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Cast Iron Fried Chicken

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This popped on my menu post a little while back and a lot of you asked for the recipe.

I’m sorry to say that I have exactly zero good pictures of the chicken and no step by step photos either.

So this is not going to win any Best Recipe Blog Post of the Year awards, but it will at least allow you to make this chicken!

When I was paging through a Cook’s Country magazine, this caught my eye because I really HATE frying things. My beefs are:

A) the mess

B) the amount of oil needed

But this recipe looked like it would solve both of those problems in that the chicken cooks entirely in the oven, and you only need a half cup of oil for 3 pounds of chicken pieces.

So I tried it, and it was very good! Not quite exactly like real fried chicken, but waaaay closer to the real thing than any other oven “fried” chicken recipe I’ve tried.

I think a key is that when you make the breading mixture, you add a little water and rub it into the flour with your fingers, creating some shaggy pieces that mimic the breading on real fried chicken. So genius!

You will need a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe; I wouldn’t try it with a lesser skillet.

frugal girl cookware

Mine is from Aldi, but you can get a Lodge skillet for less than $30 on Amazon and they have some even cheaper options as well.

Cast iron is ridiculously affordable.

Anyhow! Here’s the recipe. I followed it pretty exactly, except I salted my chicken pieces a few hours ahead of time. 

Salting meat prior to cooking improves it pretty much 100% of the time, but if you don’t have time to do that, I think your chicken will still be tasty.

Cast Iron Fried Chicken

Cast Iron Fried Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This faux fried chicken cooks entirely in the oven, with only 1/2 cup oil!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, or bone-in split breasts, cut in half cross-wise)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Place 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven on middle rack and heat oven to 450° F.
  2. Place wire rack in rimmed baking sheet; line half with paper towels.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Beat eggs and 1 teaspoon salt together.
  5. Combine flour, baking powder, paprika, garlic, cayenne, 1 tablespoon pepper, and 1½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add water to flour mixture; rub with fingers until you have a mixture with some shaggy pieces of dough (these provide texture to the chicken coating)
  6. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, in egg mixture (allow excess to drip off), then dredge in flour mixture, pressing to adhere flour mixture to chicken. Place coated pieces on a plate, skin side up.
  7. When oven is fully preheated, removed skillet from oven (careful, the handle is hot!). Add oil to skillet, then immediately add chicken, skin side down. Return pan to oven and bake 15 minutes.
  8. Remove skillet from oven; flip chicken, return and bake for 15 minutes, or until breasts read 160°F and drumsticks/thighs read 175°F.
  9. Place chicken pieces, skin side up, on paper-towel-lined portion of wire rack, then move chicken to the unlined side. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Denise

Wednesday 16th of June 2021

I use this same recipe from ATK and we make it regularly at our house. However, when I buy chicken parts, it's usually all breasts, thighs or legs in a family pack -- which will not even come close to fitting into a 12 inch pan. So I bought a 15 inch cast iron pan. The recipe is the same except for the amount of oil. A 15 inch skillet needs another 1/4 cup of oil, bringing the total to 3/4 cup. That might sound like a lot, but it barely covers the bottom of the skillet, plus a little extra. For breasts and thighs, I put the largest or bony side of the chicken to the exterior of the pan, and put the smallest piece of chicken in the center. The chicken is always juicy -- never burned, and always cooked through. What a GREAT recipe. The chicken should probably not be salted the day before, because you need to go REALLY LIGHT on the salt... as the egg wash and seasoned flour has plenty. I salted the chicken once before coating it and it was TOO SALTY. So now I just skip that part. My family was requesting this fried chicken so often, I now make several batches of seasoned flour, enough for 4 recipes, ahead of time and store it in a container with a lid. All I do is add the baking powder to the flour, dunk and dredge the chicken, and it's in the oven in 5-7 mins. A great time saver. By the way, the drippings in the pan make excellent gravy. While the chicken is resting, take some of the oil out of the pan, add flour to make a roux,and add half milk and half chicken bouillon mixed with water. Season to taste. Delicious. On a side note, here are some other recipes that also cook at 450 degrees and can be served with the fried chicken: ATK's Easiest Ever Biscuits, Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables, Crispy Oven Fries, Simple Oven Roasted Corn, Ina's Roasted Cauliflower, ATK's Really Good Garlic Bread, Roast Sweet Potatoes, Ina's Mustard Roasted Potatoes, Potato Biscuits with Cheddar and Chives, Roasted Green Beans with Red Onions, Roast Broccoli with Lemon and Pecorino, and Crisp roasted Potatoes. One last thing, America's Test Kitchen (ATK) makes a Cast Iron Baked Chicken which is also very similar and delicious.

sue

Thursday 18th of March 2021

this was the best chicken! love the recipe!

sue

Monday 15th of February 2021

can u salt and peepr your chicken and put in refrig over night?

sue

Monday 15th of February 2021

this sounds really good. going to try this out!

Hannah

Friday 17th of July 2020

Just made this last night for my boyfriends family. Was a bit worried because I never cooked fried chicken before and we have some dietary restrictions in our house so there were a few substitutes.

Substituted bone in chicken for boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut in half to make them thinner) Used gluten free flower (Pilsbury brand) Added gluten free Panko Bread Crumbs

Followed all steps except after dredging in flower I dipped the breasts back in the egg and then the Panko breadcrumbs. I find this to be the best way to make the bread crumbs stick.

Chicken came out moist and the Panko added more of a fried chicken texture. Definitely will be making again!

sue

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

that sounds really good using the panko crums. i used to work in a meat production plant and the used alot of panko crums to help chicken

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