Start to Finish: 5 hours, 10 minutes; 15 minutes active preparation time
Difficulty Level: Beginner
The key to crispy battered chicken is planning ahead -- you will need to start marinating the chicken several hours before cooking. One easy way to do this is to put the chicken in the marinade first thing in the morning; then, by the time you're ready to make dinner, it has had plenty of time to tenderize and absorb the seasonings. With a little advanced planning, you'll find that this dish looks a lot harder to make than it actually is.
1 pint buttermilk
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 whole chicken, cut into parts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
Mix 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl.
Combine the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture in a gallon-size resealable bag or casserole dish. Add the chicken pieces, making sure they are submerged in the buttermilk mixture. Seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
If you like your chicken spicy, add a few drops of hot sauce to the buttermilk mixture.
If you're in a hurry -- or just love the combination of ranch dressing and fried chicken -- substitute a bottle of buttermilk- or yogurt-based ranch dressing for the marinade in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
Divide the flour between two shallow dishes. Mix the remaining spice mixture into one bowl of flour and the remaining salt into the other. Use a fork to combine the spices with the flour.
Whisk the eggs in a third shallow dish.
Set up a batter station: At one end of your workspace, place the marinated chicken. Next, set up the seasoned flour, then the eggs and finish with the salted flour. At the other end of your workspace, set up a baking sheet with a wire rack to hold the battered chicken.
Remove 2 or 3 pieces of chicken from the marinade. Dredge them in the seasoned flour on all sides. Take one piece of dredged chicken and dip it in the egg, then immediately dredge again in the salted flour. Set the dredged chicken on the wire rack over a baking sheet to rest while you finish battering the remaining pieces.
The flour mixes with the buttermilk and egg on the chicken pieces as you dredge, creating the crispy batter.
Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the thickest piece reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Turn the chicken once halfway through the cooking time to allow the bottom to crisp.
If the chicken starts to brown too much before the center is fully cooked, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Serve this dish hot out of the oven, or let it cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then wrap in paper towels and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
Crispy battered chicken pairs well with your favorite classic sides, such as potato salad or coleslaw. Try slicing it into a salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella as a main dish.
Ranch or bleu cheese salad dressing, honey mustard, barbecue sauce and tzatziki all make great dipping sauces. Serve one or several and let your friends and family choose among them.