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What Makes the Chicken Skin Crispy When Cooking?

by Leigh Good

Crispy chicken skin is one of the best parts of cooking chicken. Enjoying the salty, crunchy skin on a perfectly cooked chicken is a treat for everyone. No matter how you cook chicken, you can take a few steps to keep the skin crisp and avoid soggy, floppy chicken skin. Chicken skin is high in fat, but enjoying crispy chicken skin in moderation on some occasions is usually fine for healthy children and adults.

Frying

Frying chicken is a classic way to get extra crunchy chicken skin. A deep fryer or pan full of hot oil is the key to getting the skin on fried chicken especially crispy. The oil's high heat cooks the chicken skin quickly, turning it golden brown and crunchy in minutes. Keep the oil temperature right at 325 degrees Fahrenheit to cook the skin perfectly. If the oil gets too cold, the skin will become soggy. Too hot, and the skin may burn.

Roasting

Roasting a whole chicken is a healthier alternative to frying that still results in crispy chicken skin. Hot air circulating in a hot oven helps cook the bird evenly, resulting in perfectly crunchy chicken skin. If your oven has a convection setting, use it when roasting a whole chicken to keep that hot air circulating and wind up with even crispier skin. Rub the chicken with softened butter first to add extra fat, which heats up during cooking and helps the skin brown better and become crispier. For extra flavor, rub spices or a ranch-flavored dry mix under the skin before the butter rub.

Grilling

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill keeps the heat out of your kitchen and gives you a change to enjoy the outdoors. To get crispy skin on a grilled chicken, cook the entire chicken over indirect heat until the meat is done. Then move the chicken directly over the hot flame and let the skin cook for just a few minutes more, until it is golden and crispy. This way you end up with perfectly cooked meat and crunchy skin all at once.

Reheating Rotisserie Chicken

When you buy a prepared rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, the skin is still hot and crispy. But if you put it in the refrigerator to serve later, that crispiness goes away. You can restore the crunch to your rotisserie chicken by reheating it just the right way. Place the cooked chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil, then set the sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the chicken for 20 minutes or until the meat inside the bird is warm and the skin has regained its crunch.

Safety

Don't ruin your family's memories of your perfect crispy chicken with food poisoning. Young children, in particular, are prone to foodborne illnesses. Keep your family safe by cooking the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.

About the Author

Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.

Photo Credits

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