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I love pan-fried breadcrumb chicken, but I don't know how to get the breadcrumbs to brown evenly. I dip the chicken breasts in egg, then cover them in breadcrumbs, melt butter in the pan on medium heat, and then put the chicken breasts in the pan.

By the time the first side finishes, however, all the butter has burned off and when I flip the chicken breasts, the other side cooks very unevenly. I could add more butter, but it seems like I'm using too much already.

What can I do to get the breadcrumbs on each side to brown evenly

  • I would say that the butter isn't burned off, but absorbed by the bread crumbs. How much butter are you using? Are you married to butter or would you consider another fat? – Mr. Mascaro Jan 7 '15 at 19:26
  • Have you tried lowering the heat a bit? – Phrancis Jan 7 '15 at 22:46
  • @jbarker2160, Yeah, I think it's also that it's being absorbed. What else could I use instead of butter? – mowwwalker Jan 8 '15 at 4:06
  • @mowwwalker, I use lard. – Mr. Mascaro Jan 8 '15 at 15:34
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I would try to solve this with a couple of extra flips early on in the cooking process. When perparing similar dishes I put the product in the pan for about 30 seconds, then flip them over and slide them along the surface of the pan to pick up the butter remaining on the pan's surface. It does mean having to flip your meat four times instead of two, but in my experience it works.

It's quite likely that the breadcrumbs on the side you cook first absorb more butter than they strictly need to cook and brown nicely. By distributing your butter more evenly you can get more consistent browning without having to increase the amount of butter used.

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When I make panko-crusted chicken tenders, I use a two-step process that produces even browning:

  1. Toast the panko breadcrumbs in the oven, in a thin layer spread across a baking sheet, until they are browned.
  2. Prepare your breaded chicken using the pre-toasted crumbs, and finish in the oven rather than on the stovetop (use a baking rack rather than a sheet for this stage, so they don't sit in their own juice/fat).

The result won't be identical to your pan-fried approach but you can mix some melted butter into the crumbs before breading to get a similar flavor, and the final product will be evenly browned. There's not really much risk of burning the butter this way.

I have run out of toasted breadcrumbs before while making this recipe and switched to untoasted breadcrumbs just to finish off the last bit of chicken; I found that there was little to no color change during the oven stage.

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