Crispy baked hot honey chicken is a slightly healthier take on southern fried chicken. Made with chicken thighs, buttermilk, corn flakes and covered in a sweet & spicy sauce.
I’m not going to pretend like this recipe is exactly like traditional southern fried chicken.
Even though I’m from the North, I’ve had my fair share of southern fried chicken and boy oh boy is it goodddd.
Not to say this crispy baked hot honey chicken isn’t delicious cause believe me, it’s finger-licking good.
There’s just something about traditional southern fried chicken you can’t quite replicate (unless you have your grandmother’s recipe, then hand it over puhhleasseee).
This crispy chicken recipe starts with marinating your chicken thighs in buttermilk, dredging it in a seasoned flour mixture, then in egg wash, and finally in finely crushed corn flakes.
It’s baked in the oven until golden and crispy to perfection and then brushed with an insanely good sweet and spicy hot honey sauce.
A lot going on here but I promise you it’s worth every second.
A couple tips for making the best crispy chicken:
Use chicken thighs-they have more fat which = more flavor! I prefer bone-in for even more flavor, but either or will work
- For either boneless or bone-in chicken thighs, be sure to use skinless. Most bone-in chicken thighs come with the skin on it, just simply peel it off and discard.
- I like lining my baking sheet with aluminum foil and then placing a cooling rack on top of it. The cooling rack helps circulate the hot air, giving you evenly crispy chicken.
- Be sure to finely crush your corn flakes. The finer the crumb, the better it sticks to the chicken. I use a food processor to make sure the corn flakes get extra fine.
- Don’t overcrowd your baking sheet. I try and stay about 2-3″ apart. If you need to use two baking sheets, do so.
To make your crispy baked hot honey chicken:
- Add chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag. Pour buttermilk and seasoning over chicken, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Get 3 shallow bowls or dishes ready: one for your flour mixture, one for your eggs and one for your corn flakes.
- Remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk and shake off excess liquid. Dredge in flour, shake off excess, then dip in egg. Lastly, cover in corn flakes, pressing with your fingers to ensure the coating sticks.
- Place on a cooling rack lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs and brush tops with olive oil.
- Bake until coating is golden and crispy. Remove from oven and brush generously with hot honey sauce.
What does buttermilk do to chicken?
The buttermilk is slightly acidic which acts as a tenderizer for the chicken. It also adds great flavor.
This crispy baked hot honey chicken is made in the oven for a slightly healthier fried chicken recipe that’s a little sweet and spicy.
Remember that yummy homemade hot honey recipe? We’re using it as our glaze for our crispy chicken thighs.
The honey is infused with chili peppers which gives it a little kick. Butter is added to make it velvety smooth for our chicken.
These southern style baked crispy chicken thighs can also be made in the air fryer!
Just add 1-2 pieces at a time (depending on your air fryer size) and cook until golden and crispy. Brush the warm chicken with the hot honey once it’s finished cooking.
What to serve with your crispy baked hot honey chicken?
- Plain white rice (I like it cause it soaks up the extra honey sauce)
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- Roasted Potato Salad with Maple Mayo
- Green Beans
Crispy Baked Hot Honey Chicken
- 2 lbs Chicken Thighs skinless & bone-in (see recipe notes)
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp of Cayenne Pepper divided
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Paprika
- 4 Eggs
- 3 cups finely crushed corn flakes
- Olive Oil for brushing
- ½ cup Hot Honey see recipe notes
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Place chicken in large gallon zip lock bag. Add buttermilk, salt, pepper, ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper and massage to evenly cover the chicken. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum foil), then place a cooling rack on top. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a shallow bowl or dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, garlic, onion, paprika & remaining ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper. In another shallow bowl whisk together the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, add the crushed corn flakes.
- Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture, shaking off the excess, and dredge in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and dip in egg mixture. Shake off excess egg and lastly coat in the cornflakes, pressing to ensure the coating sticks.
- Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- Lightly brush the tops of each piece of chicken with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip each piece of chicken over and bake another 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and outside is golden and crispy. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt immediately after taking it out of the oven.
- Add hot honey and butter to small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until butter is fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Brush or drizzle with the hot honey and serve warm.