7 Tips for Frying Chicken

There is no need to be an expert chef to get your fried chicken to come out just right.  Discover the secrets and tricks experienced cooks use to get their fried chicken extra crispy on the outside, and soft and juicy on the inside.

Fried chicken is commonly considered Southern fare; however the crispy appetizer is enjoyed the world-over.  From olive-oil fried “healthy” versions in South Korea to the crunchy ‘Chicken Chipees’ of Australia, fried chicken has made it the world over as a popular finger food.

For truly American fried chicken, there are 7 easy guidelines to follow for the perfect crispy finish.   Spoil your family and guests with juicy chicken fried to golden perfection.

1. Choosing the Chicken

Avoid the common mistake of choosing pieces that are either too large or too small.  Large cuts will result in the outside being over-fried and the inside remaining undercooked.  Cuts that are too small will lose their juice quickly.  Strive for the golden middle and choose medium-sized chicken pieces.  Aside from better taste, these cuts will be easier to handle when eating.

2. The Skillet

For best frying results, a cast iron skillet is the optimal choice for creating an even heating temperature.  Oil warmed in a cast iron skillet will take longer to warm up, so be sure to test the temperature of the oil before starting the first batch.  If you are preparing an extra-large batch, you may want to consider deep-frying the chicken. Oil temperature is easiest to regulate in a deep-fry setting, and you can get more done at once.

3. The Oil Makes a Difference

It is recommended to use fresh oil for each frying session.  A trick of the trade is to add a few pieces of diced celery to the oil.  The celery will enhance the flavor of the chicken and give a beautiful golden color to the fried pieces.  Although it is less healthy than other oils, peanut oil can be used for additional flavor enhancement.

4. The Temperature

Frying at the right oil temperature is critical for good results.  If you choose to use a thermometer, the ideal temperature of the oil should be just around 375 degrees.  Be aware that once chicken pieces are added to the oil, the temperature drops significantly.  It is therefore recommended to fry in smaller batches.  For best results, make sure the temperature of the oil does not drop below the 350 degree mark.

A food thermometer is recommended for a greater precision in temperature control.  If you do not have a thermometer at hand, the temperature can be tested simply by dropping a pinch of flour into the oil.  When the temperature is right, the flour should fry well upon contact without turning black too quickly.

5. Brining

Many cooks will credit the juicy texture of their fried chicken with their brining technique.  Brining requires soaking the chicken pieces in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours prior to preparation. The classic brine mixture contains buttermilk, finely minced garlic, paprika, sugar and salt.

6. The Batter

No matter what recipe you are using, be sure to include baking powder in the batter mixture.  Baking powder will give the fried chicken a crispier, crunchier crust.

7. Cooling Tips

Once the chicken pieces are removed from the oil, place them on a brown paper bag to cool off.  This method will allow extra oil to drain off, while preserving the crispy texture of the chicken.  Cooling on paper towels is not recommended for any fried fare, as this can decrease the crispiness of the food.  Do not cover the chicken while cooling.

About Irene Shalom

Irene Shalom has joined the editorial department at Fast Recipes, focusing on easy recipes and ideas for families on the go.

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