wrap each chicken piece in foil, then place in a resealable Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw chicken in the refrigerator overnight.

FAQs

Can I use boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs?

I do not recommend using boneless chicken as it will come out dry. Try air fryer chicken tenders with panko breadcrumbs instead!

What can I substitute coconut flakes with?

Unfortunately there are no good substitutes. Using all almond flour and baking it for such long time will burn the coating before chicken is cooked through. You have to use both coconut flakes and almonds.

Can I use breadcrumbs?

Sure. You can use the same breading I use to make chicken tenders in air fryer. Bake them at 425 F for 22-30 minutes. Just watch closely as all ovens vary.

Why is my healthy fried chicken not crispy?

Usually moisture is the culprit or low oven temperature. Be sure to follow the recipe for teh coating, pat dry chicken before dredging, then bake it on the wire rack in preheated to 425 F oven. Also all ovens vary, so you might have to cook it a bit longer to crisp up.

Can I make it in air fryer?

Yes. To cook fried chicken in air fryer, cook it in 2-3 batches at 400 F for 22-24 minutes.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes to Try

You may also be interested in browsing through my full list of chicken recipes!

Close up of three oven baked fried chicken drumsticks.
Healthy fried chicken drumsticks on a wire rack.

Healthy Fried Chicken

This Healthy Fried Chicken is baked instead of fried without breadcrumbs, cereal, oil or flour. It comes out so crispy outside and juicy inside, you will want to sink in your teeth immediately.
5 from 6 votes
Servings 10 pieces
Calories 328
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Place wire rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spray the rack with cooking spray or brush it with oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a large plate with edges, add coconut flakes, almond flour, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir with a fork and set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
  • Organize dredging station by placing in a row: chicken, egg wash and coating. Take a drumstick, dip into an egg mixture, dredge in coating, dip in the eggs again and finally dredge in coating one last time. Place on previously prepared wire rack and repeat with remaining 9 chicken drumsticks.
  • Bake chicken for 40-45 minutes or until the meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part close to the bone but not touching registers 165 F.
  • Serve immediately for the best crispy healthy chicken in the world!

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. I recommend to line the bottom of a container and top of chicken with double layer of paper towel to soak up the moisture. Unfortunately, the chicken will not be quite as “crispy” when reheated.
  • Freeze: Bake and cool chicken completely. Wrap each chicken piece in foil, then place in resealable Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Be sure to use short coconut flakes: If you have long coconut flakes, pulse them in a blender or food processor. They will mix with almond flour, sticking to the coating well this way.
  • Oil the rack: You have to spray even a non-stick wire rack with cooking spray or brush with a brush dipped in oil.
  • Remove carefully: Once chicken is baked, don’t just grab it off the rack. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes then using a butter knife or spatula, push the chicken off from underneath the rack.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1drumstick | Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 280mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. Can you do this with chicken breast with skin and bone. And how about wings. How much time for baking?

  2. 5 stars
    Hey there! Love that it’s such a straightforward recipe! Can I ask if I can replace coconut flakes with anything else?

    1. No substitutes. Using all almond flour and baking it for such long time will burn the coating before chicken is cooked through.

    1. No substitutes. Using all almond flour and baking it for such long time will burn the coating before chicken is cooked through.

5 from 6 votes (1 rating without comment)

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