My friend Sarena of The Non-Dairy Queen shared this Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Southern Fried Chicken recipe with us back in 2010. She’s a trained chef, so it doesn’t surprise me that this comfort classic has been made and loved in countless households.
Over the years, this crispy, flavorful recipe has become buried in our news section. Since it’s National Fried Chicken Day tomorrow, I’m giving the post a big update and adding it to our recipe section. Now it’s easier for you and your family to find and enjoy. Take it away Sarena …
I made gluten free dairy free fried chicken. I am pretty sure my husband will stay with me forever now. Yes, I know Southern fried chicken is not the healthiest thing in the world for you, but it has been a year since my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and consequently since he has eaten fried chicken. His southern boy gene was starting to go through withdrawals.
I have to admit that I have not fried chicken since I was in culinary school, so this was kind of a big deal for me. I won’t be doing this all the time, but as anyone who has dietary restrictions knows, living without your favorites forever is not fun! To make it a touch healthier, I did use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But the recipe is also delicious with bone-in, skin-on, and dark meat chicken.
The Secrets to Perfect Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Southern Fried Chicken
There are a few important details behind the success of this recipe:
The Temperature Must be Spot On. The chicken is fried at exactly 350 degrees and then placed on paper towels to drain.
Choose a Good Frying Oil Specifically. I used peanut oil, which is a nice odorless selection that is great for frying. Vegetable oil (can contain soy), canola oil, and rice bran oil are great alternatives, but avoid oils with a low smoke point or strong flavor. They might seem “healthier” but burnt oil is far worse, and it will leave a bad taste in your mouth, literally.
Season it Well. Coating the chicken in enough salt and pepper is also key to good results. For extra flavorful chicken, I sometimes add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder to the flour blend too.
Coat it Twice for Crispy on the Outside, Tender on the Inside. Double-flouring helps to lock in the juices and create a nice crunchy coating.
Let it Rest, If You Can. Allowing the fried chicken to sit and cool before eating enables the crust to stick to the chicken. The middle image in the pictures below shows how the crust is separated right after frying (my husband could not wait to eat some). But the last image shows how perfectly the crust stays on the chicken when it is allowed to sit for a little bit. My husband actually likes his fried chicken cold, and from the nibbling that occurred later, I can confirm that the crust was still crispy and stayed on the chicken!
Special Diet Notes: Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Southern Fried Chicken
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, gluten-free, optionally nut-fee, optionally peanut-free, and soy-free. But please note that the flour blend Sarena uses is processed in a facility that handles tree nuts and soy.
For egg-free Southern Fried Chicken, I recommend trying aquafaba (about 6 tablespoons), or you can try one of the other options in my Egg Substitute Guide. Please note that we have not tested this recipe egg-free yet. Leave a comment to let us know how it works out if you do!
- Peanut oil, for frying (see post above for other options)
- 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage (Sarena uses almond milk)
- 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (see Flour Note below)
- Heat enough oil to 350ºF in an electric skillet or fryer to cover the chicken pieces.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half or strips. I cut mine in half in the pictures, but strips also work well. Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
- Mix the eggs and milk beverage in a bowl, and place the flour in a separate bowl.
- Dip the chicken in the flour, then dip it in the egg mixture and then back in the flour to evenly coat each piece. Place the coated pieces on a sheet pan as you work and while you wait for the oil to come to temperature.
- Place chicken pieces in the hot oil and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer (your best friend while cooking meat). Flipping halfway through. It took about 25 minutes for a half chicken breast. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel lined platter. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.