For A Crispier Fried Chicken Coating, Add Some Liquid To Your Flour Dredge

The only thing better than fried chicken is extra-crispy fried chicken. The juiciness and salty flavor of fried chicken is a big part of the appeal, but what makes fried chicken so especially irresistible is the shattering crunch of the coating and its contrast with the tender meat inside. It's such an essential part of good fried chicken that it has spawned a mini scientific community to figure out how to make the coating even crispier. Some people add vodka to batters and brines because the alcohol evaporates quickly and thus dehydrates the crust. Others use egg whites to mimic the crunch of tempura. But, you don't need to stop there. Adding some liquid to the flour you dredge your chicken in can work with almost any recipe, and it will take the crisp of your coating to the next level.

The concept is pretty simple: Crunchy fried chicken doesn't just come from the coating itself crisping but from the texture of all of the craggy edges and irregular chunks of batter that get fried up. If you dredge your chicken normally, you usually just get a thin, uniform coating of flour. However, adding a liquid causes the flour to form little clumps of coating, which then cling to the outside of the dredged chicken. Those clumps then fry up into canyons and ridges of extra-crispy, crusty goodness without adding so much coating that it gets too heavy.

You can use your brine or other liquids to give fried chicken coating more crunch

Pretty much any liquid that goes well with fried chicken will work when mixing it in your flour. The easiest option is to just use the leftover brine or marinade that you already prepared for the chicken. This could be as simple as salted water, but buttermilk or heavy cream will add an extra bit of fatty taste as well. Pickle juice is another popular brine that will flavor your crust in addition to enhancing the texture. You can also follow the same science behind vodka brines and sprinkle some neutral alcohol in. The high heat from frying will quickly cook all of the alcohol off, so you don't have to worry about it flavoring the coating, you'll just get the crispy results.

When adding liquid, you only need 2 or 3 tablespoons, as you don't want all of your dredge to clump up. Just before you toss the chicken with the dredge, add whatever liquid you've chosen, then work the flour with your fingers until the liquid is absorbed and clumps form. You can always add another tablespoon of your chosen liquid at a time if it does seem like enough. From there, you can follow your recipe like normal, but with enhanced coating that will give you the crispiest fried chicken you've ever made.