If you love a crunchy crust, you will love this recipe! Today we are learning how to make extra crunchy, juicy fried chicken. Grab some extra napkins, friends, things are getting finger-licking good!
Southern Style Cooking in Memphis, TN
About a million years ago (in my twenties) I cooked and then eventually managed a southern-style cafe in Memphis, TN. It was next to a grocery store that is no longer present, which is a bummer because it held a bunch of history, including the first to have a florist inside a grocery store! I cooked alongside and learned from some real church-loving, sweet gals from all kinds of backgrounds and yep, a couple of hires fresh and ready to learn from the local prison. Our first manager had a heart of gold but ended opening a fancy-schmancy restaurant in downtown Memphis.
Those were marvelous times and fantastic cooking. I will not lie, if I had not had my youthful metabolism I would be butter-round and have a full-time job of heart problems if I worked there for the rest of my career. Cooking and restaurants were my second love, my first was always teaching. One day I hope to do them both at the same time!
Let me share a little secret from the cafe diary.
Southerners eat tons of vegetables, and there is a variety that would impress any Michelin chef. But let me tell you when folks eat out, they expect three things, something fried, something else fried, and something with a good slap of butter. Oh, and even after all that, they still want three helping of vegetables on the side. Southern cafes are a lot like eating at grandma’s, house, your belly gets full and your britches get tight. I won’t mention pie, it will just be glutenous to bring it up right now.
Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe
Today I am sharing a very crispy fried chicken recipe, with a ton of flavor, and a little heat. There is nothing my kids like better than a crispy fried chicken leg, with a biscuit and a bucket of gravy. Hot sauce is always on our table, and we love our fried chicken spicy, and the leftovers cold right out of the fridge. This recipe is mild, but you can always add a little more heat at your discretion.
Disclaimer: This is not anything like Gus’ Fried Chicken, which I feel is the best Fried Chicken you can eat at a restaurant. It is a treat that must not be missed if you are traveling and are near one! I meant it, y’all, add it to your bucket list.
How To Make Extra Crunchy Juicy Fried Chicken
Let’s take out our cooking notebook and get ready to write all the things you will need to make – from scratch – crispy fried chicken. (No cooking notebook?) Grab a spiral or journal and start one today! Handwritten kitchen notes are a treasure to pass down to your kids! Another way is to grab a general cookbook like Better Crocker, the binder style, and take brief notes on the sides of the pages. You may also add some paper to the back or just print the recipe. Then add your special notes! They will just love it.
Buy The Chicken
Buying chicken is a no-brainer, buy the pieces that your kids will eat, and a few that the adults love. I usually buy the mixed pack of thighs and legs, they are usually cheaper than a whole-cut chicken. Don’t forget the check, the sell-by date! It is a bummer to plan a meal for a day and your met gets old before you cook it.
Whip Up A Batch Fried Chicken Spice Mix – This will save time when you are ready to use this spice on chicken, pork chops, or anything southern battered-fried. It also works on baked steak fries.
Fried Chicken Spice Mix
- 9 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 6 tablespoons ground white pepper
- 3 tablespoons garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons ground mustard
- 6 teaspoons onion powder
- 3 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons dried sage
- 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
Brine The Chicken
Salt the chicken front and back, about two tablespoons should do it per 8pcs.
Brining is essential to juicy chicken. Do this the night before or at the minimum, a half-hour before you cook.
Other ingredients to have on hand.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Egg Whites
- Frying Oil – Vegetable or Peanut
Chicken Frying Tool Checklist
Your kitchen’s best pal next to your chef knife, the Dutch Oven, and this is a tool for so many recipes, so it is the one thing I would splurge on. I use a couple, the Le Creuset and a Lodge (budget-friendly). I don’t care to fry in a non-stick pan, but you can if that is what you have. Just make sure it is okay to use at a high temperature.
This truly is a must for making crispy fried chicken.
