Cooking Tips
Fried Chicken Is Better with Ranch Seasonings in the Batter
Our Ranch Fried Chicken recipe is for (ranch) lovers.
08-11-2021
Mari Levine

Sure, it’s easy enough to put ranch on your fried chicken. But what about putting it in your fried chicken? Or, even better: What about doing both?

For our Ranch Fried Chicken recipe, Cook’s Country test cooks infused fried chicken with the fresh, summery flavors of ranch by incorporating the defining herbs—chives, cilantro, and dill—in three ways: in the buttermilk dip, in the flour coating, and in the serving sauce.

For each of these uses, we packed in as much herbs as possible. In the end, it turned out to be almost ¾ cup of minced herbs, along with the other ranch components (vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, and mayonnaise). No bottle of Hidden Valley required.

But using fresh herbs creates a fried chicken conundrum: Hot oil is vital to crunchy fried chicken, but it’s deadly to fresh herbs, which break down or evaporate if they spend too much time in hot temperatures. The key to crunchy chicken and potent herb flavor was minimizing the amount of time the chicken spent in the hot oil.

To do that, we opted for boneless chicken thighs, which are juicier and smaller and have more surface area than bone-in parts. This means they cook faster, and that we could increase the amount of herby coating per piece. (Another perk? Thighs are naturally juicier than bone-in pieces, so we could skip the time-consuming brine and prepare this recipe on a weeknight.)

In other words: Ranch lovers, this recipe is for you. Watch Bridget make it from start to finish in the video, and get our ingredient lineup for the mixture, coating, and serving sauce below.

  • For the buttermilk dip: Whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill, 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, ½ teaspoons salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • For the coating: Combine 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornstarch, 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, 1½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1½ teaspoons salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper.
  • For the serving sauce: Reserve ¼ cup of the buttermilk mixture. Whisk in ½ cup mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper.