If you love the crispy delicious flavor of chickfila chicken, then you must try this oven fried chicken recipe. Not only is the chicken crispy, but the meat is succulent and super juicy.
You will never guess the secret ingredients that set this recipe apart.
2 Secrets to the Best Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
There are two secrets to my oven fried chicken recipe.
One of the secrets is borrowed from the popular fast food chain, Chick-fil-A. Although the restaurant is not exactly know for a clean menu, most people agree their chicken sandwiches are delicious! I was so happy to learn one of the Chick-fil-A secrets is compatible with a clean eating diet.
Before you read further, just know that the two “secrets” might not sound all that appetizing. But trust me, you will be amazed at the end result…
Secret #1: Dill Pickle Juice Brine
Soaking chicken in salty pickle juice brine does an incredible job of tenderizing meat and infusing it with flavor.
But don’t worry! Your chicken won’t taste like pickles. The zesty pickle juice just helps liven up the flavor. Thanks to secret #2, the pickle flavor does not dominate the chicken.
If you don’t have pickle juice on hand you can always make your own brine. For what it is worth, any cut of meat, especially super lean cuts of meat will be better if soaked in a brine.
If you are going to use pickle juice, be sure to look for pickles that are naturally fermented. Not the ones made with vinegar.
The acids and enzymes in fermented pickle juice do an incredible job of breaking down the collagen and tenderizing the meat.
Note: Naturally fermented pickles are also a great source of probiotics–soaking the chicken in pickle juice won’t necessarily infuse your chicken with probiotics. However, if you serve the whole PICKLES along with the oven fried chicken recipe is a delicious way to get a probiotic boost!
Secret #2: Almond Milk
Although I never met him, my mom has told me many times how her dad, my grandfather (Charlie Rice), made the best fried chicken ever. One of his secrets was soaking the chicken in milk.
Apparently milk-soaked-chicken is not exactly a secret among Southern cooks though. Of course when I refer to the “milk” my grandfather used, I am not talking about almond milk. I am absolutely certain he used cow’s milk.
It’s not quite understood how milk helps tenderize chicken, but it is believed the lactic acid helps to break down the proteins.
Almond milk doesn’t have lactic acid, so I am not sure if soaking the chicken in almond milk without the pickle brine would actually tenderize the chicken or not? However, it definitely doesn’t hurt!
The main reason I add the almond milk is to cut the acidity of the pickle juice and help mellow out the flavor of the brine a bit.
This combination of soaking the chicken in pickle juice + almond milk delivers on amazing piece of chicken.
Don’t Forget the Sauce!
And finally, although it is not technically part of the recipe, if you have just 5-minutes to spare then do be sure to make my lemon sauce recipe. For my lemon sauce I added some extra thyme and parsley.
Serve this lemon sauce as a dip for the oven fried chicken recipe. It’s a creamy sauce with a bright, tangy flavor. Plus, it’s dairy free too.
It’s delicious with just about any protein, but it seems to be made for chicken!
Ok, let’s get cooking…
Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
Oven Fried Chicken recipe that is a chickfila chicken copycat recipe and completely gluten free. Enjoy one of our favorite family dishes.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- 1 cup “whole” plain unsweetened almond milk, homemade recipe or check out Goodmylk
- 1 cup pickle juice, see notes below
- 1.5 – 2 lbs pasture-raised skinless bone-in chicken legs or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2.5 cups gluten free plain panko crumbs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2/3 cup cassava flour, we love Otto’s brand
- Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 organic, pasture-raised eggs, such as Vital Farm
- Unrefined avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Creamy Lemon Sauce, for dipping, optional
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk and pickle juice. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours and up to overnight.
- When ready to coat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking pans with unbleached parchment paper.
- Then, select 3 shallow bowls or large plates with a rim and add the following:
- BOWL #1: Combine the cassava flour, salt and pepper
- BOWL #2: Add the eggs and whisk
- BOWL #3: Combine the gluten free panko crumbs and italian seasoning
- To coat the chicken, remove one piece of the chicken from the brine and shake off any excess moisture.
- Dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour mixture, dip in the egg and then roll in the seasoned panko crumbs.
- Transfer chicken piece to the parchment paper. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- When all of the chicken pieces have been coated, lightly brush the tops with a very thin coating of oil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken from oven, flip and lightly brush the top of the other side with oil. Bake for another 20 minutes or so, or until outside is crispy and brown and inside is cooked through.
- For crispier chicken, broil on low for 3-5 minutes, flipping the chicken and broiling for an additional 3 minutes.
- Serve with Creamy Lemon Sauce for dipping, if using.
Look for naturally fermented pickles, such as Bubbies brand (Note: naturally fermented pickles are sold in the refrigerated section of your supermarket or natural foods store.)