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Crispy Fried Chicken


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Crispy Fried Chicken


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Crispy Fried Chicken

No buttermilk, no problem. No deep fryer, no worries. This fried chicken comes out flavorful and perfectly crisp without either of those trappings. First the chicken goes for a quick swim in egg whites seasoned with hot sauce, then takes a dunk in a blend of flour and cornstarch. The most important step is the combination of deep-frying and steaming in a tight skillet. Generally, when you want meat or poultry to brown up in a pan, you need to spread the meat out so that there is room for steam to escape and browning to occur. For this recipe, you want the chicken to fit tightly in the pan so that it both browns from the hot oil, and steams as a result of the cramped quarters and tight lid. The result will be crispy, juicy chicken, no paper hat or bucket needed.


  • Prep Time : 20 min
  • Cook Time : 40 min
  • Ready Time : 1 hour


4 Servings


    For the soak:

    • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 2 eggs)
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons hot sauce, depending on your taste
    • 1 31/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into eights and each breast cut in half

    For the dunk:

    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • vegetable shortening, peanut or corn oil


    For the soak whisk together the egg whites, salt, and hot sauce and pour the mixture into a resealable plastic bag.  Toss the chicken pieces in the bag and seal.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.  While the chicken marinates prepare the breading by combining all the dunk ingredients in a shallow bowl.

    When ready to fry, remove the chicken from the fridge and add ½-inch of oil to a heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet, which has a cover and can hold the chicken pieces snugly. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.  If you do not have a cooking thermometer, do what Chinese cooks have done for centuries, take a wooden chopstick (or stem of a wooden spoon) and press down into the oil.  If the oil bubbles up around the wood, it is ready.

    Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and then place the chicken in the pan skin side down and put the dark meat pieces in your pan’s hot spot, as they take longer to cook and will benefit from that advantage. Cover the pan and cook, maintaining the heat at 350 degrees, about 12 to15 minutes, or until the skin is a golden brown.  Turn the chicken over, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Turn one more time so the skin side has a chance to crisp up, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    Drain on a baking rack set over a pan, if you place them on paper towels or even in a paper bag, they will lose some of their crispy goodness. If you must keep the chicken warm, place that pan in the oven on low until ready to serve.

    While I don’t have a chemistry degree, I do think that the proteins in the whites help to tenderize the chicken a little just as the buttermilk does in southern fried chicken recipes.  Additionally, the egg whites are the glue that holds the flour mixture in place.  Mr. Wizard would be proud. For the egg whites you can certainly crack a few eggs or buy egg whites in a container.  Remember, once opened, you need to use that container within a week.

    Courtesy of The Kosher Carnivore, St. Martin’s Press, fall 2011

    About June Hersh


    June Hersh is teacher, writer, speaker, cook and mom. She combines her talent for cooking with her dedicated support of the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust - by writing Recipes Remembered. She recently completed her second book, The Kosher Carnivore (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) and is at work on her third book Simple, Simpler, Simplest. Find out more about June and by her books here!




    10 Responses to Crispy Fried Chicken

    1. its a kosher recipe in the style of Paula Deen. im in love

    2. avatar says: Zena

      Do you really put 1/2 cup of cornstarch in the soak?

    3. avatar says: june

      Hi Zena,
      I do add that much cornstarch, it helps keep the batter light and creates a really crispy coating. The most important step is to pack the chicken in to the pan tightly, cooking the dark meat in the center or hot spot, or add it a few minutes earlier than the white meat. Close the lid and let it steam until cooked through. Enjoy!

    4. avatar says: lori

      in the directions, you do not list cornstarch in the soak, but in the luist of ingredients you have 1/2 cornstarch. is this an error?

    5. avatar says: aliza

      I assume this was a typo??? You list the cornstarch in both the soak and the dunk. In the directions it says to mix the cornstarch with the flour and other dry ingredients which makes sense. Please clarify

      • avatar says: june

        Good catch. It is correct in the book, but probably was a typo when transferred to the website. Enjoy

        • avatar says: Erica

          I’m still confused. There’s a 1/2 cup corn starch in the soak and an additional 1/2 cup of corn starch in the flour? I don’t understand your clarification.



    7. avatar says: june

      I am assuming you are buying a kosher chicken, if so then you do not need to do anything else to make it kosher. If you are buying a non kosher chicken, nothing you do will make it kosher. Hope this helps

    8. avatar says: Raphy


      Great recipe, I couldn’t get it to come out crispy but then I realized that the most important thing to do is to preheat the oil. It needs to be sizzling before you put the chicken in. I didnt use any specific degree but just made sure it was extremely hot.

      Love it, and would love to know if you have anything else, I live alone in NY and I am looking to cook for myself as much as possible with different recipes.

      Have you tried to make pho soup? I am looking for a good kosher recipe.

      Thanks :)

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