That said, the heart of today’s recipe comes from Junior’s Cookbook, the ‘book of secrets’ to the beloved Brooklyn eatery that’s famous for its cheesecake. If you can’t check them out in person, I highly recommend their cookbook. The recipes are easy to prepare and easy to love, my favorite kind of cookbook. It features such family favorites as today's fried chicken, as well as how-to behind the cheesecake that started it all.
Ingredient Notes, Tips, and Substitutions
1) The Flour – All-Purpose vs Cake Flour vs Bread Flour; What’s the Difference? We want the crust of today’s chicken to be thick and clingy as opposed to light and flaky, however we don’t want it to become ‘hard.’ That means we want all purpose flour. However, what’s the difference between these flours? And why would one flour result in a crust that more or less flakes off of the chicken, while another would form an unpleasantly ‘hard’ crust, while another produce a pleasant middle ground between the two? In a word – protein. To understand this, let’s begin with all-purpose flour and work our way down…and up…from there, since all-purpose flour is – as we’ve already said – a midpoint between the three. All-purpose flour has been processed and ground down until only the starchy endosperm of the original wheat grain remains. This has the effect of ‘standardizing’ all-purpose flour to around 9-10% protein content. By contrast cake flour contains no more than 8% protein, while bread flour sits at a comparatively hefty 11-13%. This might not seem like a big difference, but consider that the less protein flour contains the ‘lighter’ and less dense the resulting baked good is. By contrast, the more protein flour has, the more ‘chew’ and ‘body’ a baked good will have. Not only that, but flour requires protein to produce gluten, and gluten is what gives dough the ‘stringy bits’ that make the dough elastic enough to knead. Thus, for a light and airy pastry, cake flour is the order of the day. For an excellently textured pizza dough, bread flour will give the best results.
2) Whole Milk is a Must. We want the ‘fat’ from the whole milk in the batter, since this fat will help to bind together the dry ingredients. Also, that same fat lends the crust a fair bit of flavor and texture. By contrast, less fatty milk will lead to the coating having a difficult time holding together, since it will be too watery. For best results, you might even consider adding a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the milk.
3) Cooking Oil. Plain vegetable oil is fine for today’s purposes, since we’re using it purely to fry the chicken in. The rule of thumb is this – olive oil gives superior flavor and health benefits, but ‘only’ when cooking at lower temperatures of no more than around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or when barbecuing over ‘gentle’ flames. Use vegetable oil for pretty much everything else. The reason is that most olive oils have a relatively low ‘smoke point,’ which is the temperature at which the olive oil begins to burn away, giving your food a rancid taste and sapping its nutrients. Curiously, the lower the quality your olive oil, the ‘higher’ its smoke point. In fact, ‘Light’ olive oil actually has a higher smoke point than vegetable oil, while Extra Virgin Cold Pressed olive oil will start to burn away at merely a ‘low simmer.’
Preparation Notes and Tips
1) Works for Cutlets, Strips, and Pieces. While I’m using chicken strips, today’s recipe works great with whole cutlets, as well as any combination of chicken pieces – legs, thighs, wings, it all works fine.
Tip: You can also use today’s batter to fry up vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, or onion rings.
2) The Cajun Seasoning. Cajun seasoning should be hot and smoky, and just a touch earthy. Most Cajun seasonings on the market (along with most recipes you’ll find online) are some combination of paprika, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and white pepper. You might also find thyme and onion powder thrown into some. In the recipe below, I added cumin, chili powder, and coriander to mine, and left out the white pepper. I did this simply because I thought that would go nicely with the ‘heavier’ texture of the crust in today’s recipe – and it did. So, is what I made still Cajun seasoning? Probably…? Then again, it doesn’t matter, it’s simply delicious.
3) Frothy Eggs – What You’re Looking For. You want a thick layer of bubbles covering the top of the beaten eggs. You do ‘not’ want the eggs to stiffen and form peaks. You just want a uniform layer of ‘froth’ on top of the eggs. This layer of froth may evaporate by the time you’ve mixed and added in the dry ingredients – that is fine. You don’t need to rewhip them.
4) Coating the chicken ‘will’ be messy. I’m just putting this in as a warning, the heavier batter ‘does’ make for a slightly messy time of the breading process. This is fine, just learn to love it.
Today’s Fried Chicken Pairs Great With
1) Onion Rings. I love the combo of fried onion rings and fried chicken. I prepare my onion rings with just a hint of spice, and a thick, dense batter that crisps up beautifully during frying. You can grab my recipe here.
2) Buffalo Dipping Sauce. I’m of the opinion that buffalo sauce is severely ‘typecast,’ since I believe it often gets overlooked when it’s not in it’s ‘chicken wing incarnation.’ For a quick and easy buffalo dipping sauce, which would pair great with today’s fried chicken, give this recipe a try.
3) A Cold Drink. While fried chicken and tall beer are a match made in heaven, if you want to flavor things up a bit and play ‘bartender’ to yourself or your guests, our friends over at DrinkWorks have got you covered. Think of it as the “Keurig of Home Bars,” simply pop a pod into the machine, and out comes a delicious, chilled ‘adult beverage’ (no ice required) that tastes like it was mixed by a master mixologist. With dozens upon dozens of drink pod flavors to choose from, including Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Moscow Mule, Whiskey Sour, White Russian, and Old Fashioned, among many others, there’s something for everyone.
