How to Bread Chicken Using 4 Easy Methods

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S.A. Yanes Published: August 31, 2021 Modified: September 22, 2021
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Sure, there’s a slew of ways to cook chicken, all in different palates, styles, and textures. But hear us out: there’s nothing like a finger-licking good crispy fried chicken! Just thinking about biting into a tender, juicy meat will have you drooling already. As it turns out, the trick to such a crunchy perfection lies in the breading process. Once you learn how to bread chicken the right way, you’ll have a delectably crispy treat every time! 

Before anything else, why do you need to bread chicken (and any other meat) before tossing them in the pan or popping them in the oven? Well, there are three reasons. First, seasoned breading adds new flavors to the meat. Second, of course, let’s not forget how such a process provides a crunchy exterior. Third and last, this pre-cooking method also helps retain moisture which protects the meat from the high heat.

Read on for the step-by-step instructions on how to bread chicken properly. Plus, a few breading hacks to achieve crunchy goodness every time. By the end, not only will you master the breading process, but you will get to elevate your chicken dinners as well!

When it comes to roasting, trussing is a crucial technique to end up with a mouthwatering roasted chicken. So, here’s How to Truss a Chicken: An Easy Guide and Recipes To Try. 

How To Bread Chicken: 4 Easy Methods

By and large, there are four breading methods, with each equally effective in turning plain chicken into something succulent. When breading different chicken parts, you can make use of shallow bowls and Ziploc bags. Breading without flour or eggs is also a great option as you can make do with other alternatives. Whichever you use, you’re sure to end up with perfectly breaded chicken all the time!

Method 1: Using Bowls

how to bread chicken using bowls

Using a shallow bowl, by far, is the most straightforward method when breading chicken. Here’s what you should do to get you started:

  1. Begin by gathering all your main ingredients: flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. You also need three shallow bowls for this method, one for each foodstuff.
  2. Prepare the chicken after collecting the ingredients and other tools. You can pound the meat using a meat mallet to even out the thickness. Take note that even thickness promotes even cooking. Pat the chicken dry using paper towels to guarantee that the flour will stick to the chicken.
  3. After flattening the meat, dredge the chicken in the flour. Give it a gentle tap to remove any excess flour.
  4. Next, dip the floured meat in the egg wash or beaten eggs. 
  5. Lastly, dip the coated chicken in the breadcrumbs. Make sure no part is left uncoated. 
  6. After breading the chicken, place the breaded meat in the fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes to let the breadcrumbs absorb the moisture completely. 

Method 2: Using a Bag

how to bread chicken using bags

Conversely, you can also bread chicken using a Ziploc bag. This particular method is almost the same as the first one. However, this time, the breadcrumbs are placed in a Ziploc bag instead of a bowl. Follow the easy instructions below for perfect results.

  1. First, prepare the ingredients, two bowls, and a Ziploc bag. Place each element in the proper container. One bowl is for the egg, and the other is for the flour. Meanwhile, the Ziploc bag is for the breadcrumbs.
  2. After setting up everything, you can now start coating the chicken with flour. 
  3. Then, dip the floured chicken meat in the egg mixture. 
  4. Lastly, carefully add the chicken to the Ziploc bag. Tightly seal the bag, then shake gently. 
  5. Once the chicken is completely coated with breadcrumbs, remove the meat from the Ziploc bag. Then, transfer it to a plate.
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Method 3: Without Eggs

how to bread chicken without eggs

Eggs wear many hats in the culinary world. To begin with, it’s an essential element helping the flour or the breading stick to the chicken. But what if you’re out of stock or you’re simply allergic to eggs? Such scenarios bring us to the question: how to bread chicken without raw, beaten eggs? 

Luckily, you can use anything sticky such as tomato paste, mayonnaise, mustard, Greek yogurt, and even buttermilk. Much like eggs, they make the flour or breading stick to the chicken, all thanks to their gluey consistency. When breading without eggs, the steps are simple:

  1. First off, prepare the chicken cuts. Carefully wash the meat under running water. Then, make sure to pat them dry using a clean paper towel. 
  2. Next, mix the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt in a large deep bowl. 
  3. After that, soak the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture. Place in a container, cover, and let them marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight before proceeding to the next step. 
  4. Then, when ready to cook, you can now prepare the breading. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and other seasonings of your choice. 
  5. Finally, coat each marinated chicken piece with the seasoned breading. Once done, you’re now all set for the frying stage! 

