Water Is The Unlikely Key To Crispy, Mess-Free Chicken

Perfectly crispy chicken — whether fried or roasted — is one of the most popular comfort foods out there, but it is often tough to achieve the desired result when making it at home. While everyone loves the taste of fried chicken with its crunchy, flavorful skin, health-conscious people have turned away due to its high grease and fat content. Besides, making your own fried chicken is always a messy endeavor as hot oil sprays all over your stove (and often your clothes). Luckily, there's an easy trick out there that can remedy this issue altogether.

This cooking hack to make lip-smacking fried chicken without the mess only takes one additional step. The secret ingredient? Water! Whether the chicken is breaded or simply coated in your favorite seasonings, dunking it into water prior to cooking stops the grease from splattering and results in extremely crunchy fried chicken. So, how does this work?

You can lead a chicken to water

Employing this cooking hack is extremely simple. After breading or seasoning your chicken pieces like normal, dunk them in water, drain off the excess liquid, and then place them directly into the hot oil. The water cuts down on the splattering while also helping to crisp up the chicken. It is commonly accepted that dry chicken skin crisps up better because too much moisture can prevent browning. However, there will always be some amount of moisture present due to the fat and juices that come out during the cooking process.

For another chicken hack involving water, try pouring boiling water over the chicken before cooking to tighten and shrink the skin. The boiling water can also get rid of the fat that normally remains inside the chicken until cooked. Once cooled and dried, you can then fry or roast the chicken until it reaches your desired level of crispiness. This locks in the flavor and creates the crunchy outer layer that we love. While this extra step could seem time-consuming, it actually saves you time in the long run because the chicken will crisp up faster. If you are worried that the boiling water will make the chicken lose its flavor, you can always add seasoning to the water beforehand.