Crispy Panko Chicken With Smoky Bacon Gravy

Fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food with its crunchy skin and batter. It was one of my favorite meals that my mother made on Sunday when I was growing up.  A whole chicken would be cut up, battered and then deep-fried in oil in a large cast iron skillet until golden brown. It was served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. A simple meal that made our family happy.

I can’t say that I wouldn’t enjoy that meal today but my tastes have changed over the years. I try to eat a little healthier while adding more flavor. I have taken my mother’s meal and tweaked it to fit my husband’s and my way of eating.

Our meal consists of nicely seasoned boneless and skinless chicken breasts, coated in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried in a little oil. Garlic mashed potatoes are topped with a flavorful gravy made with a little applewood smoked bacon and 1% milk. The flavors are so good that I don’t think you would miss the bucket of chicken and sides that come from a fast food restaurant.

Crispy Panko Chicken With Smoky Bacon Gravy

Crispy Panko Chicken

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

This recipe is based on one chicken breast per person. Adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 2 chicken breasts, approx. 6 oz. each
  • 1 egg, beaten with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. milk
  •  garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. flour, more or less
  • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs, more or less
  • peanut oil for pan frying

Season each chicken breast with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Dust chicken with flour, dip into seasoned egg wash and then into the panko breadcrumbs. Let dry on a rack for a few minutes. Then dip into the egg wash and panko again and let dry.

While the coating is drying, heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. When hot. add the breasts and cook until golden. Turn and brown on the other side. Remove chicken from the skillet and pour off excess oil. Return chicken to the skillet and place in the oven to finish cooking for about 6 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness.

Smoky Bacon Gravy

  • 1 or 2 strips of thick sliced applewood smoked bacon, cut into small dice
  • 2 Tbsp. reserved bacon drippings ( butter may be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk (regular milk can be used)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon pieces in skillet until crispy. Remove from the pan and reserve. Pour off bacon drippings except for 2 Tbsp. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until combined for about 1 minute. Slowly pour in half of the milk whisking until smooth. Add the remaining milk and cook for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved bacon. Thin with extra milk if necessary.

The panko crusted chicken is simple to prepare. It is crunchy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. I served it with some of the gravy for the garlic mashed potatoes.    The chicken would also be perfect for a picnic. Put it in your picnic basket with some pasta salad, brownies and a thermos of cold lemonade.

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132 thoughts on “Crispy Panko Chicken With Smoky Bacon Gravy

  1. Omigosh, I haven’t even had breakfast yet, and your dish makes my mouth water. The bacon gravy sounds divine. This makes me think I better have a good chicken fried steak before leaving Texas next week!

    1. Hi Lulu, Thank you for your compliment. The bacon gravy on garlic mashed potatoes and chicken was so good. Definitely have a chicken fried steak before heading north.

  2. No I wouldn’t miss the bucket at all if I sat down to this. Especially after seeing the documentary “Food Inc.” which I highly recommend.
    This meal does not look short on either taste or aesthetics.
    YUM! is what it looks like. And much healthier than the original version.

    1. Hi Victoria, Thank you for your compliment. This truly is comfort food. You are right…not easy to photograph a dish with so much of the same color on the plate.

  3. I love this take on an old favourite, looks and sounds amazing and the sort of dish I really enjoy to eat. Even the title of the dish with the words “crispy” and “smoky” is edible 😉

    1. Hi Mad Dog, I seem to always make you hunger. I need to post earlier in the day so you can read and then go to lunch. LOL

  4. Looking good, Chef !!!!! Panko – Japanese style of breadcrumbs- flakes – thank god for google. Looking very good … and I like the sound of the gravy. Have to go on file …

    1. Hi Viveka, It really is good that we have google for some ingredients. Panko breadcrumbs are wonderful for a light and crispy coating. I’m pretty sure that you should be able to find them. If you do, you will end up using them in lots of recipes.

      1. Okay … shall have a look around – wish we had an Asian supermarket. Don’t use a lot of breadcrumbs really, but very curious on the Panko ones.

      2. But you live over there …. *smile – you loads of weird stuff – but I will buy when I’m over in July – if I can’t find them.

  5. Nothing to miss here, just pure enjoyment of comfort food extraordinaire. This looks really good, Karen, just perfect for the rainy days we’ve had lately.

  6. You had me at “crispy” but “smokey bacon gravy” put me over the edge! I am sooooo making fried chicken soon!! Happy upcoming Memorial Day Weekend! I bet the tomatoes are going to their summer home soon!

    1. Hi Carol, It was just that kind of a dinner…it really puts you over the edge with flavor. I hope you have a good holiday weekend as well. If you happen to be driving on the Maine turnpike this weekend and see a couple driving with their car loaded with 18 three foot tall tomato plants in the back, you can wave. This is the big move for the plants along with all kinds of pantry items.

    1. Hi Cathy, I don’t have gravy often…but made with 1% milk, I don’t feel bad about having it. If you are going to have a comfort meal you have to splurge sometimes.

    1. Thank you Giovanna, for your nice compliment. My mother would soak her chicken in buttermilk. She put flour, salt and pepper in a brown bag, then would add the chicken and shake. She would take it out, dip it into the buttermilk and then shake it in the flour again. She had a large cast iron chicken fryer and would melt shortening. When it was bubbling, she added the chicken, lowered the heat some, covered it with the top and fried it for a few minutes. She would then take the lid off so that it would brown nicely. It was great chicken. Now you have two ways of preparing the chicken. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Reem, for your lovely compliment. I’m like you…I love the crunch that panko crumbs give to a dish. This is true comfort food.

  7. That gravy looks amazing! I love baked crispy chicken but I think my oven is on hiatus until September since it’s so dang humid here.

    1. Hi Alli, Thank you for your compliment. If you don’t want to use your oven, there is an alternative. Pound the chicken breast thin and cook the entire time in a skillet over medium high heat.

  8. hi Karen I love the way you take an old (er) recipe, a favourite and then tweak it to fit your life and your tastes. I know I’d adore this meal, in fact seeing your photos and reading your recipe I need to go and get some chicken this weekend!

    1. Thank you Claire, for your compliment. As much as I loved my mother’s recipe, I knew that I could make a meal that was similar but healthier and extremely flavorful.

  9. my mom was a terrible cook, so I taught myself, many years ago, how to make good fried chicken (very similar to your mother’s—buttermilk soak is key!) We just can’t eat that heavily anymore–so your boneless-skinless-panko style will satisfy those fried chicken cravings in a lighter way.

    1. Hi Nancy, I think that the panko crusted chicken is a good alternative to the deep fried version. I hope you will enjoy the recipe.

  10. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans is quintessential American comfort food. Love, love it. The fried chicken breasts with panko crumbs is a nice twist on the classic.

    Great post.


    1. Hi Alisa, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy my blog. The smoky bacon gravy is delicious.

    1. Hi Pamela, I appreciate that you thought of my blog for this award and thank you very much. I always am grateful when a fellow blogger thinks highly of what I post.

  11. This is my kid’s favorite meal bar none! I have never made it with gravy though…I think they would go crazy for it! Looks amazing! Thank you for stopping by my blog to visit and taking the time to leave such a lovely comment! I am having fun looking at your lovely recipes and pics too!

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for stopping by to visit and your nice compliment. I don’t know if serving gravy with fried chicken is just a southern tradition that I grew up with. I know that gravy makes me smile when I see it on a plate.

    1. Hi Pumpkin, Thank you for you nice compliment. Thank goodness that dinner time is not too far off and I’m sure you will be cooking something great.

  12. That looks absolutely delicious! What a great idea to use chicken breasts instead of doing a whole chicken. Like chicken fried steaks but better. And the smoky bacon gravy makes me drool. Thanks, Karen. Always wonderful food!

    1. Hi Daisy, This meal is very similar to chicken fried steak which as a girl growing up in Texas, I loved. This is a much lighter version of that nice meal. Thank you so much for your very kind compliment.

    1. Hi Pam, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. You are right…a comforting meal that you don’t have to feel guilty eating. There are always ways to make your favorite meals a little healthier to eat and still be delicious.

    1. Thank you for your compliment, Susan. I agree with you about chain-food chicken. This meal has so much flavor and certainly less fat.

  13. That looks very delicious Karen. Fried chicken isn’t a popular dish here in Australia like it is in the USA but it’s something I have cooked and LOVED it. Your panko crusted chicken breasts looks so crispy and crunchy. Wonderful! xx

    1. Thank you Charlie, for your nice compliment. Some dishes that I prepare are truly American classics. Having readers from around the world…I know that I make some dishes that aren’t as familiar or as popular. I think that crispy panko chicken would be a winner at any family’s table.

  14. Hi Karen – this *looks* absolutely beautiful. I think I’ll have to admire the wonderful look though… I’ve really gone off chicken for some reason and while I thought I’d slowly get back on it again I just seem to have gone off it even more. As I said though – it looks fab, and the gravy… mmm! Great job with customising an old favourite to be more in line with your lifestyle!

    1. Thank you Charles for your nice comment. It is funny how our tastes can change and for no particular reason. If panko is available in your area, try it on any meat for a lovely crispy crust.

  15. oh to be young again and not worry about cholesterol this would be in my tummy so fast I couldnt type it fast enough!

    1. Thank you Pegasus, for your nice comment. Actually, I try to cook healthy and watch cholesterol, fats and sugars in my dishes. If you are going to eat meat, I think chicken breasts are a good option. The gravy is made with 1% milk and one slice of bacon. Of course you could always leave the bacon slice out and make the gravy with olive oil.

