We all love fried chicken. It’s really delicious, especially when it has that nice satisfying crunch. However, at home, one of the biggest challenges is knowing how to keep fried chicken crispy.
There are techniques for how to keep fried chicken crispy while frying up multiple batches and keeping fried chicken crispy while reheating it the next day.
The crispiest fried chicken starts with the proper prep. Then you have to know how to cook it properly. Finally, storing the extra fried chicken the correct way is essential if you are looking to reheat it to perfection the next day.
So, when learning how to keep fried chicken crispy, your first step will be to create a solid foundation. That is, preparing and frying the chicken properly.
Like with any meat, you shouldn’t cook it right out of the freezer or refrigerator. People get nervous when it comes to chicken because of the possibility of salmonella. Still, it’s perfectly acceptable to pull it out up to 30 minutes ahead of time before cooking it.
Pull it out ahead of time and let it lose its chill before proceeding with breading. Before you bread the chicken, make sure the chicken is dry. You can do this by patting it down with a paper towel.
The first layer of “breading” should either be cornstarch or flour or a mixture of both. This gives the actual breading something to adhere too. It doesn’t matter what you use. This is going to be a personal preference.
Next, you’ll want to dip the chicken into an egg and milk mixture or buttermilk. The flour coating will allow the fluid layer to stick to the chicken, which will aid the breadcrumbs in sticking too.
This double-dip technique helps ensure your breading stays on and doesn’t peel off while frying.
The final step in preparing the chicken is going to be breading it. You can use more flour (preferably seasoned), panko or breadcrumbs. Make sure the breading is evenly coating the chicken and feel free to press it into the chicken to create a solid crust.
It would be best if you were using an oil with a higher smoke point. These are your refined oils. Examples include:
- Peanut oil
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
The oil also needs to be good and HOT. This is one of the most important keys for how to keep fried chicken crispy. Oil that isn’t hot enough is a surefire way to end up with soggy chicken. The temperature should be around 350 degrees.
You also need to make sure you fry your chicken to the proper temperature, which is an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Typically, it’ll take ten to fifteen minutes to fry a piece of chicken, but mind you, this is just a generalization. You’ll want to check for doneness based on internal temperature to be absolutely sure because undercooked chicken poses a food safety risk, and overcooked chicken just kind of sucks!
How To Keep Fried Chicken Crispy - While Frying Up More
After you’ve fried your chicken to the proper temperature, you need to get it out of the oil. This is where people go wrong.
Most people place the chicken on a paper towel or a brown paper bag, thinking this will absorb the excess oil and keep the chicken crispy. However, this is a common misconception and actually allows for steam to collect underneath the chicken and make it soggy.
To prevent this, the key is to use a cooling rack. They prevent that steam from collecting underneath the chicken and making it soggy. Just place the chicken on a cooling rack and place it on a cookie sheet to catch oil drips.
If you’re frying more than one batch, throw the cooling rack and drip tray (the cookie sheet) into an oven that is about 250 degrees to keep everything heated as you continue cooking. You simply add each batch to the rack after it’s fried.
For some added crispiness, you can turn the oven to broil briefly before removing the chicken to serve.
How To Keep Fried Chicken Crispy - When Reheating
Another challenge is how to keep fried chicken crispy when reheating.
This comes down to a few simple things. One, make sure any excess oil is removed before storing the chicken. Just blot it with a paper towel.
Two, make sure the chicken is not still hot when storing it. This will create unnecessary excess condensation, which will contribute to the sogginess.
Three, dry heat is your friend. This means avoid the microwave at all costs, and most definitely don’t wrap the chicken in a paper towel if you do microwave it.
The Reheating Technique
Let it come up to room temperature beforehand. This allows for more even reheating.
Heat in a 375 degree oven for around 15 - 20 minutes or until the chicken is heated through. The best technique is use the cooling rack over the cookie sheet method when reheating.
For extra crispiness, switch your oven to a low broil for a couple minutes right before serving..
The biggest tip: Only keep the chicken in the oven as long as it takes to reheat it. Your crispy fried chicken will be rather disappointing if it ends up dry and overcooked during the reheating phase.
When learning how to keep fried chicken crispy, it’s easy. It all starts with a solid foundation where you properly dredge the chicken and fry it in HOT oil.
Then just remember dry heat is your crispy chicken's best friend. Use the oven to keep it warm when frying up multiple batches, and use the oven to reheat it the next day.
Now that you know how to keep fried chicken crispy, it’s time to bust out your favorite dipping sauce!
However, before you get started, feel free to share your prep techniques! Do you do a buttermilk bath first? Or are you a brine kind of person? What are your thoughts on flour versus cornstarch? We need to know!