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Cook’s Illustrated Easier Fried Chicken

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  • Cook’s Illustrated Easier Fried Chicken

    I made this today, it was excellent!

    Easier Fried Chicken

    SERVES 4

    1 ¼ cups buttermilk
    table salt
    dash hot sauce
    3 teaspoons ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon paprika
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    3 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat
    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 ¾ cups vegetable oil


    A whole 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, can be used instead of the chicken parts. Skinless chicken pieces are also an acceptable substitute, but the meat will come out slightly drier. A Dutch oven with an 11-inch diameter can be used in place of the straight-sided sauté pan.


    Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl. Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.

    Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach -correct temperature.) Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.


    To season the meat and ensure it turned out juicy, we soaked chicken parts in a buttermilk brine (buttermilk heavily seasoned with salt). We also incorporated baking powder, an unconventional ingredient in fried chicken, into our dredging mixture (flour seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper). As the chicken fries, the baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas, leavening the crust and increasing its surface area, keeping it light and crisp. And while most dredging mixtures contain purely dry ingredients, we added a little buttermilk to our mixture because the small clumps of batter it forms turn ultra-crisp once fried.

    Charlene’s notes: 1-24-2020 I used a full recipe of the marinade for 4 very large thighs. I would not change that. I used the full recipe of the flour mixture and will only use a half recipe in the future. I had plenty of breading but I ended up throwing out at least half of it. Excellent recipe, will definitely make it again.
    ade this tonight, it was excellent!

  • #2
    Saved, thanks for posting!