By Serena Styles

Skillful frying results in crisp and flavorful chicken, but that hot oil can be a terribly inhospitable environment for a tender bird. Breading or battering the chicken pieces first protects the skin and meat from the oil's intense heat, with the added benefit of providing a crisp, golden coating that's both tasty and eye-pleasing. A batch of your favorite pancake batter, either scratch-made or from a mix, is a quick and easy option.

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Battering your chicken keeps it moist and juicy in the heat of the fryer.

Step 1

Prepare the pancake batter by following the recipe.

Step 2

Cut up your chicken and pat the pieces dry with clean paper towels. Cute large breasts in half so they cook more quickly and evenly, and separate legs and wings at the joint.

Step 3

Pour 3/4 inch of vegetable oil into a broad, deep skillet. Heat the oil on medium-high until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit on your frying thermometer.

Step 4

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then dredge the pieces lightly in flour or dry pancake mix. Shake off the excess before dipping into the pancake batter. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to your skillet. The oil temperature will drop to 300 or 325 F, an appropriate temperature for the chicken to cook gently.

Step 5

Cook the chicken for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the batter turns crispy and golden. Flip the chicken and allow the pieces to cook for another five to eight minutes, depending on their size. Monitor the temperature of your oil and turn down the heat if it goes above 325 F.

Step 6

Remove one piece of chicken and insert a meat or instant-read thermometer into the thickest portion to ensure that the chicken's interior has reached a food safe temperature of 165 F. Return it to the pan for a few more minutes if necessary.

Step 7

Drain the chicken pieces on paper towel for two to three minutes before serving.