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Why did my fried chicken burn?

I looked at a lot of recipes, and they all said to heat the oil to about 350, and cook the chicken for 14 minutes. However, by eight minutes, the chicken was black! I cooked using both an electric deep fryer and a pot of canola oil on the stove with a wire basket and thermometer. The idea was to cook in small batches, then finish in the oven, but in both of the pots, the flour burned to a black char at 350. The only pieces that came out unburned were ones I cooked at 280, but those were greasy. What is happening here, scientists?

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  1. Given that it's possible, but unlikely, that the thermostat on your fryer and your thermometer are both shot, or not very accurate, all I can suggest is frying at a lower temperature and check your thermometer closely. Your "burned to a black char after 8 minutes" outcome says to me that it's highly likely your oil temp was closer to 450°, and not 350°. Thermometers can be misread and thermostats can crap out, and will generally overheat the oil before dying completely. 280° is too low for deep frying, and will result in a greasy product, which you experienced.

    15-20 minutes cooking time is fine for larger pieces of chicken breast on the bone, fried at 350° and should result in crunchy chicken, but don't rely solely on the timer for doneness; the chicken needs to be checked manually or finished in the oven, as you mentioned you wanted to do. By "flour burned to a black char," I assume you mean the crust on the chicken?

    Did you drop or bang the thermometer recently? It may not appear broken, but thermometers are notorious for getting knocked out of whack and checking out when you need them most, with no warning. Try calibrating your thermometer for accuracy. If you used a candy/deep fry type, dip it into boiling water, allow the temp to come up and note the response. You may not be able to adjust the calibration on that type of thermometer manually, but at least you'll know if it's accurate.

    Since I don't know what type of electric deep fryer you have, I can't comment on it. I've never used the small electric home deep fryers.

    10 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      hi bushwickgirl, great response as always. one question though, do you typically do your fried chicken with a constant temperature as you mentioned above? or do you ever cook on low and crisp on hi towards the end.

      some cooks say frying twice yields greasy fried food. to get around that i have my really good but fussy option: first lightly poach chicken pieces in "kort boo-yawn" with a "boo-kay garnee" of misc herbs until internal temp is 60c then shallow frying and constantly basting with butter and olive oil. or there's my lazy alternative (quick and easy but chicken not as juicy) is to nuke on medium for around seven minutes; then deep frying until cripsy in any vegetable fat close to it's smoking point.

      also, i've been told it's ok to pre-season but i prefer to salt only at the second stage and pepper right before serving. i do sprinkle the chicken pieces with some worcestershire and misc spices (usually cumin and nutmeg) if i do the nuked version. your comments please.

      1. re: epabella

        I rev the clean, strained or fresh oil up to 350°, add the seasoned and floured chicken and cook at at a steady 345°-350°. I'm sure you can cook it at a lower, say, 325-330° temp and crank it up at the end for the crunch. Fresh oil takes longer to color the chicken. Sometimes I'm too lazy to be bothered to deep fry, and just shallow fry and check the oil temp by how it's bubbles when I put the chicken in.

        I have been part and parcel to the preblanching or poaching method of cooking fried chicken, simply for faster finishing, in a professional setting. The poaching method adds flavor like the buttermilk soak, with just a little different flavor profile, using your boo-kay- gar-nee and the kort boo-yawn. I found it to be perfectly acceptable method of making fried chicken. Not authentic Southern, but acceptable. There are many ways to fry a chicken.

        I season the buttermilk soak with a little hot sauce, the raw chicken with salt and pepper and the flour for breading with cayenne, herbs salt and pepper, etc. Layers of flavor, layers of flavor.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          I am so surprised you poach first. The two times I've tried it it was flavorful enough; but was almost "artificially" tender -- falling apart -- by the time it got dried out, dredged and fried.

          I love your theory of layers of flavor, however. I'm not a big fan of using an enormous number of herbs and spices in any one dish -- with the exception of fried chicken. My personal chicken recipe, I am told, tastes close to Kentucky Fried Chicken. And although my chicken's similar I think it's crispier, too.

          1. re: shaogo

            The poaching method was employed at a few restaurants when I worked professionally, as a technique for a prep shortcut and to cut down on frying time at service. As I said, the result is acceptable, but not as good as frying from a well seasoned raw state. I've also used the partial fry method, and then finished frying the chicken when it was orderd, with reasonably good results, but it's not really a method of cooking one has to use at home. At home I soak overnight, bread, fry it up til done and dig in.

            I have to say I haven't eaten KFC in so long I don't really remember what it tastes like, although it seems that it was quite well seasoned. The fact that your's is crispier is probably because is freshly fried and consumed quickly. My sister worked at KFC for years when she was younger, which is a point of amusment to me, (in her defense she was a divorced mom and supporting 4 kids on the KFC salary) and I'll have to ask her about their holding times.

            epabella, this is a iffy long shot but can you get dried buttermilk powder there? Probably a silly suggestion; if you can't get buttermilk, then you probably can't get the powder. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I was gonna post a question about precooking chicken before making fried chicken, but it's mentioned in this thread.

              I'm into fried chicken and tried different styles - buttermilk, brines, self-rising flour, plain flour, batters, dredging... etc.

