We could make fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, and brown gravy the staple food of the United States if we could. In terms of its popularity, maybe it is partly already.
Everybody loves a crunchy, juicy fried chicken leg dipped in gravy, especially if it's the holiday season. But what if you're on a keto diet? Is fried chicken keto friendly?
This is one of the most common queries people have on a keto diet, and today we are taking a trip down the food lane to uncover answers to “Is fried chicken keto?”
Buckle up your seatbelts because you may get hungry!
Is Fried Chicken Keto?
A ketogenic diet focuses on reducing carb intake, forcing the body to resort to other forms of energy due to a carb deficit. Different types of keto diets allow varying quantities of protein and fat on a keto diet, but the traditional ratio is to get an average of 10-20% protein, 70-80% fat, and only 5-10% carbohydrates from your daily calorie intake.
When measured in a 2000-calorie diet, the total permissible content comes to 40 grams of protein, 165 grams of fat, and 40 grams of carbohydrates. Simply speaking: a large sum of fats, a small number of carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of protein.
This ratio makes some of the best foods to eat on a keto diet: olive oil, avocado, cauliflower, eggs, green peppers, and asparagus. You should also steer clear of high-carb food options, such as cakes, bread, candies, pasta, crackers, several fruits, chips, and others.
So, is fried chicken keto?
Unfortunately, the answer to “Is fried chicken keto friendly” is a no in most cases. It is not allowed on a keto diet because most traditional fried chicken contains bread made of some flour mixture. This mixture is highly likely to be laced with carbs, making our beloved fried chicken non-keto-friendly.
For instance, one innocent Kentucky Fried Chicken Original Recipe Chicken breast contains more than a whopping 13 carbs! This is definitely not keto-friendly. Eating even a single piece of KFC fried chicken with a side of gravy and mashed potatoes is very likely to cross your permissible calorie threshold.
One primary reason fried chicken is not keto-friendly is the various combinations of moisture and breading coated on the chicken.
Breading mixtures generally contain panko, flour, smashed cornflakes cereal, corn flour, ground rice crispy cereal, and various other ingredients, all of which have one thing in common: an abundance of carbs! Some of these combinations even include sugar. Scary for your ketosis, right?
The sticky moistures used to stick the breading to the chicken are no less carb-rich. They contain ingredients such as blue cheese dressing, milk, ranch dressing, and even Miracle whip, all of which contain more carbs and unhealthy oils.
Apart from the breading, one more culprit makes fried chicken non-keto-friendly: oil. Oils are not just used for frying the chicken but are also a common ingredient in various moisture mixtures to stick the breading to the chicken.
Highly processed seed oils do not just upset your ketosis but are also highly inflammatory and can affect your health. They can result in chronic inflammation, leading to undesirable conditions such as slow weight loss, joint pain, bloating, and more.
Most traditional fried chicken recipes contain a double or even triple dip into these inflammatory oils. Dipping your fried chicken in sauces made yet again from these oils will not only make you fat but also feel unhealthy and bad.
Fried Chicken: Nutritional Profile
140 grams (approximately one piece of fried chicken) has the following nutritional profile:
|Calories From Fat||188|
|Total Fat||21 grams (32% of Daily Value)|
|Saturated Fat||5.7 grams (29% of Daily Value)|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||4.8 grams|
|Monounsaturated Fat||8.2 grams|
|Cholesterol||126 milligrams (42% of Daily Value)|
|Sodium||118 milligrams (5% of Daily Value)|
|Potassium||328 milligrams (9% of Daily Value)|
|Total Carbohydrates||4.4 grams (1% of Daily Value)|
|Dietary Fiber||0.1 grams (1% of Daily Value)|
|Protein||40 grams (2.5% of Daily Value)|
Carb Content In Different Fried Chicken Pieces
The carb content varies between the type and quantity of chicken piece you opt for, and the following table can offer a better idea:
|Fried Chicken Piece||Carb Content|
|Breast (1 piece of original fried chicken recipe)||11 grams|
|Drum Sticks (2 pieces of original fried chicken recipe)||8 grams|
|Wings (4 pieces of original fried chicken recipe)||12 grams|
|Thigh (1 piece of original fried chicken recipe)||8 grams|
|Breast (1 piece of extra crispy fried chicken recipe)||18 grams|
How can you eat Fried Chicken on Keto?
