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The best EVER fried chicken!

“No veggies, just classic fried chicken” is the theme of National Fried Chicken Day every year on 6 July. A classic dish of the USA and most loved in the southern states of America, there is no reason why we can’t jump on board to put the spotlight on the best and healthier way to prepare and fry your chicken.

Choosing your chicken

Drumettes and wings make great finger food for parties and are a great size for kids. Thighs and drumsticks are perfect for dinner with the family.

Love me tender

Forget messy eggs and flour coatings. Soak your chicken in buttermilk for one hour before coating. Because buttermilk is only slightly acidic, it tenderises the chicken, helping break down the protein. Best of all, you can leave your pieces in the fridge for up to two days.

Cracking crisp coating

The key to achieving the crispiest fried chicken involves seasoning it well. Really well.

How many times have you googled a recipe and come up with so many variations? We road-tested four different combinations of herbs and spices and present to you the best one, hands down, saving you all the hard work!

This one had more pepper than all of the others and the only one that called for dry mustard powder (2).

This one called for salt, rock salt, celery salt AND garlic salt. It was the only one that had the addition of ground ginger (3).

Our fourth choice to test was the Kentucky Seasoning Mix from Sam’s Spice and Grocery. Ingredients listed are plain flour, salt, herbs and spices, flavour enhancer, dehydrated vegetable powder and dry milk powder.

And this one – well, this one was just right!

spices

Spice Mix

If you love KFC chicken but are concerned about the high-fat content, additives and preservatives, read on for the closest healthiest alternative.

We mixed this in the food processor and the kitchen was already smelling fabulous!

• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon tarragon
• 1 teaspoon ground chilli (adjust to taste – or leave out)
• 1 tablespoon marjoram
• 1 tablespoon sage
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 1 tablespoon onion flakes
• 1 tablespoon rock salt
• 3 tablespoons of dried garlic

Once combined, add two cups of plain, wholemeal or spelt flour and give it another quick whiz.

You don’t need to use all the seasoning at once: keep it for next time in an airtight container.

This delicious combination is quite spicy (think “wicked”) so, if you’re looking for something milder for kids, Sam’s Spice and Grocery sells a fabulous Kentucky Seasoning Mix which would be perfect.

Coat me all over

The next step is to coat your chicken in the seasoning.

(We did test a double dunk with panko crumbs by coating in the seasoning, back into the buttermilk then rolling in panko crumbs for seriously next level crunch. We’ll leave that extra step up to you.)

Fry me up

We found the air fryer with a drizzle of olive oil, turned halfway through cooking, produced the perfect result. Drumettes and wings took 15 minutes at 200C, turning once while the thighs and drumsticks took close to 20 minutes.


If you don’t have an air fryer, simply place the chicken on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and cook for about 15 minutes for the finger nibbles and 20 minutes for the bigger pieces, turning once.

Here are the finished products. 

And the tasting notes?

This one was way too spicy and almost blew our head off (2)

spices

This one was way too peppery – 3 heaped tablespoons of white pepper and 1 tablespoon of black pepper – and had way too much heat (3)

spices

This one was way too bland (4)

This one was just right! (1)

fried chicken recipe
All look – and were – delicious and moist but Number 1 (the pic on the bottom) was, well, Number 1 for us!

Happy National Fried Chicken Day!

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