Fried Chicken > Can you use cornstarch for fried chicken

Can You Use Cornstarch for Fried Chicken?

Fried chicken is a beloved comfort food in many parts of the world. Getting the coating on fried chicken just right is key to achieving that crispy, crunchy exterior. While traditional recipes call for dredging chicken in flour before frying, using cornstarch can also create a tasty fried chicken coating.

Can You Use Cornstarch for Fried Chicken?

Cornstarch can absolutely be used to make deliciously crispy fried chicken. When combined with flour in the right ratio, cornstarch forms a light, crunchy coating that gets ultra crispy when fried.

The key benefit of using cornstarch for fried chicken is that it contains high levels of amylose starch. Amylose has a unique molecular structure that keeps it from gelatinizing when fried, resulting in an extra crispy crust. Cornstarch also promotes browning and creates little nooks and crannies in the batter for added craggy texture.

While 100% pure cornstarch can technically be used to fry chicken, it doesn’t contain any gluten. Therefore, a cornstarch-only coating may burn faster or end up gummy. For best results, cornstarch should be combined with flour when dredging chicken for frying.

Related post: Can you use cornmeal for fried chicken?

A good rule of thumb is a 3:1 ratio of flour to cornstarch. The flour provides structure and elasticity so the batter adheres properly, while the cornstarch lends signature crunch. Many cooks find that this starch combo yields ideal crispness and coating texture.

Some tips when using cornstarch for fried chicken include allowing the breaded chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes before frying to help the coating set. Frying in small batches at 350-375°F also prevents the oil temp from dropping too much. While cornstarch alone can burn quickly, pairing it with flour allows you to achieve remarkably crunchy, flavorful fried chicken that people will rave about.

What does cornstarch do to fried chicken?

Cornstarch contains high levels of amylose, a starch molecule that resists gelatinization. This allows the cornstarch coating to remain ultra crispy, even after frying. The cornstarch creates a barrier between the chicken and the hot oil, sealing in juices.

Cornstarch also promotes browning and crispness. When cornstarch is exposed to high heat, the starch granules swell up. This creates nooks and crannies in the batter’s surface, leading to more craggy crispness. Furthermore, cornstarch has a neutral flavor. It won’t interfere with spices and herbs added to dredging blends.

Can you make fried chicken with just cornstarch?

Using 100% cornstarch to dredge chicken is not recommended. Pure cornstarch batter can burn quickly and end up gummy. For best results, combine cornstarch with flour. The flour adds structure, while the cornstarch lends crunch. A good rule of thumb is a 3:1 ratio of flour to cornstarch.

For extra crispiness, you can double dredge the chicken. Dredge in flour/cornstarch, dip in egg wash, then dredge again in flour/cornstarch. Letting the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes before frying also improves crispness. The starch has time to fully adhere to the meat.

How much cornstarch for fried chicken?

A good ratio is 1/4 cup cornstarch to 1 cup flour. This provides enough cornstarch to make the chicken ultra crispy without compromising the flour’s binding properties. For a large batch, use about 1/3 cup cornstarch per 3-4 cups flour. Too much cornstarch can lead to a gummy, clumpy coating.

Does cornstarch make fried chicken crispy?

Yes, cornstarch contains amylose starch that stays rigid when fried, resulting in an exceptionally crispy crust on chicken. It forms a crunchy barrier that seals in juices. The starch granules also create an irregular, bumpy texture full of nooks and crannies for extra crispness.

Does fried chicken need cornstarch?

Cornstarch is not absolutely necessary for fried chicken, but it does help boost crispness. Flour alone can be used to dredge and fry chicken with crispy results. However, the addition of cornstarch makes the crust shatteringly crunchy. It also accelerates browning. So for the crispiest fried chicken, use a blend of flour and cornstarch.

Is Cornstarch Better Than Flour for Fried Chicken?

Cornstarch and flour both have their merits when it comes to fried chicken. Cornstarch yields an ultra crispy coating. However, flour contains gluten, a protein that provides elasticity and structure. Using some flour ensures the batter clings to the chicken properly and doesn’t crumble off.

Many cooks prefer using a combination of cornstarch and flour. This takes advantage of cornstarch’s crispness and flour’s binding properties. While the exact ratio comes down to personal preference, a mix of 75% flour and 25% cornstarch is a safe starting point.

Frying Tips When Using Cornstarch

    • Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like vegetable, peanut or canola oil. The oil should be 350-375°F.
    • Avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry chicken in batches so the oil temperature doesn’t drop.
    • Let fried chicken drain on a cooling rack or paper towels. Avoid stacking pieces.
    • Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Chicken should reach 165°F.
    • Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving. This allows juices to redistribute.

So, Can you make fried chicken with cornstarch?

Absolutely. Cornstarch can help make exceptionally crunchy fried chicken when combined with flour in the dredging batter. For best results, use a 3:1 ratio of flour to cornstarch. Combine with spices and herbs, then dredge the chicken. Letting the chicken sit before frying further improves crispness. While cornstarch alone can fry up gummy, adding some flour provides structure for a stellar fried chicken coating.

FAQs
Can I use cornstarch for air frying chicken?

Yes, cornstarch can help make air fried chicken nice and crispy. Dredge chicken in cornstarch seasoned with salt, pepper and spices before air frying. Air fry at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway.

Can I use cornstarch instead of flour to fry chicken?

Cornstarch can be used to replace some or all of the flour when dredging chicken for frying, but using 100% cornstarch is not recommended. Cornstarch contains amylose starch that stays crispy when fried, giving chicken an ultra crunchy crust. However, cornstarch lacks the gluten that flour provides to bind the batter together. For best results, use a blend of 75% flour and 25% cornstarch. The flour lends structure while the cornstarch makes it extra crispy.

Is it OK to fry with cornstarch?

Yes, it is absolutely OK to fry foods like chicken with a cornstarch batter. Combined with flour, cornstarch creates a light, crispy coating that turns out remarkably crunchy after frying. On its own, pure cornstarch can burn and become gummy when fried. But blended with flour, it crisps up perfectly. Allowing the breaded chicken to rest before frying also helps the cornstarch adhere and set.

Does cornstarch make crispy chicken skin?

Cornstarch can help make fried chicken skin extra crispy. As a dry starch, it creates a barrier between the skin and hot oil which seals in moisture. The amylose in the cornstarch stays rigid when fried, leading to an ultra crispy skin crust. Blend the cornstarch with flour when dredging for the ideal crisp skin that still has coating adhesion.

Do I need cornstarch for fried chicken?

Cornstarch is not essential for fried chicken, but it does help achieve ultra crispy results. Flour alone will still provide a nice crispy coating. However, the addition of cornstarch takes the crispness up a notch, yielding an exceptionally crunchy, shatteringly crisp crust. So cornstarch is recommended but not completely necessary.

Why do you add cornstarch to flour for fried chicken?

Cornstarch contains unique starches that stay rigid when exposed to hot oil. This keeps the coating ultra crispy. The starch granules also create an irregular, bumpy crust. Flour provides structure and binding power. Together, the cornstarch and flour create a crispy fried chicken coating that adheres beautifully to the meat.

Can you use cornflour for fried chicken?

Yes, cornflour can be used interchangeably with cornstarch for fried chicken. Cornflour is simply another name for cornstarch. Both are finely ground corn starches that will lend the same signature crispy texture when used as part of a flour and starch fried chicken dredge.

 

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