Gluten Free Fried Chicken Recipe
It was a day for multiple celebrations, not the least of which was the birthday of my father who turned a respectable 87 years young. As little as 6 weeks ago, celebrating Dad’s birthday was not a given, he was ill and had to be hospitalized for quite some time. So when he was able to be at home, sitting at the dinner table surrounded by family and friends I was of course going to prepare for him anything he wanted. And what he wanted was fried chicken.
Given the circumstances, I was not about to tell him that it had been at least 15 years since I had eaten, let alone made, fried chicken. Aside from not being typically gluten-free, fried chicken just hasn’t been something that fit in well with the way we eat these days.
So I kept my lack of fried chicken experience to myself and dug out my old recipe box which contained all sorts of notes about the perfect fried chicken gleaned from cookbook authors, elderly Southern ladies and an old guy who made the most incredible, crispy chicken I have eaten and must have been about 107 at the time. And then I went about figuring out how to make perfectly crispy, juicy, tender, gluten free fried chicken.
I decided to use a combination of methods for no other reason than why not? I soaked the chicken in buttermilk, dipped it into beaten eggs spiked with Tabasco and coated it. For the coating (so important to crispy chicken) I used a combination of gluten free flour and starch – 1/3 cup starch to 1 cup flour. I used superfine white rice flour but any gluten-free flour (or combination) you like would work and for the starch I used potato but then again, tapioca would be just fine as well.
The frying method recommendations I had were two – lower temp for a longer period of time or higher temp for shorter time. Hmmm, dilemma time as trusted sources were equally divided on which way was best. So I tested it out – some pieces I fried at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes and some I fried at 380 degrees for 8 minutes. I could detect no difference in taste or texture so I opted for higher temp for shorter time because patience is not a virtue I have in spades.
The results? Super tasty gluten-free fried chicken: crispy and crunchy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside and loaded with flavor throughout.
It was a seemingly simple dinner; fried chicken, buttery smashed potatoes, green beans in brown butter with almonds and to top it all off gluten free Pineapple Upside Down Cake. But it was so much more. It was a celebration! We celebrated the birth and renewed health of my father, being together as a family and for me; I did a private little happy dance at savoring the first piece of fried chicken since going gluten free.
Here’s how I made my chicken:
I soaked the chicken in buttermilk for a few hours. 2 – 4 hours should do it, make sure you refrigerate it while soaking.
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Our family likes dark meat so I just used legs and thighs, you can use a whole fryer if you prefer.
Whisk eggs with a good dose of tabasco.
Mix your flour and starch together then season it up with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
Dunk the chicken into the eggs and shake off the excess.
Coat the chicken pieces really well with the seasoned gluten free flour.
OK, pay attention – this is a big tip! Once all the pieces have been coated in flour, let them set for 5 minutes then coat once again.
Pour oil into a deep frying pan making sure not to fill more than halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat oil to 380 degrees.
OK, here is another BIG TIP. Place the fried chicken on a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan lined with paper towels. This will keep you chicken much crispier than laying it on a flat surface lined with paper. You can keep the chicken warm by placing the chicken on the rack into a warm oven.
So there you have it! Crispy, crunchy, juicy, tender, gluten-free fried chicken. A little bit of heaven in a drumstick.
What food causes you to do a little happy dance in celebration?
Gluten Free Fried Chicken Recipe
- 3-4 pounds cut up chicken pieces
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 1 cup superfine white or brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup potato or tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt plus more for seasoning the chicken
- ½ teaspoon black pepper plus more for seasoning the chicken
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Vegetable oil
- Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish and pour on the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and pat dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Whisk the eggs together in a bowl with the Tabasco.
