10 Best Alternative Coating For Fried Chicken

Author: Jenny J. Brown
December 17, 2023

You may think flour is the only way to coat. But there is an alternative coating for fried chicken. Different kinds of coating can achieve a super crunchy exterior on fried chicken. One way to add extra crispiness is to create a paste from flour and spices such as garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano, and other seasonings. Then coat the chicken pieces in the paste for maximum coverage.

Another method is to use buttermilk or mayonnaise with a little seasoning for a batter that adheres well and creates an almost-breaded effect when fried. Dunk the chicken pieces into this mixture until completely covered, or use your hands to ensure it coats all the nooks and crannies properly. This can make your chicken crunchy and crispy, like KFC style. Read on to learn more in detail.

10 Best Alternative Coating For Fried Chicken
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Here is the 10 Best Alternative Coating for Fried Chicken

1. Cornstarch

The Korean technique for double frying chicken has been popularized as the best alternative coating for fried chicken worldwide. The first fry with cornstarch creates a crispy coating that helps the sauce cling more easily and evenly to the chicken when fried in its final state. Those who have tried this technique can attest to the remarkable results: a deliciously crispy exterior on each piece of chicken.

Using cornstarch to prepare chicken can take some time, but it will be worth it. This method involves tossing the chicken pieces in cornstarch in a bowl, then adding them to hot oil and cooking until they’re lightly golden.

Once done, remove them from heat and repeat the steps with the remaining pieces. Double-frying this way might create the most flavorful, juicy, and crisp fried chicken ever imagined – perfect for dinner parties or family gatherings.

2. Make a Batter Like the Chinese

Making a batter like the Chinese do is all about preparing, combining ingredients, and shaking it to create the coating. Starting with a basic egg and flour mixture and then adding additional flouring agents such as starch, cornstarch, or even ground-up nuts or seeds, it can create a very flavorful coating. This process creates a flavor that is difficult to replicate from other methods of frying.

The ratio of eggs to flour will depend on how thick of a coating you want your fried food to have. The more eggs used in relation to flour, the thinner and crispier the result will be. Once these ingredients are mixed together until combined, you must use one hand to shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.

This technique will ensure an even coat over your fried foods when cooked. This process is not too labor-intensive but requires some skill and meticulousness so that you can get the perfect crisp every time.

3. Toss Like Japanese Style

Creating the perfect crispy fried chicken is a challenge for many people across the globe. The Japanese have a light way of frying chicken in flour that is both easy and delicious.

All you need to do is get some potato starch (or cornstarch if you can’t find potato) and lightly toss your chicken in it. This doesn’t require any thick breading as there will be enough coating from the flour present on the surface of the chicken from the tossing alone. 

This batter-less technique can create a fried chicken with an immensely crunchy texture. When using this approach, make sure all pieces of meat (even the tiny chunks) are evenly coated with just enough flour before they go into the pan or pot to fry, whichever method you choose. You may have to adjust cooking times slightly due to lack of thickness, but this should bring out beautiful results overall.

4. Panko

Panko is a type of breadcrumb that has become popular as an alternative coating for fried chicken. It is a Japanese-style breadcrumb, made from white bread without the crusts, and is coarser than traditional Western-style breadcrumbs. Panko’s texture gives it a light, airy crunch when it’s fried, making it a great choice for fried chicken.

To make panko-coated fried chicken, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Then, dip each piece of chicken into a mixture of milk and egg whites, then roll them in panko breadcrumbs until they’re completely covered.

Once the pieces are coated, they can be shallow-fried or deep-fried in hot oil until golden and crispy.

Panko is a great alternative to the traditional breadcrumb coating for fried chicken, thanks to its lightness and crunchiness. It’s also easy to find at most supermarkets, making it an accessible option for home cooks who want to try something new.

5. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional breading for fried chicken. It’s packed with nutrients, so it’s a healthier choice than white flour, and its distinctive flavor adds a subtle tropical twist to the finished dish.

To coat chicken in coconut flour, combine the flour with herbs and spices of your choice and seasonings like salt and pepper. Then, dip each piece of chicken into a mixture of egg whites and milk before rolling them in the seasoned coconut flour until they are completely covered.

When frying, use hot oil and fry for about 12 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Coconut flour is great for those looking for an alternative way to coat their fried chicken that is both flavorful and nutritious.

6. Cereal

Cereal is an interesting alternative to the traditional batter used to coat fried chicken as it provides a crunchy texture and can be flavored in various ways. It’s also quite simple to prepare, requiring only cereal, egg, and oil.

The cereal can be crushed into small pieces or left in its original form for added texture. The egg acts as a binding agent, while the oil helps to crisp the coating.

