Cooking chicken for a sandwich is faster in a toaster oven than it is in an electric oven and saves on electricity, to boot. There’s some preparation involved in breading and cooking the chicken, but overall the task of creating the sandwich is simple. Stack lettuce and tomato on a bun for a classic chicken sandwich or layer Swiss and mustard on an onion bagel for a tangy twist. Garnished or plain, the filling sandwich provides enough protein and carbohydrates to be called a meal.
1. Meat Preparation
First, bread the chicken. Take a piece of raw chicken breast and lightly roll it in flour. Shake off the excess flour and dunk the chicken in beaten eggs. Roll the egg-covered chicken in spicy breadcrumbs and set on a baking sheet. Alternately, you can add spices to the flour and use plain breadcrumbs to create the spicy chicken. It’s important to use the three base ingredients because the flour and egg become a paste that glues the breadcrumbs to the meat.
2. Oven Preparation
Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees F to prepare it for the breaded chicken breast. The only way to really cook breaded chicken in a toaster oven is to bake it at 350 F or lower. Cooking it at a higher temperature, such as broiling temperature, will burn the breading before the chicken cooks. Toaster ovens often have a preheat light that goes off once the oven is preheated to a certain temperature. If your oven doesn’t have a light, use an oven thermometer to test the temperature.
Line the toaster oven tray with tin foil for easy clean-up. Place the breaded chicken on the middle of the lined tray, and place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake the chicken until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. The time the chicken takes to cook depends on the size and thickness of the piece. Remove the chicken from the oven as soon as it registers a safe temperature to prevent overcooking. Overcooking the breaded chicken can lead to burned breading and dry meat. You can also toast the bread in the toaster oven to give it a crunchy texture. Place the toast in the preheated toaster oven once the chicken is done and cook until golden.
Give the chicken time to rest after cooking to start the cooling process. The juices in the chicken thicken as they cool, making them more likely to stay in the meat when it’s cut. Giving the chicken time to cool also helps prevent it from making any fresh vegetables in the sandwich wilt.
For the best results, slice or flatten the chicken breast before breading. Breading the whole chicken breast may leave it too big to fit into a sandwich. Place the chicken on a flat surface and hammer with a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan to flatten it.
- Food Safety: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- Pop It in the Toaster Oven: From Entrees to Desserts; Lois Dewitt
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion: Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images