When I want to take basic baked chicken up a notch (which is most of the time), I have a duo of ingredients I know I can turn to for crispy, flavor-packed results every single time without fail: nutty Parmesan cheese and crispy panko. This power couple turns mild-mannered chicken breast into a weeknight dinner that hits the table with pizzazz. Mixed with garlic and a pinch of herbs, the Parmesan and panko blanket each piece of chicken with a textured coating that packs an irresistible crunch. With a savory taste that's just the right balance of salty, nutty, and fresh, your routine of baked chicken for dinner just got a two-ingredient upgrade.
Two Tricks for More Golden and Crispy Baked Chicken
This chicken dinner is all about the herbed Parmesan and panko coating; it's what makes baked chicken sexy. And there are two simple tricks that will make for an even better crust. First, before anything else, toast the panko. Just a couple minutes on the stovetop ensure a beautiful golden hue and, best of all, make for an even crunchier coating. No pale panko here!
To seal the deal on crispiness, rather than cooking the chicken breasts directly on a baking sheet, bake them on oiled wire rack set inside the baking sheet. This setup allows the air to flow over all sides of the chicken and prevents the bottom from becoming soggy.
The Chicken Dinner Playbook
Want an easier way to approach your weeknight chicken dinner? Start by learning a few basic cooking techniques and then add a little inspiration (that's where we come in) — the possibilities are practically endless. This week we're sharing five recipes that build on basic techniques for quick and easy chicken dinners any night of the week.
Baked Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
1 1/2 cups
medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
large eggs, beaten
kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
finely grated Parmesan cheese
finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Coat a wire rack with cooking spray and fit over a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the panko and cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and light golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wide, shallow bowl; set aside to cool slightly.
Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place inside a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with the remaining breasts. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Whisk the mayonnaise, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a wide, shallow bowl. Add the Parmesan, parsley, and garlic powder to the bowl of panko and stir to combine.
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Coat each piece of chicken in the egg mixture and shake off the excess. Dredge completely in the panko and Parmesan, pressing so that the panko sticks. Place on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
Bake until the panko is golden-brown and the internal temperature of the chicken registers 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.