Method 4: Without Flour

how to bread chicken without flour

There are reasons why the breading process generally starts by dredging the chicken in the flour. For one thing, flour makes sure that the other elements cling to the chicken properly. Not to mention, it also makes the outside layer crispier. Nonetheless, you can still end up with a crunchy chicken even without the flour. Here’s how:

  1. Pound the chicken slices with a meat mallet or a rolling pin, ensuring that each piece has the same thickness. 
  2. For the breading, combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Once mixed, place the seasoned breadcrumbs on a plate. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, or milk for added flavor. 
  4. Then, dip each chicken piece in the egg wash.
  5. After that, press the chicken in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Repeat the process until the meat is completely covered on all sides. 
  6. For the final coating, dip the chicken in the beaten eggs again before coating with the season breadcrumbs once more. Place the breaded chicken on a plate until you’re ready to cook.

Tips For Breading Chicken

breaded chicken on a plate

Whether you’re going to fry chicken fillets or bake chicken cutlets, here are some additional hacks that can come in handy during the breading procedure:

  • When breading chicken, arranging the ingredients in order of use makes the process efficient and as quick as possible. Since the standard breading process usually begins with flour, place the bowl of flour next to the plate of fresh chicken slices. Next would be the bowl of the egg mixture. And as the process ends with the breadcrumbs, the bowl of breadcrumbs should be on the last on the line.
  • To make the breading process more streamlined, follow the wet hand-dry hand technique. Simply put, use the dry hand for picking up the chicken, dredging it in the flour, and placing it in the egg wash. Meanwhile, use the wet hand for transferring the meat from the egg wash to the breadcrumbs mixture. This way, the whole process won’t be as messy. 
  • Drying the surface of the chicken before dredging in the flour is a vital step when breading chicken. This simple technique ensures that the flour sticks to the meat properly. Plus, doing so also prevents the coating from falling off each time you take a bite.
  • More often than not, you only season the breadcrumbs mixture. However, note that the seasoning might burn easily once you fry the chicken. So, to ensure that your chicken will turn out crispy and full of flavor, you might want to season the flour, the egg wash, as well as the chicken too.
  • If you bread the chicken right after taking it out from the fridge, chances are the chicken won’t be as crispy. So, allow the meat to rest at room temperature for around 30 minutes before proceeding to the breading step.
  • Adding cornstarch to the flour mixture ensures that the flour stays on the surface while frying the chicken. 
  • Sure, you’ve done a pretty good job during the breading process. The next question is: how to keep the crispness of the breaded chicken after frying them? First off, place the cooling rack atop the baking sheet before putting the breaded chicken on top. After that, pop them in the oven! Make sure that your oven is on low heat or around 200 degrees F.

Best Breading Choices

a bowl of breadcrumbs

Jane Charlesworth | Flickr.com

We all reach for a box of breadcrumbs whenever we want some crunchy goodness. However, while breadcrumbs may be the most common type of breading, there are other options that you can explore. Much like breadcrumbs, these excellent substitutes can transform any chicken meat into something extraordinary. Each alternative has different textures and flavors, all efficient during the breading procedure just as well. Here are some options:

