Pieces of fried chicken against a black background
For Extra Crispy Fried Chicken At Home, Grab The Vodka
Vodka does wonders to crisp up fried chicken. Its high alcohol content makes it less stable than the water in buttermilk and other liquids used in the dish.
As vodka evaporates faster than water in the hot oil, it dries the batter more quickly, resulting in bigger bubbles and a larger surface area that gives the meat a better crust.
The alcohol in vodka reduces the strength of the gluten bonds in the floury batter, so the batter stays lighter for longer and doesn't become tough or heavy as it fries.
Whether you use a wet batter or marinate the meat in a liquid and then dredge it in seasoned flour or a dry coating before frying, vodka can work with both methods.
To make a thin, wet batter, mix equal parts of vodka, cornstarch, flour, and water with some salt and baking powder. The vodka will yield a crispy crust without adding new flavors.
If you're marinating and dredging your chicken before frying, add two tablespoons of vodka for each cup of your regular marinade for the best results, and proceed as usual.