Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of nine books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Fried food is popular for a very specific reason — it tastes great. And classic fried chicken is likely to win any popularity contest. Entire restaurants are devoted to it!
One major fan of fried chicken is the one and only Lady Gaga. Award-winning chef Art Smith makes Gaga’s favorite crispy poultry, so I used his recipe as inspiration for a baked-not-fried version of my own.
Low-fat buttermilk is an amazing marinade for chicken, and I love using panko breadcrumbs for that crunch we all crave. Another trick? Ditch the skin before you marinate your drumsticks. Adios, excess calories!
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!
Hungry Girl’s Gaga for Fried Chicken Swap
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tbsp. Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
8 raw chicken drumsticks, skin removed
½ cup egg whites or fat-free egg substitute
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. ground thyme
¼ tsp. salt
1. In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk with hot sauce. Place chicken in a large sealable bag, and top with buttermilk mixture. Tightly seal, removing as much air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
3. Pour egg whites/substitute into a wide bowl. In another wide bowl, combine breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, thyme, and salt; mix well.
4. One at a time, remove drumsticks from bag, and coat with egg whites/substitute. Shake to remove excess, and coat with crumb mixture. Lay drumsticks on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip drumsticks. Bake until lightly browned, crispy, and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Nutritional information: ¼ of recipe (2 drumsticks): 296 calories, 8g fat, 490mg sodium, 14.5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 3g sugars, 38g protein