If you ever wanted to know how fast food restaurants like Chick-fil-A, KFC, and Popeyes cooked large amounts of chicken so fast for so many hungry customers, you have come to the right place. Here we will go over how it is done step by step from start to finish.
- Brine the chicken. Water is mixed with salt to be used for raw chicken to settle in for atleast 24 hours. The chicken is placed in the water and then in the cooler to marinate.
- Place the chicken in batter. After the chicken is marinated in salt and water, it can be placed into batter that is used as glue to stick to flour.
- Place the chicken in flour. After the chicken is covered in the batter, it is tossed and rolled in the flour. The flour will stick to the chicken because of the batter. This is used to create the breading on the chicken.
- The chicken is fried. The chicken is placed in hot oil around 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a commercial deep fryer and fried for three and a half minutes to four and a half minutes minimum. The frying time can be a longer for certain types of chicken like breasts for instance. The frying time can extend up to 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken being fried.
Cooking times for chicken at 350F:
- Whole Chicken
- 26 to 30 minutes
- Chicken Breast
- 12 to 15 minutes
- Chicken Thigh
- 12 to 13 minutes
- Chicken Leg
- 10 to 12 minutes
- Chicken Drumstick
- 9 to 12 minutes
- Chicken Wing
- 7 to 9 minutes
- Chicken Tender
- 4 to 6 minutes
These are the average cooking times used for frying chicken, but sometimes it can take more or less time depending on the size of the chicken. For every additional ounce that the chicken weighs, an addition 45 seconds should be added to the cooking time.
How Fast Food Restaurants Cook Fried Chicken So Fast
Fast food chicken restaurants use commercial deep fryers to cook large amounts of chicken very quickly. They look like this:
The commercial deep fryers are covered when they are not in use, but when the covers are removed, food can be fried in each section where the hot oil rests when it is in use. It doesn’t take long for this process to happen. The smaller the pieces of chicken are, the faster they cook. Commercial deep fryers can hold hundreds of pieces of chicken at one time and potentially have the chicken fried and ready in 5 minutes or less in the right conditions.
How Do Restaurants Make Chicken So Crispy?
Restaurants create extra crispy chicken by using extra flour and simply frying the chicken for a longer period of time, while it is in the deep fryer. The added time for cooking the chicken to get it to become crispy is about 1 minute. They do not double fry the chicken as it will take unnecessary extra time to get the chicken crispy when they can just simply cook it longer with added flour.
The flour is the key to producing extra crispy chicken, not the chicken itself. The crunch comes from the flour. When the flour on the chicken is fried for an extended period of time, it becomes darker in color and harder, turning from a white color to a tan, then a light brown to a golden brown. If left in the fryer for a longer period of time, it will turn dark brown. The darker brown color on the skin is when it actually becomes extra crispy. Finally, it turns black when it is charred and burned.
When the chicken is in the flour, it should be thoroughly covered. To make sure that there is enough flour to produce crispy chicken, double flour the chicken. Submerge the entire chicken in the flour.
How To Get Juicy Fried Chicken
The best way to get juicy fried chicken is by deep frying it in a deep fryer. The chicken is always fully submerged in the oil while it is cooking; therefore the chicken is juicier when it comes out. However, no matter how juicy the chicken is, it will lose its moisture the longer it is kept hot in a warmer, hot box, oven, or heat lamp. It will become dry after some time, and the flour will begin to peel off of the chicken as it slow cooks in the heat.
The deep fryer cooks all the natural juices inside of the chicken with the hot oil, so it is not the chicken itself that is making the chicken juicy after it is fried, it is the oil.
How To Marinate Chicken For Deep Frying
How restaurants prepare chicken for deep frying is by marinating unseasoned raw chicken in salt water.
- Fill a large container with half a gallon of water.
- Pour 9 ounces of salt into the water and stir it until it is mixed.
- Place the raw chicken into the salt water container.
- Store the container in the refrigerator or a cooler where it can stay cold and marinate for 24 hours.
- Cover the container.
For every quarter of water, 5 ounces of salt should be added if you need a bigger solution. There is no need for extra seasonings. The salt added to the water will be enough seasoning to give the chicken flavor after it is fried. There is no need to go Ratatouille on it unless you want to add in some extra seasonings. If you want a stronger flavor to the chicken after it is cooked, simply use more salt in the ratio with the water.
What Is The Secret To Making Great Fried Chicken?
Deep frying chicken has been one of the best methods to fry chicken. It is quick, easy, and very effective for cooking for large crowds.
The secret to making great fried chicken is the brine, the flour, and the cooking time. People care more about the taste first before anything else. Bland chicken is a turn off. Making sure that enough salt is used when brining the chicken is vital in producing great chicken.
The type of flour that is used is also important, but not as much as how the flour is used. It is important that the flour actually sticks to the chicken while it is cooking, else the fried chicken is ruined.
Making sure that the chicken is fully battered by submerging it in it before it is place in the flour is very important. Next, the flour needs to cover the entire chicken before it is placed in the deep fryer. If the chicken isn’t rolled in the flour good enough, then the fried chicken will come out ugly and bald on certain parts of the chicken.
Using the correct times and temperatures for the chicken when frying it is also very important. If the chicken doesn’t cook long enough, it will come out raw on the inner portions on both the chicken and the flour. It is important to shake the chicken while it is in the basket frying about a minute and thirty seconds after it’s started frying, and every three minutes afterwards.