              Now, I'm interested in parcooking the chicken...
              Can you give a quick summary on the method...
              simmer or boil? In highly seasoned water or plain water?
              How long?
              Do you need to dry complete before boiling?

              Thanks... :-)

              Also, regarding KFC... do they still dredge their chicken on-site? I've heard that it all comes in prepackaged and the local restaurants just fry the chicken.

              1. re: dave_c

                "Now, I'm interested in parcooking the chicken... Can you give a quick summary on the method... simmer or boil?"

                simmer if you want to avoid what shaogo observed to be 'almost "artificially" tender -- falling apart'. you just want to take the internal temp to 60c and no higher.

                "In highly seasoned water or plain water?"

                plain water will work but why not take advantage of the opportunity to introduce flavor into the chicken. throw in carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, black pepper corns into the poaching liquid.

                "How long?"

                soon as you get internal temp of 60c, get those suckers into a colander and air dry for at least fifteen minutes before zapping in the fryer. you can also refrigerate and fry tomorrow or the day after.

                1. re: epabella

                  Thanks for the info... I'll give it a try one of these days.
                  I might try parcooking using the brine from the Ad Hoc recipe posted on another thread.

                  Note to self: 60 C = 140F. :-)

          2. re: bushwickgirl

            as always, thanks for the input bushwickgirl - now i really need to try that buttermilk soak. thing is, buttermilk is not common in south manila groceries. still i'm gonna run the gauntlet and think of you as each grocery girl says "i don't know, sir - try aisle eight". all the same, i'm crossing my fingers. on your advice, i'm also going to pre-season because the breading will catch whatever juices the salt leaches out and retain all that goodness.

            shaogo, i know what you mean when you say "artificially tender" when frying poached chicken, that's why i'm always careful to keep the temp at 60c max. also, i'm glad there's somebody else that does the "tiny bit of sugar" trick (i do it too) - usually it's good enough to do the job msg is supposed to do but i guess glutamate is more difficult to approximate. maybe freeze-dried/powdered mushrooms and parmesan will do the trick - just have to work out the quantities and find a store stocking such.

            1. re: epabella

              Sorry for the reply to an old thread, but you could always make your own substitue buttermilk:


              Prep Time: 5 minutes
              Total Time: 5 minutes

              Milk (just under one cup
              ) 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice


              1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

              2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

              3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

        2. re: bushwickgirl

          After adding the chicken, did you crank up the heat to return the oil to 350? That would make it burn

        3. You don't mention that the temperature dropped when the chicken was first dropped in, and how many pieces? That's hard to imagine that it cooked to black in 8 minutes unless your thermometer was off. Curious did you move the chicken or were you cookin another batch simultaneously? Both thermometers going out is stranger; I doubt your chicken was cooking at an even 280. Another question is what kind of oil, and was it old or used before? If the oil gets dark, you'll burn the chicken and if there are alot of seasoning bits in the oil, i.e., flour, egg etc. the chicken will darken faster. Best results for me are a deep cast iron deep fryer. I don't use a thermometer since I've done this so many times, I drop bread in the oil, or a drop of water. The cupe of bread will cook nicely to a golden brown or the water droplet will skip about nicely (sort of need practice for this one). I know truly scientific. Good luck!
          Also since I noticed you have an electric stove, try buying a thermometer that you can setup on the side of the pan, or even they probably have a digital. I have no problems with my $10 one.

          1. All wonderful observations so far.

            In a skillet the chicken's exposed to the bottom of the skillet and the combination of off-thermometer and fire under the pan burnt the chicken. Also, some of the coating may have come off the chicken and is accumulating at the bottom of the pan and burning. In a professional deep-fryer, the fire's in tubes that heat the grease and the bits fall below these tubes, to the "cold" area of the fryer and have less of a tendency to burn.

            1. i cooked duplicated buttermilk fried chicken of ad hoc twice. i have candy like japanese thermometer. when i droped two chicken pieces into the stainless pot with canola oil about the degree as you mentioned, the temps rather spiked up. and i reduced the intensity of the flame on the stove top. and then the temps later dropped eventually. the browing degree of the f chicekn was quite darker than the photo of the cook book and some pics from visitors of the restauant in google image. but recelty i found one pics of b f chicekn in google image. it was quit e dark. so i am thinking that maybe its generall for cooking this type of fried chiken. and i saw bobby flay's throwdown episode of buttermilk fried chicken. in there, peple say they taste some burnt flavour in bobby flay's buttermilk fried chiken and say they rather like it.

              1. I question whether the thermostat on the electric fryer, and the thermometer on the stove were both inaccurately high at the same time...Possible? Yes!... Probable? Doubtful.

                Did you marinate the chicken in buttermilk/milk? ~~ I'm guessing yes. ~~ Chicken marinated in milk products will yield a much darker finished product than those not marinated in one of the two ~~ To the point of being actually being "black"? Probably not, but very dark brown is a very distinct possibility! ~~~ Obviously, if the oil was in fact too hot, and you had an excess of milk/buttermilk on the chicken... then that is/was a perfect storm for a very dark exterior and an undercooked interior....HTH

                24 Replies
                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  Test your thermometers by boiling water; it should read 212 when it boils. If not, you will know that your thermometers are off.

