Last Updated: June 20, 2022

Can You Fry Chicken Without Flour? Is There Any Alternative?

can you fry chicken without flour

Fried chicken is a worldwide favorite dish. At any given time, someone craves fried chicken, and this delicious food is very easy to cook. You need the perfect breading mix and oil for it. Flour is the key ingredient of the breading mixture.

But what if you are out of flour, are looking for a healthier way to enjoy fried chicken, or are gluten-intolerant? You can leave the flour while frying chicken and use other substitutes like Cornstarch, Potato starch, or Rice flour.

The Purpose of Using Flour for Fried Foods

If you can understand the purpose of using flour in fried chicken and how it makes the chicken crispy, you will be able to find some other substitutes.

  1. First, the key purpose of using flour is to give the fried foods a beautiful golden-brown color once they have been fried. 
  2. When food is heated, ingredients react differently, ranging from changing color to developing unappealing flavors and changing texture. But flour performs well even in high heat. It browns steadily and evenly and allows you to check that the chicken is cooked adequately before the coating gets brunt.
  3. It also doesn’t change the texture or flavor of any fried food.
  4. Because flour is almost flavorless, you can easily manipulate the flavor of your fried foods.
  5. Lastly, the flour serves as a base for various herbs and spices. So you can add flavor to your coating without using sauces and marinades.

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Best Substitutes for Flour in Fried Chicken

You can enjoy fried chicken without flour because there are some substitutes you can use if you don’t want to or don’t have any flour at home. You can choose from any of those based on the reason for replacing flour.

  • Use cornstarch or gluten-free flour to make gluten-free fried chicken.
  • If you are out of flour, you can choose to remove it entirely or use any of the listed substitutes!
raw chicken breast on a chopping board with other ingredients
Image credit: Iryna Pospikh, Shutterstock

 Check the below list to find a suitable substitute for you.

  1. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is an ideal replacement for flour for every fried food item. Many recipes don’t call for flour but rather require cornstarch.

Though there certainly will be some different effects on the end product. The benefits of using cornstarch instead of flour are-

  • The most significant key benefit is that cornstarch is gluten-free, unlike flour. So, even if you are gluten-sensitive, you can enjoy fried chicken, and no one will stop you.
  • Cornstarch will give you an extra crispy coating.
  • It provides a dried coating.
  • You can work with any work profile as it has a neutral flavor.
  • The starch absorbs less oil when it is fried, which means your piece of chicken contains less fat.
  • It doesn’t change the texture if heated for a long time.

Your chicken fry will be gluten-free, neutrally flavored,  perfectly crispy, and evenly browned. And if you have some flour left or don’t want to replace flour completely, go for a 50/50 blend of cornstarch and regular or gluten-free flour. You will get everything from this mixture.

Note : If you are only coating the chicken in cornstarch, before frying the chicken, be sure to get an even and thin layer to prevent a gummy texture. If you use cornstarch for batter-based coatings, the batter will have a much thicker consistency than a flour-based batter.

  1. Potato Starch

Potato starch is another excellent substitute for flour. Its effects on fried foods are almost similar to cornstarch. Also, it ranks as the perfect cornstarch substitute. So, you can surely use it instead of flour.

  • Due to having a similar molecular structure to cornstarch and creates a crispier crumb. 
  • It offers a neutral flavor. So it is ideal for experimenting with different spice blends.
  • It is another well-known gluten-free substitute for flour.

tips icon Tip : To avoid a gummy texture, use a thin and even layer of a potato starch coating.

  1. Rice Flour

Rice flour is a grain-based flour made from rice granules. And it’s a highly recommended flour substitute because-

  • Rice flour is gluten-free. 
  • It brings the perfect level of crispiness to chicken.
  • It’s flavor-neutral and can easily be mixed with different spices to create a new flavor profile.
  1. Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is a finely ground flour nutrient-rich with protein and other healthy elements.

  • It is also a gluten-free replacement.
  • It has fewer calories compared to regular wheat flour. 
  • Though it comes with a flavor that can change the overall flavor taste of fried chicken, it also makes the chicken stand out. You will love it!

Note : Mix a bit of club soda with chickpea flour to make a light, crispy chicken batter. Because chickpea flour is exceptionally dense and heavy.

  1. Eggs and Breadcrumbs

People commonly use eggs and breadcrumbs to fry chicken if they are out of flour. But it’s needless to say that it will taste quite different from a fried chicken made using flour. 

Using eggs and breadcrumbs to bread chicken doesn’t give it as much crispiness as you will get from using flour.

However, eggs and breadcrumbs will reasonably do their job of frying the chicken.

  1. Using Nothing at All

You don’t have to use flour or any other substitute to get crispy fried chicken. The following choking technique will do the trick.

  • First, keep the skin of the chicken pieces. When chicken is fried at the perfect temperature, the skin’s amazing crisping properties will make your piece beautifully crispy.

If you want, you can use a marinade. It would be effective to do so. Let your chicken pieces sit in the marinade for around 24 hours. As a result, from deep-frying your chicken, you will get both the flavor and a deliciously crispy texture with juicy meat.

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Can You Fry Chicken Without Breading?

You can fry chicken without breading. But it’s not the best idea. Because breading is the key to crispy fried chicken, it also helps to keep the chicken moist, resulting in juicy and crave-worthy fried chicken.

raw chicken leg pieces ready to be seasoned
Image credit: Candice Bell, Shutterstock

How to Bread Chicken without Flour?

You can easily fry chicken using baking powder or baking soda instead of flour in an air fryer. Don’t be surprised. Let me conclude the article with a quick recipe. See you around!

No-Flour Fried Chicken Recipe.


  • 2 pounds of chicken wings (cut the drum and flat pieces apart)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper


Step 1: 

Defrost your chicken wings if they are frozen. You must cook the chicken only after it defrosts appropriately for food safety. It will take 24-36 hours in the fridge.

Step 2:

Thoroughly wash your chicken and tap it with a dry and clean kitchen towel or napkin. Your chicken should be dry for the marinade to work properly. After the chicken has dried, move it to a clean deep bowl.

Step 3:

Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Mix the baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, and onion powder in a separate bowl. It will spread the flavors to the chicken when the meat sits in the marinade.

Step 4:

Coat your chicken with the marinade mixture. You can either submerge all the chicken pieces in the marinade mixture or coat the chicken pieces separately to ensure that no spot is left uncoated.

Step 5:

Wrap the marinated chicken wings in plastic wrap or foil and place them in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours or overnight. If you are in a hurry, marinate it for an hour and start cooking the chicken wings.

Step 6:

Once the chicken is marinated correctly, bring out the chicken from the fridge and drizzle it with olive oil or vegetable oil. You can skip the frying oil if you are in saving mode.

Step 7:

Preheat your air fryer to 390-400 degrees. Before frying the chicken wings, ensure the temperature is ready and accurate with a food thermometer.

Step 8 :

Start frying the chicken wings. You can place two pieces at a time.

  • If the chicken wing is small-sized, fry it for 10-11 minutes on each side. 
  • If the chicken wing is medium-sized, fry it for around 14 minutes on each side. 
  • If the chicken wing is large-sized, fry it for 15 minutes on each side. 

Step 9:

Take a piece of fried chicken from the air fryer, wait for 5 minutes, and then serve it with a homemade low-calorie dip or with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes or French fries.

Enjoy your no-flour fried chicken!

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