An Ice Water Bath Is Key For The Crispiest Fried Chicken Ever

Raw and fried chicken on ice
Raw and fried chicken on ice - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Fried chicken is in its most delicious form when it's perfectly crispy. There are an array of cooking techniques to achieve the crispiest fried chicken, from a dash of cornstarch in the batter to a dry brine. Out of all the tricks used for frying chicken in eateries and kitchens around the world, ice water is the unlikely ingredient that will achieve the crispiest fried chicken; it might even rival your favorite restaurant's version of the indulgent dish.

Ice water could seem like it would have the opposite effect of crisping chicken, but not when used the right way. If you soak the chicken in an ice water bath prior to the dredging and breading process, the cold liquid will firm the meat and keep it moist — it's basically like brining the chicken first. The ice-cold skin will also make sure your breading of choice will stay on the poultry during the frying process. When it hits the hot oil, any moisture will evaporate, resulting in crispy fried chicken. A bit of cold water in the dredging mixture can also achieve deliciously crispy results.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Soak Chicken For Up To Four Hours In An Ice Water Bath Before Cooking

Chicken soaking in pot of water
Chicken soaking in pot of water - KatarzynaWozniak/Shutterstock

For the ice water bath technique, start with two quarts of ice water for every eight pieces of chicken. In a large bowl or plastic bag that fully seals, combine the water with salt and dried herbs or other seasonings to infuse the poultry with flavor during the soaking process. Allow the chicken to sit in the water for two to four hours. Afterward, remove the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, then follow the rest of the recipe to season, dredge, bread, and fry.

Alternatively, you can add the cold water to the batter. For this method, combine water with flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and spices like paprika. You can even brine the chicken in cold water first, then coat it with the wet batter. Or, to make it easier on yourself, dredge and bread the chicken according to your chosen recipe, dunk it in water, let the water drip off, then place it directly in the oil to fry. To guarantee the fried chicken stays crispy until it's served, use a candy thermometer to ensure the oil remains around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the fryer or pot, and allow the chicken to drain and cool on a wire rack (instead of paper towels).

Read the original article on Tasting Table.