                  I do best at frying golden delicious chicken with a dollop of saved bacon grease, along with shortening. Yes, shortening. I could never figure out why my fried chicken was so greasy, when my mothers' and gmothers' was always so crips and delicious. Oils are just too thin IMO to sucessfully cook the chicken properly.

                  1. re: KSyrahSyrah


                    No! You needn't rely on hydrogenated fats to get crispy chicken. We use liquid, pure soy oil (*not* canola) in the restaurant fryers.

                    The secret is to marinate the chicken, then dredge, then after dredging in seasoned flour let it *dry out* for about a half hour, at room-temperature. The chicken will come out very, very crispy and tasty every time -- and not greasy at all. We add a smidgen of sugar to the dredging flour, in addition to the salt, pepper and other seasonings (MSG and a little onion powder). Now I've given up my secret.

                    You'd be surprised, the people who declaim "NO MSG" and then are given chicken specially prepared, omitting it; they complain all the time that it's "not the chicken we're used to." And I tell them, the tasty chicken you're "used to" was the one you used to get all the time -- without a problem -- *before* you became "allergic" to MSG.

                  2. re: Uncle Bob

                    I was thinking the same thing Uncle Bob..when I read her post, I immediately wondered if she marinated the chicken. If so, that was the reason (barring the thermometer was actually working). Chicken has to be patted dry before cooking if marinated.

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      Thank you all very kindly for your thoughtful replies.

                      More clues:
                      I did marinate the chicken (all thighs) for 36 hours in a ziplock bag in a combination of yoghurt, milk, and dried herbs. After letting the bag of chicken sit on the counter for 45 mins to take the chill off, I pulled the pieces straight from the ziplock bag and dropped them, dripping, into the flour to get a good coating.

                      The oil in the deep fryer was admittedly older than I would have liked, and had a dark color, although I used the coffee filter technique to clean it. The oil in the pot was canola oil which had been in the pantry for a few months.

                      I started the oil off at about 365, and when I added two big chicken thighs to each pot, the temperatures naturally dropped down to below 300, and I immediately cranked up the heat to compensate, bringing it gradually back to 350.

                      The thermometer I was using is a candy thermometer with the tip an inch or so from the bottom of the pot.

                      Several of the pieces I cooked were a VERY dark brown, and had a burnt taste. I was disappointed.

                      So, based on Uncle Bob's tips, do I need to scrape off any milk coating before flouring the chicken? After the temperature of the oil drops, should I leave it alone? Will the oil sitting in my cupboard go bad after two or three months?

                      1. re: 8Gr8N8

                        Well, there you have it. Mystery solved.

                        It .. was ... your ... oil.

                        Try it again with a new batch of oil.

                        While you can reuse oil, every time you do it the oil picks up some of the silt and food particles from its previous use (even if you strain it).

                        And every time you use the oil you lower its smoke point - the point at which the molecules break down into a funky stuff called acreolein and spread awful smoke around your kitchen -- not a good thing.

                        1. re: 8Gr8N8

                          ATK always says.... adding food will reduce the heat and DO NOT crank the burner up to raise the oil temp. cause it will cause burning. So, not just the old oil............

                          1. re: 8Gr8N8

                            So, based on Uncle Bob's tips, do I need to scrape off any milk coating before flouring the chicken? After the temperature of the oil drops, should I leave it alone? Will the oil sitting in my cupboard go bad after two or three months?
                            Yes! Remove most, if not all of the milk products prior to flouring and frying to minimize the dark browning...

                            No!! A drop of 65+ degrees is substantial...Push the oil temperature back up to the 350* ish range as quickly as possible. Finding a heating/cooking source with more "Horse Power" (BTUs) offering a quicker recovery time would help also.

                            No! Unused oil in your cupboard should be fine after two or three months.

                            For the reasons stated.. using old oil certainly did play a role. HTH


                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              I agree with Uncle Bob; the combination of the dripping chicken & the unstable cook temperature was your problem. Unused oil is fine in your pantry for months; I bought 10 gallons of oil from a restaurant I worked in...it lasted me for over a year. If you used oil that was already cooked with & kept for months, you'll have a problem.

                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                Again, watching ATK this weekend they specifically say:
                                DO NOT CRANK UP THE HEAT TO GET THE OIL BACK TO 350.
                                Oil temp will drop, sometimes below 300, fry about 310 or you will BURN
                                why is that so hard to understand??????

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  While all of the advice given in this thread is good, Uncle Bob knows his stuff -- I'm going to agree that the Dairy was the culprit, as I discovered the hard way with my disastrous batch of chicken last night and my two near-perfect batches today. The only variable was the dip before the dredge. The buttermilk marinade/dip resulted in near-black chicken after 8 minutes, as with the OP, using freshly-bought oil. Today, a dip in 1/4 strength milk to water resulted in a perfect golden crust, while using 100% milk still made it come out too dark.

                                  I'm now considering going straight from the water-based brine into the flour and eliminating dairy altogether. I don't think the brine needs acid at all, as I frankly haven't come across a "tough" chicken that actually needs tenderizing, which is why everyone tells you to use buttermilk in the first place.

