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Pickle-Brined (Oven) Fried Chicken with Spicy Sesame Honey

  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x



For the Brine:

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh dill (about ¾ cup)

For the Chicken:

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 3 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup regular unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the Spicy Honey:

  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 teaspoons hot sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (I like a mix of white and black, but you can use all one kind)


For the Brine:

  1. Toast mustard and coriander seeds in a dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved and then remove the brine from the heat. Add the dill and 4 cups of cold water. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Submerge the chicken in the brine and chill for 3 hours.

For the Chicken:

  1. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Keep cold until ready to bake.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and hot sauce in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the two types of breadcrumbs, paprika, Cajun seasoning, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in another bowl. Drizzle the oil into the mixture, mixing well with a fork until everything is evenly coated. You want it to look kind of wet and crumbly.
  4. Working in batches, coat the chicken thighs with the buttermilk mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere the coating. Transfer the breaded chicken thighs to the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches of space in between each one.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden brown and crispy.

For the Spicy Sesame Honey:

  1. To a small saucepan, add the honey and hot sauce. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and then remove from the heat. Stir in the toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve the chicken drizzled with the warm honey.