Can You Use Cornstarch Instead of Flour to Fry Chicken

Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside – that's the hallmark of delectable fried chicken. But when you reach for the flour and find the canister empty, could cornstarch be your culinary hero?

This kitchen conundrum has a solution that might just elevate your frying game to new heights. With its unique qualities, cornstarch promises a golden finish that could turn your next meal into a crispy sensation.

Let's uncover the secret to achieving that enviable crunch with an ingredient you may not have considered before.

Key Takeaways

  • Cornstarch creates a light and crispy crust while flour provides a heartier and more robust breading.
  • Cornstarch allows the chicken's true flavors to shine, while flour helps spices and herbs cling to the chicken, enhancing flavor.
  • Cornstarch quickly turns the chicken a gorgeous golden brown, while flour takes longer to brown but achieves a deep, rich color.
  • Properly preparing the chicken by patting it dry, coating it with spices, and draining excess liquid ensures a crispy finish when using cornstarch instead of flour to fry chicken.

Understanding Cornstarch Properties

Craving that perfect crispy chicken? Let's talk cornstarch – your secret ingredient for that unbeatable crunch! This fine, white powder, straight from the heart of corn kernels, works wonders in the fryer. Here's why you'll want to reach for cornstarch next time you're prepping some chicken to fry.

Cornstarch is a champ at handling high heat without a fuss, keeping your chicken from turning too dark too quickly. That means you get that irresistible golden hue every time. Plus, for friends with gluten issues, cornstarch is a gluten-free hero, letting everyone join in on the crispy chicken fun.

But it's not just about looks; cornstarch is all about that crunch. When it teams up with the moisture from the chicken, it forms a super-thin layer that's like a magnet for hot oil. As it fries, it dries out super fast, creating a shell of crunchiness that's hard to beat. And because it's such a lightweight, it doesn't soak up oil like other coatings might, leaving you with a less greasy feel.

Cornstarch Vs. Flour Coatings

Ready to make your fried chicken the talk of the table? Let's get into the nitty-gritty of using cornstarch versus flour for that perfect coating.

Texture & Crispiness

Cornstarch is your go-to for a crust that's light as air and super crispy. It's a champ at keeping sogginess at bay, which means every bite is crunch-time.

Flour, on the other hand, gives you a heartier, more robust breading that hugs your chicken like a cozy blanket.

Flavor Absorption

When cornstarch is in the mix, it steps back to let the chicken's true flavors shine. It's like the silent partner in a dance duo—there, but not stealing the spotlight.

Flour is the flavor friend you need for clinging onto those spices and herbs, making sure they stick around for the taste party.

Browning & Appearance

Cornstarch works magic to turn your chicken a gorgeous golden brown at lightning speed. It's all about that insta-worthy finish.

Flour takes its sweet time but gets you that deep, rich color that's worth the wait.

Take your pick based on these power points and watch your fried chicken go from good to great. Whichever you choose, you're in for a treat!

Preparing Your Chicken

Alright, let's jump right in and get that chicken prepped for a deliciously crispy finish!

Kick things off by giving the chicken a good pat-down with paper towels. You want it bone-dry – any moisture might as well be a 'keep out' sign for crispiness.

Then, it's time to bring on the flavor! Coat those pieces generously with your favorite spices and herbs; this isn't a time to be shy, as those seasonings are the secret to a mouthwatering bite.

If your chicken has been swimming in a marinade, make sure it's well-drained. You don't want any excess liquid crashing your crispy party.

And here's a pro tip: letting the chicken hang out at room temperature for a spell, say 15 to 20 minutes, will help it cook more evenly once it hits the heat.

Now, with your chicken seasoned to perfection and ready to go, let's wade into the world of frying techniques. Whether you're team cornstarch or all about the flour, it's game time for that irresistible crunch!

Frying Techniques Compared

Oh, the age-old debate for the perfect chicken crunch: cornstarch or flour? Let's dive into the crispy details!


Get ready for that delightful snap when you bite into a cornstarch-coated piece. It's the secret behind that crave-worthy, crackly exterior we all love on our fried chicken. Cornstarch is a champ at repelling moisture, so it's your go-to for staying crisp and holding up against heat. And if you're into that barely-there coating, cornstarch has got your back, giving your chicken a barely-there suit that's clear and lets the meat shine.


Now, for that timeless, golden jacket that's been a classic on fried chicken for generations, flour is your buddy. It's a bit of a sauce magnet, perfect when you want your chicken to play nice with that tangy dip. Flour brings a bit of heft to the table, offering a heartier crunch that's just right for a longer fry time on a lower flame.

Final Texture and Taste

Ready to give your fried chicken a game-changing twist? Let's talk about subbing in cornstarch for flour. This switcheroo is a ticket to a lighter, airier crunch and a flavor that really lets your chicken sing. See, cornstarch is all starch, no gluten, and that makes a world of difference.

Texture Showdown

Go with flour, and your chicken's coat might feel a bit heftier. Cornstarch? It's the secret to that shatteringly crisp exterior we all crave. And if you're torn, mix 'em up! You'll land somewhere in the middle, with a satisfying bite that's the best of both worlds.

Flavor Face-Off

A flour coating can sometimes muffle your chicken's taste, but cornstarch keeps it real—super neutral so that the poultry's own flavor can take center stage. Or mix it up for a nuanced, yet tasty crust.

Browning Battle

Flour will get you that classic, even golden-brown hue. Cornstarch goes for a lighter, more blistered look that's totally on-trend. Want a happy medium? Combine them and watch those golden patches pop!

Moisture Matters

Flour's a bit clingy, holding onto moisture. Cornstarch prefers to keep things on the drier side, so handle with care. And when they team up, they strike a moisture balance that's just right.

Cornstarch is your go-to for that coveted crunch. So why not give it a try next time and taste the difference for yourself? Your taste buds will thank you!

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