Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Popcorn Chicken (Air Fry and Oven)

I’m not 100% sure what the age range is of people who come visit the blog is but, if you are like me and lived through the 70’s, you will remember all the commercials for Shake and Bake.

I was that kid that would LOVE to go shopping with my mom and literally have a freak-out when we passed anything I saw on television (yes, marketing to kids works ;)). My mom, an Italian immigrant, wanted us all to adapt to the Canadian lifestyle so she would often buy us things she saw on television (not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome!!). One of those things was Shake and Bake. It was epic.

It wasn’t until I got older and realized there were things I couldn’t pronounce in that little package. But the bigger reason to try to create my own homemade version was to give you guys the ability to change the spices (and salt level) to your liking. So, if you make it the first time and you’d like to cut the salt, you’re the boss applesauce so you do you!!  Below I give you a few more reasons:

Why make a homemade version when you can just buy a packet at the store?
  1. It’s far more economical to make large batches of your own jar of homemade shake and bake rather than buying it at the store.
  2. When you make it yourself, you will always have it on hand and you don’t have to run to the store!
  3. I think homemade Shake and Bake mix is far more delicious…really!!
  4. Shake and Bake at the store usually has partially hydrogenated soybean oil in the the mix…that’s something we should be trying to steer clear of.
What’s in store bought that you need to know?
  1. partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil
  2. enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate Vitamin B1, riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid)
  3. salt (which we have in ours but you can control it!!)
  4. sugar (same as above!!)
  5. contains less than 2% of paprika, dextrose, dried onions, spice, caramel color, yeast, annatto (color), and natural flavor.
Will you save money?

Heck yes you will!!

I know that the box of Shake and Bake can be around $3.00 and this mix – which will make about the same if not more – will cost you so little (depending on how and where you shop).

How do we store it?

I like to keep it in a mason jar or Weck jar in the fridge (good idea to keep it there because it contains oil – which is fine on the counter but better in the fridge).

Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken

But, if you’re going to use it now, let’s go ahead and put it in a Ziploc bag…

I cut my thighs into small pieces (hence, the name ‘popcorn chicken’) for a fast dinner!! But you can totally keep them whole if you like!

This is what it looks like whole…

Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken

And in tiny pieces…

Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake ChickenSo, what do you guys think??

Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken

Let’s do it…let’s make dinner an easy fun task this week!!

Pin below to make later!!

Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken

Homemade Shake and Bake

Need a quick dinner idea that will have dinner on the table in literally minutes? Honest!! This flavourful, crispy topping for chicken (or pretty much anything that you'd like coated) is the best thing ever to have in your fridge! Make a batch today and you'll be so happy you did!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cups corn flakes cereal
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes or 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika can use regular paprika
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thigh

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (if using air fryer, plug in and prep your trays - mine have holes so I cover them with foil)

  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add all the dry ingredients (breadcrumbs through paprika) and pulse to combine - you really only want to break down the cornflakes to a point where the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

  3. Remove the lid and drizzle the oil on top of the mixture; place the lid back on the food processor bowl and mix again until the mixture is combined. If using mix later, place in a mason jar and put in the fridge.

  4. If using the mix now, place mix into a Ziploc bag and drop chicken thighs in a few at a time and shake the bag to coat. As each thigh is coated, move to a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment (or air fryer if using).

  5. Place in oven or air fryer. Oven time for the whole thighs is about 30 minutes (internal temp is about 170° but can go up to 200° for really moist chicken thighs) while you can air fry the whole thighs for about 12-15 min. You can also cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and air fry them for 6-8 minutes!!

  6. Serve hot!!

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