Host a Fried Chicken Party This Summer: Tips + Recipes!

Fried chicken party tips and finds.

While the summer heat sizzles, a Fried Chicken Party would be just the thing for a patio, pool or picnic bash! Fried chicken is a sure hit with grownups and kids alike, easy to serve and just as easy to eat—in individual baskets, using the fingers. Perfect for casual, outdoor entertaining. The perfect comfort food! So, to help you prep for the party, we’ve gathered tips for great chicken frying and serving, and an amazing array of recipes to choose from. (*this post contains affiliate links.)

Updated: March 20, 2019 with healthier, low-fat options.

Tips for the Crispiest, Juiciest Fried Chicken Ever!

  1. Take the time to brine the chicken (for example: in seasoned buttermilk) for at least 4 hours, and ideally 24 hours. This will ensure moist meat in every bite!
  2. For best frying results, use a heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. No need to spend on a deep fryer.
  3. Olive oil is too pricey for the amount you need for frying. Instead, choose a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, like canola, vegetable, or peanut oil.
  4. The ideal breading procedure is: 1) brine, 2) dip in flour, beaten egg and/or buttermilk, and 3) roll in more flour—with a little cornmeal mixed in to add texture and crunch.
  5. Season at every step. Examples: salt and pepper on the chicken pieces, cayenne in the flour, hot sauce in the buttermilk.
  6. For healthier options, you can remove the chicken skin or use breast meat, and substitute chips or crushed toast for packaged breading mix.
  7. Use 2 thermometers: one to watch that the oil temperature is maintained at a steady 350 degrees, the other to check the chicken’s internal temperature, ideally 165 degrees.
  8. Don’t crowd too many chicken pieces in the pan at once. This will lower the oil’s temperature, lengthen the cooking time, and make the breading greasy.
  9. Drain the fried pieces on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Using paper towels to absorb excess oil actually turns the crust from crisp to soggy.
  10. Serve with a selection of dipping sauces, ketchup, hot sauce, lemon slices in handy single-serve containers—and lots of paper napkins!
  11. Ideal side dishes would be corn on the cob, buttered rolls or biscuits, and a cole slaw salad or crispy greens with a tangy vinaigrette dressing.
  12. For drinks, offer ice cold beer, fresh fruit juices, iced tea, fruit-infused water or cocktails, sangrias, and sparkling soda.

10 Fab Fried Chicken Recipes to Choose From

Now, for frying time! Will you opt for a classic recipe everyone’s sure to love? Or surprise guests with a fried chicken variant they’ve never tried—something with Asian or Caribbean flavors, delicious dipping sauces, cheese or nuts? Take your pick below!

Tips and recipes for a fried chicken summer party!

  1. Classic Southern Fried Chicken – Maybe it’s the frying in vegetable shortening that’s the secret to this well-loved Southern dish? Or the egg, milk and flour coating? Whichever, try this recipe courtesy of Food and Wine!
  2. Oven-Fried Chicken – Keeping it healthy in this recipe from Food Network—using lean chicken parts, a coating of yogurt, dijon mustard, crispy rice cereal and bagel chips, and a misting of extra virgin olive oil before baking.
  3. Turmeric Fried Chicken – Try something different from Nonna’s Cooking, with the flavors of Malaysia—turmeric, coriander, ginger, chili powder, light soy sauce, garlic and fresh curry leaves!
  4. Thai Fried Chicken – True to Thai taste, this recipe we found on Rasa Malaysia marinates the chicken with cilantro, garlic and Asian seasonings, and recommends a sweet chili sauce for dipping.
  5. Buttermilk Fried ChickenSimply Recipes presents this well-loved version that uses a buttermilk marinade for extra moist meat, and a flour coating with herb seasonings for great flavor and crunch.
  6. Caribbean Fried Chicken – A marinade of “green seasoning” paste and mustard gives this version by Jehan Can Cook a flavorful kick!
  7. Korean Fried Chicken – This Asian take on fried chicken via Serious Eats has an eggshell-thin crust that crackles and crunches, thanks to a thin batter with a dash of vodka. Best served with sweet soy sauce or sweet and spicy chili sauce.
  8. Nutty Oven-fried Chicken – Chopped pecans add texture and another touch of the South to this baked version of fried chicken from Taste of Home.
  9. Oven-fried Four Cheese Chicken – Using their own shredded four-cheese product as coating, Kraft Recipes offers this easy bake-in-the-oven option.
  10. Skillet Fried Chicken – This classic recipe from Betty Crocker uses just flour, paprika, salt and pepper, then 12 minutes to fry and 20 minutes to simmer.

Be creative when planning the menu of your fried chicken party! Add an ethnic twist, provide dipping sauces, or have different flavors of fried chicken set out for guests to choose from!

What to Serve with Fried Chicken at a Party

Still need more ideas on what goes great with fried chicken? Here are more options:

  1. mashed potatoes
  2. potato salad
  3. kale salad
  4. tater tots
  5. macaroni and cheese
  6. rice pilaf
  7. buttered carrots
  8. baked string beans
  9. sweet potato casserole
  10. roasted squash

For True Comfort Food: Serve Waffles!

If you haven’t tried fried chicken and waffles yet, now could be your chance! Serve fried chicken and waffles smothered with butter and maple syrup. This soul food style combination is typically given as a dessert. But you can do whatever you want! Try adding fruits as toppings on your waffles such as peaches, strawberries, or blue berries. Have whip cream or ice cream available, too.

