A Bag Of Fritos Is Your Secret For Flavorful And Crunchy Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of those dishes that defines American cuisine. It can be enjoyed hot from the fryer (with caution), at room temperature, or even cold, and many would argue that you just can't improve upon the simplicity of a seasoned flour coating that gets crisp from a dip in scalding oil. Then again, maybe those people have never tried fried chicken coated in Fritos.

Fritos are basically little curved, extra salty, deep-fried corn chips. They are probably most noted for being a tasty dipper for bean dip, a crunchy topping for chili, and the perfect chip for use in a walking taco. However, when they're crushed into bits, they make a chicken coating you're unlikely to forget. The chips are very simple, made with only corn, vegetable oil, and salt, yet they are incredibly flavorful and provide a crunch that just can't be matched. You can use the chips to coat chicken tenders, homemade chicken nuggets, or oven "fried" chicken that is baked instead of deep-fried.

Reach for Fritos, not breadcrumbs

The best way to achieve maximum coating and crunch on your fried chicken is through dredging. Dredging creates a thicker and more flavorful coating for your food, compared to simply dipping the raw food in a breadcrumb or chip coating. For Frito fried chicken dishes, you would first coat your uncooked chicken with flour and shake off the excess. Then, dip the coated chicken into a liquid like milk, buttermilk, or (most commonly) beaten egg. The flour coating helps the egg adhere to the chicken. Finally, dip the egg-coated chicken into your crushed Frito chips. Press and pat the chips onto the chicken so every bit of the surface is coated.

Fry your chicken pieces (or bake them) until the outside is a beautiful golden brown color and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You should have chicken that is extraordinarily crispy with a rich corn flavor. As for dipping sauces, Frito fried chicken pairs well with everything from ketchup to sweet and spicy mustard sauce to barbecue sauce.

Potato chips and cereal work well, too

Using Fritos to coat your fried chicken is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, you can employ snack foods and even breakfast cereals of all kinds to achieve the crunch you crave and flavors that are unexpected but delicious. Crushed cornflake cereal, used as a chicken coating for decades, has sugar and malt flavor that help heighten the corn flavor without adding sweetness to the dish. But adding a little sugar to the mix isn't necessarily a bad thing. The restaurant chain Planet Hollywood famously used Cap'n Crunch cereal to coat its popular Chicken Crunch appetizer.

If you prefer potato chips in your pantry over corn chips, you can do much more with them than just use them to give your egg salad sandwich some crunch. Crushed into pieces, they too act as a delicious coating for fried chicken, and not just in plain flavors. Try barbecue, dill pickle, sour cream and onion, or salt and vinegar to make a craveable meal. For some heat, pulverize Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and for a hit of umami, use crispy fried onions as a chicken coating. Like Fritos, all of these options might have you replacing the breadcrumbs in your kitchen altogether.