Looking for a quick and easy dinner idea that your kids will love? And it’s healthy, too? These cornflake chicken strips are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
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Babby’s Special Chicken
Decades before it was trendy, my grandmother Babby was an organic, natural health pioneer. She was growing her own rose hips for rosehip tea in the mountains of Colorado. Instead of enjoying typical desserts like chocolate chip cookies, her children got sesame seed candies or carob brownies. So not surprisingly, you didn’t see fried chicken very often in Babby’s house. Still, instead, they had equally delicious and crunchy baked cornflake chicken or its even more popular sister, Special K chicken! (FYI- they’re both the same; the only difference comes from the type of cereal topping you use, but more on that later.)
Moist and tender with just the right amount of kick, this crispy chicken (and its various iterations over the last six decades) provides just the right amount of texture and kick to what could be an otherwise boring chicken dinner.
Why We Still Love This Chicken Recipe 60 Years Later
First of all, it requires minimal prep time. Just preheat the oven to about 400 degrees, dip the chicken in butter, roll it in cornflakes, and pop it in the oven. You’re good to go! Second, it’s incredibly versatile. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or just roll drumsticks with the bone and skin in the cornflakes. Finally, especially when you have smaller skinless pieces of chicken breast, just stick them on a baking sheet, and you can bake them in under a half-hour.
Babby’s Easy Cornflake Chicken
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (Cut into strips. Can substitute other types of chicken.)
- 2.5 cup cornflakes
- 1/4 cup butter (Can substitute olive oil or coconut oil.)
- salt and pepper to taste.
Babby’s Easy Cornflake Chicken
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put cornflakes in a large Ziploc bag and crush them. You can put them in the food processor if you want a finer texture.
- Cut the chicken breasts into strips.
- Melt the butter, and dip chicken strips into the butter.
- Put the buttered chicken strips into the cornflake bag, and shake around so all strips are covered with the cornflake mixture. If you have extra butter, you can pour it in the bag, too.
- Put cornflake chicken strips on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Depending on how thin your strips are, you might want to check on them around 20 minutes to make sure they're not ready earlier.
If you’re really in a time crunch, you can bake the crispy chicken in the air fryer, which will cut down on the total time by quite a bit. I usually keep a large bag of frozen chicken tenderloins on hand. So I can finish my dinner prep in the air fryer in less time than it might take me to preheat the oven. The air fryer’s also great because it adds an extra crunch, so it feels more like fried chicken without the fryer.
In the original version of this dish, Babby would use homemade cranberry sauce for her dip, which is a great way to bring the flavor of Thanksgiving into your home year-round.
Most of the time, my kids will eat this chicken as-is, or maybe with a little salt and black pepper. But if we want to mix things up a little bit, we’ll add some extra sauce.
The dip of choice varies quite a bit from person to person. My son would probably drink ketchup straight from the bottle, given the chance, so that’s always his pick. His sisters prefer their chicken plain, though they all want to add the extra crispiness of the crispy coating that’s fallen from the chicken onto the baking sheet. My husband sometimes likes to spice this up with hot sauce.
And my ultimate favorite sauce base is Mel Joulwan’s Paleo Mayo, especially when you make it with an immersion blender. You can add some honey or even a sweet peach jam to it if you want a sweet and sour honey mustard. I’ll add brown mustard to it if I want more of a tangy sauce. It’s also great mixed with curry if you want a sharper flavor.
Cornflake Chicken Sides
Originally this baked cornflake chicken recipe was served with a side of homemade cranberry sauce, green beans, broccoli, and rice.
In my house, we’re more likely to serve the chicken with rice, some type of dip, and cut up vegetable spears like carrots, peppers, or cucumbers. During the summer months, fresh corn on the cob with a cucumber and tomato salad is the perfect accompaniment to this meal. Bonus points if you have some watermelon or grilled peaches for dessert.
If you want a healthier variation of the rice, opt for some riced cauliflower. Feeling a little more indulgent? Try a buttermilk biscuit. This is a pretty versatile cornflake dish, so it tastes great with everything!
Cornflake Chicken Variations
While this recipe is classic Babby, there are lots of ways to mix it up. Babby’s favorite was Special K. My house prefers the lighter, crackly taste of Rice Krispies to the heartier taste of corn flakes. So we pretty much just talk about crispy chicken rather than the cornflake variety.
If you’re avoiding grains, this chicken concept is equally delicious when you wrap the chicken into an almond meal mixture. That way, you can enjoy the crunchy texture while sticking with a Keto or Paleo meal plan.
For those wanting a different binding agent than butter, you can substitute eggs or just egg whites instead. We’ll often substitute olive oil or coconut oil for the butter.
While chicken strips or nuggets are especially easy for little guys to eat, any type of chicken works- chicken thighs are often a little bit richer and especially delicious. You could even dress a complete chicken in cornflakes if you really wanted to.
Make this recipe your own! And be sure to share your favorite chicken recipes with family and friends on your favorite FamilyApp!