Fried Chicken > Can you make fried chicken without oil 

Can You Make Fried Chicken Without Oil?

Frying chicken is a quick and easy way to make a delicious, crispy dinner. The crunch comes from the hot oil enveloping the chicken and creating a golden, flaky crust. But frying with oil also adds a lot of fat and calories. Is there a way to get that same fried chicken flavor and texture without all the excess oil? Let’s take a look at some oil-free frying options.

Can You Make Fried Chicken Without Oil?

Yes, you can absolutely make crispy, delicious fried chicken without submerging it in oil. The key is finding alternative ways to cook the chicken that still produce the signature crunch of fried chicken.

Air fryers are currently the best appliance for oil-free fried chicken. The hot air circulates around the chicken like a convection oven, crisping up the exterior. Lightly coat or mist the chicken with a small amount of oil before air frying to enhance browning. Adjust the temperature as needed, usually between 350-400°F. The chicken comes out juicy on the inside with a nice crisp coating.

Baking is another great oil-free option. Start by dredging the chicken pieces in flour, panko breadcrumbs, or cornflakes to create that crispy crust. Arrange on a baking sheet and lightly brush or mist with oil. Bake at 400°F, flipping halfway through, until the coating is browned and the meat is fully cooked. It may take a little longer than frying, but baking still gives fantastic results.

Related post: Can you make fried chicken without flour?

For a unique spin, you can “fry” chicken in broth or stock. Dip the chicken in flour or breadcrumbs first to help the coating stick. Quickly brown the chicken in a skillet before transferring to a pot of simmering broth. Cook until the meat is done and the coating is crispy. Reducing the broth first helps it cling to the chicken better. This method keeps the chicken extra moist and infuses it with flavor.

Grilling is the healthiest oil-free cooking method. Simply season bone-in or boneless chicken and place it directly on a hot grill. The chicken cooks through over the high heat while getting nice char marks for flavor. Brush with a very small amount of oil to prevent sticking if needed. Grilled chicken has an amazing smoky taste perfect for summer.

The bottom line is that with a little creativity and the right techniques, you can absolutely achieve the flavor, texture, and enjoyment of fried chicken without submerging it in unhealthy oils. Crispy, crunchy, juicy fried chicken can be oil-free.

How can you fry without oil?

There are several oil-free ways to get the same crispy fried results:

    • Air fryers use hot circulating air to crisp up breaded foods. Mist or brush chicken with a tiny bit of oil to enhance browning.
    • Baking coated chicken in a very hot oven (400°F) until the outside gets browned and crisp.
    • Browning chicken first in a pan before simmering it in broth, stock, wine, etc. until the coating gets crispy.
    • Grilling over direct high heat so the chicken gets nice char marks and cooks through.
    • Dusting chicken in cornstarch before frying creates a crispy coating without oil.

The key is achieving that crispy, fried texture through dry heat methods instead of submerging in oil.

Use an Air Fryer

Air fryers are ideal for making oil-free fried chicken. The convection heat technology mimics deep frying by circulating hot air around the chicken. Brush or spray the chicken with a small amount of oil before air frying to help promote browning. Air fried chicken gets crispy on the outside while staying juicy on the inside. Adjust the temperature and cooking time as needed to get your desired crispiness.

Bake It

You can bake chicken to get a similar flavor and texture as fried chicken. Start by dredging the chicken in flour or breadcrumbs to help the exterior get crisp. Arrange the coated chicken on a baking sheet and lightly mist or brush with oil. Bake at a high temperature, around 400°F, until the coating is browned and the meat is fully cooked. Baking may take a bit longer than frying or air frying, but it still gives great results.

Use Broth or Stock

Replacing the oil with chicken broth or stock is another oil-free option. The liquid keeps the chicken moist while also lending extra flavor. Dip the chicken in flour or panko breadcrumbs first before browning it briefly on the stovetop to help the coating adhere. Then simmer the chicken in broth until it is cooked through and the coating is crispy. Reducing the broth first helps it cling better to the chicken.

Try Grilling

Grilling is a healthy cooking technique that requires no oil at all. Simply season bone-in chicken pieces or boneless breasts and place them directly on a hot grill. The chicken will cook through and get nice char marks for flavor. Brushing with a small amount of oil can help prevent sticking. Grilled chicken has a delicious smoky taste that pairs perfectly with backyard barbecues.

FAQs
Can you fry chicken without cooking oil?

Yes, there are several methods that allow you to fry chicken without submerging it in oil. Air fryers use hot circulating air to crisp up the exterior of chicken with little to no oil needed. Baking uses a high heat oven to brown breadcrumb or flour coatings on chicken for “oven-fried” results. Stovetop frying in broth or stock instead of oil is another oil-free technique.

The liquid keeps the chicken moist while also lending extra flavor from the broth. Grilling over direct high heat also cooks chicken with no oil required. With the right technique, you can achieve deliciously crispy fried chicken texture without oil.

Is it healthy to fry chicken without oil?

Frying chicken without oil is healthier than deep frying it in oil. It eliminates a significant amount of added fat, calories, and other negative health effects associated with oils. Going oil-free does not mean the chicken is suddenly low in fat and calories, but it does make the dish less unhealthy.

How do you get the crunch from fried chicken without oil?

To get a crunchy crust on chicken without frying, coat the chicken in panko breadcrumbs, crushed cereal, or flour before baking or air frying. The dry coating will get crispy and mimic the texture of fried chicken. Using buttermilk or eggs before the coating sticks even better.

What can I use instead of oil to fry chicken?

Chicken broth or stock, wine, milk, and even water can all be used instead of oil to fry chicken. The liquid helps conduct heat to the chicken and keeps it from drying out. For best results, coat the chicken first in flour or panko breadcrumbs. Quickly brown the chicken in a pan before transferring to the liquid.

Simmer until the coating gets crispy and the chicken cooks through. Reducing the liquid first helps it cling to the chicken better. You can also use an air fryer, baking, or grilling to cook chicken with no oil substitutes needed. The key is achieving that crispy exterior through non-oil methods.

What is the best oil substitute for frying chicken?

The best substitutes for frying chicken without oil are air fryers, chicken broth, and baking. Air fryers give the closest texture and flavor to deep fried. Broths allow you to cook and crisp the chicken. Baking requires a little more effort but can also produce delicious oven “fried” chicken

Can you use water instead of oil to fry chicken?

Yes, you can use water instead of oil to “fry” chicken. The process involves browning breaded chicken first in a pan before simmering it in water until fully cooked and the coating is crispy. The water keeps the chicken moist while also conducting heat to crisp up the exterior. For best results, first coat the chicken in flour, breadcrumbs, or cornflake crumbs.

Quickly brown the pieces in a pan, then transfer to a pot of simmering water. Cook 10-15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. The coating will get crispy from the water but still retain great flavor. Using sparkling water gives even better results from the carbonation. Overall, water “frying” eliminates oil while still producing crispy fried chicken.

 

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