                                  When I first saw this thread I agreed it was the oil, either temp or age, but then I got to thinking about how we did it at KFC when I was a kid (related thread posted today). And we used much hotter and obviously much older oil -- we'd go weeks without changing it out -- and never had this problem. But we did use a very thin milk wash -- almost pure water with just a hint of milk. So I now hold that buttermilk is Evil unless it's in Ranch Dressing.

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    I stopped using buttermilk in my fried chicken about a year ago in favor of brining. Brining gave me better results and saved a ton of money.

                                    Then I read The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook and became convinced that salting most meats would achieve the same thing as brining. Their version of "salting" involves rubbing the meat with salt, sugar, spices, and putting it in a freezer bag. The resulting juices become a "shallow brine". Salting is much easier than conventional brining, and works great with all kinds of chicken.

                                    So I agree, save the buttermilk for the ranch dressing. And give me lots of it!

                                    1. re: acgold7

                                      No offense, but I'm pretty sure you're barking up the wrong tree.

                                      People have been cooking buttermilk fried chicken for generations. If it necessarily led to burning, you'da thunk people would've noticed it before now. I've made many, many batches without burning. That said, I'd agree with Uncle Bob that the best way to use a buttermilk marinade is to really shake any excess off and then go with a very thin layer of seasoned flour. For me, that's the most pleasing texture - thick buttermilk batters can sorta wind up in between crispy and chewy.

                                      But even if you go with a thicker layer, that doesn't necessarily mean your crust is gonna burn. Here's a recipe with multiple dredgings through a dairy wash. I doubt they faked the photo:

                                      People use buttermilk not just for its marginal tenderizing effect, but mainly because they like that little taste of buttermilk in the chicken.

                                      At best, it's possible that dairy-based batters/dredging are better cooked at a slightly lower temperature than other batters. I haven't really noticed this, but it's possible.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        Well, first I have to say there's no way I can argue with you. You're one of the best and brightest posters here and I go to you as the authority on most things. You are my Yoda and I feel stupid even responding. But I will anyway.

                                        There's no question that the dairy was in fact the culprit in my case, as it was the only variable, and that's what scientific experiment is all about. And in the OP's case there was thick yogurt involved so it's likely the culprit as well, especially as the burning was occurring in two different devices with two different batches of oil. So while Buttermilk or other dairy does not necessarily have to lead to burning in all cases, it clearly is a factor here.

                                        If you like the flavor, great. You can get that tang in other ways. Just because people have been doing things a certain way for a long time doesn't always mean it's the best way, as I'm sure you'll agree.

                                        The recipe you linked to does call for multiple dairy dips but calls for rinsing one off and letting the other drip off completely. And if the photo was professionally taken, it was almost certainly faked by a food stylist -- all food photos are. And the chicken is quite dark and much, much darker than I like mine. And we don't even know if it was fully cooked.

                                        But this just goes to how individual tastes are in things like this. My whole point was to emphasize that people having this issue should look at the dairy component as a possible culprit and not always go to the obvious oil temperature issues.

                                        You are still my Yoda and I always know to go to threads with your name on them because I know I will get some good learnin' there.

                                        1. re: acgold7

                                          I thank your for your kind words, though I assure you I'm wrong on a regular basis, regardless of how forcefully or bluntly I state my opinion. Anyway, on the matter of fried chicken:

                                          I have to admit, I can't say with any certainty that dairy based batters don't burn any more easily than other batters/breading. I have not personally observed this in my fried chicken adventures. But I can't rule it out either.

                                          What I can rule out is the notion that using buttermilk or a diary-based coating necessarily means fried chicken will burn before cooking through. I understand that you made it both ways and changed only one factor, with the apparent result that dairy batters burn. But when people (myself among them) have been successfully making buttermilk fried chicken for generations, the reasonable assumption is not that making good fried chicken with dairy is impossible but rather that your experiment missed some factor. If you had a hard time making, say, crepes, you wouldn't conclude that making crepes is impossible, right?

                                          (I hope you don't think I'm making fun of you - I post that link because it's sort of applicable, but mostly because it's funny and this discussion gives me an excuse).

                                          In the OP's case, I think the clearest culprit is oil temperature. He/she says a few posts above:
                                          "I started the oil off at about 365, and when I added two big chicken thighs to each pot, the temperatures naturally dropped down to below 300, and I immediately cranked up the heat to compensate, bringing it gradually back to 350."
                                          That drop in oil temperature along with a very slow rise again is important, IMO. When the OP cranked the heat up to compensate for the initial drop, he doomed himself to burnt chicken. There is a balance between chicken size, starting oil temperature, oil volume, and pot/fryer shape that must be struck in frying chicken. The recipes don't say so, but it's the truth IMO. Sounds like the OP just hasn't dialed in those factors precisely enough. The OP did not 'gradually' bring the oil temp back to 350 if he did it in the course of 8 minutes. The speed with which the oil recovers its temperature is the single biggest factor in whether the crust burns or winds up greasy or winds up a toasty golden brown, and the OP went too fast.