Best Beverages to Go with Fried Chicken

It’s summer so anything cold and sweet would be the obvious choice! Consider summer cocktails, sangria, and iced tea, citrus drinks, and flavored waters as mentioned above. For those who prefer something alcoholic, iced cold beer and even sparkling wines are a welcome choice. To prepare your drinks on beverage table, include lots of ice and cups. A cooler would come in handy if your party is held at a park or beach.

What to Desserts to Serve at a Fried Chicken Party

Since fried chicken is already rich within itself, consider light and sweet desserts. Fruits are ideal such as watermelon, orange slices, and melons. Prepare fruit-based desserts that are easy to store and transfer if you are driving to the party venue.

Fried Chicken Party Essentials for Easy Serving and Clean Up

Be practical about choosing your party essentials. Start with the end in mind from where to put all those chicken bones. Have a receptacle such as a trash can with a lid that guests can easily access. Be sure to have disposable plates and spoons, but if you are eco-conscious, you may opt to use real utensils and plates. This will all depend on the size of your guest list. Have a lot of napkins and moist towelettes for sticky fingers. Bottles of hand sanitizers are a must!

Updated: March 20, 2019

Calling all Friend Chicken Fans!

In time for National Fried Chicken Day on July 6, we’re updating this post with even more delicious fried chicken recipes—but this time, with a heart-healthy spin.

Click on the link of each find, so you can try out these scrumptious, oven-fried/baked variations!

Healthier options for Fried Chicken

  1. Kentucky Kernel Baked Fried Chicken – Baked instead of deep-fried in oil, this recipe from Spark Recipes uses seasoned flour and butter for rich flavor.
  2. Heart Healthy Crispy Oven-fried Chicken – Only 117 calories per serving in this version from Jackson Health System. (The recipe is courtesy of no less than the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health.)
  3. Oven-fried Chicken with Roasted Potato Wedges – This recipe from Heart.org specifies using skinless chicken pieces, while the potato wedges are flavored with garlic powder and parsley before roasting.
  4. Southern Fried Chicken (Without the Guilt) – Can you “fry” using little to no oil? It’s possible with a power air fryer, as in this recipe from Southern Made Simple.
  5. My Oven-fried Chicken KFC Copycat – In this recipe from Kevin is Cooking, the secret to getting that extra crispy texture is adding baking powder to the dredge of seasoned flour.
  6. Healthy Southern Fried Chicken – Again baked rather than fried, this recipe from Tesco Real Food uses a spicy buttermilk marinade and a crunchy Panko breadcrumb coating for chicken pieces that are beautifully tender inside yet crisp and golden on the outside.
  7. Oven-fried Ranch Chicken – Classic oven-fried chicken gets a kick from ranch dressing in this super-simple, flavorful recipe from Pillsbury.
  8. Gluten-free Oven-fried Chicken – McCormick offers this version made with a corn flake crust so it’s gluten-free! Plus it’s extra flavorful thanks to basil, onion powder, and paprika.
  9. Light Oven-fried Chicken – Dried potato flakes and bread crumbs combine in the coating for skinless, bone-in chicken pieces, plus a hint of mustard; in this recipe from Kroger.
  10. Crispy Oven-fried Chicken – From Paula Deen; this simple recipe offers a tiny “flavor cheat”: about 2 tbsp. of pecorino or Parmesan cheese grated into the bread crumb coating.

Low-fat Comfort Food Sides for Fried Chicken

Here are our suggestions for side dishes you can serve without the guilt!

  1. Low-fat mac and cheese
  2. Low-fat potato salad
  3. Baked sweet potato fries
  4. Baked onion rings
  5. Low carb mashed potatoes
  6. Purple cabbage slaw
  7. Fresh fruit cups
  8. Grilled corn on the cob
  9. Grilled veggies on skewers
  10. Spring garden potato salad

Appealing and Practical Serving Ideas for Fried Chicken at a Gathering

Looking good, tasting yummy, and handy to serve! That’s what to aim for in presenting your fried chicken spread for the party.

  1. Golden fried chicken pieces piled on a platter look even more appetizing with color contrasts from sprigs of parsley, tomato wedges, lettuce leaves, corn on the cob, and sliced carrots.
  2. Planning a fried chicken station? Have color-coordinated containers for sauces, dips, dressings, and condiments for a pulled together party look.
  3. For easy serving (especially at an outdoor event), place the fried chicken pieces in individual wire or plastic baskets with a salad cup, finger-food sides, and a dip.
  4. If serving drumsticks, wrap the bone end in waxed paper “sleeves” for handy holding—choosing a gingham print, cheery sunbursts, or other summery designs.
  5. Not everyone may like eating with their fingers. So alongside the serving platter of fried chicken, have a caddy holding forks, knives, and paper napkins.

Our Product Picks for a Fun Fried Chicken Party

To make sure your party fare stays perfect from cooking to serving, we recommend these great product finds! (*this section contains affiliate links)

  1. KUPPET Air Fryer-Hot Air/Deep Fryer with Basket – available via Amazon
  2. Stainless Steel Mini Fryer Basket (Pack of 6) – available via Amazon
  3. Plastic Squeeze Bottles (6-Pack) – available via Amazon
  4. Wax Paper Sheets (12 x 12) (Pack of 100) (Checkered Red) – available via Amazon
  5. Galvanized Metal 4-Piece Picnic Caddy Set – available via Macy’s
  6. Anolon 9″ SureGrip Nonstick Nylon Locking Tongs – available via Macy’s

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