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How to Fry Chicken Perfectly

It is tricky for some to get perfect, crispy fried chicken every time they try; here are some tips to help you always achieve that goal!

Fried chicken is a “traditional” American meal; it is tasty, easy to make, and loved by all. Whether you are trying it out for the first time, or are just looking for ways to improve your already unique recipe, we have some helpful hints for you!

Before You Fry

There are many ways to prepare a chicken for the frying pan; some chefs say that soaking the meat overnight in buttermilk does wonders for the chicken, flavoring it and making it moist for that juicy end result. Others proclaim that the best way to prepare for frying is a simple breadcrumb and beer batter combo! However, the idea of “perfect fried chicken” is different for everyone, so you should experiment with your recipe and find what is best suited for you.
If you prefer to brine the meat before frying, check out our Brining article for ways to do this. Just remember, brining should never be done over the course of a whole night, only for 1 or 2 hours.

Batter Up
Set up a system, similar to a production line, to make both preparing and cleaning up easier. You can set up from left to right (or vice versa) the seasoned flour, egg batter and bread crumbs in mixing dishes. Always have one “wet hand” and one “dry hand”; this prevents all the ingredients from mixing together and making a confusing mess.

Go from station to station, coating your pieces of chicken. Once all are ready to fry, let them sit for a while; this is to let the coating stick. If you are only planning to fry in more than half an hour, leave them in the fridge to prevent from spoiling.

Pan-Fried Chicken

As all fried chicken lovers will tell you, there is such a divide between that perfect juicy-on-the-inside but crispy-outside piece, as opposed to one that is simply greasy and limp. To ensure you get the first option, there are some details you need to take note of; the most important of these are the temperature of the frying oil and the actual method of frying.

  • For a perfect golden-brown, a cast iron skillet is ideal. It provides the essentials for perfect chicken, such as heat distribution and temperature preservation.
  • The fat should come halfway up to the food; about one inch deep.
  • Make sure that the fat is hot enough before adding the chicken; 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) is a good temperature to start.
  • Do not simply toss the chicken into the pan; carefully lay them down one by one. Tongs can be used to prevent injuries from hot oil.
  • Never overcrowd the pan; learn to fry in batches. If there is too much meat in one go, the fat will go down in temperature, and the chicken will soak up all the fat instead of simply sizzling in it.
  • When the chicken is that appetizing golden-brown, remove them from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to crisp up. Insert a thermometer into the meat to ensure that it is cooked inside; the minimum internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.

Deep-Fat Fryers
Because deep frying requires large amounts of oil, it is best to start with fresh oil every time. However, if you fry food often, then you can strain the oil to remove impurities; these will lower the smoke point and will also give your chicken odd flavors. Using the same oil more than once is not suggested.

Chinese Chicken Recipes


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Last Modified: 11/28/11.