One of my favorite foods is fried chicken. It is great hot or at room temperature and everyone loves it, making it the perfect food choice for family dinners, picnics, and casual get togethers! While I grew up with fried cut-up chicken, today’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers make this favorite even easier to eat … no bones!
My grandmother’s fried chicken was outstanding, crispy and so satisfying. She used a simple seasoned flour blend that I still love. No buttermilk for her. Others swear by a buttermilk soaking but that changes the texture of the meat too much for me.
I found a happy medium that really works — using buttermilk instead of the usual egg in the breading process for a touch of the tanginess but much easier and less prep time with no marinating required. (For a dairy-free option, use beaten eggs in place of the buttermilk.)
The almond meal in the breading adds a beautiful flavor and the crunchiness we crave. Just be sure to press it into the buttermilk-coated chicken pieces firmly so it sticks. And leave them alone while they are cooking initially to set the coating on the first side. Once it is golden brown, it is much easier to flip over with tongs.
Using a wire rack set over a baking sheet to rest the cooked chicken helps keep the pieces nice and crunchy while you cook the rest. It also allows you to keep them warm in a low oven so you bring everything to the table piping hot.
If you have little ones in your house, they will love being able to eat these without bothering with utensils. You can serve them with dipping sauces if you like … Stubb’s brand BBQ sauce is gluten-free and here is a recipe for homemade Ranch dressing!
I loved these little bites of pure indulgence, crunchy, piping hot and sublime. I rarely eat fried foods these days and this was a wonderful memory brought back to life. Suddenly I was a youngster, going to an outdoor concert with my friends, opening the picnic basket and finding perfectly cooked fried chicken … but in an easier-to-eat boneless form. Heaven!
So while we are still having warm, sunny days, and with Labor Day right around the corner, pack up the cooler, hop in the car and head to the beach or local park for a picnic. Be sure you have these Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers in the basket. You can still get one or two more picnics in before the cool weather returns!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When you are doing breading, it is best to use one hand for the wet ingredients and the other for the dry. Your hands will get less gunky (that’s a technical term LOL) but still don’t plan on answering the phone until you are done!
- 1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- About 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into strips
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- For Frying
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable oil
- Set up a Breading Station: Set 3 shallow containers (such as an au gratin dish, a quiche pan, or pie plate) next to one another on the counter on the right side of the stove. In the far right container combine the flour with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder; stir to combine. In the center container pour in the buttermilk. In the third container mix the almond meal with the seasonings, stirring to combine evenly.
- Prep the Chicken: Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment, or a Silpat. Set it next to the breading station containers. In a second baking sheet, set a wire cooling rack and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, cayenne, and garlic. Sprinkle this mixture over both sides of the chicken pieces.
- Coat the chicken strips lightly with the flour blend, shaking off the excess. Dredge them in the buttermilk and then coat thoroughly with the seasoned almond meal, pressing to be sure it adheres. Set each piece slightly apart on the foil-lined baking sheet. Continue until you have coated all the chicken. Leave the chicken to rest while you heat the oil.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Cook the Chicken: Pour the oil into a large, heavy, straight-sided skillet, with sides about 3-inches high, to a depth of about 1-inch. Heat over high heat until the oil is shimmering and a little of the flour dropped into it sizzles when it hits the hot oil.
- Use tongs to carefully transfer a few of the chicken pieces to the hot oil, leaving plenty of room between the pieces. Cook about 2 minutes until the bottom half of the pieces are golden brown, then use the tongs to flip each one over to cook the second side. When both sides are equally golden brown, transfer to the rack set over the second baking sheet.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking the chicken, a few pieces at a time until they are all cooked. Keep the cooked pieces warm in the oven as you finish frying the rest. Serve hot or at room temperature.
- Yield: about 4 servings
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