Bread – How to imitate commercial fried chicken


I'm trying to develop my own "secret" fried chicken recipe, something that is similar to Popeye's or Church's. I'm a LONG ways from getting there. Here's what I did in my last experiment:

  1. Chicken was marinated in buttermilk with Cajun spices and Tabasco
    sauce for 24 hours
  2. I used a deep fryer and canola oil. 175C.
  3. Prior to "dressing" the chicken, I let the excess buttermilk brine drip off the chicken. I then seasoned it with Cajun seasoning
  4. I made a batter using an egg, self rising flour, milk, baking powder
  5. I also tried using just plain flour for breading


  1. Using the batter, the chicken came out looking burned and too smooth (didn't have that crunchy look). It burned too much that I couldn't finish cooking the chicken.
  2. Using the flour, the chicken came out with a thin crust, somewhat crispy, but also too burnt.
  3. Dipping the chicken in the batter AND then flour gave a bulky & crunchy look. However, again, the result looked too burnt.


I then changed the the breading. I used bread flour and corn starch. I dipped the chicken in the batter again, then used the new breading. The bread flour was a bit lighter. And the corn starch was even more lighter. But they were still burn looking (just lighter shades). I also dropped the temperature to 160C.


Burnt chicken whose crust wasn't really sticking to the skin/meat.


Any suggestions on what I can do to improve? I'm guessing something in the batter is causing the burnt coat. What flour should I use? What can I do to make the coat stick to the skin/meat? Any other suggestions on what to do?

Best Answer

160C sounds about right for cooking oil temp. I typically shallow fry on the stovetop for about 10-12 minutes for the thighs and then transfer them to a 175C oven to finish cooking (if needed) and then repeat with the breasts. I would stay away from "battering" if you are looking to replicate something like popeye's.

A few things I do to ensure a nice thick crunchy crust:

  1. Put your flour (seasoning or not thats up to you) in a very large zip top bag or paper bag will work too so that when you put the chicken in you can "tumble" it around to be coated like in a dryer. I find that this is cleaner and more effective in creating a crust.
  2. pull out the dredged chicken, redip it in the buttermilk and then throw it back in the bag to tumble.
  3. let the chicken rest on an elevated rack for 15-20 minutes (up to an hour ideally) to allow the dredge to set and adhere to the chicken well. This helps prevent the dreaded "skin falling off the meat" phenomenon.