4) Pickled Sweet Potato Salad. My absolute favorite way to eat sweet potatoes, this salad is sweet, crunchy, just tad acidic, and refreshing. As a plus, letting it sit a night or two in the fridge only enhances the flavors, meaning its perfect for making ahead.
5) Coleslaw. My preferred recipe for coleslaw combines the obligatory mayo-coating with a citrusy dressing. For a nice kick, I slice in jalapenos with the cabbage to create a sweet-and-spicy salad, with just a hint of crisp citrus.
Cajun Fried Chicken
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: main dish
- 1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- Canola or Vegetable cooking oil for frying (do not use olive oil)
- 5 extra large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
For the Cajun Seasoning:
- Combine all of the ingredients above, and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pound the chicken breasts or thighs with a meat mallet, into 1/8 - 1/4 inch thickness.
- To make the dipping batter, whisk eggs and milk together in a large bowl until frothy. Add the remaining batter ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the breading ingredients together in a shallow baking dish (a 13 x 9-inch one is perfect).
- Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip first in the batter, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then roll in the breading, coating it well on both sides. Transfer to a tray, and continue until all the pieces are coated.
- Heat a large frypan (I suggest using a cast iron pan if you have one) with 1-inch of oil over medium heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Gently slide the chicken into the hot oil. Cook only a few pieces at a time- do not overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the chicken, turning only once, until golden and cooked all the way through, 3-4 minutes per side for boneless breasts and 4-5 minutes per side for boneless thighs. Dark meat takes longer to cook.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to absorb any access oil. Serve and Enjoy!
Keywords: chicken, poultry, cajun seasoning, fried chicken
Michelle cantu says
We absolutely love Cajun flavors, definitely need to try this. Also great suggestion to do a vegetable fry, I need to try cauliflower and broccoli Cajun fried.
Catherine Pappas says
Thank you for visiting Michelle. I love Cajun flavors too. I hope that you enjoy this recipe if you give a try. Have a beautiful weekend.
Rhonda Albom says
More than your recipe, it's the logic behind it that I love here. Like why all-purpose flour, or why whole milk. I learned a lot more than just how to fry up some delicious chicken!
Living the Gourmet says
Thank you Rhonda for your kind words and for visiting. I am so happy that you enjoy the articles to go with the recipe. It makes everything worthwhile.
I hope that you have a beautiful weekend ahead.
Paula Richie says
While we do eat fried chicken from time-to-time, it has been a while since I prepared it. We are overdue.
Catherine Pappas says
Oh, thank you for visiting Paula. I hope that you enjoy this recipe if you give it a try. It is a bit messy to prepare but I enjoyed the result. Have a beautiful weekend.
Mosaic Designs says
These look so so good!!! I love Cajun spice a lot and would have it with anything!!!
Catherine Pappas says
Oh, I love Cajun spice too.
Thank you always for visiting.
Have a beautiful weekend.
Yeah Lifestyle says
Cajun style fried chicken is my favourite recipe but I've not made it at home before so would be looking forward to trying out your recipe
Catherine Pappas says
Oh, it would be fun to make at home and enjoy with your leisure.
Remember though this recipe does get a bit "messy" with the coating but don't let that discourage you. It is worth it.
Have a beautiful weekend ahead.
Cajun fried chicken looks incredible! I’ve never made it before but you’ve inspired me to try.
This cajun fried chicken looks fantastic! And the pictures are amazing, I want to eat it right now. My son loves fried chicken, It will be on our menu very soon. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Bernice Hill says
I can never resist fried chicken...add the cajun spices and I'm in love. This chicken is perfectly golden fried and not that difficult to make either.
Chef Dennis says
Fried Chicken is surely one of the favorites in our home. This Cajun Fried Chicken will definitely be a big hit on our table.
We love making fried chicken but I have never tried cajun fried chicken before. This is destined to be one of my kids' favorites! Thank you for this great recipe. Those closeup photos leave me wanting more!
Veronika Sykorova says
Cajun seasoning is my favorite! I always get one from whole foods but I finally tried making it myself, it was so easy! Thanks for the recipe!
Did anyone say fried chicken? Yes please! It is pretty simple - I hear fried chicken, I say YES! The type of recipe that never disappoints!
Amanda Dixon says
This fried chicken is amazing! I loved how crisp the batter turned out, and the spice was perfect.
Enriqueta E Lemoine says
Very easy to follow recipe. This chicken cajun is a must and will make people lick their fingers. Thanks for sharing.
The cajun seasoning and batter sounds so delicious! I can never resist fried chicken, especially one that has as much flavor as this.
What a treat! My family loves fried chicken, and we eat it often, so making it a bit different and using cajun flavors is a great idea for a weekly meal.
Mama Maggie's Kitchen says
Oh my! I need this in my life. It looks absolutely scrumptious. Must print your recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Robert C DeCuir says
Thank you for offering your version of our local (Southern Louisiana) fried chicken. I must respectfully disagree with you and your mixture of seasonings. I actually found the same combination (with the exception of the coriander) on another website and tried it. While it maybe considered an acceptable variation, it's not Southern Louisiana. I wish ya'll the very best.