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, starch, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
- Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture then shake off the excess egg and coat well with the flour mixture. Push the flour into the chicken to coat well. Place on a plate and once all the chicken is coated let sit for 5 minutes. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture again.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire cooling rack on top. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Fill a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven halfway with oil. Insert a frying or candy thermometer. Heat oil to 380 degrees. Once the oil is to temperature, carefully lower the chicken into the hot oil, do not crowd the pan. Let cook for 4 minutes and flip over. Cook for 4 more minutes. You may have to adjust the temperature to keep the oil at 380 degrees. Remove the cooked chicken and place on the cooling rack, sprinkle with a little salt. Place in oven to keep warm while finishing up the rest of the chicken. Let the oil come back up to temperature and repeat with remaining chicken.
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Carol, that chicken looks great! I miss our nights of take-out chicken, such a treat.
And I’m so thankful that your Father was home for his birthday, and doing well! What a great reason to celebrate!
Thanks Jeanine for your great thoughts!
Can you skip the buttermilk part?
You could, but it imparts something special into the fried chicken so I would recommend using it.
Hot dog! I am so making this when my cousins come to visit next week! One of them is gluten free and she has not had fried chicken in years (and she is from the South)!! This looks amazing!
And, Carol, I am so so so happy that your Dad is doing better! What a reason to celebrate! Looks like you succeeded in giving him a perfect meal! And, we are total dark meat lovers here too. If you are going to go with fried chicken, you better go big, right??
I gotta say, it was pretty nice to eat fried chicken again. Thanks Kim for all your support while I was dealing with Dad’s illness. Having friends like you is one more reason to celebrate!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been craving fried chicken for months but hadn’t had the time or the knowledge to figure out how to make it GF and delicious too. I’ve been missing Chicken Fried Steak too so I’m thinking I might give the same coating a try on some cube steak and see how it goes.
Glad to hear your dad is doing better! 87 years is something wonderful to celebrate!
Thank you Linda and I think this same coating would work for chicken fried steak, you will have to let me know!
Yum. Crisp and crunchy on the outside. Moist and juicy on the inside. And to enjoy it while sitting at the table with your dad – what a true blessing! May there be many more such occasions Carol!
How lovely to be able to celebrate with your father. I’m glad he’s doing better. The recipe looks so yummy and I’ll have to give it a try.
Girl, you don’t know how much is sings to my heart! I have neer successfully fried chicken, and haven’t attempted since going gluten free. It sounds so good.
Oh yummy! We will be celebrating a birthday and sort of good news for my husbands father (he has cancer, but it’s slow growing and treatable), this month, too! And he can’t have beef so this is SUCH GOOD TIMING!
I just have one question, Carol, in tip number one you say wait 5 minutes and dip again, so did you mean to dip in eggs and dredge again or just dredge??
Printing this off now,
Holy Cow Carol, that chicken looks amazing, can I come over?
So happy to hear about your dad. While every moment is a blessing, the really good moments (like sitting around the table eating fried chicken with friends and loved ones) are truly priceless…I’m so happy for you! :-D
Come on over Heidi – I will set a place for you at the dinner table :) Thanks for your kind words and good thoughts!
Wow fried chicken. It looks amazing! I definitely miss eating fried chicken, and have never tried to make it myself. Now I will definitely try! :) Thanks Carol!
For someone who never, ever, ever liked fried chicken before (seriously, had a craving for it about once every other year), I’ve been wanting it like something CRAZY the last few weeks. Thanks for the recipe! I might have to dig out my little fryer this weekend.
Oh I wish I had a fryer – would make the whole temperature thing so much easier!
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This looks great and I plan to give it a try this weekend. One question, if using a gluten-free all purpose flour (like http://www.namastefoods.com/products/cgi-bin/products.cgi?Function=show&Id=13) is it still necessary to use the potato or tapioca starch? Thank you for what sounds like a great recipe!
I looked at the ingredients and that flour looks like it already has a starch content so it should be fine! Enjoy!
Thank you – not only did the “gluten free” folks enjoy this – everyone did, and you really couldn’t tell that gluten free flour was used. The chicken came out great and I only wish I made a bigger batch!
Hey! I was seriously craving fried chicken but being a newly diagnosed coeliac I wasn’t sure how to go about it, tried your recipe and it was perfect and delicious as well as easy :) Did my own little happy dance. Thank you so much! I will definitely be trying this one again and again^^ Regards from all the way in South Africa.
