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Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken Recipe

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Introduction to Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken is more than just a dish; it’s a culinary experience that brings the comfort of Southern cooking into your kitchen without the need for deep frying. This recipe ingeniously combines the tangy zest of buttermilk and the savory punch of ranch seasoning to create a chicken that’s not only moist and tender on the inside but also boasts a golden, crispy exterior. What sets this dish apart is its ability to deliver the deep-fried taste we all crave, in a healthier, oven-baked format.

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Families adore this recipe for several reasons. First, it’s incredibly easy to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknights. Second, its flavors are universally appealing, from the youngest to the oldest family members. Lastly, it’s versatile enough to pair with a wide array of side dishes, from classic mashed potatoes to a light, refreshing salad. The Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken is a testament to the fact that comfort food can be both delicious and simple to make.

The Secret Behind the Recipe

The unparalleled taste and texture of this dish lie in two key components: the buttermilk and ranch marination and the unique use of corn muffin mix for breading.

Marination: The buttermilk acts as a tenderizer, breaking down the proteins in the chicken to ensure it stays juicy and tender during cooking. The ranch seasoning, on the other hand, infuses the meat with a depth of flavor that’s both tangy and herby. This marination process not only seasons the chicken thoroughly but also creates a moist foundation that’s crucial for the breading to stick.

Breading: Here’s where the corn muffin mix comes into play. Unlike traditional flour or breadcrumbs, the corn muffin mix adds a slight sweetness and a richer texture to the crust. When baked, it forms a crispy, flavorful coating that complements the tender, marinated chicken perfectly. This innovative approach to breading is what gives the chicken its signature crunch and flavor profile, setting it apart from other oven-fried chicken recipes.

Ingredients List

To create this mouthwatering dish, you’ll need:

  • Chicken: 3 to 4 lbs, drumsticks or your preferred cut. For a leaner option, skinless pieces work well too.
  • Buttermilk: 2 cups, for marinating. If buttermilk is not available, a mixture of milk and lemon juice or vinegar can be used as a substitute.
  • Ranch Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix: 1 oz envelope, for flavor. Alternatively, a homemade mix of dried herbs and spices can be used.
  • Corn Muffin Mix: 8.5 oz, for breading. For a gluten-free version, a gluten-free corn muffin mix can be substituted.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne to taste. These can be adjusted based on personal preference or substituted with other spices for different flavor profiles.

These ingredients come together to create a dish that’s not just a meal but an experience, offering a taste of comfort with every bite.

Step-by-Step Cooking Process

Marinating the Chicken: Begin by placing your chicken pieces in a large, sealable bag. Pour in 2 cups of buttermilk and add the envelope of ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix. Seal the bag, ensuring there’s enough air for the mixture to move around. Gently massage the bag to evenly distribute the marinade over the chicken. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, though overnight marination is recommended for deeper flavor infusion.

Breading the Chicken: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). In a shallow dish, combine the corn muffin mix with a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne for a bit of heat. Take each piece of marinated chicken, shake off the excess buttermilk, then dredge in the corn muffin mixture until well-coated. Arrange the breaded chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to allow even air circulation and crispiness all around.

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Oven “Frying” Tips and Techniques: Before placing the chicken in the oven, lightly spray the top of each piece with cooking spray. This helps achieve a more golden and crispy exterior. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the coating is crisp and golden brown. If the coating browns too quickly, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

To ensure your Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken turns out juicy and moist with the perfect crust, consider these tips:

  • Marination Time: The longer you can marinate the chicken, the better. Overnight marination allows the buttermilk and ranch flavors to penetrate deeply, ensuring a moist and flavorful result.
  • Shake Off Excess: After marinating, be sure to shake off any excess buttermilk. This helps the corn muffin mix adhere better and ensures a crispier coating.
  • Let It Rest: Allow the cooked chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps redistribute the juices, keeping the meat moist and tender.

Serving Suggestions

Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes. Here are some recommendations:

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy and rich, they complement the crispy chicken wonderfully.
  • Steamed Green Beans: A light and healthy side that adds color and balance to the plate.
  • Coleslaw: For a crunch and a tangy contrast to the savory chicken.

Presentation Tips: Serve the chicken on a platter garnished with fresh herbs like parsley or dill for a touch of color. A side of ranch dressing for dipping can also enhance the ranch flavors in the chicken. Arrange the sides neatly around the chicken for an appealing and inviting presentation.

FAQs

  • Can I use skinless chicken pieces? Yes, skinless chicken pieces work well for this recipe. Using skinless chicken can reduce the fat content and result in a slightly different texture but equally delicious outcome. The key is to ensure the chicken is thoroughly coated in the buttermilk and ranch mixture to keep it moist during baking.
  • How long should I marinate the chicken? For the best flavor and tenderness, marinate the chicken for at least one hour. However, for optimal results, leaving the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator is recommended. This extended marination time allows the buttermilk and ranch flavors to fully penetrate the meat.
  • Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare this dish ahead of time by marinating the chicken and breading it as directed. Once breaded, place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to bake. This can be done up to a day in advance, making it a convenient option for busy schedules.

Nutritional Information

A serving of Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken typically contains about 400-500 calories, depending on the size and cut of the chicken used. The dish is high in protein, with each serving providing approximately 30-40 grams. The buttermilk and corn muffin mix contribute to the carbohydrate content, while the choice of skin-on versus skinless chicken affects the total fat content. For a lower-calorie option, use skinless chicken and a reduced-fat buttermilk.

Variations of the Recipe

Using Different Cuts of Chicken: Feel free to experiment with various cuts of chicken, such as breasts, thighs, or wings. Adjust cooking times accordingly, as thicker cuts may require longer baking.

Spicy Version for Those Who Love Heat: For a spicier kick, add additional cayenne pepper to the breading mixture or incorporate a spicy seasoning blend into the buttermilk marinade. Another option is to serve the chicken with a spicy dipping sauce, such as hot sauce mixed with a bit of honey for sweetness.

Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken Recipe

This Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken recipe offers a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken without sacrificing flavor. Marinated in buttermilk and ranch seasoning, then coated in a crispy corn muffin mix, this dish is perfect for those seeking a delicious, family-friendly meal that's easy to prepare.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 400 kcal

Equipment

  • Large sealable plastic bag
  • Shallow dish for breading
  • Wire rack
  • Baking sheet
  • Cooking spray

Ingredients
  

  • 3 to 4 lbs chicken drumsticks, thighs, or breasts, skin on or off
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 oz envelope ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • 8.5 oz corn muffin mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper adjust for heat preference

Instructions
 

  • Marinate the Chicken: In a large sealable bag, combine chicken pieces, buttermilk, and ranch seasoning mix. Seal and shake to coat evenly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  • Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Bread the Chicken: In a shallow dish, mix corn muffin mix, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Remove chicken from the marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in the corn muffin mixture, then place on the prepared wire rack.
  • Bake: Spray the top of the chicken lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is crispy and golden brown.
  • Rest: Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Marination Time: For deeper flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
  • Skin On or Off: Using skinless chicken pieces will reduce the fat content but still yield delicious results.
  • Adjusting Heat: Feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne pepper in the breading to suit your heat preference.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or a green salad.
Keyword Buttermilk Ranch Oven Fried Chicken, Crispy Baked Chicken, Healthy Oven Fried Chicken

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