Spicy fried chicken is seasoned to perfection and has a deliciously crispy outside, and a juicy inside. This recipe is quick and easy and will be the only recipe you'll ever need!
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Fried chicken screams Summer to me, it makes me think of picnics and potlucks outside. This spicy fried chicken recipe is everything fried chicken should be like my Buttermilk Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches. The chicken stays juicy with perfectly crispy skin that doesn't fall off after one bite its perfect for dinner or cold the next day for lunch. If you'd prefer to avoid frying in oil try my Southern Oven Fried Chicken it's a family favorite or my Cheese It Chicken Tenders.
ingredients for crispy chicken legs
- Drumsticks: Chicken thighs can also be used but may take longer to fry.
- Salt: Regular table salt for the brine.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar
- Paprika: I use smoked but regular paprika works too.
- Cayenne: You can always add more if you want it really spicy.
- Oil: I like to use lard or Crisco but the best oil would be Canola or peanut oil.
How to make crispy chicken legs
- Step 1: In a large mixing bowl add cold water sugar and salt and whisk until combined add the chicken pieces and soak.
- Step 2: In a shallow dish add the eggs and cayenne pepper and mix, and roll the pieces of chicken into the egg mixture.
- Step 3: Roll the chicken leg into the egg wash.
- Step 4: In another medium bowl add the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and spices and mix, toss each piece of chicken into the flour mixture, and place on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet.
- Step 5: Place the breaded chicken legs onto a cooling rack and let rest.
- Step 6: Heat a dutch oven or skillet with the hot oil, then add in a few chicken pieces at a time.
- Step 7: Flipping halfway through until golden brown.
- Step 8: Place on a cooling rack to drain and rest.
How to store and reheat these chicken legs
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat these chicken legs in the microwave, or oven. If you want to get that crispiness back place them in an air fryer preheated to 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until heated through.
- The brine is a must for juicy flavorful chicken, so don't skip this step.
- Letting the drumsticks rest for 10 minutes helps the flour stick and doesn't fall off in the cooking oil.
- I like to use a cast iron dutch oven or a large cast iron skillet for deep frying my chicken but stainless steel or anodized aluminum will also work.
- If your chicken is becoming too brown reduce the heat a bit.
The best way to ensure you have crispy chicken is to ensure your oil temperature is 350 degrees before adding the chicken by using a meat thermometer. Make sure to let the oil return to the right temperature between batches.
Food safety guidelines state you shouldn't wash chicken before cooking it. Washing chicken can actually splash dangerous bacteria are your cooking area. It's best just to cook it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
The easiest way is to check them with an instant-read thermometer, you want the thickest part of the meat to reach 165 degrees.
Yes, first preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes. Set the air fryer to 350 degrees, place 3-4 chicken parts into the air fryer, cook for 10 minutes flip the chicken legs and cook another 8-10 or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees using a meat thermometer.
Fried Chicken Legs Recipe
- 3-4 lbs chicken legs
- 8-10 cups water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Shortening or lard for frying
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Completely submerge chicken pieces in brine and soak for 4 hours in the refrigerator. Line a sheet tray with a wire rack.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs and cayenne powder.
- In another bowl add flour, cornstarch, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt and mix until combined.
- Drain the brine and dip each chicken leg into the egg mixture and roll in the flour mixture, shake off excess flour, and set on the sheet tray. Let chicken set for 10 minutes to let the coating set.
- In a cast iron skillet heat 2-3 cups (you want it about an inch high in the skillet) shortening/lard until it reaches about 350 degrees on your candy thermometer.
- In batches add chicken usually 4-5 pieces at a time, the temp will drop to about 325 degrees. Fry chicken for 9-10 minutes then flip and cook another 9-10 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees by using a meat thermometer. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined sheet tray.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container.