The Love for Fried Chicken and the Keto Diet
Let's talk about two things that many of us adore - fried chicken, a culinary delight celebrated globally, and the keto diet. But what happens when these two cross paths? Can they coexist? With the proper ingredients, meal prep, and nutrition information, it's entirely possible.
Keto-friendly Fried Chicken
A common perception is that following a ketogenic lifestyle means saying goodbye to your favorite foods like regular fried chicken.
But with simple ingredients and a few keto chicken recipes up your sleeve, this isn't entirely true. You can still indulge in that crispy, spicy bite if you incorporate a dash of hot sauce into your preparation
I love fried chicken, and I was super excited when I discovered that there are still fantastic keto chicken options out there.
Fried Chicken: An Undying Love Affair
We all have fond memories associated with fried chicken - from family gatherings around dinner tables to late-night snack runs during college days. It's not just about its crispy skin and juicy meat; it's also about shared experiences and the moments we cherish.
In fact, Americans are known for their love affair with this versatile protein source, consuming an impressive amount of poultry annually
Embracing The Keto Lifestyle
The keto diet, short for "ketogenic," promotes the consumption of low-carb but high-fat foods, leading the body into ketosis - burning fat instead of glucose from carbohydrates.
This is linked to potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved cognitive function, and lower risk factors for heart disease, among others. (1)
This unfortunately means traditional fast-food style breaded chickens aren't compatible due to the high carbohydrate content of the flour-based batter used for coating before frying them in peanut oil or other types of oils.
Marrying Two Loves Together: Fried Chicken and the Keto Diet
No need to worry - there are still ways to enjoy fried chicken on a keto diet. Adapting recipes using keto-friendly ingredients allows us to continue enjoying KFC-style chickens while sticking within the guidelines set by ketogenic lifestyles.
By replacing culprits like all-purpose flour with low-carb alternatives like almond and coconut flours, we can create an equally crunchy breading perfect for deep frying or air fryer methods.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to bid farewell to fried chicken when following a keto diet. With smart swaps like using low-carb flours instead of traditional all-purpose flour, you can still savor your beloved crispy chicken while maintaining your ketogenic lifestyle.
Is Fried Chicken Keto?
The undeniable allure of fried chicken (especially KFC!) is its crispy, golden crust enveloping a tender and juicy interior. Sadly, traditional methods of preparation make it not keto friendly.
Any takeout or fast-food chain serving fried chicken is not recommended for a keto diet. The batter typically includes flour or a flour blend, and often has a higher amount of carbs compared to protein or fat.
Fortunately, there is a recipe available to make your own KFC-style keto fried chicken that is equally delicious to the original.
Digging into Flour-based Batter in Traditional Fried Chicken
Fried chicken typically starts with raw pieces bathed in flour or mixed-flour batter before they're plunged into hot oil to achieve that irresistible crunchiness we all love.
But here's where things get tricky for keto followers: these flours are high-carb foods which can quickly tip you over your daily carb limit if you're on a keto diet.
And this isn't just about wheat flour; even alternatives like cornmeal or rice flour pack significant carbs too.
Suggested reading: Keto Friendly Snacks
Fried Chicken Keto Ingredients
- Salt and pepper: For taste.
- kin-on chicken: It is recommended to use a combination of drumsticks, thighs, and breast pieces. When using only one cut of chicken, it is recommended to use drumsticks.
- Eggs: Whisked with heavy cream and used as part of the coating, similar to the coating used for buttermilk fried chicken.
- Almond flour: Blanched almond flour is preferred, but almond meal will work just as well.
- Heavy cream: A zero carb alternative to buttermilk, but it does have a high carb count!
- Garlic and onion powder: Packed with extra flavour
- Oil: Use a neutral oil to deep fry the chicken. When selecting an oil for frying or deep frying, it is recommended to choose those with a high smoke point. Avocado oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil are all considered excellent choices.
- Keto bread crumbs: typically be found in the potato chip or snack aisle of the supermarket as a substitute for traditional breadcrumbs. You can either cruch them using a blender or food processor, altenativle use a plastic ziplock bag (or cooking bag) and use a meat tenderizer to gently break them down into fine breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese: eEnhances the flavor of the fried chicken batter.
