The secret to these golden-brown baked chicken breasts? Mayonnaise. It may sound weird, but that perfect panko crust and rich flavor will make you a believer.more
cup Swiss cheese, such as Emmentaler or Gruyère, shredded on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 ounce)
tablespoons olive oil, plus more to oil the wire rack
Freshly ground black pepper
cup whole milk
teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ to 2 pounds)
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and fit it with a wire rack. Lightly oil the rack and set aside. Place the panko, cheese, and measured oil in a shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, and use your hands to combine evenly. Place the mayonnaise, milk, and thyme in another shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Set both dishes aside. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place 1 piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness (about 1/2 inch) with a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan. Place on a large plate or second baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dip 1 piece of chicken in the mayonnaise mixture and turn to coat. Then dip it in the panko mixture, turn to coat, and press the mixture onto the chicken to adhere. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, leaving at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space between the pieces. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes.