There’s no doubt about it – fried chicken is one of those comfort foods that we can’t help but love. But let’s face it – fried chicken is usually considered a guilty pleasure, as it’s not the healthiest of choices. Not to worry! There are some very simple changes you can make to the traditional fried chicken recipe that will help make this favorite a healthier option.
You can significantly cut the fat content of fried chicken if you remove the skin before cooking. If you’re worried about losing the flavour or that signature crispiness, just change up your traditional coating mixture and you won’t even miss the fat. Try adding some herbs and spices to your flour mixture before dredging the chicken. Oregano, paprika and cayenne pepper are great flavour-enhancing additions. Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your favorite spices until you find your own signature blend. Also, try using Japanese panko flakes instead of breadcrumbs for your coating. Panko flakes are lighter and airier than traditional breadcrumbs so they’re sure to give you a delicious crunchy coating.
Another healthy alteration is to opt for oven baking instead of deep-frying. Try our recipe for Kid-Friendly Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets & Sweet Potato Fries for a new twist on an old favorite. To make healthier and delicious wings try our Boneless Buffalo Hot Wings with Vegetable Sticks & Blue Cheese Dressing recipe. This dish calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs as a substitute for traditional, higher fat wings.
If you do decide to fry your chicken, make sure your oil is kept at a consistent temperature of 365°F (185°C). You want the chicken to be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, not soggy and greasy. A consistent temperature means that the chicken isn’t absorbing the oil, but is being cooked by it. Use vegetable oil and make sure that you don’t overcrowd your pan. As the cold chicken is being placed in the oil, the temperature will tend to drop, so make sure you’re using a deep-fry thermometer.
Another secret to great fried chicken is marinating the chicken in buttermilk overnight. Just place your chicken pieces in a plastic bag with buttermilk, salt and pepper. This will ensure your chicken is tenderized, flavourful and most importantly moist. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, simply discard the plastic bag with the marinade for easy cleanup. Try your own signature version of fried chicken today!