Secret Ingredient - The Keto Buttermilk Marinade
The key to our keto fried chicken recipe's flavor explosion lies in the secret ingredient: a homemade, low-carb buttermilk marinade. This magical mixture not only makes your poultry pieces taste phenomenal, it also tenderizes them for an unbeatable texture.
Why Traditional Buttermilk Won't Cut It
In recipes, traditional buttermilk is usually employed as a marinade because of its capacity to make food more tender and intensify flavors. However, standard buttermilk contains lactose (a type of sugar), which can throw off your ketogenic diet game plan.
To keep you on track with your dietary goals without compromising on taste or texture we've come up with this keto-friendly alternative that mimics real buttermilk's tangy profile minus those pesky carbs.
Keto Buttermilk Marinade Recipe
We're going beyond just swapping out ingredients here; we're creating something even better. Here are the elements you'll need:
- A cup of heavy cream - this replaces milk found in traditional recipes,
- A tablespoon white vinegar or fresh lemon juice - these provide necessary acidity,
- Fresh garlic minced - adds depth of flavor, and finally,
- Cayenne pepper if desired - brings heat into equation enhancing overall palate experience.
This marination process does more than simply making meat tastierâ€”it actually changes its structure resulting in juicier bites after cooking. How? Well, the acid from either vinegar or lemon juice works magic by breaking down tough muscle fibers leading towards succulent results.
In addition, the salt present within the mix helps seasonings penetrate deeper ensuring every bite is packed full of goodness rather than merely surface level seasoning.
So go ahead and give our revolutionary take on the classic southern staple a try today.
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Balancing Seasoning Without Overpowering Flavor
Fried chicken isn't just about the crunch; flavor is equally important. Achieving this balance comes down to skillful seasoning. Essentials like salt and pepper are your starting point, along with other spices such as garlic powder or onion powder for extra depth.
However, avoid overwhelming the natural taste of chicken by using these seasonings sparingly. Your aim should be to enhance rather than mask its flavor.
How to Make Keto Fried Chicken
Step 1: Preparing Your Keto Fried Chicken
Your first mission, is to prepare your raw chicken pieces. Skin-on parts are preferred; they add extra flavor and crispiness once cooked.
Paper towels will be your best friend here.
Drying each piece removes excess moisture, which could interfere with the breading process later on. It's a small step that makes a big difference when aiming for that golden-brown crust during frying.
Step 2: The Dipping Process
This next stage requires some organization - but trust me, it's worth every second.
Arrange two bowls - one with the wet ingredients (heavy cream and eggs) and the other containing dry components (almond flour, crushed pork rinds, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder).
Dip each piece into the egg mixture, ensuring full coverage, then dredge through the almond flour mix, pressing gently so everything sticks well.
After all pieces have been coated, set them aside to allow any excess oil to drip off.
Done! You should have golden brown, beautiful keto fried chicken.
Alternative Cooking Methods - Oven Baking & Air Frying
The next step in your keto fried chicken journey is to explore alternative cooking methods. The aim here? To make something that's not just good, but absolutely mind-blowing.
If you've been deep frying all along, it's time to switch things up a bit with oven baking. Not only does this method require less oil (hello health benefits.), but the result can be equally delicious.
To start off, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Place those almond flour and parmesan cheese coated pieces of heaven on a lined baking tray. Remember: don't crowd them; they need their space for even heat distribution.
Bake until the internal temp is 165°F (75°C), typically taking around 20-25 minutes, depending on size of chicken pieces. And voila. You have perfectly baked keto-friendly 'fried' chicken ready to serve hot from the oven.
Air fryers have taken the culinary world by storm lately thanks largely to their ability to deliver crispy exteriors without excessive oil usage like traditional deep-fryers.
Preheating should always come first. Set the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and insert the marinated chickens into the basket.
The total cook time would be approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure evenly cooked golden brown crusts. Avoid overcrowding inside the basket; this helps better circulation leading to crispier outcomes.
These alternate techniques offer versatility and healthier options compared to conventional ways while still delivering great taste. So why wait? Give these variations a try next time when craving KFC-style fried chicken..
Weighing High Carb Content against Protein and Fat
A key behind the ketogenic diet is keeping carbohydrate intake low while upping fat consumption so your body shifts gears - burning fats instead of carbs for energy (WebMD explains more about ketosis here).
