Learn how to make perfectly crispy gluten-free fried chicken at home with this simple recipe. Deep frying chicken on the stovetop is easier than you think, and results in a golden-brown crispy coating and the most moist, juicy meat on the inside. For best results, marinade the chicken in the buttermilk mixture in the refrigerator for as long as possible before deep frying, preferably overnight! But the marinade is chock full of spices and hot sauce for big flavor with limited time.
When it comes to easy chicken dinner recipes, I am all about the path of least resistance, especially where crispy coatings are concerns. Usually you’ll find me taking short cuts with breakfast cereal like in these gluten-free chicken tenders, or simply relying on baking in the oven at a high heat to get that fried feel without all the oil (see gluten-free chicken wings).
But every once in a while, and more likely in the summertime when I’m craving something all-American and festive, I’ll fill a skillet full of hot oil and attempt a stovetop fried chicken.
Gluten-free fried chicken used to be one of the harder items to find on a restaurant menu, but for some reason a few years ago, many Martha’s Vineyard restaurants started making GF versions. The best was a stand at the farmer’s market that served their gluten-free fried chicken with pickled vegetables and the most addictive spicy aioli.
Sadly my gluten-free fried chicken thigh love affair was short lived: the stand is gone! So I’ve been left to satisfy the craving myself on the home front with this stovetop fried chicken.
Fried chicken is truly a labor of Southern love. The more time you have, the better your chicken will be. That said, for those a little pressed for time, I added lots of spices – paprika, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne – to the rub to amp up the flavor. And the buttermilk marinade has some added hot sauce!
For best results, start the night before and marinate the chicken in the fridge to tenderize it. If you’re dairy-free, feel free to use a buttermilk substitute. Any plant-based milk will work with the addition of 1 tablespoon lemon juice. The acid is what helps tenderize the chicken.
How to make fried chicken gluten-free
The breading for fried chicken is fairly simple: most recipes just call for regular all-purpose flour, which sticks to the chicken pieces and becomes craggy thanks to the wet marinade.
Most gluten-free fried chicken thigh recipes use all-purpose gluten-free flour which is an easy one-to-one swap. However, if you want to make your own, this is my favorite blend for gluten-free frying:
Gluten-free fried chicken flour blend
- ½ cup millet flour
- ½ cup white rice flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
Around a cup of flour is all you need for 8 pieces of chicken.
Mistakes people make with gluten-free stovetop fried chicken
The one difference between using gluten-free flour blends when deep frying in a skillet is that the GF version browns much faster than regular flour, which means flipping the chicken earlier, and turning the heat down slightly on the second side so that the chicken has enough time to cook through without burning.
I am embarrassed to say that I don’t own a candy thermometer, so I always do my deep frying by feel. Definitely pay attention to what’s happening in the skillet and adjust the heat if your chicken begins to turn from golden to a deeper brown within the first 4 minutes.
You are aiming for 12 minutes total to make sure the chicken is cooked through in this gluten-free dinner recipe. If you find that things are moving too quickly and you need to remove the chicken pieces prior, you can continue cooking the chicken in a 375 F degree oven for an additional 15 minutes.
If the results are not as crispy as you want or you’d like to make your gluten-free fried chicken in advance, you can simply bake them on a sheet pan in the oven at 400 to 425 degrees F until crunchy, about 10 minutes.
What’s the best oil for fried chicken?
The best oil for cooking something over high heat or deep frying is canola, safflower or mild vegetable oil. The healthiest options are avocado oil or refined coconut oil, but since they tend to be more expensive, I won’t judge you if you go with a cheaper option.
You’ll need around 2 cups of oil for a large 15-inch cast iron skillet.
If you’re looking for more gluten-free dinner recipes, these are some of my favorite that include chicken.
Other delicious gluten-free chicken recipes:
- Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders
- Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes
- Kalamata Olive Chicken
- Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan
- Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Meatballs
- Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken
- Baked Gluten-Free Chicken Wings
Read on for this gluten-free fried chicken dinner recipe!
With health and hedonism,
How to Make Crispy Gluten-Free Fried Chicken
- 1 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 4 whole chicken legs thighs and drumsticks separated
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 cup buttermilk (for dairy-free option: combine 1 cup dairy-free milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
- Canola oil , for frying (at least 2 cups)
- 1 1/4 cups All Purpose gluten-free flour (or a blend, see headnote)
- In a medium-mixing bowl, whisk together 2teaspoons salt, the paprika, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne. Add the chicken and rub it all over with the spice mix, working it under the skin into every nook and cranny.
- Pour the hot sauce and buttermilk (or dairy-free alternative) over the chicken. Slosh it around until well-coated. Marinate for at least 2hours, or preferably overnight covered in the fridge.
- When ready to fry, pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed skillet, coming at least 1 inch up the sides of the pan (about 2 cups for a large cast iron pan). Heat the oil over medium-high heat until you reach 350 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, simply test the heat by dipping the first piece of chicken in. If it starts sizzling and bubbling wildly, the oil is hot enough.)
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off any excess liquid, or place the chicken in a strainer. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour in batches, shaking off any excess.
- Working in batches, cook the chicken in an even layer in the oil until golden brown, turning once, about 12 minutes total. Adjust the heat if the chicken browns too quickly and becomes overly dark within the first 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack to drain and cool for at least ten minutes.
- Serve the chicken alongside slaw and/or corn, with some extra hot sauce for dipping.