Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picnic Oven Fried Chicken

Picnic chicken, prepared similar to our classic, southern fried chicken, is lightly dusted in a highly seasoned flour then oven fried in butter and set aside to cool completely, before packing for the picnic.

Picnic Oven Fried Chicken

When you see recipes for oven fried chicken it's most often a low fat attempt to recreate deep fried chicken, often using cornflakes as a coating. This is not that.

When you see the term "picnic" fried chicken, it's generally referring to a fried chicken that has been prepped for skillet frying, but is done mostly, if not completely, in the oven. Left to cool, it's delicious at room temperature or straight from the fridge, making it the perfect picnic chicken. This is that.

Of course, like classic fried chicken, there are as many ways to make this one as there are folks to cook it. I've actually got a couple different recipes myself! Great for camping, a picnic on the beach, a take along for fishing, or just to eat for supper, it's a southern classic.

Sick of cold weather where you are? Why not throw a red and white checkered tablecloth on the floor, prepare some picnic chicken, make up some pasta salad, potato salad or coleslaw, maybe some marinated green beans, add some French bread and iced tea and have a picnic? Put on some beach music, build a fire in the fireplace and make S'mores for dessert. Summer breeze y'all!

Here's how to make that picnic chicken.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan and place into oven to melt, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, to 1 cup of all purpose flour, add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of a seasoning salt (like Lawry's), 2 teaspoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and 1 tablespoon of dried parsley.

Whisk together the flour and seasonings.

Rinse the chicken pieces and dredge them in the flour. I catch family packs of drumsticks on sale all the time so I usually have a few packages in the freezer, and they are my favorite piece of fried chicken, so that's what I used this time. These are rather large drumsticks too, so the time factors in about the same as a whole chicken, which is more typical. Other pieces work fine too, so just use your favorites or whatever you have on hand in your freezer. If you've got much smaller pieces of chicken, you'll need to make some adjustments in your cooking times.

Toss all of the chicken in the flour.

Set them all aside on a plate until you've floured them all.

Get the hot baking dish out of the oven and place the chicken into the buttered pan all together skin side up; turn to coat. Bake skin side down at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes.

Remove, turn skin side up and place back into the oven to bake another 20 to 25 minutes. Total time will be dependent on the size of the pieces.

Cook until chicken is completely cooked through and juices run clear when chicken is pierced.

Place a rack on top of some paper towels and transfer the chicken to the rack to cool completely before storing. Wrap chicken loosely in a clean sackcloth towel or paper towels then place into a large storage bag or container. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Recipe: Picnic Oven Fried Chicken

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (like Lawry's)
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken, cut into serving pieces, or equivalent pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add butter to a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan and place into oven just long enough to melt. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour with the seasonings. Rinse the chicken pieces and dredge in the flour; place into the baking pan skin side up, and turn to coat. Bake skin side down at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes, turn and bake skin side up another 20 to 25 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through.

Total time will depend on the size of pieces you use, but the internal temperature should reach about 175 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, 165 in the breast. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing. Wrap loosely in a clean sackcloth towel or paper towels then place into a large storage bag or container; refrigerate if not using right away.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on January 31, 2012
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  1. I make skillet fried chicken about once a year, I claim it to be my specialty. I've never made the oven versions because of the reason you stated. I see no reason to cut fat corners with such a classic dish. But I've got to give this one a try. I just watched the Movie "The Help", so I'm really craving some fried chicken. :)

  2. I've always made my fried chicken in a skillet, but your version sure looks good Mary.I'll have to try it your way!
    I tried the cornflake version one time and wasn't a fan either.

  3. I too have some frozen chicken legs so I yanked a bag out of the freezer and will give this recipe a try tonight. I've been craving some homemade potato salad too, so will make some of that to go with the chicken. Thanks for the idea Mary!

  4. A inside picnic is a great idea!!!

  5. Just trying to clear up my confusion. From the sentence, "Get the hot baking dish out of the oven and place the chicken into the buttered pan all together skin side up; turn to coat. Bake skin side down at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes."

    Do you mean for me to put the floured chicken in the buttered pan AND THEN roll it around in the pan so the entire chicken piece(s) are coated in melted butter? It's the "turn to coat" that leaves me confused.

    Thanks Mary. Joe D

  6. Sorry Joe - didn't mean to make that confusing! Yes, what I meant is to wait to put all of the chicken in the pan skin side up after you flour it all, rather than a piece at a time as you flour it. Then just turn it over skin side down and bake the first round, turn skin side up and finish!

    Hope that helps!

  7. this made me very hungry for oven fried chicken; I will be making this soon!

  8. This reminds me of seeing that brown paper sack on the picnic table with the tell tale spots of grease, full of cold chicken.

  9. Mary - this was so very good! My whole family loved it! Thanks for the idea. Tracie

  10. Hi Tracie! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it & thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know! That really means the world to me.

  11. We love this, but we call it Camp Fried Chicken...I'll add some of the seasoning you recommended....thanks again

  12. I am making this chicken as we speak and have a quick question. I couldn't tell after I floured it which was skin side up and skin side down. Will it matter in the end? It looks and smells amazing! Thanks!

    1. Not really, especially if you're using only legs. Mostly it's just for looks on the pieces like breasts and thighs since that first skin side down browning looks nicer for presentation. Hope you enjoy the chicken - now I want some LOL!!

  13. This really sounds good and I can remember my mother making this for family reunions! My question is about how long it is okay to keep it out before it spoils? Is it okay to take it straight to a picnic and not refrigerate it? I'm kinda paranoid about that and never really know, but don't want to get sick. Are there any "rules" or guidelines about this? Thanks!! Love your site and recipes!

    1. Hey Laraine! You'd have to handle it like any other prepared foods & I'm not an expert on food safety for picnics, so I'd suggest hitting google for that! If you google "food safety, picnics" there is quite a lot of info & many of the pages are sponsored by state extension services & also government agencies. Hope that helps!

  14. I have made this so many times and just had to come back and comment how much my family loves it. Course, we eat it hot right out of the oven for supper, rather than saving it for later. I also make it for company all the time and everyone always raves over it. It's a lot easier for me than frying in a skillet because I can get other things done in the kitchen while it bakes in the oven

    1. I'm so thrilled to hear that your family has enjoyed this version of chicken - thank you so much for letting me know Theresa!

  15. I"m looking forward to try this version of oven fried chicken. It looks delicious. I LOVE my oven fried chicken using cornflakes ! I let soak in buttermilk, leave the skin on, season , roll in crumbs, place on a HOT baking pan , drizzle with butter, and bake. Deelish. I think the key to getting crispy oven fried chicken is to heat your baking pan first, then either spray or brush oil on it. Thanks for sharing.


    1. I love the cornflake coated oven fried chicken too Vicky!! It really makes a difference in the crunch doesn't it? Great tip too, thanks!

  16. I forgot to ask if you have ever used wings with this recipe? Legs and wings are my favorite chicken pieces.


    1. Those are two of my favorites too Vicky!! Sure, you can use any chicken piece, just adjust your cooking times accordingly!

  17. I love this recipe. I used it several times over the summer for picnics, concerts and plays in the park, hiking...tonight it will be for an "inside picnic"--thanks for posting!

    1. You're welcome & thank you so much for taking the time to stop back by and let me know!!


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