Sourdough Fried Chicken

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This simple sourdough fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It’s made with staple ingredients that you likely have in the pantry. You can use any cut of chicken, so your family will enjoy a variety meals with one, easy recipe.

Sourdough fried chicken on decorative plate

Though I am not a native southerner, I have spent more than half of my life and my entire adulthood in the American south.

Throughout the course of my 20 years living in southeastern North Carolina, I have had my fair share of southern fried chicken. As such, it has come to be one of my favorite foods.

My sourdough fried chicken recipe deviates slightly from the way my very southern mother-in-law taught me to make fried chicken because it uses sourdough breadcrumbs.

But making fried chicken with sourdough breadcrumbs adds extra depth of flavor and is an easy way to use up my leftover homemade sourdough bread.

Three pieces of sourdough fried chicken stacked on a plate

Tips for Making Sourdough Fried Chicken

  • Use any cut of chicken. One of the best parts of this sourdough fried chicken recipe is that you can use any chicken cut you have on hand. For example, use chicken tenders for kid-friendly meals. Or fry up chicken breasts for a delicious chicken parmesan. Also, you could use chicken drumsticks for a summer favorite. Any chicken will work!
  • Use homemade or store-bought breadcrumbs. I prefer to use sourdough breadcrumbs because they add more depth of flavor, and I almost always have them on hand. However, you can use any breadcrumbs you have stashed in the pantry.
  • Season everything along the way. One trick for fried food is to season each ingredient with salt and pepper. Add a little salt and pepper on the chicken before dredging it. Then, season the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

Watch How to Make Sourdough Fried Chicken

YouTube video

  • Get creative with your breadcrumb seasonings. You can season your breadcrumbs to match your meal. For instance, add Italian seasoning for chicken parmesan. Or spice up your fried chicken sandwiches with a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Slice or pound chicken breast and thighs (if needed). For ease and even cooking, make sure your chicken is about the same thickness. For chicken breasts or thighs, you can either slice or pound them.
  • Use freeze dried eggs if you have them. Freeze dried eggs are great for breaded recipes like sourdough fried chicken. For one egg, just mix together 2 tablespoons of dried eggs and 2 tablespoons of water.
Breaded chicken thighs frying in cast iron skillet

Tips for Frying

Preheat the oil to 375°F

The main mistake I used to make when frying was not letting the oil get hot enough. A low oil temperature will make soggy fried chicken, which is the exact opposite of what we are going for here.

Generally, for frying chicken, the oil should be 350°F.

Keep in mind that the temperature drops when you add the chicken, so you should preheat the oil to about 375°F. That way, when you put the chicken in, the temp will drop closer to 350°F.

breaded chicken frying in cast iron skillet

Use a thermometer for your oil

It’s hard to tell when your oil is hot enough for frying. But using a fry thermometer removes the guesswork. That way, you will know when your oil is the right temp and when or if you need to adjust the heat.

Add the right amount of oil for frying chicken

For a long time, a common mistake I made was trying to deep fry chicken in a drizzle of oil. Of course, using minimal oil is one way to make a little healthier.

But if you want really crispy sourdough fried chicken, you’ll want to add about 3/4″ to 1″ of oil in a heavy-duty skillet.

Woman holding cast iron skillet

Use a good skillet

You will want to use a skillet that heats evenly and holds heat. I’ve found that a cast iron skillet works the best for fried chicken (though stainless steel will work, too).

Cast iron heats evenly and holds heat. Plus, when you make sourdough fried chicken in cast iron, you are also seasoning your cast iron skillet (video).

With a few tips and tricks for cooking in cast iron, you won’t want to fry chicken in anything else.

Choose the right oil

Because you need the oil to preheat to 375° and maintain 350°F for cooking, your oil should have a high smoke point.

Generally, I use avocado oil. But you can use any neutral, high-smoke-point oil you have on hand. Options include:

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Peanut oil
sourdough fried chicken displayed on plates

How to know when your sourdough fried chicken is cooked

When frying, it can be a little tricky to figure out when your chicken is cooked. In my experience, using a digital thermometer is the easiest and most precise way to know when your fried chicken is cooked through.

When the thickest part of the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165° F, it is done.

Can you make sourdough fried chicken in an air fryer?

Yes! In fact, I have a healthy air fryer fried chicken recipe on YouTube. It’s a similar process, but rather than deep frying, you can spray them with oil and cook them in an air fryer.

