Gluten Free KFC Inspired Fried Chicken
Who doesn’t love fried chicken? More importantly, who doesn’t love KFC fried chicken? I remember as a child my brother and I just losing our minds when our dad came home with a bucket of KFC fried chicken. (It was always my dad that pulled that move). It’s just nostalgic, know what I mean? It’s particularly nostalgic for me as my first real job was working at KFC. I ate far too much fried chicken for a teenager and that unique taste is permanently engrained in my mind.
Well, if you’re gluten free, like my wife, you very well may have no idea what the hell I am talking about…until now! This recipe has a lot of ingredients but the majority you probably already have in your pantry. I’ve done my best to recreate the original recipe without using MSG which I do know the original recipe contains.
This recipe also calls for gluten free flour without xanthan gum which is critically important. Xanthan gum and frying don’t mix well as the batter gets mushy or sticky. We want to make a nice crispy fried chicken.
Ok, here we go!
Category: Poultry - Chicken
Weight: 3-4 Pound Chicken (this recipe is good for 2 whole chickens)
Grill: Stovetop (can be done on the grill, easier to manage on a stovetop)
Heat Source: Gas
Type of Wood: N/A
Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes
Estimated Cook Time: 13 Minutes
Actual Cook Time: 13 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes to 4 ½ Hours pending on brine time
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 325°-350° degrees Fahrenheit
Actual Cooking Temperature: Temperature will drop when you place your chicken in the oil. Your temperature should vary between 300°-350°. This cook, I placed the chicken in at 350° and the temperature dropped to 310°. At that point, you increase the heat to bring back up to 325°-350°
Location of Purchase: Costco
Cook Date: January 15, 2021
2 Whole 3-4 Pound Chicken, broken down into 10 pieces each (halve the chicken breasts to make 10 pieces) with the skin on
Oil for Frying (Peanut, Canola or Vegetable work great. I used Canola for this cook)
Salt for dry brine
Fried Chicken Batter (this enough for two whole chickens, if cooking one, just halve the recipe)
2 cups Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Flour without Xanthan gum. This is very important as Xanthan gum makes the chicken a bit sticky and not as crispy. This is the product you want to buy. (If you are not gluten free, use regular all-purpose white flour)
Optional: ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs. This is a personal preference of mine and something I think brings a nice additional crunch. It is not common for a KFC style chicken. (If you are not gluten-free, use regular bread crumbs)
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
Optional: Cayenne or Ancho Chili for heat if wanting to make a hot fried chicken.
Optional: Chives for garnish
Cast Iron Dutch Oven or Frying Pan
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Step 1: Deconstruct your chicken into 10 pieces. You want 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs and your 2 breasts cut in half to make 10 total pieces.
Step 2: Sprinkle salt over the skin of the chicken and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. This helps dry out the skin to make it extra crispy.
Step 3: 30 minutes prior to cooking, remove from the refrigerator and allow the chicken to come to room temperature.
Step 4: Place your Dutch Oven or Frying Pan on the stove and fill with oil of choice. You can do this a couple ways. First, fill with enough oil to cover the chicken in its entirety. This uses a lot of oil but is my preferred method. Or, if you want to conserve oil, fill to where you think the chicken would be half way covered without displacement. Once you put the chicken in, it will allow you to flip and cook each side evenly. Bring oil to a temperature around 325°-350°.
Step 5: While your oil heats, prepare your batter. Combine all batter ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
I did both a regular and a hot friend chicken.
Step 6: In a mixing bowl or swallow dish, scramble your eggs for the egg wash.
Step 7: When oil is to temperature, take your chicken, place in batter mixture first, then to egg wash and back to batter. Be sure to shake off an excess batter.
Note: If you do not shake off the excess batter, it will make the batter not stick to the fried chicken and flake off easily after cooking.
Step 8: Pending on the size of your pot/pan, I suggest cooking half a chicken at a time. Place your dark meat (leg and thigh) in first. Cook for 4 minutes. If your oil is only half full, cook each side for 2 minutes.
Note: Keep an eye on your oil temperature. We know the temperature will drop when you put the chicken in and it needs to recoup. You can adjust the heat as needed to help the oil recover but you don’t want to go above 350°.
Step 9: Add the white meat (wing and 2 breasts that were halved). Cook an additional 8-10 minutes until internal temperature is 165°. Again, if your oil doesn’t completely cover the chicken, flip halfway through. Once your chicken is at temperature, remove from oil and place on your wire rack to drain excess oil.
Tip: If you need to keep the first half warm while cooking the second half, place in a 180°-200° oven.
Step 10: Plate and dig into the first ever KFC influenced gluten free fried chicken.
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)