Fried Chicken > Can you make fried chicken without cornstarch

Can You Make Fried Chicken Without Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is commonly used to make fried chicken extra crispy. It creates a light, crunchy coating on the outside of the chicken. However, you can still make delicious fried chicken without using cornstarch. There are a few simple tricks to ensure your fried chicken gets super crispy.

Can You Make Fried Chicken Without Cornstarch?

Yes, you can absolutely make crispy, crunchy fried chicken without using cornstarch. While cornstarch is commonly used to create an ultra-light and crispy coating, there are several ways to get that same crispiness using just flour and a few extra tricks.

The key is to use all-purpose flour, rather than self-rising, so you have control over the rising agents. Start by mixing the flour with some salt, pepper, and seasoning of your choice. Dip the raw chicken pieces into the seasoned flour to lightly coat.

To maximize crispiness, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour mixture. The baking powder reacts to the heat of the frying oil, releasing bubbles of air that cause the coating to puff up as it fries. This creates an incredibly crunchy, airy crust around the juicy chicken.

Another trick is to “double dredge” the chicken. After coating in flour, dip the chicken in egg wash, then back into the flour mixture again. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so the coating really sticks before carefully lowering into the hot oil. The extra layer of crust gets ultra crispy when fried.

Related post: Can you make fried chicken without breadcrumbs?

You can also try frying the chicken twice. Fry once until golden brown, let rest for 5 minutes, then fry again for 2-3 minutes. This second fry allows the crust to further seal and become super crispy. Monitoring your oil temperature between 350-375F ensures the chicken fries up perfectly crisp on the outside.

With the right techniques like using baking powder, double dredging, and double frying, you can absolutely achieve crunchy, juicy, and flavorful fried chicken without using cornstarch at all. Crispiness comes down to creating a light, airy coating that seals in the juices.

What makes the fried chicken crispy?

A few key factors create the signature crispy crust on fried chicken. First, the coating – using a light breader or batter that puffs up when fried. Flour, cornstarch, or tempura batter work great. Second, the frying temperature needs to be between 350-375°F to crisp up the coating without making it greasy.

Next, frying techniques like double dredging or double frying allow the crust to fully seal and become ultra crispy. Finally, adding baking powder or using chicken cracklings in the breader creates air pockets that make the coating extra crunchy. 

Follow these tips and you will end up with fried chicken that is crispy on the outside, juicy inside, and shatteringly crunchy when you bite into it.

Substitute with Flour

Plain flour can be used instead of cornstarch to bread fried chicken. Make sure to use all-purpose flour, not self-rising. You may need a bit more flour than you would cornstarch to get the same crispy texture. Dip the chicken pieces into flour mixed with some salt and pepper before frying.

Use Baking Powder

A little baking powder does wonders when frying chicken. The baking powder reacts to the heat of the oil, releasing bubbles of carbon dioxide that cause the coating to puff up. This creates an airy, crispy layer around the chicken. Just add 1-2 teaspoons of baking powder to your flour breading mixture.

Try Double Dredging

“Double dredge” the chicken to maximize crispiness. Dredge the raw chicken in seasoned flour, dip in egg wash, then dredge again in flour. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before frying so the coating adheres better. The extra layer of crust will get super crispy when fried.

Fry Twice

Frying the chicken twice results in an extra crispy crust. After frying once, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Then fry again for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. The second fry allows the coating to further seal and become crispy.

Use Chicken Cracklings

Chicken cracklings are a secret Southern ingredient that can improve any fried chicken recipe. Cracklings are fried chicken skin shavings that are crunchy and add great flavor. Add a handful of cracklings into your flour breading mixture for the ultimate crispiness.

Fry at the Right Temperature

Be sure to fry the chicken at the ideal temperature, between 350-375°F. Frying at too low of a temperature will make the coating greasy instead of crispy. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil. Maintaining the proper fry temperature ensures a perfectly crisped exterior.

So, Can you fry chicken without cornstarch?

Yes, you absolutely can fry chicken to be crispy and crunchy without using cornstarch. Cornstarch is often used to create an ultra-light and crispy crust, but plain flour works very well too. The key is to use all-purpose flour mixed with some baking powder and seasoning. Baking powder helps the coating puff up while frying.

Another trick is to double dredge the chicken – coating in flour, egg, then flour again – for an extra thick and crispy crust. Frying at the right temperature, around 350-375°F, also prevents greasiness. With the right techniques, you can make shatteringly crispy fried chicken using just flour, without any cornstarch.

Why do you need cornstarch in fried chicken?

Cornstarch is popular for frying because it creates a thin, super crispy and crunchy coating. It has less gluten than flour, so results in a lighter crust that gets crispy faster. The cornstarch bubbles and crisps up quickly when it hits the hot oil. 

However, cornstarch isn’t essential. Flour can also be used to make deliciously crispy fried chicken. Plain flour just requires a bit more coating and some extra tricks like baking powder or double dredging to achieve the same level of crispiness that cornstarch provides.

What can I use in place of cornstarch?

For fried chicken, all-purpose flour is the best substitute for cornstarch. Make sure to use plain flour, not self-rising. For extra crispiness, add 1-2 teaspoons baking powder to the flour before dredging the chicken. Other options include cracker crumbs or crushed up corn flakes, which create a crunchy texture. Finally, try a simple egg and milk batter in place of cornstarch. The key is sticking with light breading that can puff up in the hot oil for a crispy coating.

Is cornstarch or flour better for frying chicken?

Both cornstarch and flour can make delicious crispy fried chicken. Cornstarch yields an ultrathin, crispy and delicate crust. The crispiness happens faster with cornstarch. Flour creates a slightly thicker, heartier coating with great flavor. Flour may take a bit longer to crisp up. The extra effort of double dredging or double frying can help maximize the crispiness of flour. 

Overall, flour gives great flavor and crunch, while cornstarch is unbeatable for a light crust. It comes down to personal preference, as both create delicious fried chicken.


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