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Healthy Southern Baked Chicken

Southern Baked Chicken AKA Healthy Fried Chicken

Here's the first ever official Featherblade recipe, moving forward the HogBlog will be a mixture of musings and thoughts, cooking advice and tips, and actual recipes, and so this is a real doozy to start.

If you’re on a health flex but have a serious craving for a naughty (but nice) meal, I have the solution. This chicken is absolutely banging, it tastes amazing, is easy to do, and importantly, it tastes like a cheat meal. You can have it on a salad, with oven baked chips/potatoes or both. Even on its own or in a sandwich, it’s one of my new favourites. A few years back I started seeing these pop up online or in books so I borrowed a little but made it my own so let me know what you think.

Basically the mustard, cayenne and paprika gives that hint of a certain Colonel’s secret recipe while the almond meal bring it home replacing the crispy fried skin. Thighs are best for this but you can use drumsticks, wings or lastly, sliced breast or tenders. Bear in mind the breast meat isn’t as juicy in the finish on this one. I hope to sell these in the store soon, as they're that good, and like everything we sell, we'll also offer the method to do exactly the same thing yourself, at home. So here it is...

Naughty you say? Ohhhh yes please.

Southern Baked Chicken AKA Healthy Fried Chicken – Ingredients

Serves 4

6-8 medium sized bone-in thighs – skin removed (see below for substitutions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 heaped tablespoons wholegrain mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ of each salt and pepper

A pack of almond meal/flour (in the US, Bob’s Red Mill is frequently available)

Equipment required

Mixing bowls and or a Pyrex jug

Baking tray and preferably steel rack

Foil or Parchment Paper

Southern Baked Chicken AKA Healthy Fried Chicken - Method

Step 1. Get a big mixing bowl and mix together everything except the almond meal. Add the chicken to the bowl last and mix well with your hands, either gloved or nice and clean. Leave this to stand for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.

Step 2. Get your baking tray and cover with a layer of foil or parchment paper. This isn’t essential, but I do it so it’s easier to clean afterwards. If you have an oven-safe wire rack then put that on the tray. The point is the chicken will cook evenly if raised off the tray. Some ovens come with a grill tray, some don’t. If you don’t have it you can use any tray or dish and turn them halfway through and bake up again 5 minutes from the end. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.

Step 3. Get another bowl and pour in about 2 cups of almond meal. Again, with clean or gloved hands dip each marinated thigh in the meal and transfer to the rack. Leave a little space between each one. Once all are marinated, fire the tray into the oven. If roasting chips/potatoes you can do them at the same time.

Step 4. If you are ONLY ever using the almond meal for this recipe then you can put the remaining meal back in the bowl. Otherwise, store it in a separate “chicken only” ziplock bag or container.

Step 5. This is where you can prepare whatever sides you want, salad, gravy, biscuits (yasss), roast potatoes, fries, even making your own chicken burgers in a brioche bun (OMG). I tend to lean towards a crisp salad and either sautéed baby potatoes or roasted chips/fries, but also a hearty salad will be enough if you're on carb-watch. For the salad, butter, spinach or rocket leaves, tomatoes, scallions and pickles, whatever you like for a salad: nice and easy. The chicken will need about 35 minutes at 350°F.

Step 6. After 30 minutes, start checking the chicken with a thermometer probe, it should read above 170°F in the center. Make sure you check a few of them to make sure, especially any bigger ones.

Step 7. Serve with your preferred side and enjoy like an absolute boss!

The Colonel would be proud

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