                                          I don't mean to dispute your personal taste. And I don't mean to say that a buttermilk marinade is intrinsically better. I use buttermilk most often because I grew up with it and like the flavor. Sure there are other good ways to make fried chicken - you won't hear me say otherwise.

                                          Like I said, you might be right that getting rid of the dairy component would be one way to help solve the OP's problem (and I agree that really shaking/squeegeeing off excess buttermilk before a light dredging is a good call). But it can't be the only way, because dairy based batters/dredging are a time-proven technique.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            Also out of curiosity - are you deep frying or pan frying?

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              I'm deep frying. After years of trying pan-frying I finally decided I didn't like it too much. It was too unpredictable for me. An electronic thermostat and a huge thermal mass of five quarts of oil are my friends. Mainly, because I learned how to fry at a KFC in SoCal and didn't grow up in the South. So some would say I don't actually know how to fry at all. But that's another thread.

                                              And I didn't mean to suggest you couldn't make good fried food with Buttermilk or any other dairy, or that it always leads to burning. Only that dairy is almost always suggested as a browning element in baked or fried goods and if you're having a burning or darkening issue, it's a logical place to look. If someone wrote in complaining that they couldn't get a nice color on their fried goods, I'd suggest they *add* a dairy component.

                                              If you've got something that's only going to spend a couple of minutes in the fat, like onion rings or CFS, I'd say bring on the dairy and don't stop.

                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                "if you're having a burning or darkening issue, it's a logical place to look."
                                                I'll take your word that it is if you're just trying to make fried chicken. But if you're specifically trying to make buttermilk fried chicken or want that yogurt tang, then you'll have to look elsewhere for solutions.

                                                "dairy is almost always suggested as a browning element in baked or fried"
                                                Is that true? I'm actually not sure. I can't recall seeing buttermilk used as a browning agent. I've read that regular milk can aid in browning when baking, but I thought that was because it tends to raise the pH of whatever you're baking (i know it's not actually alkaline - just less acidic than what you'd typically add it to). Buttermilk is more acidic, so that logic wouldn't apply to it. Do you have any examples?

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  I think if you look in any cookbook you'll see a suggestion to brush pie crust with milk to achieve a brown crust. It's the milk sugars. It's just been ingrained in my mind since I read the 1975 edition of JOC. I just seem to recall that in every recipe I've ever read. But maybe I'm insane.

                                                  Again, I'm not insisting it has to be the solution, just the diagnosis.

                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                    Ahh.. I was thinking in terms of use within a batter or dough instead of being brushed on top. Yeah, there are many recipes calling for a brush with milk to help brown the surface of... whatever you're baking.

                                                    There seem to be a lot of recipes calling for a brush with buttermilk as well, but not a lot that I've seen goes as far as saying that it creates more browning. I think we can probably assume this is the purpose. Still, seems worthwhile to do a little test next time I'm baking with buttermilk.

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      See? What a great excuse to do parallel batches of everything both ways now.

                                                      You can thank me later.

                                                      Thanks again for all the great info you provide. Now I'm going to experiment with some basting techniques....

                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                        Thanks. My wife will sure appreciate it anyway - I don't eat too much of my own baking, but she likes it.

                                                        I have a basting test underway myself. Results to be posted in the next day or two.
                                                        Have a good one.

                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                          My ultimate indignity -- my wife hates fried chicken. My kids like it, though.

                                    2. re: 8Gr8N8

                                      The last batch of fried chicken I made was marinaded in buttermilk.
                                      One thing I noticed cooking at 350F was the crust got very dark, verging of being burned.

                                      What I did was let the temp drop and I tried to maintain a cooking temp of 300 to 320F. The results turned out pretty good and not greasy. Also, the color was a lot better - nice and brown vs close to black.

                                      1. re: 8Gr8N8

                                        You know the word on the street is that it's perfectly fine to reuse cooking oil. I say twice is it. As not to ruin what goody is going into it next, don't reuse it. I've tainted more good food and the loss of perfectly good food is much more expensive than a quart of oil. Dark oil, that was your first clue to toss it! I wouldn't even suggest you taste it, oil down, and it goes ransid. Its nasty.
                                        The other situation I see here is that you didn't pat the chicken down, not as in, you have the right to remain silent, but that you need to the dry doggone bird off! First flour, then drip then flour or cracker crumbs or whatever. It will help the coating stick to the chicken or whatever you decide to bread.

                                        ps/ clean the fryer often, don't store oil in it, and wipe it clean, wash the basket.

                                  2. Dear chow friend,

                                    Same problem happens to me. I fry the chicken pieces in a Kadai on the Stove. Use lot of vegetable oil. (I dont have a deep or electric pressure fryer.) I fry in small batches. 2/3 pieces at a time in medium heat. But every time the chicken remains raw or uncooked inside
                                    while the outside looks done, I mean the coating gets golden color. If I fry it longer time or give high heat the coating get dark browned or burned but still the inside remains raw or uncooked. That is soo heart breaking!! Sometimes, I also could see the pink color near the bones too. (I fry chicken with bones). So, I wonder if I would half boil the chicken pieces first then marinade them and then fry them. Or, if I would fry it 2 times: First time fry in low heat so that the chicken get well cooked and then use coating and deep fry them in high heat. ( french fry potatoes are made using this method). In that case, there would not any chance that remain the chicken raw or uncooked inside also we can get crunchy outside. How is this idea? Would appreciate your any opinion on this matter. Me & My family like chicken fry very much and I am determined to make restaurant quality fried chicken.

