You may have heard that baking soda is the trick to making chicken ultra crispy and delicious, and you might be wondering whether that’s true, or if it’s just a myth. It doesn’t seem the most obvious thing to be adding to a chicken dish! You can add baking soda, but many people find that baking powder is better.
Does baking soda make chicken crispy? Baking soda and baking powder are absolutely the best way to get crispy chicken. They cut out the need to deep fat fry anything, making it much easier to cook crispy chicken at home, even if you are baking it in your oven. You may not even notice the difference between baked chicken and deep fried chicken if you add baking soda or baking powder to your recipe!
What’s the Difference Between Using Baking Soda and Baking Powder for Crispy Chicken?
You will find a lot of recipes that suggest you should use baking powder instead of baking soda, and that’s because baking soda has quite a noticeable flavor. It is an alkaline, and it will slightly affect the taste of the chicken. Baking powder shouldn’t have any detectable flavor.
However, many recipes also call for both of these ingredients, and both will have the result of making your chicken ultra crispy. Why? Well, baking powder is baking soda with some other things added in, so they should achieve the same effect, but baking powder will not flavor the chicken to the same degree.
Baking soda is an alkaline, and it serves to break down something called the peptide bonds in the chicken’s skin. This makes the chicken brown more quickly, speeding up the crisping process. It also works well in flour-based batters, because it reacts with the liquid in the recipe and creates bubbles of carbon dioxide.
These bubbles make the batter light as it is cooked, resulting in a deliciously crispy coating on the chicken.
However, most people tend to use baking powder, which is a mix of cream of tartar, sodium bicarbonate, and cornstarch. Because the sodium bicarbonate is diluted, it’s possible to use more without altering the taste of the dish.
Using it dries out the skin of the chicken, especially when it is mixed with salt. This allows the skin to become crispy when it is then cooked – because the moisture has already been removed.
Both products will therefore work to make your chicken crispier, and you can use a combination of the two. However, you need to be aware that baking soda has a stronger flavor and it cannot be used as a straight swap for baking powder. If the recipe calls for baking powder, make sure you use that, and not baking soda!
What Do You Do With Baking Soda?
So, how do you add baking soda to your crispy chicken recipe? The best thing to do is to mix it into a batter recipe, so it is diluted. You will only need a pinch, otherwise you will be able to taste it in the final product, but this should be enough to lift your batter and make it light and crunchy.
You may also find that it breaks down the chicken skin and helps it to brown quickly, but again, you need to be careful not to use too much, or you will find that the cooked chicken tastes odd. You should experiment with quantities before you try this for a proper meal, or you might end up ruining a lot of chicken!
What Do You Do With Baking Powder?
Baking powder can be used to dust the skin of the chicken when it is raw. Simply tip your chicken wings into a bowl, and then sprinkle some salt and aluminum-free baking powder over the top. It should not coat the wings.
You can then use your hands to mix the raw chicken up with the baking powder and salt, making sure that it is well mixed. You won’t find that the chicken gets covered, because you shouldn’t have nearly that much salt or baking powder. Instead, it will just be a thin dusting.
This dusting will dry out the skin, pulling the moisture away from the chicken. Place your chicken wings on a rack so that any excess moisture and fat can drip off, and air can circulate around the meat.
This can be left for a few minutes to enhance the effect. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raw chicken. Next, bake your chicken in an oven at 250 degrees F for 30 minutes to help the fat render and the meat dry.
Finish them with forty minutes (or more) in an oven set to 425 degrees F.
What are the Advantages of this Method?
It is definitely healthier to bake chicken in the oven and use baking soda or baking powder to create a crispy coating than it is to deep fry chicken. It is also much easier to do at home, since you don’t need a fryer, and you don’t have a lot of oil to dispose of afterward!
There are a lot of reasons to try this crispy chicken method, and the health factor is probably the biggest. Chicken cooked in lots of oil is not good for us, and everyone knows it. If you can achieve an equally delicious meal without all the oil, it’s definitely worth doing!
Secondly, fryers are bulky to store, dangerous, and produce a lot of waste oil that you have to deal with. It’s much better to avoid all of that by cooking chicken with baking powder, and you can still enjoy something crunchy and tasty, without the extra equipment.
Is this Chicken as Good as Fried Chicken?
Many people swear that chicken dusted with baking powder is as crispy and delicious as fried chicken, or possibly even better! The baking powder and baking soda should work to create a light, crunchy coating, allowing the chicken to brown beautifully as you cook it.
Baking soda does make chicken crispier, but you probably want to use baking powder on the whole. You won’t be able to use enough baking soda to achieve a crispy effect without affecting the taste of the chicken, so baking powder is the product to choose.