Meal Makeovers

Cat Cora's Crispy Fried Chicken

This chicken tastes fried, but does away with all the grease.

The secret? Lock in the moisture by dredging the chicken pieces in flour and dipping them in buttermilk that you’ve kicked up with herbs and spices. Rolled in cornflakes and then baked to perfection, this is a lightened-up version of a traditionally fattening meal that you can enjoy year-round.

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

6 chicken pieces (preferably 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings)

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups corn flakes

1/2 cup light buttermilk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a baking dish large enough to hold 6 chicken pieces. With your fingers, rub the oil over the dish so it’s completely (but lightly)coated. Set the dish aside.

Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. In a wide bowl or plate, season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken piece through the flour so it’s completely coated, tap the chicken against the side of the bowl to jar loose excess flour, and set the pieces aside. 

Discard the flour.

Here comes the part kids like best: Crush the corn flakes by placing them in a big, resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal up the bag (with as little air inside as possible) and run over the flakes with a rolling pin. Open the bag and pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or a plate.

In a large bowl (big enough to dredge chicken pieces) mix the buttermilk, mustard, spices and herbs. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath and then roll the piece in the cornflake crumbs.

Arrange the chicken pieces in the oiled baking dish and slide the dish into the hot oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes until cooked through and crispy. The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 4-6

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Cat Cora became the Food Network's first and only female Iron Chef in 2005. In November 2006, Bon Appetit Magazine bestowed her with their "Teacher of the Year" award. Recently, she was named the magazine's executive chef.To learn more about Cat Cora, visit