Tell me if you’ve been here: It’s time to fry your batch of Ultimate Crispy Fried Chicken, and your hands are a sticky mess. There might be as much batter on your hands as there is on the chicken. As you look around, your counter and every bowl and surface you touched is covered in a crusty mess.
I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.
By using one hand for the wet batter and the other hand for the dry dredge and coating, you can keep the batter on the food instead of everywhere else.
Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter
Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!
The concept of keeping a wet hand and dry hand is not new or profound, but it will help you be a cleaner cook. It minimizes mess whether you’re using the standard three-step breading procedure (flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs), or preparing a recipe that strays from that, such as our Country-Fried Pork with Gravy, Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Cutlets, or Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Sauce.
The rule is the same no matter what your breading lineup looks like: Use your wet hand for wet ingredients and your dry hand for dry ingredients.
Here’s how to do it if you’re using the standard breading procedure and ingredients:
1. Using one hand, coat your food with flour. Gently shake to remove excess.
2. Place your now wet food into the eggs. Using your other hand, make sure food is well coated. Before transferring to bread crumbs, allow excess egg to drip away.
3. Place food in bread crumbs. Using first hand (your “dry hand”), coat with bread crumbs, pressing crumbs gently to adhere to the surface as needed.
Repeat as needed and you’ll be ready to fry (with much cleaner hands).