It's easy to make low-carb keto fried chicken in an air fryer. But if you don't have this trendy appliance, the chicken can be baked in a regular oven instead! Either way, you are left with a juicy, crispy chicken- without all the carbs.
Crispy Keto Fried Chicken
What a difference a couple of decades makes. I used to make my family fried chicken about once a week!
I'd bust out the deep frying pan, Crisco vegetable oil, and high-starch bread crumbs. About half hour later, we'd have a heart-attack on a plate.
But, boy did it taste good.
After the meal was over, with blissful ignorance of the grease coating and clogging my insides, I'd somehow manage to get all the dishes done even though I was in a food coma.
These days, well after my move to low carb, I'm happy to say that it's possible to create a keto fried chicken recipe that's just as tasty as the old-school way of doing it.
For this recipe, there are at least a couple of surprising ingredients. Interested? I'll share a bit more about them.
Ingredients To Make Low Carb Fried Chicken
There are quite a few unusual ingredients that I used in my fried chicken to keep it low-carb.
For this recipe, I used almond milk.
I'm sure in the deep south, where recipes for this dish are passed down in secret like spy codes, almond milk is not a ubiquitous ingredient.
However, it's perfect for keto fried chicken. And here's why.
Buttermilk is a staple of southern fried chicken but, dairy causes sensitivities or allergic symptoms for many people.
That's why dairy-free almond milk is much safer! Plus, think of the number of calories you would save!
Along with the coconut oil and vinegar, the almond milk isn't going to make this recipe taste like a watery, soggy disaster and you won't taste the nutty flavor either.
To give the fried chicken the crispy coating, I decided to use pork rinds. They are low in carbs and have a really nice crunchy texture when air fried!
The vinegar keeps the chicken juicy and makes it extra tender. I used regular white vinegar, but I'm sure apple cider vinegar will work too.
I don't recommend using balsamic or any kind of wine vinegar.
The thing that makes this keto fried chicken stand out is the blend of spices. There are 11 different spices in it!
Believe me- make sure to use all 11. The flavor is unmistakable!
Please note: Check out the recipe card at the bottom for a full list of ingredients used to make this low carb recipe.
The Best Way To Cook Fried Chicken: The Air Fryer
The best way to make low-carb fried chicken is to use an air fryer. Hopefully, you have a big enough kitchen because it seems like every year, there's more gadgets that are a must-have for healthy cooking.
Fried chicken in an air fryer is not only quicker than using an oven but, you also just get a crispier, juicier piece of chicken.
Now, if you've never used an air fryer, here's basically how it works.
It circulates hot air around the food. Instead of frying something in a vat of scalding hot, rancid vegetable oil, the hot air cooks it all the way through.
It's culinary wizardry, but I'm telling you it works. (I'm partial to the popular one made by GoWise.)
How To Make Keto Fried Chicken
The entire recipe is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. First, I have some tips about each step I want to share.
Marinate The Chicken In Milk and Vinegar
Step 1 is simple. Just put the 5 pounds of chicken in a bowl. I like having breasts, thighs, and wings instead of just one part. But, if you love just the wings, that's fine.
Mix the one cup of almond mix and one tablespoon white vinegar together. Then, pour the mix over the chicken.
Place for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Binge-watch your favorite show or read a book or go exercise. Actually, while the chicken is in the fridge, you can prepare the add-ons.
Mix The Coating Ingredients Together
In a wide, shallow bowl or dish, combine the pork rinds, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, celery salt, black pepper, dried mustard, paprika, garlic salt, ground ginger and white pepper.
Make sure the ingredients are mixed well.
Coat the Chicken
Next, after the chicken has cooled in the fridge for 2 hours with the almond milk and vinegar, take it out, and dip each piece in the pork rind blend.
All pieces should be well coated.
Cook Them In The Air Fryer
In the air fryer basket, spread a tablespoon of coconut oil. You can experiment with other oils such as avocado. Just make sure not to use any vegetable oils (no corn, soybean, cottonseed or canola oils).
You'll then arrange the chicken in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer. Set the temp to 360°F and air fry for 10 minutes.
The meal isn't quite done at this point.
First, rotate the pieces. Then, air fry for another 10 minutes. Hopefully, you have a cooking thermometer and can test to make sure the pieces reach 165°F.
Frequently Asked Questions About Keto Fried Chicken
Before we get to the recipe card, here are a few questions that you might have about it.
Does An Air Fryer Take Longer Than An Oven?
Actually, and air fryer takes less time than an oven.
In fact, a conventional oven requires 50 minutes at 350°F, if not longer. (If you're using one, place the pieces on a rack and rotate the pieces halfway through cooking.)
Do The Pork Rinds Make It Less Healthy?
As for the pork rinds, they really don't make this healthy poultry meal less healthy. In fact, some people upon hearing pork rinds are paleo and keto-friendly do a double-take.
That's because when most people think of pork rinds, they think of the highly-processed snack pack that is sold in vending machines. But pork rinds can be minimally-processed, artisanal, and even organic.
Considering that conventional bread crumbs are very high in carbs, pork rinds are a healthier option.
This meal is definitely not a plant-based meal. However, once in a while, when the family gets a craving for fried chicken, indulge them in this low-carb version.
Other Recipes To Try
If you want a really easy way to make chicken, you have to try my Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken! It is amazing.
Here are a few more keto chicken recipes you might want to check out next:
- Keto Crock Pot Chicken Pizza Casserole tastes just like a pizza, but it's so much easier to make!
- Chicken Green Bean Casserole will feed an entire family and breaks you out of the rut of eating the same old thing.
- Low-Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu is a really fancy dish that is actually easy to make.
- Keto Butter Chicken is a classic recipe from India that is so tasty your entire family will love it.
- Keto Chicken Kabobs is so much fun to make. You can cook it on the grill and eat it at cookouts.
Low Carb Keto Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer or Oven
- 5 pounds chicken about 10 pieces
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 cups crushed pork rinds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ⅓ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 teaspoons white pepper
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil for air fryer only
- Place chicken in a large bowl. Mix almond milk and vinegar then pour over chicken. Let the chicken soak in the liquid for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- In wide shallow bowl or dish, combine pork rinds, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, celery salt, black pepper, dried mustard, paprika, garlic salt, ground ginger, and white pepper.
- Dip each piece of chicken in dry pork rind mixture until coated.
- Spread 1 tablespoon coconut oil in bottom of air fryer basket.
- Arrange chicken in single layer on basket.
- Air fry at 360°F for 10 minutes, rotate, then air fry another 10 minutes. Test chicken temperature to reach 165°F and continue cooking if needed.
- Arrange chicken on a rack in baking pan. Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes or until meat reaches 165°F.
Array ( [serving_size] => 1 [calories] => 539 [carbohydrates] => 1 [protein] => 45 [fat] => 37 [saturated_fat] => 11 [cholesterol] => 175 [sodium] => 1108 [potassium] => 446 [fiber] => 0 [sugar] => 0 [vitamin_a] => 710 [vitamin_c] => 3.9 [calcium] => 61 [iron] => 2.4 [serving_unit] => piece )
Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Unauthorized use of this material without written permission from Lisa MarcAurele is strictly prohibited unless for personal offline purposes.
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Updated December 2, 2020, with clearer images and additional recipe information. Originally published August 20, 2018.