Thanks so much for letting me know. I love South Afirica – spent some time there about 10 years ago!
Thanks for this! My Dad is coming for a visit next week. He’s from the south and been struggling with finding tasty foods that won’t make him sick. Dairy bothers him as well, so I tried using almond milk with a little lemon juice instead of buttermilk for my test batch. Made a couple other minor seasoning changes, it came out delicious! Without your method I’dve been clueless. Can’t wait to cook it for him and share the recipe with my stepmother!
Thank you for letting me know Sonya! Enjoy yout time with your family.
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Fantastic blog! Great!
No xantum gum necessary? And what is the answer to the double dip in egg question?
Hi John, nope – no xantham gum and I am sorry but I don’t understand your egg question. Can you elaborate?
I discovered your website this morning and wish I had found it sooner!
John was referring to Sheila’s question regarding “double-dipping” in eggs and flour.
Sheila had asked:
“I just have one question, Carol, in tip number one you say wait 5 minutes and dip again, so did you mean to dip in eggs and dredge again or just dredge??”
Thank you for posting dozens of delicious gluten-free recipes. Awesome website & recipes! :)
Hi ANgela – this is one case where double dipping is ok – yes, dip in egg, dredge in flour, wait 5, dip in egg and dredge in flour again!
Thanks for your kind words!
Hello! Wonderful story, I am very happy for you and your father! A question, do you have a recommendation for a substitute for the buttermilk? I eat gluten and dairy free but I want to try this so badly, I miss fried chicken more than anything!
Thanks Lisa and yes, easy peasy! Just take whatever dairy free milk you like (i would recommend either rice milk or coconut) and mix with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar. Give it a stir and let it sit for 5 minutes and use as buttermilk. This is a good substituite for buttermilk in all kinds of recipes!
This looks so good, I will have to try this!
I have to say – I had not had fried chicken in so long and it was SOOOO good! Enjoy!
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I tried this recipe for dinner and LOVED it! The chicken was so juicy and I was so excite to be able to eat fried chicken again. Going to be making this again.
Thanks Denisse – so happy you enjoyed it!
What is the purpose of the potato or tapioc starch? Are you able to skip this ingredient and increase the rice flour amount?
Hi Courtney. The starch makes the flour stickier and helps the rice flour brown a little better. I think – but have not tried this – that you could use all rice flour. My thought is that the skin would be more tempura like that fried chicken but again, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful, detailed recipe. Our son is celiac but he is off at college so we went wheat crazy and you guessed it…. my husband is now gluten intolerant. I had never fried chicken because he preferred KFC and it was okay with me. Not any more. He was really missing his chicken and this satisfied wonderfully. Thank you, thank you. We have a happy hubby in the house again!
Hi Mel, so happy you and your hubby enjoyed the recipe. Having a happy hubby is a very good thing!
Remember that not all hot sauce is gluten-free. Only hot sauce made with distilled vinegar (like tobasco) would be totally safe because many vinegars are made from grains.
Good tip Allen. I use Tabasco myself.
This came out so well. This was a huge winner at my house!!!!! Thank you!!!!
Hi Candi – so happy you all enjoyed it!
ummm….. That’s extremley delicious… love crispy food
Thanks, me too!
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my husband had a bad couple months- and we thought it was IBS-but now we are thinking with the vomiting , that it could be gluten intolerance… go to the dr Monday for testing… thanks for the receipe…
YOu’re welcome! I hope that you get the answers your searching for!
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the best gluten free fried chicken! I don’t feel deprived anymore thank you!
You’re welcome Denise! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe :)
This looks yummy but uses buttermilk.
Is there a dairy free version of this?
A dairy-free alternative to buttermilk would be to use 1 cup plain dairy-free milk or dairy-free yogurt + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix together and let sit for 5 minutes to “sour” before using. Since this recipe calls for a quart of buttermilk, just multiply those instructions by 4. This usually works for replacement of buttermilk but every recipe is different, so results could vary slightly. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Hope this helps!
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