Before I learned how to sous vide fried chicken, we always ran the risk of biting into a slightly undercooked piece of chicken. Gross! But now that I sous vide the chicken first, we crunch into our fried chicken fearlessly every time.
How to get extra crispy super crunchy fried chicken
There are 3 secrets to amazing fried chicken.
- Add cornstarch to the flour mixture
- Double coat each chicken piece
- Make sure the oil is HOT! (350º-350ºF) (175º-190ºC)
Sous Vide Convenience
Cooking with a sous vide is incredibly convenient. Set the water temp, put your food in a zip lock bag or vacuumed sealed bag, drop it in the water, and let the sous vide do all the work. It’s near impossible to over cook in a sous vide and 0% chance of burning anything… ever.
I learned this method of frying chicken from Mikey at the Firefly Restaurant in Effingham, IL. Up to this point, I had used my sous vide plenty of time but never as the first step in frying chicken.
How to Make Sous Vide Fried Chicken
In order to get perfectly done moist juicy fried chicken every time, cook your chicken in a sous vide for at least 1 hour first. This way the chicken is cooked before you fry it. Using this sous vide method is fail-safe and fool proof. You will never worry about biting into raw undercooked or tough overcooked fried chicken again.
Sous Vide Fried Chicken Recipe
- Fill sous vide container with water and set temperature to 155ºF (or 64ºC).
- Place 3 – 4 chicken pieces in vacuum sealed bags or heavy duty zip lock bags with air removed. When water temp is reached, submerge bags in sous vide for at least 1 hour if boneless and 2 hours if the chicken pieces have bones.
- Make a seasoned milk bath: In a bowl mix together 2 cups buttermilk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
- Make a seasoned flour mixture: In a shallow pan, like a cake pan, mix together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika.
- After the chicken has been in the sous vide for at least an hour, take it out and pat dry.
- Dredge each piece through the flour, shake off excess flour. Then dip the floured pieces in the milk bath and then dredge them through the seasoned flour a 2nd time. Shake off the excess flour and lay the pieces on a baking sheet.
- When all the pieces have been floured, dipped and re-floured, lay them spaced out on a baking sheet and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.
- Fry the chicken by pouring 1 – 2 inches of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and heat to 375ºF (or 190ºC) Or shallow fry the chicken by using less oil.
- Gently place 2 chicken breasts or 3 smaller pieces in the hot oil one at a time. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes per side until chicken is golden brown.
- Take chicken out of the oil and let them cool on paper towels or a cooling rack.
How to keep the breading from falling off
Make sure the chicken is dry before dredging through the flour the first time. After the 2nd dredge through the flour, let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This helps bind the breading to each piece.
- When deep frying the chicken, don’t over crowd the pan. Fry only 3 or 4 pieces at a time. If you overload the pan, the oil temperature will drop and result in soggy chicken.
- The longer the chicken is in the sous vide, the more tender and juicy it will be. I’ve left it in for 4 hours and have had excellent results.
- Make sure the chicken is completely thawed before putting it in the sous vide. If it’s frozen, make sure the sous vide cook time is at least 2 hours for boneless and 3 hours with bones.
- If you’d like to add additional seasoning to your chicken after it’s fried, sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the pieces as soon as they come out of the hot oil.
A Faster Healthier Way to Fry
Since the chicken is already cooked in the sous vide, it only needs a few minutes in the hot oil. Using this method beautifully crisps the outside without saturating the entire piece for a long time. The chicken is moist and juicy because it slowly cooked in the sous vide in its own juices.
No more standing over a hot vat of oil for half and hour. When I make this for Jerry and I, I’m done cooking in l0 minutes. If you’re going to fry, try to make it as quick as possible and always use fresh oil.
Can you make sous vide fried chicken ahead of time?
The best way to make these ahead of time is to sous vide the chicken and then store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
These are best when eaten as soon as they’re fried. If you have any left over, store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat them in a 350ºF (175ºC) preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes.
What to serve with fried chicken
These are some of our favorite sides:
Papa Frites – Homemade French Fries
Sous Vide Fried Chicken
Using a sous vide is a wonderful way to insure your chicken is done completely and yet still moist, tender, and juicy. It takes all the guess work out! | www.lakesidetable.com
- 8 pieces chicken drumsticks, thighs, and/or breasts
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups vegetable oil
Set sous vide water bath to 155º F
In a bowl, mix together the buttermilk and buttermilk bath spices.
Put 2-3 pieces of chicken in each bag and pour 1/4 cup of the milk bath in each bag. Vacuum seal the bags or submerge the zip locks in water to remove the air.
When the water comes up to temperature, submerge bags in the sous vide. The chicken will be done in 2 hours and will easily hold at this temp in the sous vide for 4 hours.
When chicken is done, take the bags out of sous vide and place in an ice bath.*
DOUBLE BATTER THE CHICKEN
Put all the ingredients under FLOUR MIX in a bowl and mix until combined.
Take the chicken out its bag and dry the pieces. Dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then dip them in the buttermilk mixture, and then back into the flour mixture. Set each piece aside on a plate or baking sheet.
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat vegetable oil in fry pan to 375ºF. (I use a probe thermometer).
Gently place 2-3 pieces in at a time. Careful not to splash the hot oil and not too many. Putting in too many pieces at a time will lower the temperature of the oil and will result in oily chicken, not crispy crunchy chicken!
Fry chicken for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remember, the chicken is already cooked. We're just getting a nice golden crunch here. Let chicken cool on paper towels or a cooling rack.
*If you are making the chicken ahead, refrigerate at this point after the ice bath.
If you’re not using a Food Saver system for bagging your food for the sous vide, use Hefty (or other high quality name brand ziplock). I’m a generic girl from WAY BACK, but in this case use the more expensive brands. I’ve used the generic ziplock in the sous vide and most of the time the zipper will detach opening the bag and ruining whatever you are making.