Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Gluten-free fried chicken
Gluten-free fried chicken. Getty Images/Jessica Boone/Photolibrary
Total Time 60 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 45 min
Yield 6 svgs Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

This recipe is not only wheat-free but also either egg-free or dairy-free, as it works well with either buttermilk or beaten eggs in the dredge. I don't, however, recommend attempting to use a dairy-free milk substitute, since none has the unique consistency of buttermilk.

I've recommended using pieces of dark chicken meat for ease in baking and frying but, if you prefer white meat, it works fine with this recipe, though you'll need to bake large chicken breasts for an extra five to 10 minutes. Brining the chicken is optional but will yield unbelievably tender meat. Cooking time assumes no brining.


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone-in
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt or 1/4 cup table salt (optional)
  • 2 cups rice flour or millet flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying (approximately 4 cups)


  1. Optional brining: Place chicken in a large bowl. Add 2 quarts water and 1/2 cup kosher salt or 1/4 cup table salt. Allow mixture to sit in refrigerator for two to three hours, then drain and pat dry. This process, called brining, will force salt and water into the chicken and make it more tender when cooked.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a baking dish large enough to hold all the chicken in one layer with your choice of butter, oil, or allergy-safe cooking spray. You can also use a nonstick baking dish. If you don't have a large enough dish to hold all the chicken, prepare two dishes.
  1. Set out three large, shallow bowls. Fill the left-hand bowl with 1 cup rice or millet flour, the middle bowl with the buttermilk or beaten eggs, and the right-hand bowl with the remainder of the flour, salt and pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir the right hand bowl to combine the spices. Set the prepared baking dish or dishes beside the dredging area.
  2. Dredge the chicken by dipping each piece into the left-hand bowl, coating on all sides, then shaking gently to remove excess flour. Dip flour-covered chicken into buttermilk or egg until covered on all sides, then allow excess liquid to drip off. Finally, dip chicken into the seasoned flour and shake off. Place dredged chicken into the baking dish. Repeat until all chicken is dredged.
  3. Bake dredged chicken for 20 minutes, or until coating starts to turn light brown. Remove from oven.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat enough oil to submerge chicken halfway over medium-high heat. Fry all pieces, turning once, until thoroughly cooked, about six minutes per side. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 175 degrees F at the thickest part of your dark meat, or 165 degrees F if you choose to cook white meat using this recipe).

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