Unfortunately, regular fried chicken leans heavily towards being high-carb due to its breading but falls short on fats because lean cuts such as breast meat often make their way onto our plates.
This skewed ratio between carbohydrates, protein, and fat makes conventional fried chicken an unlikely candidate when trying to maintain ketosis. Add hidden sugars from fast food versions to this mix, and suddenly those cravings seem less worth indulging.
However, fear not. With smart ingredient swaps (hello almond flour) and savvy cooking techniques - all revealed later - creating lip-smackingly good keto-friendly fried chicken at home becomes entirely achievable.
The idea of replicating a fast-food classic at home might seem challenging, but with the right ingredients and techniques, it's entirely doable. You can recreate that iconic crispy skin and succulent interior while keeping everything keto-friendly.
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Choosing the Right Chicken Cuts for Your Keto Fried Chicken
The journey to creating a delicious keto fried chicken begins with selecting the right piece of chicken. While all cuts have their unique qualities, some are just better suited for frying.
Drumsticks and Thighs: The Go-to Choice
Frying enthusiasts often lean towards drumsticks and thighs due to their juicy nature and flavorful taste profile. These parts, often referred to as pieces of chicken, also contain more fat, aligning perfectly with your ketogenic diet needs. This ensures you get that juicy chicken experience each time.
If your chicken dry feeling is something you're wary of and you're looking to boost protein while keeping fats on the lower side, don't fret. There's an alternative in white meat - yes, we're talking about chicken breasts. When prepared correctly, they can still yield excellent results despite being leaner than thighs or drumsticks.
Ditching Bones Without Losing Flavor
Boneless skin-on options like boneless skin-on thighs or breasts might seem appealing because of their even thickness, which ensures consistent cooking throughout each piece of chicken. However, remember that bones do add flavor, so if it's maximum taste you're after, consider sticking with bone-in pieces
Making Healthier Choices For Your Keto Fried Chicken Recipe
Incorporating healthier alternatives into your recipe doesn't mean compromising on flavors - far from it, actually.
Consider switching traditional deep-frying oils such as peanut oil out for avocado oil instead. With its high smoke point making it perfect for frying, coupled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, this is one change worth considering.
Air frying over deep-frying could be another healthy switch worth exploring too - using hot air circulation rather than submerging food in oil not only reduces the overall calorie count but keeps that crispy finish intact as well.
Just keep in mind these methods will require tweaks when setting temperatures and cook times compared to regular deep fryers.
For a keto-friendly fried chicken, opt for fattier cuts like drumsticks and thighs. If you prefer leaner meat, don't shy away from chicken breasts - they can be just as tasty. Consider bone-in pieces for maximum flavor. Swap traditional oils with avocado oil and try air frying to cut down on calories without losing the crispy finish.
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FAQs in Relation to Keto Fried Chicken
Is fried chicken OK on a keto diet?
Fried chicken can be part of a keto diet if it's prepared with low-carb ingredients like almond flour or crushed pork rinds instead of traditional wheat flour.
Can I take the breading off fried chicken for keto?
You could, but it won't taste as good. Instead, use a low-carb coating to keep the crispy texture and flavor intact while staying within your carb limit.
What is a keto flour substitute for frying?
Almond flour or coconut flour are excellent substitutes. They provide similar textures without adding unnecessary carbs, making them perfect for ketogenic cooking.
Can you deep fry on keto?
Absolutely. Just ensure you're using oils that have high smoke points such as avocado oil or ghee and coat your food in low-carb batter before frying.
What to use for deep frying on keto?
Some recommended cooking oils for the keto diet include olive, avocado, and coconut oil.
What oils are not allowed on keto?
Generally, it is advised to avoid the following oils when on the keto diet: corn oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, canolia oil, margarines, soybean oil
Which low-carb flour is best for frying?
Almond flour is best to use the coarse texture of breadcrumbs as a crumb coating rather than a traditional flour coating.
You don't have to miss out on fried chicken on a keto diet; just make sure you understand the high carb content of traditional recipes.
You can create your own KFC-style Keto Fried Chicken at home, with careful selection of ingredients and seasonings.
The secret lies in using a keto buttermilk marinade and an almond flour mixture for coating.
If frying isn't your thing, oven baking or air frying are great alternatives too!
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