Homemade Chicken Fingers in a Basket Better than Fast-Food Drive-Thru

How To Make Family-Friendly Finger Foods Your Kids Will Love

Are trips through the closest fast-food joint driving a hole through your food budget? It’s no wonder. Prices on all foods are sky-rocketing, but fast food takes that prize. Yikes!

 

Homemade Chicken Fingers in a Basket Better than Fast-Food Drive-Thru

 

Unlike supermarkets where every week you can find fabulous sales, you’ll never find sales at Wendy’s, McDonald’s or Burger King. Or any other fast-food restaurant for that matter. I don’t consider an occasional coupon to be a Sale.

I know what you’re thinking: Chicken. Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Sandwiches—they’re all so tasty from these places, so convenient and so kid-friendly.

Consider this: In less time than it takes you to get into the car and drive to the closest drive-thru, you can make your own fast-food chicken fare—for half the price, or less. In fact, you can make a fabulous coating mix to mimic the best-coated chicken you’ve ever eaten, in five minutes flat.

And if that’s not enough, you’ll get three bonuses for your effort:

Cheaper

A much better price—the prepackaged stuff (Shake n’ Bake) costs $.73 an ounce (or $11.68 a pound!) on a good day and that’s for just the mix, not the chicken you need to go with it.  

Healthier

You’ll know what’s in it and have the ability to adjust the salt to taste—and be able to pronounce each and every ingredient, too.

Better

This is so much better than its store-bought cousin. If your kids don’t agree, I’ll eat my shakin’ bag!

 


RELATED: How to Use Home Chef Meal Kits to Cut Food Costs


First you need to make this coating mix:

Shake It, Bake It

  • 4 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated dry onion
  • 1 pinch dried basil leaves
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and shake all ingredients together. Store in a sealed container for up to six months in the pantry, longer in the refrigerator.
  2. Remove the amount you need and store the balance in a tightly sealed container or bag in the refrigerator. You will need about one cup of coating mix for a 3-pound chicken cut up, or 6 to 8 pieces.
  3. Now you’re ready to make the chicken strips or nuggets (the only difference is the shape you cut the chicken).

 

Chicken Nuggets or Chicken Strips

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 to 2-inch pieces or 1-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 cups Shake It, Bake It coating mix (recipe above)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Moisten chicken pieces with water. Shake off excess water.
  3. Place coating mix in a plastic bag. Shake 3 or 4 pieces at a time with coating mix. Discard any remaining coating mix.
  4. Place chicken pieces in a single layer in a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan (or similar).
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with ranch dressing or the dipping sauces that follow.

 

Breaded Chicken Fingers

If you prefer a more traditional fried chicken, you’re going to love these chicken fingers. The secret is the buttermilk marinade.

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-quart oil for frying
  1. Place chicken strips into a large, resealable plastic bag.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk and garlic powder. Pour mixture into the bag with chicken. Seal, and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
  3. In another large, resealable plastic bag, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Remove chicken from refrigerator, and drain, discarding buttermilk mixture.
  5. Place chicken in flour mixture bag. Seal, and shake to coat.
  6. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet to 375 F. Place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear, or about 7 minutes. Drain on a cooling rack or paper towels.

Homemade Golden-Fried Chicken on Cooling Rack

Dipping Sauces

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir continuously until the mixture has thickened.

 

Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator at least two hours before serving.

 

Asian Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger  (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.
  2. Add additional Hoisin sauce to thicken the mixture to your desired consistency, if needed.
  3. Cover the sauce, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to allow flavors time to blend. Heat before serving.

Yield: 1/4 cup sauce. Recipe multiplies well.

Enjoy!

 

Homemade Chicken Fingers in a Basket Better than Fast-Food Drive-Thru

Shake It Bake It

Copycat recipe for Shake n' Bake, this all-purpose breading mix is great on chicken, fish, and pork chops, too!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breading Mix
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 32
Calories: 74kcal
Cost: About $2

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp granulated dry onion
  • 1 pinch dried basil leaves
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • 1 pinch dried oregano

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and shake all ingredients together.
  • Remove the amount you need and store the balance in a tightly sealed container or bag in the refrigerator. You will need about one cup of coating mix for a 3-pound chicken cut up, or 6 to 8 pieces.
  • Now you’re ready to make the chicken strips or nuggets (the only difference is the shape you cut the chicken).
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Place coating mix in a plastic bag. Shake 3 or 4 pieces at a time with coating mix. Discard any remaining coating mix. 
  • Place chicken pieces in a single layer in a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan (or similar).
  • Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Notes

 
Note 1: Store in a sealed container for up to six months in the pantry, longer in the refrigerator.
Note 2: Serve with ranch dressing or your dipping sauce of choice.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 74kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

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1 reply
  1. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie says:

    To control salt and other unwanted ingredients, I buy or make my own plain breadcrumbs and season with dried herbs similar to your recipe. The only difference is I don’t add any oil to the crumbs. When it is time to prepare my chicken, eggplant or fish fillets, I dip them in beaten eggs, then dredge in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Sometimes I’ll add grated Parmesan cheese to the crumbs just before dredging for added flavor. Thanks however for pointing out how making these foods from scratch at home takes only a few minutes and can be much healthier.

    Reply

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