                                    One Question: Is small size pressure fryer available? only for family use? If available, how many chicken pieces I can fry at a time?


                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: susmita

                                      Hi Susmita,

                                      There's a couple things you can try.

                                      You can turn down the heat a little and use a thermometer to check the oil. When the raw chicken is cooking I've seen oil temperatures drop to 150 C, which is okay. When the chicken is cooking, I try to keep temperatures around 150 C (300 F) to 165 C (330 F), even if the recipe calls for temperatures between 175C (350F) to 190 C (375 F). As long as the chicken is still bubbling away vigorously, you are good. Also, the temperature will begin to rise as the chicken becomes more done.

                                      Another thing to try is to cut the chicken into smaller pieces.

                                      1. re: dave_c

                                        Dear Dave,

                                        Thanks. I think, the 2nd one is right for me to cut into small pieces.1st one is kind of troublrsome. But, how about if I half boil the chicken pieces first? Will not it work? I dont have thermometer. What it is called? Kitchen thermometer or ?

                                        1. re: susmita

                                          The first one is your main problem - your oil temperature isn't dropping low enough. Recipes that call for 350 degree oil are assuming the oil will be around 275-315 once the chicken is added - that's your actual frying temperature.

                                          Buy a thermometer - they're a lot cheaper than a pressure fryer, much safer, and a lot more useful too. Thermapen makes top notch digital instant read thermometers, but they're pricey. Various makers produce much cheaper digital instant read thermometers - Polder, Taylor, OXO - these tend to die quickly, but cost a fraction as much as a Thermapen. Or you could just buy a non-digital, deep fryer thermometer. These are much slower and less versatile. But they're durable and usually only a couple bucks.

                                          Also, rather than cutting the chicken into smaller parts, you might consider just buying smaller chickens. Since how fast something cooks is determined by its thickness rather than by weight or other dimensions, that should be more helpful anyway and leave your chicken pieces looking like chicken.

                                          Boiling the chicken would leach flavor from it.

                                          1. re: susmita

                                            Upthread (epabella and bushwickgirl, Jun 24/25, 2010) talks about poaching/parcooking.

                                            I'm still been meaning to try it, but I seems like it's worth a try.
                                            The steps I would try (but haven't proven out) is to...
                                            1) Poach in a flavorful liquid to partially cook the chicken.
                                            2) Drain, dry (thoroughly) and cool
                                            3) Cook as you normally would.

                                            1. re: dave_c

                                              I could see how a poach in a flavorful liquid could help if you can't get the knack of normal frying. Still, I wouldn't let that liquid boil - keeping it just below a simmer would be better.

                                              As a point of interest, I've also tried cooking the chicken sous vide (this doesn't have to be all that hard, though you do need a thermometer) and then either frying it in a tempura batter or else frying it with no breading at all (very hot oil - rice bran oil is nice since its smoke point is super high) and crisping the skin.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                How'd the sous vide chicken turn out?
                                                Different/Same as conventional fried chicken?

                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                  You can make it pretty similar to/indistinguishable from traditional fried chicken, but then there's not much point in cooking it sous vide, unless you just need to speed up the final frying process at the expense of more prep time.

                                                  Tempura fried chicken is pretty awesome, but there is a problem - the tempura batter can get soggy before someone is finished eating their chicken, especially if it's a big piece. It's worth doing for wing joints that you know you can serve quickly out of the oil.

                                                  Sous vide chicken with its skin fried crispy is a bit more useful - it's delicious just on its own (perfect doneness, very chicken-y, lots of control over texture), but especially good if you want to dress the chicken in some sort of spicy/tangy sauce right before serving - lots of Asian chicken recipes translate well to this technique.

                                        2. re: susmita

                                          Hi .. Here's a recipe from David Chang's Momufuku Noodle Bar in New York City. Looks pretty damn delicious! I'd like to make it when I get up the energy for all the steps .. you might like to try it!

                                          Be sure to read the comments, too.


                                          1. re: walker

                                            I had fryers that I had to learn a lesson on where to put the knob. If it's burnt at 8 minutes, then your thermostat probably is shorted to all the way up. On my fryers, I have these little holes under the knob that I can actually see the heating elements and see if they are getting juice or not. I make sure that it's glowing and before I put the chicken in, make sure it cycled and reached it's temperature and is off or not glowing. So make sure the heating elements are not glowing after the oil gets hot and reaches it's temperature point.

                                            So after I make sure that the elements are not glowing and after it reaches it's temperature, then I have fried enough chicken where when I put in the first 2 pieces, if it's boiling too radically if it's too hot or not. You will know where to set the knob at the next time. I think you said 280º is too cold, so you will figure it out frying your next batch seeing if 300º is good enough. When I cook my chicken I start out with a temperature of 375º then after I get all the chicken in the fryer, I turn the temperature down to 325º. That way the coating gets cooked right away to seal in the juices and the chicken doesn't get soaked with oil.

