There is a crucial element to getting any breading to stick to your soon-to-be fried chicken: egg wash. The egg wash acts as a binder for the bread crumbs, since the moisture from the chicken alone isn't enough. From there, you can pop the chicken in the deep fryer or air fryer, and it will come out perfectly crisp. But what if you learned there was a different method -- a better one -- for achieving that ultra-crispy crust? Enter, mayonnaise.
If you haven't done it yet, try replacing your typical egg wash with a layer of mayo. This condiment is a jack of all trades, and you won't even have to go through the motions of making a pesky egg wash. Just make sure you don't spread mayo on your raw chicken, then dunk the knife back in the container. Transfer a bit of mayo to a bowl and pull it from there -- it's one of those food safety mistakes that could lead to cross-contamination and illness.
Why Mayonnaise Gives Such A Perfect Crisp
Mayonnaise is not just perfect for fried chicken. It also is an excellent swap for butter atop a grilled cheese or for coating chicken thighs before air frying them. This magical condiment has three main elements that all work together to create the perfect crisp: fat, protein, and sugar.
Check your mayonnaise container's ingredients list, and you'll likely see some type of oil listed as the first ingredient. "Whole eggs" and "egg yolks" are probably on that list as well, plus sugar, which might be listed a little further down. These three ingredients all brown foods in their own way. Fat, of course, is a great way to fry food, while sugar is perfect for caramelizing. Proteins in eggs react while cooking to give our food a nice brown color, which is why you often brush dough with egg before baking it. Put all of them together, though, and it creates the perfect storm for crisping food.
How To Coat Chicken In Mayonnaise
There are two ways you can do this. You can soak the chicken in a marinade, such as buttermilk, first. The acid in buttermilk helps moisten the chicken, making the end result more tender as it marinates. Then, remove the chicken and slather some mayonnaise on each piece. After that, you can add your desired breading, and fry the meat.
The other option is to blend the buttermilk and mayonnaise together to create a thicker marinade. This way, there's no spreading mayo on the chicken because the thick marinade will stick to it when you remove the chicken, making it easy to add the bread crumbs. You can also just dip the chicken into seasoned flour or corn starch and forego the breadcrumbs, but make sure you season the marinade well in that case, too, for the best flavor. In both situations, the mayonnaise works the same way: It coats the meat, adding to the crisp that you're also getting from the breadcrumbs or flour.
Keep in mind that this method also works for air frying and baking, too. You don't need to make fried chicken to substitute mayonnaise; you can coat chicken thighs or chicken breast in a thin layer of mayo before baking or air frying. While it won't be as crispy as chicken fried in oil, it will still achieve a perfectly browned, crisp skin.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.