The Reason Your Chicken Breading Keeps Falling Off

The inviting taste of crispy fried chicken is a delight all year round, but some people have trouble making this comfort cuisine at home. Sometimes, no matter what they do, they cannot get that delicious crunchy breading to stay firmly attached to the meat, and fried chicken with breading that falls apart is the ultimate disappointment. But for those who struggle to create a breading that won't slide off at the first touch, there's one step to making the perfect coating that you are overlooking.

Thoroughly drying the meat off is the most critical step some neglect to do when frying chicken. Giving it a rushed pat down is not enough to completely dry it, and if the poultry isn't entirely void of moisture on its surface, the flour will absorb the excess moisture and won't be able to seal the breading to the meat when it's frying. Only when the chicken is no longer damp will the starchy flour stick to it correctly and keep the breading firmly in place once it's cooked.

How to properly prepare your chicken

The best way to remove moisture from your chicken before dredging it in flour is to cover the entire wet surface with paper towels. This process should not be rushed because it is crucial to achieving a crispy breading that stays attached. The first pass is sure to soak through the first couple of sheets, so continue drying with fresh ones until it's clear there's no more moisture to absorb. 

Another clever way to dry your poultry is to leave it uncovered in the fridge for a short time, as the airflow will dry the chicken relatively quickly. After it has had some time to dry, take it out and double-check that it is free of moisture with a paper towel. If there is still some excess moisture on the chicken, use the same method of patting it down with paper towels until they come away clean. However you do it, make sure the chicken is entirely dry before coating it with flour, because if you botch the initial flour dredge, the second coating will slip right off when you're ready to grab hold and chow down. 

How you dredge the chicken is also significant

When breading your "testament to the South," whether you're going buttermilk or vodka, the step that will make or break your fried casing is giving it an appropriate dredge in flour. You want to ensure the entire cut of chicken gets coated with starch, but it's equally critical to shake off any excess. Not enough flour and the breading won't adhere; too much, and the eggwash won't be able to attach to the meat, leaving you with the same result.

Just as patting your poultry with paper towels is crucial as you begin the process of breading fried chicken, setting the breading into the eggwash by hand before the final step of frying is also paramount. Gently patting the breading mixture into the meat ensures that all the crunchy breadcrumbs stick to the eggwash when it's fried. 

Sometimes, the simplest of steps in preparing a dish are the ones most easily overlooked when it comes to execution. If you are someone who has avoided making fried chicken because getting the breading right was intimidating, try it out again by properly drying it beforehand and put fried chicken back on the menu at home.