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Written by the YesChef staff
The purpose of marinating your chicken in buttermilk before frying it is so that the fried chicken will wind up crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. But there are alternatives to buttermilk if you don’t have it handy or prefer not to use buttermilk. Here are some of the most popular buttermilk substitutes when making fried chicken:
Sour Cream and Water: Sour cream is great as a buttermilk substitute because it’s tangy, but it’s also thicker than buttermilk. As a result, add water to the sour cream to thin out the sour cream so to achieve a similar consistency as buttermilk.
Lemon Juice (Or Lime Juice) and Milk: Another good buttermilk alternative for your crispy fried chicken recipe is combining fresh lemon juice with milk, which will create just the right level of acidity to work as a buttermilk substitute. You can also add salt, pepper, and garlic among other spices to the mixture. Another buttermilk alternative is to combine milk with lime juice. Yogurt and lemon juice also works well as a buttermilk replacement.
Milk and Vinegar: Milk combined with vinegar also works as a buttermilk replacement. Distilled white vinegar is best because of its neutral flavor. You can also mix milk with cream of tartar (to replace buttermilk) due to cream of tartar’s acidity.
Hot Tip: Follow this standard buttermilk recipe: for every 1 cup of milk add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.
To safely and efficiently make the best fried chicken recipe possible, here are some fried chicken tips and tricks that Edward recommends:
Egg Carton Trick: After dipping his chicken pieces in a batter of flour, salt and pepper, and smoked paprika, Edward lays them over an egg carton. Laying them on a flat surface, he says, could cause the chicken to stick to the surface.)
Safety First: When frying hot oil in a pan, Edward recommends having a lid handy in case the oil catches fire; covering the pan will stop any fire. Another important precaution when cooking fried chicken is to never drop the chicken into the oil; rather, make sure to softly and gently place your meat into the oil.
Cook Pieces Evenly: To ensure your fried chicken pieces are cooking evenly on all sides – and that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan – turn it over consistently with tongs.
Use a Timer: And don’t forget about it: A good way to time everything perfectly and to make sure your fried chicken turns out just right, is to set a timer, since it’s difficult to know when the fried chicken is done simply by looking at it. (For a medium-sized piece of chicken, set your timer to 14 minutes.)
Add Sauce Late: The timing when adding sauce to your fried chicken is important. Because the perfect fried chicken is dry on the outside and moist on the inside, Edward explains, adding a wet sauce will inevitably take away some of its crunch. To maintain the crunch, Edward applies his Korean Gochujang sauce to the fried chicken crust immediately before serving it.