Fried chicken is an absolute delight to eat, thanks to its crispy outer shell with soft, juicy meat inside. It is something I crave a lot and, like just about everyone, it’s something I really enjoy.
Still, even my fridge sometimes does not have all the standard ingredients. What I lack most often is buttermilk.
Of course you can make your own by adding some lemon juice to milk, but if you’re feeling a little lazy, can you make fried chicken without one? Yes, you can and believe me it will taste just as amazing!
Allow me to introduce the easiest – and the very best – recipe for fried chicken that requires no buttermilk whatsoever!
The best thing about this recipe is the fact you made it on your own.
A delicious crispy chicken with simple ingredients that you can make in a comfort in your home, and without spending the big bucks is a recipe we all need! You won’t even miss the buttermilk, I promise.
Without further ado, here’s how I fry my chicken without buttermilk!
How to Skip Buttermilk and Fry Chicken Well
Buttermilk is slightly acidic and is capable of tenderizing the chicken, without toughening the meat like strong marinades do.
The enzymes present in buttermilk also help breaking down the protein in the chicken resulting in tender and flavorful chicken.
This is all important when you are frying the parts of the chicken like legs or drums. But do we really need it for the breasts and chicken tenders? Not at all! Once you try this recipe, you will see why.
Which Parts of the Chicken to Use
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You can use a chicken breast, chicken tenders, or de-boned chicken drums.
I cut my chicken into smaller pieces, just a little larger than bite sized. I find this is perfect for frying. I think it is the best size to ensure a juicy and crispy chicken.
Tips For Cooking Juicy, Crispy Chicken
What makes this dish of humble origins so loved can actually make it intimidating to home cooks, the coating and frying. Coating and frying are of course the most important steps, regardless of the ingredients you are using.
It may take up to an hour for an amateur cook to pull off this dish, but just to know, it is worth it. Here are some of my tips I’ve picked up throughout the years to help you perfect your fried chicken:
- Use the best cuts: Chicken drums are always ideal, but if you want to move a bit from these, and make delicious bites, you can use tenders or breasts like I did. Make sure the pieces are all about the same size, as this will ensure they are fried uniformly.
- Use a dry brine: Dry brining means you will be seasoning the chicken with salt. You can do this overnight or for just 30 minutes before cooking. This step is critical for moist and flavorful chicken as it gives the chicken a direct contact with salt. The salt will tenderize the chicken but also give it a light flavor.
- Use simple or a mix of strong spices: There’s no rule here, but you can season your chicken to have a subtle flavor, with just salt and a little pepper perhaps, or you can season it with a mix of dried herbs, garlic, onion powder, or any desired spices. Make it your own and satisfy your wildest desires!
- Use cornstarch: You can add extra crispiness by adding some cornstarch to the flour. I did not use it for this recipe as I wanted to keep the ingredients minimal for anyone working with a bare kitchen, but 2 tablespoons of cornstarch added to the flour will make the fried chicken crispier.
How to Fry the Chicken
Always fry the chicken in lots of oil. You cannot go skimpy on this one if you want a truly crispy chicken.
You can fry your chicken in a fryer, but I personally like using a Dutch oven. The high sides of the Dutch oven keep the splatter at minimum while also helping to regulate the oil temperature as the chicken pieces come in and out.
I would skip the skillet for this, just because it cannot take the enough oil and you may make the mess in a kitchen.
Other Frying Tips
1. The thermometer is your best friend.
This is especially handy if you are using a larger piece of chicken. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and once the inner temperature reaches 165 Fahrenheit you are good to go. You cannot always rely on the outer shell as indicator, so use a thermometer for safety!
2. Check the oil temperature, too.
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Sometimes we think oil is heated and when we add food to fry, nothing happens. You can place a wooden spoon in the oil and once it starts to sizzle, the temperature is ideal. You can also use a toothpick.
How To Make This Fried Chicken Without Buttermilk Recipe
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, or slightly larger. Season the chicken with salt (brine) and leave covered in refrigerator for 30 minutes before use.
When ready to cook, combine the flour and black pepper in a bowl.
Coat chicken in flour mixture.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven.
Dip flour-coated chicken piece in the eggs. Then dip egg-coated chicken into the flour again and put aside to fry. Repeat for all pieces.
Fry coated chicken in heated oil until golden brown. You may need to do this in batches.
Drain on paper towels and serve.
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