Fried chicken from any fast food chain or takeout is not suitable for a keto diet. Therefore, you may have to make your fried chicken yourself when on a keto diet or get some from a keto place.
Most fast food chains use chicken batter containing a flour blend or flour, which has more carbohydrates than fat or protein. Following are some of the ingredients you may need if you are craving fried chicken when on a keto diet:
- Chicken With Skin On – You can use a combination of breast, thigh, and drumstick pieces, but if you want to stick to just one cut of chicken, drumsticks are the best choice!
- Salt and Pepper – To taste.
- Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is the best keto-friendly alternative to buttermilk as it contains considerably fewer carbs than buttermilk.
- Eggs – Preferably organic, whisked with heavy cream. This is a keto-friendly alternative to the buttermilk fried chicken coating and works similarly as a part of mixture coating.
- Almond Flour – Almond meal is a suitable option, but you can also opt for blanched almond flour.
- Keto-friendly Bread Crumbs – Keto-friendly bread crumbs substitutes are readily available, generally in the supermarket's snack or potato chip aisle. One of the easiest options is crushing them up in a food blender or processor. Otherwise, you can also crush them up my hand, store them in a zip lock bag, and add meat tenderizer to attain the desired consistency of bread crumbs.
- Parmesan Cheese – Parmesan cheese is keto-friendly and offers fried chicken a distinguished flavor
- Onion and Garlic Powder – Onion and garlic powder are keto-friendly options to add some extra flavor to your fried chicken.
- Oil – Opt for neutral oils when frying your chicken, and choose the ones with a high smoke point to deep fry your chicken. Some suitable options are peanut oil, avocado oil, and safflower oil.
Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken Breading
You can pick one from the following four options for your keto-friendly fried chicken breading, or have your fun around them by mixing and combing two or three flours into one breading mixture:
|Breading (Two tbsp)||Carbs|
|Grated Coconut Flakes||2.3 grams|
|Grated Parmesan||0.4 grams|
|Coconut Flour||9 grams|
|Crushed Pork Rinds||0 grams|
|Almond Flour||5 grams|
Which Oils Should You Use To Make Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken?
Oil is one of the essential elements that can change the unfortunate answer of “no” to “Is fried chicken keto?”. The best oils for keto-friendly fried food are lard and tallow and come from animal saturated fats.
Specifically speaking, lard is from pork, and tallow is from beef. Both these oils are excellent for cooking at high temperatures and boast a high smoke point.
Tallow possesses the highest smoke point between the two: 400°F/250°C. In contrast, lard has a 374°F/190°C smoke point.
Generally, most fried chicken recipes entail the use of vegetable oil, which is not ideal from a health perspective. These vegetable oils can quickly oxidize upon heating, which damages their structural components and makes them unhealthy for consumption.
Keto-Friendly Fried Chicken Recipes
1. Keto-Friendly Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken Thigh Recipe
|Chicken Thighs||4 (Boneless, medium, and skinless)|
|Pork Rinds||1 oz (Ground in blender)|
|Parmesan Cheese||2 oz (Ground in blender)|
|Grass Fed Butter||2 tbsp|
|Pink Sea Salt||½ tbsp|
|Black Pepper||½ tbsp|
- Clean the excess fat off of the boneless chicken thighs but make sure you do not remove all of it! A little fat is beneficial for you.
- Marinate the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Put the thighs aside and blend parmesan cheese and pork rinds in a food blender until fine.
- Put two marinated boneless thighs in your Air Fryer grill. You can add more if you have a bigger Fryer, but make sure the pieces do not overlap.
- Coat the thighs in the Air Fryer with the parmesan cheese and pork rinds mixture you just prepared.
- Add about ½ tbsp of grass-fed butter on top of each thigh. It is advisable to cut the butter into smaller pieces or dabs to ensure even melting on the chicken.
- Cook the thighs in the Air Fryer for 13 minutes at 330 Degree Fahrenheit until the thigh's thickest portion measure 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Parmesan Bacon Crusted Chicken Thighs
|Chicken Thighs||8 (Boneless, large, and skinless)|
|Parmesan Cheese||1 cup (Grated)|
|Garlic Powder||1 tsp|
|Italian Seasoning||2 tsp|
|Black Pepper||½ tsp|
|Bacon Crumbles||2/3 cup|
|Keto-friendly Avocado Mayo||2 tbsp|
- Fry 4 to 6 slices of fresh bacon and drain them on paper towel until they cool down.