  16. I agree entirely, Karen, my mom used to make an amazing fried chicken for weekend picnics! When my Dad’s heart problems came up, she switch to oven baking. I love that you used skinless chicken and Panko. I’m bookmarking the gravy for the future!
    Meant to mention that we’re in New York City so I may not be as quick to comment. And thanks for the tip on loyalty memberships, we joined the Kimpton and were upgraded to a room with a view on the 20th floor! Great tip!

    1. Hi Eva, I am so happy to hear that you got an upgrade at the Kimpton in New York. Joining loyalty programs gives you so many benefits. Have a great time. I hope you will enjoy the gravy…using 1% milk makes it fit the way you like to cook.

  17. Karen, I treat myself to restaurant fried chicken about once a year and always feel a bit guilty afterwards. It is so decadent and wonderful and very much a part of our Southern eating history, but these days we all are trying to eat the things we love just made more healthy. Your panko fried chicken is one I will try. Have a lovely weekend.

    1. Thank you Teresa, for your lovely comment. It is nice when we can adapt recipes so that we can keep our traditions and still eat a little healthier. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

  18. One of my favorite meals as well. Nothing like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. Only thing better was eating the leftovers straight out of the frig. Love this lighter version prepared with panko. I think panko makes everything taste better 🙂 . And the bacon gravy! Yum!

    1. Hi Karista, Thank you for your comment. Leftover chicken makes a lovely lunch, especially if it is part of an outdoor picnic. Panko creates such a nice crust…they are so light and crunchy.

  19. Hi Karen,
    I agree with comments already expressed by your readers.
    I have to say, for me the best food is always that of the best quality ingredient you kind find, preferably organic and prepared simply. Good ingredients do not need much else as you perfectly illustrate.
    Nice post and another good addition to your blog.
    Keep well and kind thoughts,

    1. Thank you Kate, for your lovely compliment. Your comment is so true, quality ingredients play such an important part in the meals we prepare.

    1. Hi Beth, Thank you so much for your compliment. You can remake your favorite comfort food with just a few changes to make it healthier.

  20. I love the fact that this is fried chicken for two, and panko is such a nice touch. And of course, who wouldn’t love bacon gravy!!!

  21. I try to eat healthier too! As I grow older I avoid excessive oils and things that contain too many calories and fats. This is a beautiful dish Karen and mashed potatoes is always the first choice for me!

    1. Hi Katerina, Thank you for your nice compliment. I think we all try to eat a little healthier. That way when we have a little indulgence we don’t feel guilty about it. I agree with you about mashed potatoes…no matter how they are prepared, I love them.

  22. Thanks for stopping by my gardening blog, even though today’s post was not gardening oriented. I have made your recipe before for the chicken but never made a gravy like that. It is a must try for sure. I love cooking and consider it an art. I will have to keep your blog in mind and will add it to my sidebar as all food comes from the garden and the farm. Just because garden bloggers post garden and farm, (I also have a farm I work with), does not mean they have no interest in cooking what grows and what is raided. Great blog. Enjoyed my visit.

    1. Thank you Donna, for stopping by and your nice comment. I totally agree with you about garden bloggers…they tend to be foodies as well. Many contribute to the farmers markets that we all enjoy visiting.

    1. Hi Laura, Now that the weather has turned nice in Germany, the chicken would make a lovely item for a picnic lunch. Thanks for your compliment.

  23. I cannot believe I have almost missed this wonderful chicken dish! I love panko and since I discovered it I have stopped using the regular bread crumbs to coat (only to thicken some things). The fast food you mention doesn’t exist in Switzerland and is quite rare in the nearby France so I’m a bit nostalgic… It was the only fast-food I really liked (so the only dangerous!) and of course the lack of temptation is quite positive 😉

    1. Hi Sissi, I’m glad that you didn’t miss this dish. It is a healthier version of the fast food that you like but that doesn’t exist in Switzerland. Isn’t it great that we have discovered panko breadcrumbs…I use them in many of my recipes.

  24. I use Panko crumbs all the time to make friend chicken breasts. It’s so yummy and quick and easy. And I love the crunch the Panko gives the chicken. I’ll have to try the smoky bacon gravy!

    1. Hi Ducky, Thank you for your comment. This really is a easy and yummy way to prepare chicken breasts. I just love the crunch of the panko crumbs. I think you will like the smoky bacon gravy.

  25. Can’t wait to go home and try this recipe, drooling already at the thought. Your site is my first exposure to blogging, I am already hooked. Thanks, Kate

    1. Thank you very much Kate for your lovely compliment. I’m so happy that you like the blog. I hope you will enjoy the recipe…it is very tasty.

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