Classic Picnic Basket Chicken {Two Ways}

This chicken makes me think of a real picnic, set out on a blanket, with the food wrapped in parchment paper and all.

The history behind this recipe, which makes me love it even more, is that my grandma found the recipe in a magazine when my mother was in jr. high.  And my mom did make this recipe for some of those picnics I’m dreaming about.  I love that.
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So, I am going to give you two versions here.  One is the traditional fried chicken, and the second is a lighter version.  Still has all the flavor, but not all the calories.  Perfect.  picnic basket chicken 354

Both versions start with the same marinade.  It’s super simple to throw together.  And the chicken only needs an hour to marinate, of you course you could let it soak longer if you want.

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For the fried chicken, take the raw chicken out of the marinade, and dredge it in some flour.  I actually use a tupperware container with a lid.  Put the flour in it, add a piece of chicken, snap on the lid, and shake.  fried chicken and potatoes 469

When the chicken is nicely coated, fry it in some HOT crisco or oil.  Just til golden brown, then finish cooking in the oven, if necessary.  fried picnic basket chicken 444

For the lighter version, remove the raw chicken from the marinade and cook on a broiler pan under the broiler for about 7 minutes on each side.  Watching it carefully!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned things under the broiler.  OR you can grill the chicken on the BBQ.  It’s so good.  And diet friendly.  🙂Picnic Basket Chicken 344

There is even a Zippy Dipping sauce to accompany the fried version of this recipe.  It has jelly, vinegar, and mustard.  Yum!

Classic Picnic Basket Chicken {Two Ways}


  • 6-8 chicken breasts, or 10 thigh pieces
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola, I bet olive oil would work, too)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • shortening or oil for frying
  • Optional Zippy Dip sauce: 1 can jellied cranberry sauce (or a jam or jelly of your choice)
  • 1 Tbs vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard


  1. Combine lemon juice, oil, and seasonings in a bowl. Place chicken in a 9×13 dish, or something similar, pour marinade over the chicken and let sit for at least an hour, turning the chicken a few times throughout the hour.
  2. For frying: Heat oil, or shortening in a pot. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade and dredge in flour, in a container with a lid for easy shaking. Brown the chicken in the hot oil, til golden brown. Place browned chicken in a baking pan and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. (Breasts may take 15-20 minute to cook all the way through.)
  3. For grilling: Turn on broiler, or BBQ. Remove chicken from the marinade and place under the broiler, or on the hot grill. Cook about 7 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Cook times may vary with BBQ grills, depending on the temperature. Be sure to check the chicken for no more pink in the middle, and that the juices run clear.
  4. For optional Zippy Dip sauce: Combine the jelly, vinegar, and mustard in a small mixing bowl. At picnic, spoon into paper cups to pass for dipping. Or serve on the side with the chicken.