While pork may be the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, it’s chicken that’s the most versatile. Fried chicken, our favorite variety (duh), comes in all types from all parts of the globe. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular to provide a comprehensive guide on each dish’s unique preparation and cooking process. From Nashville Hot and Maryland-style to Korean and Katsu, every finger-licking-good iteration is covered below.

Nashville Hot Chicken

YouTube/@Food Wishes

How to Prepare

Like most Southern-style fried chicken, the breast, thigh, wing, or drumstick should marinate in buttermilk before being dredged in a flour and spice blend. Nashville Hot Chicken’s famous fiery paste, typically one part lard to three parts cayenne pepper, sugar, and spices, is applied immediately after the chicken has been fried. This allows for it to penetrate the skin as it cools, all while maintaining its crispness.

How to Fry

Use a pressure fryer or deep fryer, though many restaurants opt to pan fry.

How to Serve 

Prince’s Hot Chicken, Nashville’s original, serves their bird on sliced white bread with a side of pickle chips. To calm the taste buds, it also tastes great with a small serving of creamy coleslaw.

Chicken Maryland

Serious Eats

How to Prepare

Preparation is similar to any Southern-style fried chicken. Pieces marinate in buttermilk and are dredged in a flour and spice blend before being cooked to perfection. It’s the frying process where this geo-specific dish differs from the norm.

How to Fry

The chicken is pan-fried in a cast-iron skillet, unlike most Southern variations that use heavy amounts of oil (for deep fryers) or a heavy amount of shortening (on a stove top). While the chicken is frying in a shallow amount of oil, milk or cream is added to the pan to create a decadent white gravy.

How to Serve

Top the fried chicken with the remaining gravy and serve with any typical dinner side. We recommend a refreshing summer salad.

Chicken Katsu

Chowhound

How to Prepare

A pounded and butterflied chicken thigh or breast is salted, seasoned with white pepper, and dredged in a beaten egg. Japanese sweet wine is typically added before the chicken is coated in panko bread crumbs and deep fried.

How to Fry

Toss these cutlets into a deep fryer. Since the cut’s thickness is even, it will ensure even cooking throughout.

How to Serve

Typically, the chicken is sliced into strips and served with tonkatsu sauce (almost like a Worcestshire) next to cabbage, rice, or miso soup. You can also treat it like parmesan chicken and top it with your favorite sauce.

Korean Fried Chicken

BonChon

How to Prepare

Chicken is very lightly dredged in flour, dipped in a batter, and placed immediately in the fryer. Traditionally, all flavors and seasonings are added after the cooking process, but Americanized versions will add salt, pepper, and paprika beforehand.

How to Fry

What separates Korean fried chicken from its fried chicken counterparts is that it is fried twice, most commonly in a deep fryer to achieve a crunchier, less greasy skin. Since chickens in South Korea are smaller, they are sometimes fried whole and chopped into pieces upon cooking. Either way, you want your oil temperature to be lower (around 350 degrees) and for your chicken to cook for only ten minutes. Immediately shake off the excess oil and allow the poultry to rest for two minutes. The chicken then returns to the fryer for another ten minutes before it becomes the perfect, crispy (almost translucent) golden brown.

How to Serve

Korean fried chicken is typically seasoned and served three ways: huraideu (basic with salt and pepper), yangnyeom (spicy), and ganjang (garlicky soy sauce). The respective sauces (or lack thereof with huraideu) are brushed onto the chicken immediately after frying. All varieties pair well with a beer, soju, sesame seeds, and pickled radishes.

Chinese-American Fried Chicken

Chowhound

How to Prepare

Unlike Korean fried chicken, the Americanized Chinese love their flour and cornstarch-heavy batters. Whether you’re making sweet and sour, orange, or General Tso’s, the base usually consists of a flour, spice, egg, and water-based batter to achieve a breaded, light brown crust.

How to Fry

Most Chinese-American fried chicken dishes are prepared in bite-sized pieces. You can either pan-fry the chunks in a shallow pan of vegetable oil or toss them in a deep fryer. Either way, be sure to not overcook. Undercooking the breaded pieces so that the batter remains somewhat soft is what makes the dish a delicacy.

How to Serve

The possibilities are endless, though many Chinese-American chefs will allow their chicken to cool a bit before dousing them in heavy, sweet sauces.

Buffalo Wings

Chowhound

How to Prepare

If you’re hoping to make these anything like the inventors at Anchor Bar, there’s no need to dredge the raw chicken in any sort of batter or seasoning. Instead, just toss them into the fryer and let the oil and resulting skin do the talking.

How to Fry

Though healthier recipes boast oven-baking alternatives, placing your wings and drums into a deep fryer is the best option. Unflavored oils like canola are the best, as to not detract from the signature sauce.

How to Serve

Making homemade buffalo sauce is quite easy. Mix a cup of your favorite vinegar-based pepper sauce like Frank’s or Crystal, 12 tablespoons of melted butter, and a few bulbs of minced garlic. Simply toss the wings in the sauce and serve with a side of celery and bleu cheese dressing.

See more articles