Watch how to make air fryer fried chicken

YouTube video

What to serve with fried chicken

Just about anything and everything pairs with sourdough fried chicken. But some of my favorite ways to make it a meal are:

  • Fried chicken sandwiches. Slap it on a bun, and add your favorite condiments. For lunch, I especially love a spicy fried chicken sandwich.
  • Potato salad or other summery sides. Sourdough fried chicken pairs nicely with potato and macaroni salad for summer cookouts and get togethers.
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy. Sourdough fried chicken with a heap of mashed potatoes and gravy is classic cozy, comfort food.
Sourdough fried chicken cut in half
  • Waffles. Top a homemade waffle with a piece of fried chicken and drizzle with maple syrup or hot honey.
  • Salad. Warm sourdough fried chicken on a cool, crisp salad is delicious, especially with a drizzle of honey mustard dressing.

How to reheat fried chicken

I am a fan and advocate of meal prepping. But often fried foods don’t store well for very long. However, you can certainly enjoy leftover fried chicken for a day or two. So make a little extra for lunch the next day.

Reheating fried chicken in the oven

To reheat, stick your leftover sourdough fried chicken on a oven-safe wire tray. This will allow the air to circulate and prevent sogginess on the bottom. Then, place the wire tray of chicken on a baking sheet. Lastly, just pop it in the oven at 400°F until it is crispy.

Reheating fried chicken in the air fryer

The air fryer is my favorite way to reheat fried foods like sourdough fried chicken. Just place it in the air fryer basket and reheat it at 375°F until crispy.

Close up of sourdough fried chicken

Tools You Will Need

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Containers of breadcrumbs, all-purpose flour, and eggs

Ingredients

1 lb. thin chicken breast or thighs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sourdough breadcrumbs
1 cup neutral oil (or more depending on size of skillet)
Salt and pepper

How to Make Sourdough Fried Chicken

Place the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate containers. Make sure the containers are large enough to easily fit a piece of chicken in it. Season each with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large cast iron skillet, add the oil and begin preheating. You will want about an inch of oil in the skillet, so adjust the amount as necessary.

Meanwhile, coat the chicken in flour, and dust off the excess.

Chicken thigh in container of flour

Next, dip the chicken in the egg, and allow the excess to drip off.

Chicken thigh dredged in egg

Then, dredge it through the breadcrumbs on both sides. I find it helpful to pat the breadcrumbs on to help them adhere.

Chicken thigh dredged in sourdough breadcrumbs

Once the oil reaches about 375°F (I recommend using a deep fry thermometer), gently place each piece of chicken in the skillet. Be mindful to not splash the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

Using tongs, turn to the other side. Again, be mindful to not splash the oil. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Breaded chicken thighs frying in cast iron skillet

Once the internal temp of the chicken is 165°F, place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Immediately sprinkle the piping hot chicken with salt.

Allow to slightly cool. Enjoy!

More Recipes You’ll Love

sourdough fried chicken on decorative plate

Sourdough Fried Chicken

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This simple sourdough fried chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It's made with staple ingredients that you likely have in the pantry. You can use any cut of chicken, so your family will enjoy a variety meals with one, easy recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin chicken breast or thighs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup neutral oil (or more depending on size of skillet)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, egg, and sourdough breadcrumbs in separate containers. Make sure the containers are large enough for you to easily fit a piece of chicken in it. Season each with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, add the oil and preheat the oil. You will want about an inch of oil in the skillet, so adjust the amount as necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, coat the chicken in flour, and dust off the excess.
  4. Then, dip the chicken in the egg, and allow the excess to drip off.
  5. Finally, dredge it through the breadcrumbs on both sides. I find it helpful to pat the breadcrumbs on to help them adhere.
  6. Once the oil reaches about 375°F (I recommend using a deep fry thermometer), gently place each piece of chicken in the skillet. Be mindful to not splash the hot oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Using tongs, turn to the other side. Again, be mindful to not splash the oil. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Once the internal temp of the chicken is 165°F, place it on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Immediately sprinkle the piping hot chicken with salt.
  9. Allow to slightly cool. Enjoy!

Notes

Keep an eye on the oil temp. Using a deep frying thermometer is helpful so you know if and when to adjust the heat. Try to keep the oil temp at 350°F once the chicken is in it.

Heat the oil to 375°F so that it drops to 350°F when you add the chicken.

Keep about an inch of oil in the skillet. Adjust the amount as necessary for your skillet.

Get creative with how you season the breadcrumbs. Add any spices and herbs you prefer to match your meal.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 658Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 35g

Nutritional information is auto-calculated and may not reflect your final product.

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