RECIPE: Fried chicken breasts with spicy-sweet sauce

Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken Breasts. Photo for The Washington Post by Peggy Cormary; food styling for The Washington Post by Lisa Cherkasky

Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken Breasts. Photo for The Washington Post by Peggy Cormary; food styling for The Washington Post by Lisa Cherkasky

Published Sep 21, 2023


Do you blanch at the thought of frying chicken? Does the proper technique and timing elude you? Does the splatter and mess seem like too much trouble?

Chicken cannot be overfried or it will be too dry - even a minute or two can make a difference.

For the home cook, Heard Dat's fried chicken breasts with "skeesh" sauce are quite doable - even on a weeknight.

The sauce ingredients - tomato, onion, sugar, water, vinegar - are placed in a pot and cooked until they thicken into a pepper-jelly-like consistency.

Then you add a healthy dose of Buffalo sauce and, if you want to kick up the heat, crushed red chilli flakes. While the sauce boils, the chicken breasts can be battered and readied for frying.

They fry quickly in 1 cup of hot oil in a skillet, so the clean-up is considerably faster and less messy than deep-frying whole pieces. Use a splatter guard if you've got one.

Toss the breasts with the sauce, spoon it over or use it as a dip. Just remember to add it just before serving so the chicken stays crisp. Dig in.

Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken Breasts

4 to 6 servings

Active time: 20 mins; total time: 35 mins

These healthfully baked chicken breasts get their crunchy exterior from a coating of crushed crispy rice cereal and almonds, gently seasoned with paprika, garlic, salt and pepper.

The breasts are extra-tender inside, thanks to a quick brine in buttermilk, which also helps the crispy coating adhere.

The buttermilk soak simplifies the prep and results in lighter-tasting breasts compared to a traditional flour-and-egg dredge.

The tangy-sweet honey-mustard dipping sauce delivers just the right finishing pop of flavour.

Storage note: Leftover honey-mustard sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Make ahead: The chicken breasts need to be brined in the buttermilk for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 hours) before cooking.


For the chicken

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or skinless, boneless chicken breast pounded to 1/2-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch wide slices

1 cup low-fat well-shaken buttermilk

3 cups crisp puffed rice cereal (ideally, brown rice cereal)

1/2 cup sliced almonds, chopped

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the dipping sauce

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons mayonnaise


In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the buttermilk, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

When ready to cook, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil, then place a wire rack on top.

Put the rice cereal in a resealable plastic bag, squeeze out excess air and, using a rolling pin or mallet, crush until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Transfer the crushed cereal to a shallow bowl or dish, such as an 8-inch square baking dish. Add the almonds, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Working with one or two pieces at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bowl.

Dip the chicken in the crumb mixture and coat well, pressing lightly on the chicken so the crumbs adhere on all sides.

Transfer the chicken to the prepared rack and roast for about 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. (Discard the remaining buttermilk marinade and crumb coating.)

While the chicken is cooking, in a small dish, stir the mustard, honey and the mayonnaise until well combined.

Serve the chicken breasts hot or warm, with the sauce on the side for dipping.

Nutritional information per serving (based on 6) | 339 Calories: 23g Carbohydrates, 75mg Cholesterol, 15g Fat, 3g Fiber, 29g Protein, 2g Saturated Fat, 596mg Sodium, 7g Sugar

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.