                                          2. re: susmita

                                            susmita, I fill up the fryer when I make my chicken Well to the top of the oil anyway of course.. Here's the way I do it. I been looking for the perfect chicken most of my life, and I experimented with all kinds of things and like mixing things together. Here's what I settled on. And as fussy as I am, if I settle on something, it's going to be pretty good:

                                            In your batter put in
                                            1/3 cup flour
                                            1/3 cup Shore Lunch Beer Batter
                                            1/8 cup Frying Magic coating
                                            1/4 cup Shore Lunch Fried Chicken coating
                                            A splash of buttermilk for flavor

                                            Now, Slowly add just enough water to make a REAL THICK batter. The trick in chicken is the batter.

                                            Now take each piece of chicken and dunk it in the batter and brush it all off. Dunk it again and brush it all off. Maybe one more time brushing it all off and notice that it's much harder to get the batter brushed off? Then you are there. Now dunk the pieces and brush off for as much coating as you want, or dunk the pieces and leave them for a thick coating.

                                            All this time you have the fryer on 375º. Hold each piece with a pair of grabbers in the oil before you let it drop for 7 seconds. After you get all pieces in, then turn the fryer down to 325º. Fry for 18-20 minutes. I had excellent luck with this system, and the flavor is VERY good. Comes out very crispy. The Beer Batter Shore Lunch makes it crispy. Makes excellent chicken nuggets too. Just take a chicken breast and cut in squares. Coat and fry. For Onion Rings, leave out the Shore Lunch Fried Chicken and Frying Magic.

                                            Enjoy !!

                                            1. re: SteveLassila

                                              Dear Chow Freinds,

                                              Thank to you all.


                                          3. As I was reading this thread, I thought of my fried chicken experiences. For years, I just patted chicken pieces dry, dredged with flour, salt and pepper and fried in a cast iron skillet with great results. Then I started putting the chicken in buttermilk overnight (just because everyone else was doing that), then dredging with flour, salt and pepper. I started getting burned fried chicken. I thought that I had just become unable to fry chicken, so stopped trying to fry chicken - for years (never thought about it possibly being the buttermilk soak).

                                            A few week ago, I was wanting fried chicken. I happened to have some thighs that I was going to use for chicken and dumplings, but decided to try my hand at frying chicken again. This time I soaked in a water/salt mixture overnight, drained well, dredged in flour and pepper, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. I still used the same cast iron skillet to fry the chicken and it came out perfect (just a little too salty, so decided to cut down on the salt in the water the next time).

                                            Now, on reading this thread, I have come to believe it was soaking the chicken in buttermilk that caused my chicken to burn. Maybe that is not the case, but I will never soak chicken in buttermilk again.

                                            Just my 2 cents worth of thought.

                                            1. Bringing up a dead post.. tried America's Test Kitchen's fried chicken tonight in my Le Creuset. They say to heat oil (peanut.. i used vegetable) to 375 degrees then drop in brined, dried, and dipped chicken and cook 7-10 mins covered. I followed all the directions to a 'T' (thermometer, brine, dry, etc) and within 3 mins I could smell it burning. Finished the chicken in the oven at 350 with an instant read... took almost 20 minutes. The last time I tried fried chicken I tried Ina Garten's recipe with a *different instant read* and had similar results. I don't get what I'm doing wrong! I have never failed twice at a dish! Any ideas?

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: turnerm3

                                                Dipped in what? Dairy first, or just flour? If it's dairy, that's your problem. You can soak it in buttermilk as many people do and that's great, but you must shake (or better yet rinse) it all off before you bread.

                                                Also, turn the fire down after the chicken goes in; you don't need it any higher than 335.

                                                I did a thread a while ago on KFC Extra Crispy style at home. It lists all the procedures step by step.


                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                  I brined in a buttermilk milk, then let air dry per ATK, then dipped in a flour/cayenne/S+P mix
                                                  I have never had problems with a recipe.. let alone twice..

                                                2. re: turnerm3

                                                  I'm curious what the altitude is where you live? I live at 7200 ft & if I try to fry chicken at 350 or above, it burns every single time. After searching online I found that reducing the cooking temperature to a minimum of 325 & frying it long enough to get a nice golden crust, then putting it in the oven at 200 (I have a convection oven & use that setting) until done, works great. The chicken stays very tender & moist & the crust doesn't turn soggy.
                                                  I hadn't cooked bone-in, skin on chicken for a long time because it always burned. After reading Michael Ruhlman's Twenty, I was convinced to give it another try. Seriously the best chicken I've ever had! It was a little salty to me & I've since made a few changes to the original recipe & brine & it's now my favorite way of preparing it.


                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                    Thanks a lot, I will try that recipe. I do not live at high altitude, but was cooking at 375. Even after I dropped the chicken in, the oil only dropped to about 350-360. I also wonder if I had so much oil and added too little chicken (not wanting it to drop so much) that the temperature didn't drop enough.

