Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, keto fried chicken is coated with crushed pork rinds, then baked in the oven into crispy perfection.
I can't believe how delicious this chicken is! Baked in the oven (much like these very simple yet reliable baked drumsticks) and coated with crushed pork rinds, it's amazingly close to the real Southern fried chicken I used to make back in my high carb days.
In fact, my kids, who still eat flour on occasion, said that they like this recipe just as much as the traditional one. I nearly fainted. 😵
Keto substitute for fried chicken
I used to make classic fried chicken quite often. When I started eating a low carb diet, I experimented with using an almond flour coating while still deep-frying the chicken. But the almond flour coating disintegrated when I deep fried it.
So I started using the oven. This was excellent - we all loved it. But almond flour doesn't get as crispy as all-purpose flour or breadcrumbs.
My next discovery was crushed pork rinds. You simply pulse pork rinds in the food processor into fine crumbs. You can also place them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin, although they won't be as finely crushed if you do it by hand.
Another option is to buy "pork panko" - I believe it's available on Amazon. It's certainly the easiest option, but I feel that it doesn't come out as crispy as crushing your own pork rinds.
Oven-baked keto fried chicken coated in pork rinds is so good, so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, that I don't miss the frying anymore. Let's face it - deep frying is no fun.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty chicken recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Crushed pork rinds: As mentioned above, you can make your own or buy the pre-packaged stuff.
Spices: Black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and dried thyme. There's no need for salt because pork rinds are very salty.
Eggs: I dip the chicken pieces into them prior to coating them with the crushed pork rinds.
Skin-on chicken parts: I tend to use thighs, drumsticks, or a mix of both.
How to make keto fried chicken
It's so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Dip the chicken pieces in eggs and dredge them in a mixture of crushed pork rinds and spices.
Place the coated chicken pieces in a rimmed baking sheet on a greased rack.
Bake until browned and cooked through, 40-45 minutes at 400°F.
A few tips for making this recipe a success
1. Coat the chicken pieces lightly - they don't need a thick layer of panko on them, and focus on the tops. The bottoms won't be crispy anyway.
2. Divide the crushed pork rinds into at least two portions. The more chicken pieces you dip in the coating, the soggier it becomes. Dividing into two portions ensures you can dip the chicken into dry, crispy pork panko.
3. I like to use paprika in this recipe, not just for its flavor, but also because it adds gorgeous color to the chicken.
4. Pork rinds are very salty, so I don't add salt. If you wish, you could add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the pork rinds mixture.
How to serve keto fried chicken
I like to serve it with a side dish that can be baked in the oven with the chicken. So I often serve it with one of the following sides:
What to do with the leftovers?
As you can probably guess, this is the type of dish that is best enjoyed fresh, both in terms of flavor and in terms of texture.
But if you do end up with leftovers, you can place them in an airtight container on paper towels and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. Or enjoy them cold! Cold leftover chicken is yummy, and not just on a picnic. 🍗
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Keto Fried Chicken
- 2 oz pork rinds finely crushed (1 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 eggs
- 10 (4 oz) chicken drumsticks (2.5 lb. total weight)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and fit it with a roasting rack. Grease the rack.
- Process the pork rinds in your food processor into fine crumbs. You can also do as I do in the video below – place them in a Ziploc-type bag, close the bag well removing as much air as possible, and crushing the pork rinds with a rolling pin. But this method will likely result in bigger crumbs. They should still adhere to the chicken pieces, but not as well.
- In a small bowl, mix together the crushed pork rinds, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and thyme. Divide the mixture between two shallow bowls.
- Whisk the eggs in another shallow bowl. About half the egg mixture will remain in the bowl (and this is reflected in the nutrition info), but I find that you need two eggs to properly coat the chicken pieces.
- Dip each chicken piece in the eggs, then dredge it in the crushed pork rinds. When you finish one bowl of pork panko, move on to the next. Focus on coating mostly the tops of the chicken pieces – the bottoms will become slightly soggy anyway.
- Place the coated chicken pieces on the prepared rack. Bake them in the preheated oven until the tops are golden brown and crispy and the insides are fully cooked. In my oven, it takes about 40 minutes.