Fast food fried chicken is a polarizing topic. Everyone’s got a favorite, and we cling to our loyalties out of sheer mindless stubbornness. Are you a devotee of the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices? An evangelist for Popeye’s crispy breading? Do you like your fried chicken with a side of polarizing politics, à la Chick-fil-A? Was the world a little better when Wendy's still had spicy chicken nuggets? End the bickering. Find your own secret blend of seasonings and ideal breading-to-chicken ratio, so you can make the best fried chicken, full stop, any day of the week. A new favorite everyone can agree on. Here we’ve assembled our best fried chicken recipes to inspire you to greatness.
Let’s kick this off with some excellent fried chicken from acclaimed Harlem-based chef Marcus Samuelsson, with the most perfectly crispy crust you ever did see.
Fried chicken might seem like the perfect food all on its own, but you know what? You could be wrong—add a dollop of honey butter, and your favorite fried chicken gets even better.
The ginger and sake-marinated chicken gets tossed at the last second in potato starch before hitting the fryer, which makes for a light and perfectly crispy crust, sans gluten.
Former Mission Chinese chef Angela Dimayuga likes to eat this with lemon kosho, a vibrant and citrusy Japanese chili paste, but you can feel free to use Frank’s Red Hot, Sriracha, or whatever else you might have at home.
Maybe your ideal fried chicken has—gasp!—no breading on it at all. Let Matty Matheson show you the way to gluten-free fried chicken nirvana with this pan-fried version. (You can also watch the step-by-step on our video channel.)
When Southern chef Kevin Gillespie came to visit The Untitled Action Bronson Show, he shared with us his riff on the classic Chick-fil-A sandwich, remoulade and all. You can make it any damn day of the week you please.
The lactic acid in the buttermilk will keep these chicken thighs perfectly tender and juicy, making for the ideal fried chicken sandwich.
There’s gotta be some fool out there who’ll admit to preferring McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets over all other fast food chicken. It might be hard to find them, but I’m sure they exist. And to that guy we say, this recipe is for you, pal.
Our good pal Matty Matheson says this isn’t Southern fried chicken—it's “squad fried chicken,” which can be from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good group of buddies to share it with. Watch him make it over on our How-To channel.
Who other than Action Bronson could come up with this unholy concoction of fried chicken, flambéed bananas, and chocolate ice cream? We’re not sure how to tell you to get to the state of mind in which one is likely to be motivated to recreate this monstrosity, but have fun getting there.
The two-day brine for this chicken is packed with Thai chilies, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, garlic, and galangal. Chef Louis Tikaram suggests serving it up with a spicy Sriracha mayo.
This might not be the Korean double-fried chicken wings you immediately thought of, but hear us out: this pan-fried version cuts effort and time, but without skimping on any of that spicy-sweet glaze.
You know you're only eating that fried chicken sandwich as a vehicle to get the chicken into your mouth. Get rid of any unnecessary breadstuffs and go all in on these lil sliders.
Cornmeal is a solid choice for coating fried chicken, but why not give fried corn tortillas a try? Don't sleep on this potent white horseradish barbecue sauce for a healthy kick to the sinuses.
If popcorn chicken demolishes your sense of self-control, join the club. These bite-sized pieces of fried chicken are tossed in chiles, curry leaves, and spices, making it even harder to stop snacking.