Homemade Shake and Bake chicken is quick and easy to prepare, and stores well in your pantry, for an effortless homemade meal whenever life gets busy!
We have a winner, folks! The taste tests are in and my entire family enjoys chicken nuggets made with my homemade shake and bake better than they enjoy store-bought nuggets. This copycat recipe is such a hit that I made a big batch to store in my pantry for easy weeknight meals. It is perfect to use on any cut of chicken!
What is Homemade Shake and Bake
My homemade shake and bake replicates the popular Shake 'n Bake brand seasoned breadcrumb coating for chicken and pork found at your local grocery store. However, unlike the commercial brand, there are only natural ingredients and you have complete control over the herbs and seasonings. Simply breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices.
Unlike breaded and deep-fried chicken, such as my beer fried chicken, or Nashville hot chicken, this easy recipe doesn't require messy dredging stations or the need to deep fry. Simply 'shake' the piece of meat in the crumbs, and 'bake'!
Shake and Bake Ingredients
Homemade shake and bake is simply a combination of breadcrumbs and seasonings. I use the following seasonings but you can mix and match and substitute your favorite flavors:
- Unseasoned breadcrumbs
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Celery powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil (Olive oil or Canola oil ideally)
Does Shake 'n Bake have oil?
In order to get the coating to bake up crispy you need to add cooking oil. Whenever I replicate commercially branded products I always look at their nutritional information and ingredients list for clues. Shake 'n Bake lists no fat on their nutritional information, but when you pour through the list of ingredients Canola oil is listed among the spice mix.
If oil is in Shake 'n Bake how do they get away without listing fat in the nutritional information? Simple, they reduced the "Serving size" to ⅛ packet so the amount of fat is so small per serving that it doesn't have to be listed. Sneaky, right?!
I tested how important adding oil is to the recipe and the results were conclusive. In the photo above I have prepared chicken nuggets three different ways. The nugget on the left is my shake and bake without oil, the middle nugget is my shake and bake WITH oil, and finally, the nugget on the right in the store-bought Shake 'n Bake product. You can see adding oil gives the nugget a thicker coating, better color, and a crisp crust. Without oil, you can see through to the meat underneath.
One final note: Store-bought Shake 'n Bake contains high fructose corn syrup (sugar), however I did not add sugar to my recipe. This is one reason why my homemade version doesn't bake up quite as dark. If desired, you can add one teaspoon of white sugar to your seasoning.
How to make Shake and Bake Chicken
Making my copycat shake and bake chicken recipe is simple. Moisten your chicken with a little water and then toss it with the breadcrumb seasoning. The moisture on the meat is needed for the seasoning to stick. The best way to do this is to add the oil and the dry seasoning mix to a gallon storage bag and work it together with your fingers outside the ziploc bag. Then add the chicken pieces and shake to evenly coat the meat. However, you can do this in a large bowl instead.
The breaded chicken can then be placed in a single layer on a sheet pan or baking dish and placed in the oven until cooked through. See below for recommended cooking time and temperatures.
Important: A half cup of my homemade shake and bake is perfect for coating two pounds of meat. You should add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil per ½ cup of breadcrumbs and combine it together prior to breading the meat.
Ways to Use it on chicken
This homemade coating is perfect for dusting your favorite cuts of chicken or even making breaded pork chops. Specifically, I like cutting up a large chicken breast or tenderloins into bite-sized nuggets and tossing them with the coating for a great kid-friendly lunch. However, chicken legs and chicken breasts are also great meal options.
- Baked chicken nuggets - Bake the breaded nuggets at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
- Baked chicken breasts - You can use boneless chicken breasts or bone-in. Bake the breaded chicken breasts at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. However, the exact time will vary depending thickness of the breast. I recommend using a digital meat thermometer.
- Bone-in Chicken pieces - Bake the chicken pieces at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. This is recommended for chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs.
Note: Whenever cooking raw chicken, make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degres.
How to Store It
As written, this recipe is good for coating six pounds of meat. Since you likely won't be cooking that much meat for one meal I recommend storing the remaining coating mix in your pantry for future meals. Personally, I just store it in a sealed zip lock bag, but a mason jar works well too, or any other airtight container so the seasoning mix doesn't get stale.
Important: Do not store the seasoning with the oil and do not store any seasoning that made contact with raw meat!
The oil should be added right before you bread the meat for your meal. If you store oil with the breadcrumbs in your pantry it will go rancid. And we all know not to store any excess coating that has made contact with raw meat, right? That is common sense.
More easy dinner ideas
- Homemade Manwich - This homemade version has a richer flavor than anything from a can!
- Beefaroni - A simple meal with beef, noodles, and sauce.
- Homemade Hamburger Helper - Just as easy as making the box meal, but with real ingredients!
- Philly Cheesesteak Pasta - The flavors of a cheesesteak in a simple pasta dish!
- Loose Meat Sandwich - A cousin to the sloppy Joe, this is an Iowa classic.
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Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken
- 1 ½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon celery powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)
- chicken cuts
- Combine breadcrumbs with herbs and seasonings. Store the dry ingredients in an airtight bag or container until needed.
- Use ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture per 2 pounds of meat you wish to bread.
- Add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil per ½ cup of the coating into a gallon bag and combine together by rubbing the outside of the bag with your fingers.
- Moisten meat with a little water and add meat to the bag. Seal it shut and shake to evenly coat the meat.
- Place chicken on a baking sheet and set on the oven rack in the middle position.
- Baked chicken nuggets - Bake the breaded nuggets at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.Baked chicken breasts - Bake the breaded chicken breasts at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, depending on thickness of the chicken. Bone-in Chicken - Bake the chicken pieces at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
This recipe was originally published March 4, 2020 on FoxValleyFoodie.com.