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5 Reasons Why the Breading Keeps Falling Off Your Chicken

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 3/20/2019 Laura Denby
a plate of food: breaded chicken © Provided by Trusted Media Brands, Inc. breaded chicken

Breaded chicken is one of the easiest dinners to throw together in a pinch. Try this recipe for perfectly seasoned chicken strips. It’s fast, filling and delicious, and can be a great complement to salads or pasta dishes. As easy as breaded chicken is to make, perfecting the technique can be tricky at first. It seems that all too often, breading falls off chicken, leaving you with half of the crunchy goodness you started with. So how do you fix it?

Whether you’re using a beer batter or the classic three-step system (egg, flour, crumb), avoid the five biggest mistakes home cooks make when breading to make sure you’ve got the crispiest, crunchiest cutlets in the neighborhood. 

1. You don’t start dry

The first step to breading chicken is crucial: Make sure the chicken is completely dry before starting the dredging process. Using a paper towel, pat the meat dry on all sides. Excess moisture will cause the flour to get soggy, meaning it will not adhere properly to the chicken.

2. Not shaking off the flour

Be sure to shake off any excess flour on the chicken. Extra flour will create a coating that prevents the egg mixture from latching on to the chicken, which ultimately will prevent the breading from sticking properly. For crispy, flavorful chicken, make sure to remove any excess flour before proceeding.

3. Skimping on the crumb

A thorough coating will give your chicken that crunch you crave. No matter what type of crumb you use, coat the meat evenly and completely on every side. Step it up with this recipe for pretzel-coated chicken nuggets.

4. Forgetting the last pat

After you’ve covered the meat in breading, pat it down gently on all sides so that every piece sticks to the egg layer. Well-coated chicken is the key to crunchy cutlets, so make sure the breading is patted down before cooking. Learn how to avoid these other 20 ways you’ve been cooking chicken wrong.

5. Being impatient

If you’re frying, heat the oil in a dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. After the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in the breading mixture, place them in the hot oil—with plenty of space in between—and let them be! The more you touch the chicken with tongs, the more likely the breading is to fall off. The key here is to be patient. As soon as you see a golden rim appear around the side of the chicken that is submerged in oil, feel free to flip it. Be cautious not to touch or turn the chicken too much. Craving fried chicken? Learn how to deep fry at home with confidence.

The same goes for baking your cutlets—give them space, flip them once, then it’s hands off. The breading is also more likely to come off if the cutlets are touching each other. These steps will guarantee that breading stays on your chicken. 

Related video: Crispy Chicken Cutlet [via Bon Appetit]

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