How to make fried chicken at home without a deep fat fryer – 6 essential tips

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When the Colonel's closed his doors, knowing how to make fried chicken at home can be a genuine life-saver. If you can get it right, the prospect of crispy crunchy poultry is enough to make us never leave the kitchen again.

However, despite the potential for deliciousness, homemade fried chicken can present some challenges. If you want to avoid a sorry, greasy mess, you need some expert advice.

how to make fried chicken Making fried chicken at home is surprisingly simple (Credit: Alamy/Steve Anderson)

How to make fried chicken at home

Clearly, there's more to cooking chicken than just dunking it in oil and hoping for the best. But, by following this handy guide and with a bit of practice, you can transform your home into your own personal fried chicken restaurant.

READ MORE: How to cook chicken wings

To help you learn how to make fried chicken, we've asked the Twisted team for six essential cooking tips. Trust us - follow these rules and your next KFC tribute night will be a roaring success.

whole fried chicken Whole fried chicken is a feature on the menu at Chicken Sours (Credit: Twisted)

1. Use the whole bird

Fried chicken best when it's varied. Though a deep-fried drumstick may be the most iconic chicken symbol there is, any poultry expert will tell you that birds have a whole lot more to offer than one classic cut.

Chefs should look to use everything from breasts to thighs to provide a combination of light and dark meat. Thighs are particularly sought after, as their fat content helps keep everything moist.

fried chicken It's important to cook sensible pieces of chicken (Credit: Alamy/Suriya Desatit)

2. Serve sensible pieces

When you’re hungry, it’s easy to grab the biggest hunk of chicken you can find and fling it at a pot. Unfortunately, when working with birds, size does matter.

Large pieces will often go crispy on the outside before they’ve had a chance to cook all the way through, while small chunks can overcook in no time at all. This means that sensible portioning is an absolute must.

marinading chicken Marinading chicken can make a huge difference (Credit: Alamy/oxana medvedeva)

3. Don’t be afraid to marinade

The secret to all great fried chicken lies in the liquid. Soaking your carefully cut up pieces in a prepared solution of buttermilk or brine is what guarantees a tender, flavourful end result.

Whatever you opt for, we recommend allowing the chicken to soak between 24 and 36 hours in order to absorb as much flavour as possible. We promise the wait is worth it.

how to make fried chicken Fried chicken can be flavoured in a variety of different ways (Credit: Alamy/Khim Hoe Ng)

4. Seasons change

One of the joys of cooking with chicken is the way that it can adapt to almost any flavour. While birds can be seasoned with anything from paprika to pepper, it is absolutely that they are enhanced at every stage of prep.

This means seasoning everything from the brine to the breading in order to impart as much flavour as possible and avoid a bland bird. Chilli powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper are all highly commendable additions. Salt is a must.

how to cook chicken wings Getting the temperature of the oil right is crucial (Credit: Alamy/Nopadol Uengbunchoo)

5. Temperature is key

One of the biggest challenges of cooking fried chicken is managing the oil. We recommend working with oil that has a low smoking point, heated to about 335 degrees Fahrenheit, as this crisp up the coating whilst cooking the chicken all the way through.

If you don’t have a thermometer handy, an easy way to check is to toss a pinch of flour into the oil. If it sizzles, you’re good to go.

Fried chicken Resting chicken after it's cooked will make it more tender (Credit: Alamy/Simon Reddy)

6. Give it a rest

This goes for both before and after cooking. Your chicken should never be cooked straight from the fridge, as this will significantly lower the temperature of your oil and mean that the chicken crisps before it is properly cooked.

Similarly, the cooked chicken should be allowed to drip dry on a wire rack to get rid of any excess oil. Never wrap your fried chicken in paper towels, as this can inadvertently steam the bird and ruin the crisp coat.

READ MORE: Chef Marcus Samuelsson talks Michelin stars and fried chicken

Once you’ve had a taste of some top-notch chicken, it’s always going to be tough to go back to normality. Legions of chicken fans have resigned themselves to birdless homes - convinced that they can never come close to the pros.

However, as this list proves, it doesn’t take years of training to learn how to make fried chicken at home.