When you’re at Planet Hollywood, there’s really only one acceptable dish to order: Cap’n Crunch Chicken.
The sweetness of the corn cereal breading! The savory chicken! It’s basically the entrée’s answer to salted caramel and chocolate-covered pretzels, a veritable, “hey, we can do the salty-sweet thing too.”
It’s an ingenious combination, but it can also go horribly wrong, as we found when we initially started trying recipes online. Some called for so many extra seasonings in the breading that the slightly sweet flavor was drowned out in a cacophony of taste-bud-assaulting spices. Most involve doing absolutely nothing to marinate the chicken beforehand, resulting in flavorless, rubbery chicken with a sweet coating. Pass.
So we kept tinkering, and by “we,” I mean I crushed cereal for the camera while Nate did the true legwork. (The truth comes out.) We didn’t want a marinade that’d overpower the dish, or conflict with that sweet Cap’n flavor. And then, like the kind of jolt of inspiration a Cutthroat Kitchen member experiences when he realizes he has just enough cash to force his opponent to cook with oven mitts, it hit Nate: Apple juice.
Yes, apple juice.
Bare with us. We know how crazy it sounds, but when you think about it, it really isn’t. When you soak the chicken for about 20 minutes, the chicken gets a very, very subtly sweet flavor, and it takes away that boiled-chicken taste that un-marinated chicken can get.
Then, to negate some of the guilt we feel for breading chicken in a sugary kid’s cereal, we opted to bake the chicken instead of fry it, and guess what? You don’t miss the crispy, oily-ness at all. The cereal is crispy enough that it mimics the crunch you’d get from fried chicken. Everybody wins!
And yes, we highly advocate preparing this dish while playing “All I Do Is Win” in the background. Because that’s how you’ll feel upon first bite.
- 1½ pounds boneless chicken breast tenderloins
- 2 cups apple juice
- ⅓ bag Cap'n Crunch cereal
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- Marinate chicken in apple juice for about 20-30 minutes. While it marinates, fill a plastic resealable bag with cereal and use the back of a spoon to smash it into little crumbly bits. (If you're using a sandwich bag, you'll need about 2 bagfuls.
- When the chicken is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Pour the crushed cereal into a shallow bowl, and stir in the onion powder, garlic powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the two eggs. (We like to use a lidded Tupperware container for the cereal mixture -- that way you can pop on the lid and shake the chicken around to get it thoroughly coated.)
- Dip each piece of chicken in the whisked-egg bowl, then in the crushed cereal bowl, turning it so it's evenly coated with cereal. Repeat this process once more, so the chicken is double-dipped and thickly coated.
- Place the chicken onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and stick it in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked. (Test: Cut it open and make sure it's fully white; no pink should be showing.)