Gluten Free Fried Chicken - Our Best Crispy Chicken Recipe

Nicole Austin

Learn how to make gluten free fried chicken using several of our favorite methods.

Let me start by saying that if my kids could have homemade fried chicken for dinner every night, they certainly would. There was even a time when I was experimenting with a gluten-free diet and made gluten free fried chicken and it disappeared from the table before I could have seconds.

Not to mention all of the other gluten-free chicken options out there.

I fell off the gluten-free wagon, probably long before I knew if it had any real major health benefits for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to make gluten-free foods from time to time, especially gluten-free desserts.  

Gluten Free Fried Chicken Photo

It’s surprising (and impressive) that so many products on the market are now gluten-free friendly. Not that long ago, one of my close friends told me she was gluten-free, and we could barely share a bag of chips. Even French fries at some drive-thrus were off the table — French fries! What the heck?

Now you can walk down the bread or pasta aisle and find tons of alternatives. At my local grocery store, there’s a labeled section in just about every aisle, including the freezer.

I’ve bought my share of donuts, cakes, bread, pasta, and cereals labeled gluten-free, and most of the time, you can’t tell what’s missing.

I like to share gluten-free recipes as often as I can because as this diet becomes more prevalent — both as a health experiment and also due to severe illness — I feel it’s more important for people to at least try some gluten-free food recipes.

If you take care of guests' alternative dietary needs and food allergies, it truly makes a big difference. Guests will feel like they’re part of your family when they visit.

With all that in mind, I’d like to explore gluten-free fried chicken with you!

Gluten Free Fried Chicken Picture

How to Make Gluten Free Fried Chicken

There are two main ways to make gluten-free fried chicken:

  1. Making fried chicken without flour
  2. Making fried chicken with gluten-free flour

Let’s take a look at both!

Fried Chicken Without Flour Recipes

You may be wondering, “Can you fry chicken without flour?” or even “How do you make fried chicken if you don’t have flour?”

Well, we’re here to help.

There are many options for frying chicken without using flour, and if you are careful to check the recipes and sauces to make sure they are also gluten-free, this is one of the easiest ways to make gluten-free fried chicken.

 Here's our best 2-ingredient recipe for gluten-free fried chicken recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken. Drumsticks, thighs, or wings work best.
  • Baking powder. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder for the best results. It is gluten-free, has no added aluminum, and comes from a trusted brand.
Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken Photo

Step-by-step instructions that don't require deep frying:

OVEN (best for larger batches)

  1. Pull and stretch the chicken skin to completely cover the meat. This will help make the skin crispy, as you will be coating that rather than the meat.
  2. Toss the chicken in baking powder in a large bowl. You can add salt or other seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, or cayenne pepper. Distribute as evenly as possible to create a fine coating.
  3. Generously spray an oven-safe baking rack with cooking oil spray and place it on top of a foil-lined sheet pan.
  4. Place the chicken on the wire rack in a single layer with space for the air to flow freely around each piece.
  5. Spray the chicken with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until fully cooked and crispy.
Gluten Free Fried Chicken Image

AIR FRYER (best for smaller batches)

  1. Prep the chicken as seen above by coating and spraying the chicken in batches.
  2. Place each piece of chicken in the grill basket or on the removable grill plate (see what you can use for a plate).
  3. Cook for 25 minutes or until crispy and cooked through.

Our best flavorful no-flour fried chicken recipe:

This recipe calls for bacon grease as your frying solution. Be sure to check this list of gluten-free bacon and double-check on the packages or with the manufacturer to be certain that the bacon is safe before proceeding!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (drumsticks, thighs, or wings)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 slices of bacon

You'll also need a large skillet, such as cast iron.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Cook bacon as usual in the skillet.
  2. Salt and pepper your chicken pieces to taste. You can also add other seasonings.
  3. When the frying oil is hot enough (check to see if it “spits” when you add a drop of cold water), carefully place the chicken in the grease accumulated in the pan. If there’s a thinner side of the chicken with less meat, start with that face down.
  4. Cover and simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.
  5. Use tongs to turn the chicken over. Cover again and cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Once the meat begins to pull away from the bone, uncover and raise the heat.
  7. Turn every 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the skin is a crispy golden brown.
  8. Let the pieces of chicken cool to room temperature on a plate lined with paper towels (to soak up excess hot oil).
Fried Chicken Drumsticks Pic

Flour Substitutions for Making Fried Chicken

You can also modify your favorite existing recipe by replacing the all-purpose flour with these coating options:

Fried Chicken Drumsticks Image

Fried Chicken with Gluten-Free Flour Recipes

The simplest way to make the best gluten-free fried chicken is to replace the flour in existing recipes with a gluten-free flour blend (assuming all other components of the recipe are also gluten free).

Our delicious Popeye’s Chicken Recipe is a hit, and can be made gluten-free with ease.

In this traditional fried chicken recipe, the only ingredient of concern is the flour. Even Red Hot sauce is free from gluten (assuming you are using this name brand — again, check labels!).

Gluten-free flour is the best way to start baking without gluten as you can replace the flour in any recipe without added math or stress (and math and stress are the same exact thing, in my book!)

We also have a tasty gluten-free chicken nuggets recipe

Fried Chicken Drumsticks Picture

How to Tell When Fried Chicken is Done

One of the trickier aspects of fried chicken is trying to figure out when it’s done.

I am guilty of cutting the chicken in half at home to take a peek at the inside and see if the juices run clear- not ideal for guests or people other than my family, but it’s my last-minute go-to sometimes.

There are other good ways to know when your meat is cooked through:

  • Use a meat thermometer. This is the safest option, because numbers don’t lie. (Unless you’re on a scale, that’s a lie. A vicious lie.) Look for an internal temp of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in poultry.
  • Keep an eye on the size. Meat shrinks as it cooks, so if it’s the same size as when it started, the center is probably still raw. This isn’t a foolproof method, but it’s one way to ensure proper cooking.
  • Touch it. Not while it’s still sizzling with oil, of course. Meat that is cooked through should be firmer than raw meat like a tender chicken breast. This will become easier with practice as you learn to compare what you feel alongside other indicators such as temperature, size, and clear juices.
  • Notice when the meat pulls away. When making chicken that still has bones, pay attention to when the meat pulls away from the ends of the bones.
Popeye's Chicken Picture

Remember that all recipes have a “best guess” cooking time, but ultimately, these clues will let you know if your fried chicken (or other meat) is safe. The most helpful method will always be internal temperature, so invest in a decent meat thermometer with a digital read.

Now you're all set for the next time you crave crispy gluten-free fried chicken — and you don't even need a deep fryer!

Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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