To make cereal-coated fried chicken, begin by crushing your cereal into small pieces and mixing it with seasonings such as herbs, spices, and salt and pepper. Then dip each piece of chicken in egg before rolling it in the cereal mixture. Finally, fry the chicken in hot oil until golden brown and crunchy.

7. Chips

Chips are a popular food item that can be prepared in many different ways. One of the most popular is to fry them in oil, making them crunchy and flavorful. However, this method involves a lot of fat and calories, posing health risks if consumed too often.

An alternative coating for chips that can make them healthier is to bake them instead of frying them. Baking chips require no oil and still create a crispy, crunchy texture.

To make baked chips-coated fried chicken, begin by crushing chips into small pieces and then mix them with seasonings such as herbs, spices, and salt and pepper.

Then dip each piece of chicken in a mixture of egg whites and milk before rolling it in the chip mixture until it is completely covered. Finally, bake the chicken in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

8. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are an excellent alternative to the traditional breading used for fried chicken. These ingredients can make a crunchy, flavorful coating that is both healthier and more flavorful than the standard flour-based options.

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans provide a delicious nuttiness as well as a good texture, while seeds such as sesame or pumpkin add a unique flavor.

You can use them as breading material if you blitz almonds, hazelnuts, and sesame seeds in a food processor. However, caution is important because these nut flours burn quickly and at lower temperatures than grain-based flours. To prevent bitterness and burnt flavors, it’s advisable to mix them with all-purpose flour or panko.

9. Wild Rice

Wild rice is a great alternative coating for fried chicken. It has a unique and nutty flavor that adds an interesting twist to the classic dish. Unlike other grains, wild rice does not become soggy and maintains its crunchy texture even when it’s fried. Wild rice is also packed with nutrients and vitamins, making it healthier than traditional coatings like breadcrumbs or flour.

Try incorporating wild rice into your seared halibut dish for a delicious and fragrant twist. First, puff the uncooked rice in a hot pan, similar to how popcorn is made. Then, grind it in a food processor to create a fresh and airy alternative flour. This pairs perfectly with lighter proteins such as fish and crisps up beautifully when fried.

10. Polenta

Polenta is a great option for an alternative coating for fried chicken. It is both crunchy and flavorful, adding an interesting texture to the dish. Polenta can also be flavored with herbs or spices such as garlic, oregano, and thyme.

To prepare polenta-coated fried chicken, combine cornmeal, salt, and water in a pot and stir until it becomes thick. Then dip each piece of chicken into the polenta mixture before frying in hot oil. The result is a crispy, flavorful coating that will enhance the flavor of any fried chicken dish.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Is It Okay To Fry A Chicken Without Cornstarch?

Frying chicken without cornstarch is possible and can be just as delicious when done correctly. However, it’s important to remember that cornstarch helps create a crispier texture and adds flavor to the fried chicken.

Without it, the coating may not be as crunchy or flavorful. That said, some alternatives can help make up for the lack of cornstarch, such as using a combination of flour, spices, and egg whites for a crunchy coating.

2. What Is The Healthiest Way To Fry Chicken?

The healthiest way to fry chicken is to either bake it or air-fry it. Baking requires no oil and still creates a crispy coating that can be flavored with seasonings of your choice.

Air-frying is also becoming increasingly popular, as it requires very little oil and still produces a crunchy texture similar to that of deep-fried chicken. Both baking and air-frying are much healthier options than traditional deep-frying, making them excellent alternatives for fried chicken.

3. Is There A Replacement For Cornstarch?

Rice flour is one of fried chicken’s most popular alternatives to cornstarch. Rice flour has a much finer texture than cornstarch and helps create a crunchy coating that is not too heavy.

Another great option is a combination of flour, spices, and egg whites. This mixture can create a flavorful and crispy coating that rivals cornstarch-based recipes.

4. Can I Use Baking Powder Instead Of Cornstarch?

It’s not recommended to substitute cornstarch with baking soda or baking powder when trying to thicken a dish. These ingredients are leavening agents and may not work well as a thickener.

Additionally, they may impart an unpleasant taste to the dish, which could spoil the overall flavor. It’s best to use these ingredients only when the recipe explicitly calls for them.

5. Can You Skip Cornstarch In A Recipe?

Yes, you can skip cornstarch in a recipe for fried chicken. Many other coating options are available that provide a crunchy texture and flavor to the chicken. Examples of alternative coatings include crushed cereal, cracker crumbs, flour, ground nuts or seeds, grated Parmesan cheese, and shredded coconut.


Cornstarch is a popular ingredient for coating fried chicken. However, there are several alternatives that can be used to create a crunchy and flavorful coating. Examples include rice flour, flour, egg whites, ground nuts or seeds, shredded coconut, cracker crumbs, crushed cereal, and Parmesan cheese. Each of these ingredients provides an interesting flavor profile to the dish.

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