  • Panko – Panko, which is made from crustless white bread, is the best breadcrumb substitute if you need the same crispy results for your breaded chicken. After all, panko and breadcrumbs share the same culinary purpose of being a flaky topping and crunchy coating for baked or fried foods. However, the two differ in texture, setting them apart from one another. Panko is much lighter and has a flakier consistency as compared to regular breadcrumbs. For that reason, panko absorbs less oil and grease, which results in a crispier fried food. Panko breading will work well with fried proteins such as chicken, shrimp, as well as vegetables.
  • Rolled oats – What some people don’t know is that rolled oats make for an excellent breading option too! While they won’t provide the crispy coating as regular breadcrumbs would, its texture is enough to hold the meat, eggs, and flavorings together. When using this for breading, grind the oats with a blender or a food processor. If you wish to add flavors, incorporate seasonings like garlic powder, black pepper, and more to the rolled oats breading. 
  • Cornflakes – Apparently, your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid is also a superb breading option! Since plain cornflakes are not too sweet as they don’t have a sugary coating, they’re great for fried chicken too. To use cornflakes in your breading, lightly crush them first using a food processor or a blender. If you don’t have such machines, you can manually pulverize cornflakes by placing the cereal into a bag, then rolling a bottle or a can over it. To get an extra crunch, leave a few large pieces of cereal. 
  • Nuts – You can also use nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, and pecans to replace the breadcrumbs. To make a groundnut coating, grind the ingredients with a food processor until the texture is akin to the consistency of regular breadcrumbs. Even better is you’re free to mix different types of nuts for the coating! If you like to incorporate other flavors to the nut breading, season it with dried basil, cumin, or Italian seasoning. However, note that these foodstuffs burn off much faster than grain-based ingredients. 
  • Chips – When it comes to crunchiness, perhaps a tortilla or classic potato chip comes to mind. That being so, it’s no surprise that they’re great as breading ingredients too. Not to mention, they come in a party of flavors! They make for the best option, especially if you want to experiment with a variety of palates. Crush them using a food processor until they reach your desired texture, or you can also utilize the rolling pin method. 

Breaded Chicken Recipe Ideas To Try At Home

Copycat Culver's Chicken Tenders

By now, you probably know the basics of the breading process. So, if you’re ready to put your breading skills to work, here are some breaded chicken recipes for you:

  • Copycat Culver’s Chicken Tenders – There are plenty of ways to jazz up chicken tenders. You can season them with paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder or soak them in the buttermilk mixture, much like in this Culver’s-inspired chicken tenders recipe. There’s no need to visit the nearest Culver’s to have a bite of these crispy, juicy, and flavorful chicken tenders. With this copycat recipe, you can recreate this delightful dish any time you want!
  • Cheese-Filled Baked Chicken – Looking for a way to make your chicken dinner even more delicious? Stuff it with cheese and ham! What’s even better, you don’t have to spend all day breading or cooking the chicken as this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes! With such a quick cooking time, you still have some time to whip up french fries to go with your chicken meal. 
  • Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Deconstructed Guacamole – Breaded chicken cutlets alone are already a scrummy meal. But combining the dish with a deconstructed guacamole makes it even more fantastic! Its zingy and refreshing palate, to start with, deliciously matches the savoriness of the perfectly golden chicken. Add this meal to your menu, and have a restaurant-worthy dinner experience at home.
  • Carrabba’s Chicken Parmesan – With its creaminess, this sumptuous American-Italian chicken dish is the best way to enjoy a nice dinner with the family. Not to mention, everything from the preparation to the cooking stage is all done in just 35 minutes!
  • Air Fryer Fried Chicken – As much as it’s irresistibly delicious, fried chicken isn’t the most nutritious dish, considering its high-fat content. Lucky for you, you can still enjoy a crunchy golden chicken, minus the fats. Enter this air fryer fried chicken recipe! Off the bat, this recipe lets you munch on a fried chicken, all with that crunchy exterior and tender insides.
  • Baked Chicken Nuggets – Who says you can’t enjoy chicken nuggets past the age of nine? This recipe is sure to be a hit among adults and kids alike. Serve with ketchup on the side or with your preferred dipping sauce if you like.

Knowing How To Bread Chicken Is Useful When Frying or Baking

Ever wondered what’s the secret to the crispy goodness of fried chicken? Apparently, it’s all about the breading process! Follow each step accordingly, and you’ll be on your way to making crispy, golden brown chicken every time, and with all the crunchy layers intact!

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S.A. Yanes

S.A. Yanes is a fiction writer, poet, book blogger, and content editor. At Recipes.net, she writes food ingredient guides, product reviews, and more. Prior to that, she has worked in a publishing house and was the brand manager of an up-and-coming writing and reading online platform. She has written numerous short fictions as well as engaging bible stories for children. She's also a certified foodie with an immense love for anything cheesy and chocolatey.

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