This batter-fried chicken calls for the pieces to be quickly brined and then dipped in a seasoned batter for a crisp Southern-style crust. Simple as can be. This is the real deal.
With its crisp, nubbly crust and insanely tender meat, this batter fried chicken recipe is fried chicken perfection. Those of you who are geeks for cooking technique wizardry, pay attention. The clever folks at America’s Test Kitchen carefully devised this Southern fried chicken recipe such that:
The batter contains equal parts cornstarch and flour to ensure a shatteringly crisp crust;
The batter also calls for baking powder to create a crust that’s ethereally airy without a trace of doughiness or gloppiness;
The batter relies on black pepper, paprika, and cayenne for a “simple but unambiguous flavor” (just be forewarned, the amount of black pepper is intentionally heavy-handed);
The batter contains no dairy. They replaced the milk in the batter with plain old water. The logic behind this? “When wet batter hits hot oil, the moisture in the batter vaporizes, leaving behind the solids that adhere to the chicken. With milk, the sugars in the milk solids browned too fast and produced a soft crust.”
And, perhaps most critically, the batter-dunked chicken is then deep-fried in several inches of oil (a regular pot works just fine; no need to have a fancy deep-fryer) to ensure that the carefully constructed batter doesn’t scorch on the bottom as is often the case when you attempt to shallow-fry it in a skillet.
- 3 spray(s) cooking spray
- 1 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 4-oz pieces
- 1/2 tsp table salt, divided, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, divided, or to taste
- 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 3 oz low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup(s) cornflake crumbs
Season chicken with salt and cayenne pepper to taste; set aside.
Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper together in a medium-size bowl. Place buttermilk and cornflakes crumbs in 2 separate shallow bowls.
Dredge chicken in flour mixture and evenly coat both sides. Next, dip chicken into buttermilk and turn to coat both sides. Last, dredge chicken in cornflake crumbs and turn to coat both sides.
Place coated chicken breasts in prepared baking dish. Bake until chicken is tender and no longer pink in center, about 25 to 30 minutes (there is no need to flip the chicken during baking). Yields 1 chicken breast per serving.