- Crumble the fried bacon and put it aside. If you want an easier and faster option, you can buy packaged real crumbled bacon.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Celsius.
- Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with butter or cooking spay.
- Remove any grizzle from the chicken thighs and put them on the pan. Make sure that you salt every side of each thigh.
- Grate some parmesan cheese. If you have shredded parmesan, you can add it into a food processor and pulse it until it attains the consistency and size of grated.
- Take a separate mixing bowl and add garlic powder, grated cheese, crumbled bacon, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Mix everything together and set it aside.
- Spread keto-friendly avocado mayonnaise on each thigh and top it up with the freshly prepared parmesan mixture.
- Bake the topped chicken thighs for about thirty minutes, or until they are thoroughly cooked.
Keto Friendly Fried Chicken Side Dishes
No matter how tasty your fried chicken may be, your meal would remain incomplete without some yummy side dishes. Just because you cannot have buttery mashed potatoes and brown gravy on a keto diet does not mean you should give up on side dishes altogether!
Let us look at some keto-friendly mashed cauliflower and low-carb brown gravy options to accompany your yummy and keto-friendly fried chicken.
Gouda And Bacon Mashed Cauliflower
|Bacon Crumbles||½ cup|
|Garlic Cloves||6 (Medium)|
|Pasture Butter||2 tbsp|
|Pink Sea Salt||1 tsp|
|Heavy Whipping Cream||4 tbsp|
|Aged Gouda Cheese||1/3 cup|
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare bacon crumbles by frying five to six pieces of fresh bacon, cooling them down, draining on a paper towel, and crumbling them up. Reserve the bacon grease for later.
- Break the cauliflower florets and add them to a 9 x 13 baking pan. Spread some evenly cut butter (about eight small pieces) over every cauliflower piece, and do the same with garlic cloves.
- Sprinkle some salt over the cauliflower pieces and drizzle the reserved bacon grease on top.
- Pop the pan into the oven and roast for about thirty minutes. Stir the cauliflower pieces and roast for another 25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven when the garlic feels caramelized and soft. It should be dark brown to golden brown in color, but make sure you do not burn it!
- If the cauliflower seems well-cooked but the garlic does not, turn the oven's temperature down to 325 degrees Celsius and return the pan to the oven in ten-minute intervals until the garlic gets golden or dark brown.
- Once you are done roasting, place the cooked mixture into a food processor. Add heavy cream and process on high speed until the mixture turns smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides down frequently.
- Shred the aged gouda and add it to the blended mixture with the crumbled bacon in about a 3.4 ratio each. Garnish with the leftover cheese and gouda, and serve with your crispy, keto-friendly fried chicken!
Keto-Friendly Brown Gravy Recipe
|Pan Drippings plus Broth||2 cups|
|Pasture Butter||1 tbsp|
|Thyme||1 tsp (Dried)|
|Xanthan Gum||1 tsp|
|Salt and Pepper||To taste|
- If you are roasting turkey or any other bird, pour the drippings from the roasting pan after it has done cooking into a glass measuring cup. Add in broth to make sure you have two full cups.
- If you do not have pan drippings, you can use two cups of the broth alone.
- Melt some butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add dried thyme and the broth mixture to the butter and turn the heat to medium-low.
- Sprinkle xanthan gum on top of the mixture and whisk evenly to ensure smooth incorporation. Keep whisking at a slow speed until the gum is completely dissolved.
- Let the mixture simmer until it thickens and add salt and pepper according to your taste.
- Your keto-friendly brown gravy is ready!
You do not have to hold yourself back from a scrumptious fried chicken leg if you are on a keto diet! Although fast food chains and readily available fried chicken is not keto-friendly, you can make low-carb fried chicken at home that tastes exactly the same and does not disturb your ketosis!
Now that you know the good answer to “Is fried chicken keto,” make sure you buy the ingredients mentioned above and eat to your full! Come back for more keto insights after you are done enjoying your low-carb, keto-friendly fried chicken and side dishes.
To learn more about keto friendly foods, click on the links below: