Food

It's Crunch Time!

Why fry? Our test-kitchen approved guide shows you how to achieve crispy oven-fried excellence with nothing but hot air.

Crispy and flavorful doesn't have to mean fried and oily. Want to get the best crunch from your oven? Try these easy tips.

Dress in Layers

For the crispiest, most delicious results, use the multistep breading technique described in these recipes. Each is different, but here's what they have in common: first season, then take a quick dip in egg wash, and next a roll in a crispy, crunchy coating.

Spread Out!

Always leave plenty of space between food items on the baking surface. You want hot air to reach the maximum possible surface area of each piece of food. Use two baking sheets if necessary.

Necessary Roughness

Instead of relying on hot oil to crisp the outer layer, use coatings that are already crunchy. Think crushed cereal, panko (bread crumbs), or crumbled pretzels.

Surface Tension

Place between the food and the pan:

  • Parchment, which helps absorb moisture and encourage crispiness
  • Rack, which lets air circulate around foods that are dense
  • Silicone baking sheet, which provides a totally nonstick surface for easy flipping