                                                    1. re: turnerm3

                                                      I usually fry chicken in a large enameled dutch oven on the stove filled about halfway with peanut oil. I add 3 pieces at a time & the temperature drops quite a bit, I've seen it as low as 290. When I try to turn the heat up to compensate for the drop, the chicken will burn. If I leave it alone or just turn it up a tiny amount, it turns out fine. Just my experience...

                                                      Oh & I keep a candy thermometer attached to the pan & in the oil at all times.

                                                  2. re: turnerm3

                                                    Did you have a thermometer in the oil?
                                                    What temperature did you try to keep the oil at during cooking?

                                                    I've noticed that most recipes start at 350F to 375 F. After the chicken is added to the oil, the oil temperature will drop. After some trial and error, I found that if I tried to bring the oil back to 350/3675F, the chicken burned quickly. Now, I just let the temperature drop and try to maintain the temperature around 315'ish. The chicken comes out nicely.

                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                      I was cooking at 375 and after I dropped the chicken in, the oil only dropped to about 350. I also wonder if I had so much oil and added too little chicken (not wanting it to drop so much) that the temperature didn't drop enough. Next time I think I will start at 350 and be sure to add enough chicken so the oil drops to 315-320. Thanks!

                                                      1. re: turnerm3

                                                        Like I said in my write up, I put my fryer on 375º and AFTER I put my chicken in then I put the temperature down to 325º Then cook for around 17/20 minutes. Check now and then to see how brown the chicken is. When you put the fryer on 375º and put the chicken in, them you will cook the coating so it seals the pieces up and the oil won't soak in. And when the chicken goes in the fryer, the temperature will drop significantly amd the cooking temperature for the remainder of the time should be 325º

                                                        And I ONLY put my chicken in buttermilk for around 15/20 minutes before cooking and that is only so the coating will stick to the chicken. Soaking all night is WAY TOO LONG! otherwise your chicken will come out burnt..


                                                  3. Last night was my first try at deep frying chicken, and “before” reading this thread. I have a seven qt. commercial fryer and at 240 volts it recovers quickly. With a new thermostat set at 350 deg. and a differential of 20 deg. (refires at 330 deg.), and these settings confirmed by a new thermometer I ended up with dark brown chicken after eight minutes and almost black after fifteen minutes.
                                                    My procedure was; soak chicken in buttermilk for four hours, then directly from bag to flour mixture, when all was coated then into the oil. Now after reading this thread I definitely have to go with the recommendations of Uncle Bob and Acgold7, get rid of the buttermilk.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Meatsauce

                                                      You don't have to quit the buttermilk. I put my chicken in buttermilk every time. But I don't SOAK the chicken in it. I put them in for only about 15 minutes then put them in my coating. I never had burnt chicken and the chicken tasts just as good. I use butter milk to make the flower stick to the chicken. Some people baste the pieces in an egg solution to make the coating stick, never did that

                                                      1. re: SteveLassila

                                                        I've soaked all night on many occasions without burning - the idea is that you can intensify the buttermilk flavor and also tenderize the meat (to an extent). A long soak isn't the source of the problem. I do suggest thoroughly shaking off excess buttermilk before dredging, though.

                                                        The problem in meatsauce's case is all about the temperature. He/she is not allowing for enough of a temperature drop in the oil for the chicken to cook through before the crust is burnt. This would actually be easier if he was not using a 7 quart commercial fryer, since the ratio of chicken to oil is bound to be quite low (which means the oil temp will not drop very much once chicken is introduced) when using such a device for home cooking. When cooking a limited amount of chicken, panfrying makes it easier to regulate the heat in such a way that leads to fully cooked chicken without a burnt crust. But if using a large deep fryer (as opposed to pan frying), I suggest trying this: cook the chicken at 275-300 degrees until chicken is cooked through (can be measured with instant read thermometer). Remove the chicken to a rack. Increase heat to 350-375. Put chicken back in fryer until crisp (not long). Either that or use much smaller pieces of chicken that can be cooked through in six or seven minutes.

                                                      2. re: Meatsauce

                                                        Update: I moistened the chicken with water, rolled in a spiced flour mixture and used the same heat settings as before. Chicken came out golden brown.

                                                      3. Have you tried frying it in lard? That does not burn like other oils do. What I have done is to use a cast iron skillet, add 1/2 cut of lard (non hydrogenated kind) and heat on med high. Dust the chicken in your flour mixture, then fry until golden brown then bake at 350 degrees in oven for about 1/2 hour. Perfect and the lard does not soak into the meat either.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: porklady

                                                          Another thing I believe is that some of you are cooking the chicken is something different or something that chicken isn't really designed for to cook in. Like a dutch oven and whatever. I use a regular cooker/fryer that is 60 years old and takes a lot of oil in it. And I put in the right oil in that cooker and fill the oil right up to the line, not under the line and not over. And I cook the chicken at the temperature that is listed on the cooking list that is riveted to the cooker, and cook it at the temperature that is listed on it. With one exception, I start out at 375º then when the chicken is all in the fryer then I turn it down to the temperature that is listed on the fryer which is 325º. Then it always comes out good. So what I would do is find an old cooker/fryer, or they still make new ones and put the right amount of oil in there, cook it at the right temperature and time and you may find much better results