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Sourdough Fried Chicken

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Sourdough fried chicken has a flavorful and crispy outside and tender, juicy inside! This is an excellent way to use your sourdough discard!

sourdough fried chicken in bowl

Isn’t sourdough starter great? It can do so many amazing things – from simple rustic breads, to fancy artisanal loaves, to all the variety in sourdough discard recipes! There is nothing won’t put my starter in, including fried chicken!

Why? Because I LOVE how starter adds an interesting depth of flavor, and how the yeast in the starter (even when not fully active) helps change and improve the texture of many foods.

Other fried recipes using sourdough starter:

hand holding piece of fried chicken next to bowl

How to make fried chicken with sourdough discard

Fried chicken made with sourdough discard is just as easy to make as regular fried chicken. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll to the recipe card below, but here is a brief overview of the steps:

Note: This process works equally well for chicken strips, too!

How to make the batter

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This will help the flour to adhere to the chicken better and result in a crispier coating that stays on.
  2. Add the chicken to a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle on all sides with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. In a bowl stir together the sourdough starter, egg, beer, and milk.
  5. In another bowl stir together the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, flour, brown sugar, chili powder, dried thyme, cayenne, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
collage showing steps to make sourdough chicken batter

How to dredge the chicken

  1. One at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture until well coated. You want a thin, even coating.
  2. Then dip into the sourdough mixture until the flour mixture has been covered.
  3. Then dip back into the flour until all the egg coating has been covered.
  4. Return the chicken to the baking sheet. Repeat for all chicken. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes until the oil heats (this will help the coating to adhere to the chicken and become crisper, without it your chicken may be soggy and the coating will easily separate from the chicken).
collage showing how to dredge chicken

How to fry the chicken

  1. Heat 4-6 inches of oil in a deep fryer or a pot with a deep-fry thermometer until it hits 350°F, adjust heat to maintain this temperature.
  2. Set out a clean wire rack over a different baking sheet (this will keep the underside of the chicken from getting soggy the way it does on paper towels. Don’t return it to the other rack, it will risk contamination from the raw chicken bacteria).
  3. Cook chicken in the hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side (make sure to only fry a few at a time to avoid overcrowding the pot). The best way to check and see if your chicken is done is to use an instant read thermometer  – the chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 F when done.
  4. Serve warm.

*Recipe Note: To keep the cooked chicken warm while cooking the remaining chicken, you can add the clean wire rack and baking sheet to an oven set to “keep warm” or 175°F, once the chicken is cooked, add it to the baking sheet in the oven to keep it warm while you cook the rest of the chicken. Don’t rest the cooked chicken on paper towels, and don’t cover the chicken – it could cause the coating to steam and turn soggy.

image showing how to fry chicken

Storing Leftovers – 

Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Reheating fried chicken –

To reheat the chicken, place it in the oven at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

bowl of fried chicken with bowl of mayo beside

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sourdough starter do I need for this recipe?

This cake should be made with a 100% hydration sourdough starter, meaning it’s fed with equal amounts of flour and water. Read my guide a refresher on how to feed your sourdough starter.

The starter should be at room temperature when you use it for this recipe, as that helps it to mix into the batter better.

New to sourdough? Read my ultimate guide to sourdough for beginners to get all the answers to your questions in easy to understand ways!

How do you keep breading from falling off of fried chicken?

Make sure you are working with dried chicken – pat it off before you start to season and dredge it. Make sure you follow the steps for dredging – first season, then the flour, then the batter mixture, and then another coating of flour. You want thin and even layers that completely coat the previous layer. And then allowing the coated chicken to sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes or so helps the layers solidify and adhere better.

fried chicken on cooling rack

Tips for Frying Chicken

What kind of pan should you use to fry in?

You want a cooking vessel that is heavy, and stable and both wide and deep. A wok or deep cast iron skillet are great options. 

What kind of oil should you use for frying?

