A Bite Inspired by… Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
A recent trip to Phaldelphia, Pennsylvania inspired me to create an oven fried chicken dish with the cinnamon sugar flavors of a donut. The result is an incredibly crunchy, slightly sweet, and super tasty Cinnamon Sugar Oven Fried Chicken with a drizzle of cinnamon honey! Baking it in the oven instead of deep frying it makes for a healthier dish that is every bit as delicious!
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A few months ago, my college roommate and I met up in Philadelphia for a girls’ daytrip. I hadn’t seen her in over a year and she was about to leave for a yearlong trip around the world (I’m so jealous), so we were super excited for this mini vacation. We had an amazing time checking out the sites, shopping, and, of course, sampling the food that Philly has to offer. She had done her research and suggested we eat lunch at a popular spot called Federal Donuts, famous for their fried chicken and, of course, donuts! This was also a fitting suggestion because when we were in college, I ate fried chicken in our dorm room ONE TIME. Literally, once. And from that day forward, she always teases me about being obsessed with fried chicken. So, there we go. Fried chicken college throwback.
When I got up to the counter, I asked the cashier which donut she recommended. Without hesitation, she immediately said the cinnamon sugar churro donut. Sold! I also ordered their signature fried chicken sandwich.
As I savored my delicious lunch, I noticed that the cinnamon sugar from the donut went remarkably well with the flavors of the fried chicken. It got me thinking, what if I were to combine those two flavors together into one cohesive dish? My lunch in Philly that day was the inspiration for my newest recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Oven Fried Chicken.
This dish is very quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s sticky, crunchy, sweet, and savory all in one bite. My favorite thing about it is that the chicken is extremely crunchy, even though it’s baked in the oven instead of deep fried. I achieve this amazing texture by doing a double dredge: first in flour and then in panko. Mmm mmm soo good!
The cinnamon and sugar go right into the flour mixture, so those delicious flavors penetrate into the chicken while it’s baking. I also put some cinnamon into the milk and egg mixture used to adhere the panko to the chicken. Finally, in order to really hit those cinnamon sugar flavors home, I created a honey cinnamon sauce to drizzle over the hot chicken once it’s out of the oven.
This chicken has a delicious, sticky sweetness to it that regular fried chicken doesn’t give you. I was also very careful to balance the savory components of this dish with the sweetness, so it wouldn’t be overly sweet. The result is the perfect fried chicken—crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. And, since it’s oven baked, it’s much healthier for you than the deep-fried-in-tons-of-oil variety. Bonus! It’s perfect for dinner with a side of steamed green beans and some mashed potatoes. Is your mouth watering yet?
In addition to the delicious honey drizzle, you can also garnish the chicken with a bit of fresh mint. I’ve found that mint goes well with the sweetness of the honey, but it’s totally optional.
I can’t wait to make this Cinnamon Sugar Oven Fried Chicken for my friend when she gets back from what’s already looking like an amazing trip around the world. In the meantime, make this dish for yourself and get an amazing taste of Philly. Enjoy!
- For the chicken:
- 1 lb chicken breast, cut into large strips
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, separated
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk (I used soy milk, but you can use any milk you want)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- For the drizzle:
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Pour the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon. Mix well.
- Pour the flour onto a large plate. Spread the flour out evenly.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add milk and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir well.
- Pour panko breadcrumbs onto a large plate and spread into an even layer.
- Pour melted butter into a large 9x13 baking dish.
- Place the chicken in a bowl. Place the bowls, plates, and baking dish on the counter in this order (left to right): chicken bowl, flour plate, egg/milk bowl, panko plate, and baking dish.
- Pick up one piece of chicken. Dip the chicken into the flour mixture and coat well. Shake off the excess coating.
- Dip flour-coated chicken into the egg/milk mixture allowing excess to drip off then dip into the panko. Make sure the chicken is coated well in the panko and then place in the baking dish.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 with all the remaining pieces of chicken. Spread the chicken out in an even layer on the buttered baking dish.
- Put baking dish in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and flip each piece over with tongs.
- Bake for another 10 minutes. Check chicken for doneness. It should be cooked through, but still juicy. The outside should be crispy and brown.
- While chicken is baking, add the honey and remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to a small bowl for the drizzle. Mix well.
- Remove chicken from oven. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a plate.
- Drizzle cinnamon honey on top of the chicken. Serve any extra on the side for dipping. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired. Enjoy!