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Fried chicken (also referred to as Southern Fried chicken) is chicken which is coated with flour, a breading mixture or batter and then deep fried, pan fried or pressure fried. The breading adds a crispy crust to the exterior. The chicken itself may be chicken pieces on the bone with skin, or boneless and skinless pieces, usually breast meat, as in chicken fingers.


Methods of frying chicken vary.

A pressure fryer is often used, as this is the quickest method of preparation. The water inside the chicken becomes steam and escapes through the oil in a sealed chamber, increasing the pressure and lowering the cooking temperature needed. The steam also cooks the chicken through, but still allows the piece to be moist and soft inside the crisp batter or other coating.

Pan frying requires a frying pan and an amount of oil that may vary by recipe and technique, from a quarter inch to halfway up the chicken pieces. In a common technique, chicken is shaken in a paper bag with flour and spice, and you can use other seasonins such as ranch dressing mix which can be mixed with flour. A popular seasoning for fried chicken is paprika. The chicken is then placed in the hot pan and fried, turn chicken every ten to twelve minutes for a even brown color. Chicken is done when thermometer reads 180 degrees. Never leave frying chicken unattended.

Pan fried chicken generally takes substantially longer to prepare than deep fried or pressure fried chicken. Restaurants offering traditional pan fried chicken often specify a wait of fifteen minutes or longer.

Deep frying is the most common in commercial settings. This type of frying usually uses batter coatings.


Deep frying has a long history supported by evidence from ancient cultures all over the world including Russiamarker, Mexicomarker and Japanmarker. Fritters had already existed in Europe since medieval time, and fried chicken was known as pollo fritto in Italy, Ga Xao in Vietnam, etc. before it became a culinary habit in the Southern United States. The Scots, and later Scottishmarker immigrants to many southern states had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat, unlike their English counterparts who baked or boiled chicken. There is also evidence of deep frying in West Africa. It is uncertain if deep frying existed in that region before European contact.

When it was introduced to the American South, fried chicken became a common staple. Later, as Africans were brought to work on southern plantations, the slaves who became cooks incorporated seasonings and spices that were absent in traditional Scottish cuisine, enriching the flavor. Since most slaves were unable to raise expensive meats, but generally allowed to keep chickens, frying chicken on special occasions spread through the African American communities of the South. It endured the fall of slavery and gradually passed into common use as a general Southern dish. Since fried chicken could keep for several days, longer than other preparations, and traveled well in hot weather before refrigeration was commonplace, it gained further favor in the periods of American history when segregation closed off most restaurants to the black population. Fried chicken continues to be among this region's top choices for "Sunday dinner" among both blacks and whites. Holidays such as Independence Day and other gatherings often feature this dish.

Since the Civil War, traditional slave foods like fried chicken, watermelon, and chitterlings, have suffered a strong association with African American stereotypes and blackface minstrelsy. This was commercialized for the first half of the 20th century by restaurants like Sambo's and Coon Chicken Inn, which selected exaggerated blacks as mascots, implying quality by their association with the stereotype. While acknowledged positively as soul food in the modern age by many, the affinity that African American culture has for fried chicken has been considered a delicate, often pejorative issue; While still present, this perception has been fading for several decades with the ubiquitous nature of fried chicken dishes in the US and a gradual ageing and dull acceptation of this stereotype.

Global spread


  • Chicken fingers - also known as chicken tenders or chicken strips, this is one of the most common forms of fried chicken, generally pieces of chicken breast (sometimes with rib meat) cut into long strips, breaded or battered dipped, and deep fried.
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Buffalo wings, or the boneless buffalo fingers
  • Hot chicken - a pan-fried variant of fried chicken coated with lard and cayenne pepper paste
  • Popcorn chicken — occasionally known as chicken bites or other similar terms, small morsels of boneless chicken, battered and fried, resulting in little nuggets that resemble popcorn.
  • Chicken patties — breaded, fried patties of chicken meat used in sandwiches.
  • Chicken fries - chicken nuggets in the shape of french fries, popularized by the fast-food chains Burger King, KFC and Hungry Jack's. These may also be referred to as chicken sticks.
  • Chicken Chipees — chicken meat chopped and shaped into chips coated with potato crumbs. Popular in Australia
  • Chicken Karaage
  • Chicken Katsu
  • Country Fried Chicken — chicken meat that has been coated with flour or breaded,fried and served topped with country cream gravy.
  • Crispy fried chicken - a dish from the Cantonese cuisine of China
  • Korean fried chicken - fried chicken pieces flavoured with soy-garlic or Korean spicy sauce
  • Toriten - Japanese Tempura style fried chicken

A variant of fried chicken known as prawn paste chicken or shrimp paste chicken can be found in Hong Kongmarker-style restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia. This variety is not dissimilar to the common deep-fried version, except that the breading mixture includes pureed shrimp and ginger juice, giving it a distinctive aroma and flavor.

See also


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