Cooking Tips

Double Frying Is the Key to Extra-Crispy Chicken

Why fry once when you can fry twice?

Published Aug. 13, 2021.

When it comes to eating fried chicken, we all want the same thing: a giant crunch. It’s one of the signatures of a good piece of fried poultry. But how do you achieve that while preventing the meat from drying out and prolonging the crispiness (even after you’ve tossed the pieces in sauce)?

One way to do both: Double-fry your poultry. 

This is best exhibited in superpopular, exceptionally crunchy Korean fried chicken, which employs a two-fry method. In the process, the chicken is fried until the skin is just starting to crisp. Then it’s removed from the hot oil and set aside to rest for several minutes. Then it’s returned to the oil to finish cooking.

So why does this make the chicken so crispy?

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

It’s because chicken skin is mostly just fat and water. So when the chicken is fried, the moisture in the skin starts to evaporate. In order for the skin to get brown and crispy, that water needs to finish evaporating. But by the time all the water evaporates, your chicken could be overcooked.

Double frying helps with that evaporation process. By letting the chicken rest and cool between the dips in the oil, additional water evaporates from the skin. When you put it back in to finish frying, the rest of the water evaporates, which allows the skin to brown and crisp quickly before the meat overcooks. Even if doused in a sauce after frying, the skin or batter remains crisp.

We employ this method with our Honey Fried Chicken and our Picnic Fried Chicken as well. Both boast a thin batter made with cornstarch, and one even uses the magical Wondra flour. Different fried chicken recipes use different strategies to achieve that ultracrispy crust, but double frying is one that is worth trying.

These recipes are among our all-time favorites. Start a free trial to access them plus all our other rigorously tested, reliable recipes and reviews.

This is a members' feature.