Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches and My Stonyfield Organic Experience

I bet you’ve never had a spicy chicken sandwich with yogurt in it before! Sounds weird, but stick with me. I love using basic pantry staples in fun new ways, so when Stonyfield Organic asked if I wanted to collaborate, I was all in. I created these Spicy Chicken Sandwiches to show how versatile yogurt can be and how it can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Because the more versatile an ingredient it, the less likely it is to go to waste, and we don’t like food waste around here!

This blog post is sponsored by Stonyfield Organic. In addition to creating a recipe using their yogurt, Stonyfield Organic invited me out to Stowe, Vermont to tour a couple of the farms that supply their dairy, learn about organic dairy farming, what their company is doing to promote healthy food, a healthy planet, and healthy people, and what we can do to help.

Overhead view of two plates with Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches with honey yogurt slaw and crinkle potato chips on a blue background.

I think it’s so important to see where our food comes from, but we don’t all have that opportunity to visit the farms that supply our food. So while I’ve got your attention with these mouth-watering Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches, I’m also going to share a little bit about the trip and what I learned. ;) The Stonyfield farm tour ended up being an unexpectedly transformative experience for me, so I hope my experience resonates with some of you as well. You can also view some of the saved stories from the farm tour on my Instagram account, under the saved highlight titled “Stonyfield.”

Stonyfield Organic Cows in Pasture

The cows enjoy grazing in a picturesque pasture in Stow, VT.

Who is Stonyfield Organic?

We all recognize brand names and logos, but rarely get to know the story behind the brands, and the Stonyfield Organic story is a doozy! Stonyfield Organic actually started as a non-profit organic farming school, and only began selling yogurt as a way to support the school. 35 years later, after achieving immense yogurt success, their mission remains the same. They simply want to improve the health of our food, planet, and its people. If you want to hear the long version of the back story, read the Stonyfield Organic Story on their website, and I highly suggest checking out the How I Built This podcast episode about Stonyfield Organic

Stonyfield Organic is a Certified B Corporation

“Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.” – bcorporation.net

We spent the entire day with one of the founders, Gary Hirshberg, as he told us about his dreams, the programs and foundations the company supports, and how we can all get involved. It was so refreshing to see a company with so much integrity and one that has motives and goals other than just pure profit. 🙌Gimme all that B-Corp yogurt!!

A young farm boy petting a cow in the pasture.

This boy loves his cows like they’re part of the family. They all have names, personalities, and tons of love from the family that cares for them.

Why Organic?

Before going on this trip my understanding of organic farming was extremely limited. I kind of just thought it was all about not using synthetic chemicals, but it’s about so much more. Organic farming is a synergistic farming method that benefits the earth, cows, farmers, and consumers. While there are so many awesome aspects of this farming method, here are a few things that really resonated with me:

  • Grazing and crop rotation increases biodiversity in the fields by 30%, produces more nutrient dense feed for the cows, and can actually pull more CO2 from the atmosphere than it contributes. 
  • Cows are required to graze at least 120 days per year, have cage-free living conditions with access to the outdoors, and have at least 30% of their diet come from fresh pasture (more dry hay and alfalfa is used in the winter, but on average they only consume 10% grains). 
  • Cows that are actively pasture grazing produce milk that is 62% higher in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • The lower stress levels and more nutritious diets of organic cows reduce illnesses and on average organic cows live twice as long as conventional cows.
  • Organic dairy prices are more stable and provide a more reliable market for farmers to build their business upon. The farmers have to spend less on dry grain feed, less on medication for sick cows, and their cows live twice as long.

Are all non-organic farms bad? No, not at all. In fact, one of the farms we visited told us that they had begun using these practices before becoming a certified organic farm just because they worked so well. But we can’t personally visit every farm that supplies our food to see for ourselves how they operate. The certified organic seal is a guarantee that someone went and checked out that farm for you and made sure their farming practices met a predetermined set of standards. With that seal you know what you’re getting without having to do the leg work yourself.

A cow going in for a kiss during a selfie on the farm.

Yes, this cow landed a kiss right on my face right after the camera snapped the photo! <3

Is Organic Affordable?

It’s no secret that organic products cost more than conventional, and at this point they may not be affordable for everyone. But we all deserve to live in a healthy environment and have access to safe, high quality food. So I have a new goal, and hopefully those of you who are able will join me. My goal is to buy organic whenever possible to help promote the industry, grow the supply, and hopefully make them more accessible to everyone in the future. I want us all to have access to amazing, high quality food.

“Farmers who get the message that consumers care only about price will themselves care only about yield. This is how a cheap food economy reinforces itself.”  – Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

The industry reacts to where we spend our dollars much faster than laws and regulations can be changed, so I’m going to do my part by voting with my dollars. If you have the means, I hope you will join me. If you don’t have the means, join me in spirit, and do what you can when you can in the future. ❤️

Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt container with a baked spicy chicken sandwich in the background.

Now Back to the Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches!

Whew, let me catch my breath because I’m a bit moved. Okay, so this recipe… After having success using plain yogurt in place of buttermilk to bread my Homemade Baked Chicken Nuggets, I knew I had to do it in sandwich form. The process is basically the same, except I added spicy heat in three layers to the chicken! YES! And then I made a simple Honey Yogurt Coleslaw that is every so slightly sweet, to balance the heat of the chicken. 

And yes, I used organic chicken for the sandwiches, too. ;)

A hand holding a Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwich against a blue background.

Can These Sandwiches be Reheated?

These Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches are definitely best when baked fresh, hence the small two sandwich batch size, but I have had decent luck reheating the baked chicken in a skillet over medium-low heat. They aren’t as crispy as they are when freshly baked, but the hot skillet does get rid of some of the moisture making the breading less soggy.

Slaw Options

If you’re not into a sweet slaw, try making a batch of my Homemade Ranch Dressing to use as your slaw dressing instead. Ranch pairs great with spicy chicken. P.S. the ranch dressing recipe also uses plain yogurt. ;)

 
A hand holding a Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwich against a blue background.
Print Recipe
5 from 19 votes

Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

These baked spicy chicken sandwiches have three layers of heat and are topped with a creamy-sweet quick homemade coleslaw.
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Baked Spicy Chicken

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs ($0.13)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne ($0.05)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 1.5 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.06)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt ($0.25)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce ($0.04)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2/3 lb.) ($3.99)

Honey Yogurt Slaw

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage slaw mix (pre-bagged) ($0.65)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.17)
  • 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt ($0.33)
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey ($0.06)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.06)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)

For Serving

  • 2 buns ($1.00)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet to hold the breaded chicken.
  • In a wide shallow bowl or container, combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper for the chicken's breading. Once combined, add the cooking oil and stir until the seasoned breadcrumbs resemble damp sand.
  • In a separate wide shallow bowl or container, combine the yogurt, salt, and hot sauce.
  • Place the chicken breast on a cutting board, cover with plastic, then use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken breast to an even thickness, no more than 3/4-inch thick. Cut the chicken breast in half, then season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the yogurt and hot sauce mixture, making sure to fully coat the chicken, then into the seasoned bread crumbs, again coating both sides. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet with wire rack.
  • Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, carefully flipping the chicken once half way through.
  • While the chicken is baking, prepare the honey yogurt slaw. In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, Dijon, vinegar, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.
  • Place the shredded cabbage slaw mix in a large bowl, pour the prepared dressing over top, and stir until the cabbage is coated in dressing.
  • Once the chicken is finished baking, build the sandwiches. Place one piece of spicy chicken on each bun and top with a generous pile of the honey yogurt slaw. Enjoy!

One Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwich on a plate with wavy potato chips and a bowl of honey yogurt slaw on the side.

Step by Step Photos

Spicy Chicken Breading Mixture

Begin by preheating the oven to 425ºF. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet to hold the breaded chicken. To a wide shallow bowl or dish add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/8 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir the breadcrumbs and spices together until combined, then add 1.5 Tbsp cooking oil and stir until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Spicy yogurt mixture for chicken

In a separate wide shallow bowl or dish, combine 1/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 tsp hot sauce. 

Pounded chicken on a cutting board with rolling pin on the side.

Place one boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2/3 lb.) on a cutting board and cover with plastic to prevent splatter. Use a rolling pin or mallet to gently pound the chicken to an even thickness, no more than 3/4-inch thick.

Cut and seasoned chicken breast on cutting board

Cut the chicken breast in half and season each side with a pinch of salt and cayenne.

Chicken breast being breaded next to one already breaded piece of chicken.

Dip each piece of chicken into the spicy yogurt mixture, making sure it’s completely coated, then into the seasoned breadcrumbs, again making sure they are completely coated. Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet with wire rack.

Baked Spicy Chicken Breast pieces on baking sheet

Bake the chicken for about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, flipping the chicken once half way through (I usually do it at the 15 minute mark). The best way to flip the chicken without the breading falling off is to use tongs and pinch the sides of the chicken pieces, rather than pinching top and bottom.

Honey Yogurt Slaw Dressing

While the chicken is baking, prepare the honey yogurt slaw. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt, 1/2 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and a little freshly cracked pepper. Stir until smooth.

Combine shredded cabbage and dressing in bowl. >

Pour the dressing over 3 cups shredded coleslaw mix (pre-bagged shredded cabbage and carrots). Stir until the cabbage is coated in dressing.

Two Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches against a blue wall, chips on the side.

Then just build the spicy chicken sandwiches. Place one piece of baked spicy chicken on each bun and add a generous pile of the honey yogurt slaw. Enjoy!