It’s rainy and damp, and hardly festive right now. But Cinco de Mayo is almost here, so I’m hopeful that spring will decide to return soon…and stay for while!

To get into the celebratory spirit, I wanted to add some spice to a traditional baked chicken recipe featuring panko breadcrumbs. I love the crunchy texture of the panko so much that I’ll use it in turkey meatloaf and I’ve been known to eat them right from the bag.

With this Crunchy Fiesta Chicken, I’ve simply blended store-bought taco seasoning with panko breadcrumbs for my breading mixture.

panko bread crumbs

Some recipes have you mix the shredded cheese with the breadcrumb mixture, but I prefer to put the cheese on last in the baking process. That allows the breadcrumbs to stay crunchy and for most of the cheese to stay on the chicken breast.

mix the spices and cheese with the breadcrumbs

After dipping in an egg/water mixture, you dredge the chicken breasts in the glorious panko breadcrumbs on both sides. Then it’s ready to pop in an oven.

coat the chicken breasts with breadcrumbs

Turn once in the baking cycle for both sides to crisp up. Then top with 4-blend Mexican cheese a few minutes before the baking is done; just enough to let the cheese lightly melt. And you’ve got a crunchy, lightly spicy chicken breast that would be perfect for your Cinco de Mayo dinner. Pair it with a taco side salad and a great Mexican beer or tequila. Now that’s a meal worth celebrating!

crunchy fiesta chicken

Crunchy Fiesta Chicken

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 large chicken breasts, refrigerated
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
1 package taco seasoning
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, lightly coat with nonstick spray or olive oil. Then set aside.

In a pie pan, whisk together breadcrumbs and taco seasoning. Set aside.

In another pie pan, beat the eggs and incorporate 2 tablespoons of water. Take each individual chicken breast and dip (one side at a time) into the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. In some cases, you may need to dip each side twice to ensure full coverage.

Lay the chicken breast in the prepared baking pan, and repeat for the remaining chicken breasts.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Turn the chicken breasts halfway in the cooking time to ensure a crispy texture on both sides of the chicken.

During the last 3 minutes of baking, add about 1/4 cup of Mexican cheese on top of each chicken breast. Return to the oven and let it melt completely. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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