Crispy Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe
Chicken breasts can be a bummer to bake because of their uneven shape and lack of flavor, but this recipe remedies both problems. By cutting the breasts in half and pounding them to an even thickness, you cut down on the cooking time and ensure that they bake evenly without drying out. To add flavor and texture, dip the chicken in a mixture of mayo and fresh thyme, then coat it with panko breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes, and serve these crispy, flavorful chicken breasts alongside some roasted broccoli or sweet potatoes.
What to buy: Panko is coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs. It’s available in the international section of most supermarkets.
- 2 cups panko
- 1/2 cup shredded Emmentaler or Gruyère cheese, shredded on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 ounce)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to oil the wire rack
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
- Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and fit it with a wire rack. Lightly oil the rack and set aside.
- Place the panko, cheese, and measured oil in a shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, and use your hands to combine evenly. Place the mayonnaise, milk, and thyme in another shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Set both dishes aside.
- Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place 1 piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness (about 1/2 inch) with a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan. Place on a large plate or second baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
- Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dip 1 piece of chicken in the mayonnaise mixture and turn to coat. Then dip it in the panko mixture, turn to coat, and press the mixture onto the chicken to adhere. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, leaving at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space between the pieces. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes.