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Can You Bread Fried Chicken Ahead of Time?

Frying up some juicy, crispy fried chicken is one of life’s great pleasures. But properly breading chicken can be time-consuming, especially when cooking for a crowd. Many home cooks wonder if they can prep the chicken ahead of time to streamline the process.

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely bread fried chicken in advance. However, there are some important steps to follow to ensure the chicken turns out just as crispy and delicious as if you had fried it right away.

Can You Bread Fried Chicken Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can absolutely bread fried chicken ahead of time. Here are the steps for breading chicken in advance to ensure it turns out crispy and delicious:

    • Cut the chicken into pieces of a similar size and thickness to promote even cooking.
    • Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour, coating each piece entirely. Pat off any excess flour. This helps the breading adhere.
    • Dip the floured chicken into beaten eggs. Allow any excess egg to drip off before the next step. The egg acts as a barrier to seal in moisture.
    • Press both sides of the egged chicken into breadcrumbs, panko, or cornmeal until thoroughly coated. Pat gently to help the coating stick.
    • Place the fully breaded chicken pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate lined with wax or parchment paper. This prevents sticking.
    • Tightly cover the chicken with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface. This prevents drying out.
    • Refrigerate the breaded chicken for up to 24 hours until ready to fry. Store at 40°F or below.
    • Fry the chicken pieces at 350-375°F for 8-12 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Keep oil temperature constant.
    • For maximum crispness, fry the breaded chicken as soon as possible after breading. The coating may lose some crunch after 24 hours.
    • A quick re-dredge in flour can help revive any soggy spots just before frying.

With proper refrigeration, breaded fried chicken can absolutely be prepared up to a day in advance for easy weeknight meals or stress-free entertaining. Just be sure to fry it as close to the time of breading as possible for the crispiest results.

Related post: Can you be allergic to fried chicken?

Should You Refrigerate Breaded Chicken Before Frying?

Once the chicken is breaded, it’s best to refrigerate it until ready to fry. Letting breaded chicken sit out at room temperature for too long allows the breading to become soggy. Refrigeration helps the breading stay crisp. Cover the breaded chicken securely with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Raw chicken should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

How Long Can Uncooked Breaded Chicken Stay in the Fridge?

Properly stored in the refrigerator, breaded raw chicken will stay fresh for 1-2 days. Any longer than that and you risk the breading becoming gummy and the chicken drying out. For best results, fry the breaded chicken within 24 hours of breading. The chicken may lose some crispness the longer it sits, but it will still taste delicious.

Can You Dredge Chicken in Flour Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can dredge chicken pieces in flour ahead of time. Dredging is often the first step in breading chicken before moving on to dipping in egg wash and then breadcrumbs. Dredged floured chicken should be refrigerated until ready to continue the breading process. The chicken may need a light re-dredging in flour if left too long.

How Do You Store Breaded Chicken Before Cooking?

    • Place breaded chicken pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate lined with wax or parchment paper.
    • Cover tightly with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the chicken.
    • Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
    • Fry chicken as close to time of breading as possible for maximum crispness.
    • If chicken has lost some crispness, a quick dredge back through the flour can help revive it.
    • For even cooking, ensure chicken pieces are similar in size and thickness when breading.
    • Let fried chicken drain briefly on a wire rack or paper towels before serving.

With proper refrigerated storage, breaded chicken can be prepped up to a day in advance for easy frying when you’re ready to eat. Crispy, golden fried chicken is worth the extra planning. Just be sure to keep breaded chicken cold right up until frying time for the best results.

What’s the best way to bread chicken ahead of time?

The best method is to fully bread the chicken pieces, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Tightly cover the chicken with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface before refrigerating for up to 24 hours.

Should I use egg wash when breading chicken in advance?

Yes, dipping the floured chicken in egg wash helps the breadcrumbs adhere better. The egg wash creates a barrier to prevent the chicken from getting soggy.

Can I freeze breaded raw chicken?

It’s not recommended. Freezing raw breaded chicken causes the breading to become soggy. For best results, only refrigerate the breaded chicken for 1-2 days max before frying.

How do I revive soggy breaded chicken?

If the breaded chicken has lost its crunch, you can revive it by dipping the pieces back into flour or breadcrumbs right before frying. This adds a fresh layer of coating. Frying at a high temperature also helps crisp up soggy breading.

Should I pat breaded chicken dry before frying?

Yes, gently patting the breaded chicken pieces with paper towels removes any excess moisture that could prevent crisping. Allowing the breaded chicken to air dry for 10-15 minutes before frying also helps.


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