Deep Fry Thermometer
You will need a deep-fry or candy thermometer because the oil has to be at the right temperature. This is much easier to store than one of the old school Electric Fry Basket (Daddy). And let’s face it, it does not hurt to have a candy thermometer, because you can make amazing popcorn, like this recipe.
A good probe thermometer is another tool, that is a must in any kitchen and now that they are digital, it is a no-brainer to have juicy meats and perfect casseroles. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of each piece.
A Pair of Long Tongs
Having a pair of long tongs to add your coated chicken to the hot oil and remove when done, is so helpful. Frying is hot, and oil splatters are painful and can be eliminated by using the right size pan (the deep Dutch Oven) and long tongs.
Hot Dutch Oven Tips
After frying your extra crispy chicken, the pan will be hot for a good long while. Place a lid on top and let it cool for several hours, at least three. Then pour into the plastic container it came in or in another disposable bottle. If you have a wide Mayo jar, those work great. Clean the jar and save it for your fried chicken day, it is so much easier to pour the used cooled oil into a large mouth jar.
I rarely use my oil more than twice. You can strain with a fine mesh hand held strainer and store in the refrigerator. Make sure your container has a secure lid.
Serving Crunchy Juicy Fried Chicken
Another help set of tools is a cooling rack and lined baking sheet. Lining the baking sheet with paper towels or parchment paper allows for a quick cleanup.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. I love to have cold fried chicken with some fresh fruit and potato salad the next day. It’s the Southern gal in me, she just loves a picnic, even if it’s just at the kitchen counter looking out the window.
Side Dishes For Fried Chicken
Here are a few sides ideas for your extra crispy, juicy fried chicken.
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Large and Medium Bowls
- 2 rimmed baking sheets
- 2 pair long tongs
- Candy Thermometer
- Probe Thermometer
- Large Dutch Oven
- 8 pieces bone-in chicken legs and thighs
- 2 tablespoons salt (reserve 1 tablespoon)
- 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 or 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 quarts oil for frying (vegetable or peanut)
- Place chicken pieces on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle all over with salt. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or for several hours/overnight in the refrigerator.
- Mix seasoning blend, combine sweet paprika, white pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, ground mustard, onion powder, dried thyme, oregano, dried sage, and optional ground cayenne pepper (for heat).
- Sift flour and cornstarch into a large bowl, add spice, and blend with a fork.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg whites, and vodka (optional). I sometimes add a dash or two of tabasco to the mix.
- Fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Dredge the chicken working with one piece at a time. Coat the piece with the buttermilk mixture, then place in prepared season flour, take care to completely coat. Then press the flour in with your fingers.
- Place the dredged chicken piece on the wire rack and repeat the dredging process with remaining pieces of chicken. Set dredged chicken aside and prepare your oil for frying.
- Time to fry!
- Place the oil in a 7.5-quart dutch oven, attach a candy thermometer, and heat over medium-high heat until a temp of 350°F. Line a clean baking sheet with paper towels to absorb oil and catch crumbs, top it with a wire cooling rack.
- Place 3 to 4 pieces of chicken in oil. You need enough room so that they are not touching. Rotate the pieces every 3 minutes or so and take care to keep the temperature at 350°F. After around 12 - 15 minutes, take out chicken pieces, and check to make sure they register at 165°. To check the insert probe thermometer at the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone.
- Transfer cooked chicken pieces to a platter or baking sheet. Allow the temperature to return to 350°F and cook the next one to two batches. (This depends on the size Dutch oven you use to fry your chicken).
- Let chicken cool 10 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored 3 to 4 days in an airtight container resting on paper towels.
Make extra spice mix for frying other flour-coated proteins, like chicken tenders, pork chops, and other meats.
Serving Size:1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 15.5gSaturated Fat: 4.1gTrans Fat: 6.1gUnsaturated Fat: 3.6gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 1.8gNet Carbohydrates: 1.7gFiber: .1gProtein: 30.5g