If there is one conundrum in gluten-free cooking, it’s crispy chicken. Or crispy anything, for that matter.
There are more gluten-free fried chicken recipes than you can shake a drumstick at. And they sure are contradictory:
Use a baking rack so air can circulate. Don’t use a baking rack because the chicken won’t brown.
Use almond flour (nut allergy). Use Bisquick. Dip chicken in egg dip. Don’t use egg. Use buttermilk (that’s out if you’re dairy free, although you can make dairy free buttermilk).
It’s enough to make you scream in frustration. Before I went gluten-free, Shake and Bake was my go-to easy weeknight dinner. So I figured, how can I incorporate that into a gluten-free version? Forget the egg dip and forget the fuss. Here is how I did it. If you would like the step by step recipe, click here.
- I used just chicken thighs, but you can make a whole cut up chicken if you like, or drumsticks, or whatever. But don’t go boneless. This works best with bone-in chicken.
- I used gluten-free Bisquick. After doing some research, I thought this would be the best coating flour to use. DO NOT use gluten-free breadcrumbs!
- DO NOT rinse or pat chicken dry. Rinsing spread bacteria. Do not dry the chicken because you want the coating to stick. No egg dipping necessary.
- You want to coat a foil-lined baking sheet with oil and preheat it along with the oven. You want that oil to heat up so it seals the coating and crisps it up. I used to do this in a pan before finishing in the oven. This eliminates the extra pan.
- Use a ziplock bag to shake the chicken one or two pieces at a time. You can close the bag so the flour doesn’t fly all over the place. You can add whatever spices you like to the flour.
- DO NOT use a rack. This won’t work with gluten-free flour. The chicken needs contact with the baking pan to crisp up.
- You will need to flip the chicken after about 25 minutes, then bake it for about 20-25 minutes longer. Be careful not to under or overcook it. After 35 minutes, pierce the largest piece with a knife. Juices should run clear. If not, continue checking every five to ten minutes. It should be done in under an hour. It depends on the size of your chicken pieces.
I was amazed at how good this chicken was. And I didn’t have to dip it in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs. What a mess! Why flour instead of breadcrumbs? Gluten-free breadcrumbs do not stick well. They tend to fall off. Flour gives a better, even coating and sticks well.
Crispy chicken is not just an impossible dream. It is possible. And damn delicious.