Better than Shake ‘n Bake! Easy, inexpensive & tastes better too! Common ingredients come together in this copycat Shake ‘n Bake recipe that’s even better than the original.
I have to be honest and say up front that I have not had Shake ‘n Bake Chicken in many, many years. Although it was one of my absolute favourites as a kid, I don’t know that I have even purchased it while living in this house for the past 22 years.
When I was a kid, I would have been like that little fella in the 1970’s commercial, running home for his favourite dinner on Shake ‘n Bake night. Remember him? “Once, we didn’t have it for two whole weeks.”
A couple of months ago I was at a friend’s house after he had just come home from a massive Costco run and there was an enormous box of Shake ‘n Bake on his countertop. Apparently his kids loved it and both parents in the household being teachers, this convenience product surely did make sense when coming home and having to have dinner ready quickly. Seeing it again made me a little nostalgic.
When I was in a supermarket a few weeks later I noticed the packages and checked the price. It was $2.79 for a package of two small envelopes. Since this was only about 1 cup of dried breadcrumbs and some seasoning, I thought, “Wow, that’s quite a markup!” Since I was planning some recipes for my blog that included Homemade Dried Bread Crumbs, I made a mental note to try a homemade version myself.
Looking at the package ingredients, the seasoning did not have individual ingredients listed but I did note that corn meal and corn starch were on the list. This made perfect sense because the cornmeal would add extra crispiness. The instructions said to wet only with water, so the corn starch made perfect sense too because it undoubtedly helps the coating stick to the chicken when coming into contact with the wet exterior of the chicken pieces.
With all that in mind and with a blend of common spice rack ingredients in mind as well, I experimented with a couple of batches and finally got the seasoning level that think works best. Judging by the flavour, there is considerably more seasoning used in this version than the commercial version but our family absolutely loved it; more flavour is definitely better!
The look, texture and crispiness are as close to the original as it is probably likely to get. Like the commercial brand, it also kept the chicken pieces moist and juicy inside.
Considering that y0u can make the bread crumbs from 2 or three day old bread ends that you may already have on hand, I’d say the cost is easily at least 75% less than buying it in the store and a single batch is enough for 5 or 6 meals. On value alone, this idea can’t be beat.
I’ll be trying a couple of other versions soon, including one that uses our Homemade Italian Seasoning in the mix!
Like this Better than Shake ‘n Bake recipe?
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PLEASE NOTE! Several comments have asked about the amount of salt at 1 1/2 Tbsp. Remember that this recipe makes sufficient coating for SEVERAL meals. It is equivalent to 6 or more envelope packets of a commercially available coating, so the amount of salt is pretty moderate, if not low by comparison, and of course with no artificial preservatives added.
- 3 cups dried bread crumbs , ground very fine
- 3 tbsp cornmeal
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp granulated onion (powder can work too)
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp fine salt
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground dry thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp ground dry oregano
Mix together all of the ingredients very well. I use a food processor or mixer to make sure everything is very well blended.
Store in a cool place in an airtight container like a 1 quart/litre mason Jar.
I use one whole chicken, cut in pieces and well trimmed but about 3 lbs of any kind of chicken pieces you like will do. You can, of course make any amount you need.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Simple wet chicken pieces with water, drain well and drop them, one at a time into a plastic bag containing some of the homemade shake 'n bake. I usually start with a half cup of the coating in the bag, which is equivalent to what is in an envelope if you bought it at the supermarket. You can always add a little extra if you need it at the end, but I find this is the best way to maximize the use you get out of a batch.
Shake the bag and press the coating onto the individual chicken pieces. Place the coated pieces on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Don't crowd the pieces, they will crisp much better if there is space between them.
At this point you can drizzle a little canola oil or peanut oil over the coated pieces to maximize browning but this step s completely optional. I have an oil spritzer which is ideal for this purpose because you can spritz about 9 or 10 pieces of chicken with only about a tablespoon of oil. This is a method I often use for Oven Fried Chicken too.
Bake for about 45-55 minutes depending upon the size of the chicken pieces being used. Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be ready in as little as 25 minutes depending on size. I use my meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature is 175-180 degrees F to ensure they are fully cooked.
Let the chicken pieces rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
PLEASE NOTE! Several comments have asked about the amount of salt at 1 1/2 Tbsp. Remember that this recipe makes sufficient coating for SEVERAL meals. It is equivalent to 6 or more envelope packets of a commercially available coating, so the amount of salt is pretty moderate, if not low by comparison and of course with no artificial preservatives added.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.
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