With restaurateurs still opening places devoted to the crispy bird, one thing is clear: Fried chicken, we just can’t quit you. Here are 11 ways to make it (the bone-in stuff; no cutlets here) at home.

Kristin Donnelly
October 13, 2014

With restaurateurs still opening places devoted to the crispy bird, one thing is clear: Fried chicken, we just can’t quit you. Here are 11 ways to make it (the bone-in stuff; no cutlets here) at home.

1. Lard-fried.
Want to make old-school, Southern-style fried chicken? Bathe it in buttermilk, fry it in melted lard, bacon fat and butter, then serve with a rich tomato gravy.

2. Crisco-fried.
So shortening is no longer PC, you say. Well, don’t tell that to cooks who swear by it for an ultra-crisp chicken crust.

3. Batter-fried.
Instead of the usual dry dredge, coat chicken in a seasoned beer batter for an airy-crisp crust.

4. Bake, then fry.
Purists might balk, but slow-roasting chicken before giving it a quick fry makes it insanely juicy but still deliciously crisp.

5. Milk-brined.
For especially sweet and juicy chicken, brine it in whole milk before the buttermilk dip.

6 Lemon-brined.
Californize the southern classic (as star chef Thomas Keller does), bathing chicken in a lemon-and-herb brine before frying.

7. Sweet tea-brined.
Try a totally inauthentic southern take on fried chicken by brining it in sweet tea. Then double-fry and toss with a spicy molasses.

8. Brine, then marinate.
Want the ultimate fried chicken experience? Brine the chicken overnight, then soak it in seasoned buttermilk. When you’re so hungry for the chicken that you just can’t take it any more, fry it. Then eat it. Finally.

9. Fragrant-spiced.
Instead of the usual mix of garlic powder and cayenne, season the chicken with a more complex spice blend, then double-fry for extra-crispy skin.

10. Oven-fried.
OK, so the chicken isn’t truly fried, but baking chicken coated in panko bread crumbs, polenta or potato chips gives it a remarkably crisp crust with waaay less mess than making the real deal.

11. Asian-style.
Toss your fried chicken in a spicy, funky sauce, made with anything from fish sauce to chili garlic sauce to Korean gochujang.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: 21 Ways to Make Fried Chicken
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