Crispy Mexican Chicken

I love chicken, and I love Mexican food, so it’s a perfect marriage, right? I always have spices on hand associated with Mexican recipes, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, chipotle, etc. Finding a chicken recipe that’s light as well is always a bonus. This Mexican chicken, while light and tasty, really needs more flavor to truly be called Crispy Mexican Chicken.

I found this recipe in the Cooking Light Cookbook (1995). The recipe calls for mixing a small amount of buttermilk with several spices, then it’s brushed onto the skinned chicken breast halves. It’s then topped with shredded potato (which is fab!) and baked. Now this was definitely good, but I really didn’t taste any of the spices at all. My guess is that using these same ingredients and brining, or marinating the chicken in it would produce a much more flavorful result. I’m also going to guess it would up the calorie count. Another option may be to up the spice measurements so that more sticks to the chicken, or even sprinkle some on before brushing on the buttermilk.

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So if you want a light chicken dish, this is definitely good, the chicken is juicy, but the spice flavors are just not prominent. I am keeping this recipe in my binder, but next time I make it I will up the buttermilk, and instead of brushing it on, I’ll brine the chicken pieces all day.

I do have to say, the shredded potato topping is genius. It was like having hash browns on top of my chicken, very tasty!

Crispy Mexican Chicken
adapted from Cooking Light Cookbook 1995
189 calories per serving

printable version

1 8-oz baking potato, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
4 6-oz skinned chicken breast halves
cooking spray
1 tsp vegetable oil

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Place shredded potato in ice water, let stand 5 minutes.

Combine buttermilk and next four ingredients. Brush mixture over both sides of the chicken. Line a baking sheet with foil, coat foil with cooking spray. Place chicken pieces on pan.

Drain potato, pat dry with paper towel. Place in small bowl, add oil, toss gently. Spoon 1/3 cup potato mixture over each chicken breast half, spread evenly.

Bake at 425 F for 35-40 minutes (mine baked longer, about 50 minutes, use an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, done at 165 F).

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  1. Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food says

    This looks wonderful, Amanda, and the addition of shredded potatoes on top is a particularly nice touch. I can see this being one of those quick, family favorites that can be almost endlessly varied. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ingrid says

    Yum, I love the idea of topping the chicken with potato. Definitely spruces up the chicken.

    Happy Easter!

  3. Kristi Flanagan says

    Amanda – I'm hungry just looking at your recipes!!! Thanks for following my blog and your sweet comments about my work! Come plant your "creative cooking seed" at my Plant a Punkin Seed Party! It usually is on Fridays but its open all week as I'm doing a give away – so come sign up!

    Punkin Seed Productions

  4. Kristi Flanagan says

    Couldn't help myself, I had to become a follower…. here come the calories!

    Punkin Seed Productions

  5. Sue Sparks says

    I'm like you…I never tire of chicken or Mexican food! What an original topping for chicken…your main dish and side dish in one! :)

  6. Culinary Cory says

    I'm with you, I would probably brine the chicken to give it more flavor. I love the idea of topping it with shredded potatoes.

  7. Karen says

    Yum, this sounds good. I like the sound of the crispy potatoes on top, too and think the idea of brining the chicken next time is a great idea!

  8. Beth says

    Yummy! I finally got around to making this–I made it with chicken tenders instead of breasts and layered it in a casserole, served it with black beans and fresh salsa and it was a HIT! My kids gobbled it down and my husband ran and grabbed a ziplock container to save a portion for work the next day before it was all gone. This was a perfect example of how you can have mexican and still be healthy. We didn't miss the cheese or sour cream and guacamole overload and the cumin scent was wonderful!


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