The oil you use for frying should be clear, relatively flavorless, and should be able to be heated to high temperatures without smoking. When a hot oil starts smoking, it starts breaking down, and you don’t want that while you are cooking with it. Good choices are peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil. Olive oil is not a good choice for frying as it starts smoking at lower temperatures. 

How much oil do I need to fry chicken?

The amount of oil you use for frying depends on what kind of frying you want to do. For this recipe, we need about 4-6″ of oil in the bottom of your pan.

How hot do I need to heat the oil to?

Place the oil in the cold pan and turn it on to medium-high heat. Getting the oil hot and keeping it at that temperature is important for correctly fried foods that are moist and tender inside and golden and crispy outside. Oil that is too hot will burn the outside while not cooking the inside. 

Oil that is not hot enough will cause the chicken to cook too slowly, and it will absorb too much oil, which makes it taste not as good and also have a greasy mouth feel. 

You want to heat the oil to 335°–350°F. Use a deep fat frying thermometer to monitor the temperature while you cook. 

hand holding piece of fried chicken on cooling rack

How to serve this meal to your family

Sourdough Fried chicken makes a great family meal! Serve these with either Colcannon Mashed Potatoes or Roasted Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and some Cajun Maque Choux Corn for an absolutely amazing meal!

OR Serve these alongside Sourdough Waffles and maple syrup for an amazing chicken and waffle meal! 

fried chicken in bowl on wire rack

Other Family Friendly chicken recipes :

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Yield: 4 servings

Sourdough Fried Chicken Recipe

hand holding piece of fried chicken on cooling rack

Sourdough fried chicken has a flavorful and crispy outside and tender, juicy inside! This is an excellent way to use your sourdough discard!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken pieces thighs and legs (bone in and skin on)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup 100% hydration sourdough starter discard
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup beer (pale ale or pilsner)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Oil for frying canola (4-6" deep in your skillet)

Instructions

Prepare the batter

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This will help the flour to adhere to the chicken better and result in a crispier coating that stays on.
  2. Add the chicken to a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle on all sides with 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. In a bowl stir together the sourdough starter, egg, beer, and milk.
  5. In another bowl stir together the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, flour, brown sugar, chili powder, dried thyme, cayenne, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Dredge the chicken

  1. One at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour until well coated.
  2. Then dip into the sourdough mixture until all the flour is covered.
  3. Dip back into the flour mixture until all the sourdough mixture is covered.
  4. Return the chicken to the wire rack on the baking sheet.
  5. Repeat for all chicken.
  6. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes until the oil heats (this will help the coating to adhere to the chicken and become crisper, without it your chicken may be soggy and the coating will easily separate from the chicken).

Frying the chicken

  1. Heat 4-6 inches of oil in a deep fryer or a pot with a deep-fry thermometer until it hits 335 - 350°F, adjust heat to maintain this temperature.
  2. Set out a clean wire rack over a different baking sheet (this will keep the underside of the chicken from getting soggy the way it does on paper towels. Don’t return it to the first rack, it will risk contamination from the raw chicken bacteria).
  3. Cook chicken in the hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side (make sure to only fry a few at a time to avoid overcrowding the pot). Internal tempertuare of the chicken should be 165 F.
  4. Place cooked chicken on the clean cooling rack and repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.
  5. Serve warm.


Note: To keep the cooked chicken warm while cooking the remaining chicken, you can add the clean wire rack and baking sheet to an oven set to “keep warm” or 175°F, once the chicken is cooked, add it to the baking sheet in the oven to keep it warm while you cook the rest of the chicken.


Notes

Storing Leftovers - Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Reheating Leftovers - You can reheat leftovers in a preheated 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1046Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 486mgSodium: 1206mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 106g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements. (This nutrition calculator struggles with sourdough recipes - the starter throws it off every time!)

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Izzy

Friday 30th of April 2021

I love breaded chicken as much as the next guy, but when the bread is sourdough, that extra dash of tangy flavor makes it even better!

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