We’ll be the first to admit it—the breading is the best part of baked or fried chicken (or pork, steak, or fish, or anything, really). So when the breading separates from the cooked chicken and falls off, it’s a major bummer.
If this happens to you, try our foolproof method for breading chicken. It may look like any traditional breading method, but there are a few small steps in there that will create a crisp, crunchy coating that stays put.
1. Pat the Chicken Dry
Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat the surface dry on both sides with paper towels. You can also let the chicken sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator to dry it out. It sounds counterintuitive, but a dry surface will help the flour adhere evenly to the chicken.
2. Dredge in Flour
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in all-purpose flour so that there is a thin, even coating of flour.
3. Dip in Beaten Eggs
Dip the flour-coated chicken in a bowl of beaten eggs. (You can also use buttermilk, if you prefer, or add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a few drops of hot sauce to the mixture for a little kick.) You want the eggs to completely coat the flour.
4. Coat in Breadcrumbs
Dredge the chicken in breadcrumbs (or crushed crackers) that have been seasoned with salt and pepper (and other herbs and spices, if you prefer). Make sure the breadcrumbs completely cover the chicken, making a nice, thick coating.
Place the breaded chicken on a cooling rack (or a platter) and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will help the layers of breading ingredients solidify, and adhere better when the chicken is cooked.