No matter what side of the Chick-fil-A debate you stand, the fact of the matter is – it’s delicious. The restaurant has created a cult following of lovers of their waffle fries, sweet tea and above all, their perfectly spiced, always tender chicken – and I am a member of the fan club.
Regardless of the debate, there is another basic fact (besides how spoon-worthy the honey bbq sauce is): eating Chick-fil-A on a regular basis isn’t very good for you. Thanks to all this controversy, plenty of copycat recipes have been floating around the Internet and I decided to try a few. The winner in my book has been blogger Kristen of Iowa Girl Eats who discovered the secret to the restaurant chain’s addictive chicken: pickle juice!
Between the pickle juice marinade and the touch of powdered sugar in the batter, her recipe hits closest to the mark and is a much healthier way to get your chicken fix. Give it a try – it’ll squelch the cravings until your next well-earned visit.
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt & pepper
¾ cup milk
¼ cup pickle juice
1¼ cups flour
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup peanut oil, divided (or canola or vegetable oil)
- Whisk together egg, milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- Combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine. Remove chicken from the marinade and add into the bag. Shake to coat the chicken completely.
- Heat half the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat (6 or 7 out of 10.) Test the oil by dropping in a bit of the flour mixture. If it sizzles, the oil is ready, if it pops, lower the temperature a bit.
- Gently place chicken pieces into the oil with tongs. Do this in 2 batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Turn the chicken over and allow to cook for 3-4 more minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Heat the remaining oil and continue with the other half of the chicken pieces.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauces of your choice!