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Oprah Winfrey's Un-Fried Chicken

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson


Frugal Celebrities' Recipes

Oprah Winfrey is an American television presenter, media mogul, and philanthropist. Her popular, internationally-syndicated talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," has earned her numerous Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women in the world
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential women in the world

Born into poverty to a teen mother in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1954, Winfrey overcame many childhood adversities and traumas, including being raped when she was 9 years old and becoming pregnant at age 14. Her son died in infancy. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. Winning an oratory contest, she received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. Her first job in the entertainment industry was with a local radio station while she was still in high school. After college graduation, Winfrey struggled to get a toehold in the television industry until she was offered in 1981 a Chicago talk show job titled "A.M. Chicago." A few years later, with growing viewership, she changed the name of the show to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and soon, her talk show was airing nationally.

Her show initially targeted just woman, but Winfrey expanded beyond typical talk shows and her intriguing, controversial topics attracted a wider demographic. Her warm, down-to-earth demeanor endeared her to millions of viewers.

Over the years, she has been involved in many charitable causes. Oprah invested $40 million and much of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg in South Africa. The school opened in January 2007.

She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and was once the world's only black billionaire. Oprah is also, according to some people, the most influential woman in America, possibly the world.

She's also an influential book critic, an Oscar-nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. She has co-authored several books.



Oprah Winfrey's struggles with weight gain are legendary.

OPrah Winfrey cookbook

Working with her personal cook Rosie Daley, Oprah's favorite recipes have magically been transformed to be lighter and lower in fat, while still tasting good, to help the talk show host keep her weight down.

Daley's 1995 cookbook In the Kitchen with Rosie, Oprah's Favorite Recipes, includes 50 of the talk show host's favorite soups, main dishes, and desserts, including this one for Un-Fried Chicken.

Oprah offers some background:

"Being raised a Southern girl—giving up fried foods hasn't been easy. Rosie has perfected un-frying my favorites, like chicken and catfish—meaning that the chicken is not fried, but tastes like it is. You can use the same process for anything else you choose to un-fry.

"We have served platters of skinless un-fried chicken to guests, and they thought it was the best fried chicken they ever had. You won't believe how good it is."

Daley elaborates on her un-frying technique:

"The secret to the success of this recipe is to make sure that both the chicken and the yogurt are very cold (hence, soaking the chicken in the ice water). The preliminary soaking will help the breading adhere and produce a crisp coating much like that of friend chicken.

If you're serving the chicken on a platter rather than on individual dinner plates, it looks smashing on a bed of flowering kale."


Oprah Winfrey's Un-Fried Chicken

For the breading:


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a baking sheet with 3 sprays of the vegetable oil.

Put the chicken in a large bowl with the ice water. Put the yogurt into a medium bowl. Set both bowls aside.

Toss all the breading ingredients into a large, tightly-sealing plastic bag. Seal and shake well to mix.

Remove 2 pieces of chicken from the ice water. Roll each piece in the yogurt. Put the chicken into the plastic bag, reseal, and shake to coat thoroughly. Transfer the breaded chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process until all 12 pieces are breaded. Spray the chicken lightly with the vegetable oil.

Place the baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour, turning the pieces every 20 minutes to allow even browning.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 12 pieces.


About using yogurt in her reduced-fat cooking, Daley says, "Several of my recipes call for plain nonfat yogurt. It adds moisture to baked goods and is a good substitute for mayonnaise in salads and dressings."


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Daley, Rosie, In the Kitchen with Rosie, Oprah's Favorite Recipes, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, NY, 1995.
Internet Movie Database, Oprah Winfrey (
Wikipedia, Oprah Winfrey (