These 2 Ingredients Will Give You the Crispiest Fried Chicken Ever

published Jan 24, 2023
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hand holding a fried chicken drumstick
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
This Fried Chicken Is Extra Crispy and Crunchy, Thanks to One Extra Step

Is there anything more delicious than juicy, crispy fried chicken? I like to leave the frying to the professionals, as I’m super intimidated by cooking with hot, splattering oil, but after watching an Instagram Reel by cowboy cook Kent Rollins, I might just give it a shot. 

Rollins has a solid following on YouTube (2.38 million subscribers) and Instagram (869,000 followers), and he’s an expert on cast iron and outdoor cooking. In the Reel, he shows you how to make “the crispiest, tenderest chicken sandwich you’ll ever eat in your life” using two surprising ingredients: pickle juice and powdered sugar.

To make fried chicken, Rollins places raw chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag, pounds them with a rolling pin, then cuts them in half. He cuts the flattened chicken breast on a piece of aluminum foil to keep his cutting board free of raw chicken juice before making the marinade using buttermilk, garlic powder, and dill pickle juice (which he says makes the chicken “get tender in every bite”).

He stirs the marinade together with a whisk, places the chicken in the marinade, puts a lid on, and lets the chicken sit in the refrigerator — or “ice box” as he calls it — for at least three hours. To wrap things up, Rollins combines the dry ingredients to coat the chicken: all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, coarse ground black pepper, his original seasoning, and — for the grand finale — powdered sugar. While Rollins doesn’t explain what the sugar does, my best guess is that it helps to balance and bring out the other flavors.

This is one recipe I can’t wait to try — and because I’m craving fried chicken now, I just may have to test it out tonight. If you’re hungry for more fried chicken content like me, check out our fried chicken sandwich recipe (made with dark meat) and tips for reheating fried chicken leftovers.