2 lbs (about 1 kg) chicken pieces (legs, thighs, wings, or breast cut into strips)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste for spice level)
1 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
1 teaspoon black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
2 cups buttermilk substitute (see below)
Vegetable oil for frying
Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute using regular milk and an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. For this recipe, combine 2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it curdles slightly before using.
Prepare the chicken: Rinse the chicken pieces under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season each piece generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
Create the dredging station: In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
Dredge the chicken: Dip each seasoned chicken piece into the flour mixture, coating it thoroughly on all sides. Shake off any excess flour and place the coated chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This allows excess flour to fall off and helps the coating adhere better during frying.
Let the chicken rest: After dredging all the chicken pieces, let them rest for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature. This helps the flour mixture adhere to the chicken and creates a crispier coating when fried.
Heat the oil: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat enough vegetable oil to submerge the chicken pieces halfway (about 1-2 inches of oil) over medium-high heat. Use a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the temperature and heat the oil to 350°F (180°C).
Fry the chicken: Carefully place the chicken pieces into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary. Cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Larger pieces may require longer cooking time. Use tongs to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking process for even browning.
Drain and rest: Once the chicken is cooked to golden perfection, use tongs to transfer it to a wire rack or paper towels to drain any excess oil. Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute and the coating to crisp up further.
Serve and enjoy: Serve the crispy fried chicken hot with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or biscuits. Drizzle with hot sauce or honey for an extra kick of flavor, if desired.
Tips for Success:
Use a combination of dark and light meat for the best flavor and texture.
Make sure the oil is hot enough before frying to prevent the chicken from becoming greasy.
Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying to ensure even cooking and crispy results.
Allow the fried chicken to rest briefly before serving to retain its juiciness.
Conclusion: With this simple recipe, you can achieve crispy, juicy fried chicken without the need for buttermilk. By following these easy steps and using pantry staples, you can enjoy homemade fried chicken that’s sure to impress your family and friends. Whether it’s for a casual weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household.