If you are in a rut with your chicken recipes, this crispy gluten free oven fried chicken will make “chicken dinner” night exciting again! Not only is the chicken crispy, as all “fried” chicken should be, but the meat is incredibly succulent and super juicy. And I am pretty sure you will never guess the two secret ingredients!
Believe it or not, one of the secrets is borrowed from the wildly popular fast food chain, Chick-fil-A. The restaurant chain certainly does NOT serve a clean food menu, but most everybody can agree their chicken sandwiches sure are GOOD. People go crazy for them! That’s why I was so happy to learn one of the Chick-fil-A secrets is actually compatible with a clean eating diet…
***Please note I am NOT endorsing Chik-fil-A in anyway, they just happen to have one secret to the method of making their chicken sandwiches that is also compatible with clean eating 😉***
2 Secrets to the Best Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken Recipe
Before you read further, just know that the two “secrets” might not sound all that appetizing. But trust me, you will be amazed at the end result…
Secret #1: Dill Pickle Juice Brine
This is the secret borrowed from Chick-fil-A. Soaking chicken in salty pickle juice brine does an incredible job of both tenderizing the meat and also infusing it with flavor. But don’t worry! Your chicken won’t taste like pickles. The zesty pickle juice just helps liven up the flavor, but thanks to secret #2 (below), the pickle flavor does not dominate the chicken.
If you don’t have pickle juice on hand you can always make your own brine, which takes all of one minute. For what it is worth, any cut of meat—especially super lean cuts of meat like turkey and chicken—will be better if soaked in a brine. (Click HERE for how to make your own brine.) But if you are going to use pickle juice just be sure to look for pickles that are naturally fermented, not the ones made with vinegar. Bubbies brand of dill pickles are my favorite. The acids and enzymes in fermented pickle juice do an incredible job of breaking down the collagen and tenderizing the meat.
***Note: Naturally fermented pickles are also a great source of probiotics–soaking the chicken in pickle juice won’t necessarily infuse your chicken with probiotics, but serving the whole PICKLES along with the oven fried chicken recipe is a delicious way to get a probiotic boost!***
Secret #2: Almond Milk
Although I never met him, my mom has told me many times how her dad, my grandfather (Charlie Rice), made the best fried chicken ever. One of his secrets was soaking the chicken in milk. Apparently milk-soaked-chicken is not exactly a secret among Southern cooks though. Of course when I refer to the “milk” my grandfather used, I am not talking about almond milk; I’m talking about cow’s milk. However, since I don’t buy cow’s milk (here is why we don’t drink milk at our house), I figured I would try soaking the chicken in almond milk instead. (Note: I use “whole” almond milk — this is my favorite brand of almond milk.)
It’s not quite understood how milk helps tenderize chicken, but it is believed the lactic acid helps to break down the proteins. Almond milk doesn’t have lactic acid, so I am not sure if soaking the chicken in almond milk without the pickle brine would in fact actually tenderize the chicken or not? However, it definitely doesn’t hurt! But the main reason I add the almond milk is to cut the acidity of the pickle juice and help mellow out the flavor of the brine a bit. I have a feeling if I soaked the chicken only in the pickle juice that the flavor might be too strong. What I do know for sure is that the combination of soaking the chicken in pickle juice + almond milk delivers on amazing piece of chicken (even though I know it doesn’t sound one bit appetizing lol)
For those of you with food allergies and food sensitivities, it’s helpful to know the Oven Fried Chicken recipe meets the following dietary restrictions:
Grain Free / Gluten Free /Dairy Free/ Bean Free/ Soy Free/
Don’t Forget the Sauce!
And finally, although it is not technically part of the recipe, if you have just 5-minutes to spare then do be sure to make my lemon sauce recipe (in photo below) to serve as a dip for the oven fried chicken. It’s a creamy (but dairy free!) sauce with a bright, tangy flavor. It’s delicious with just about any protein, but it seems to be made for chicken!
Ok, let’s get cooking…Print
If you are in a rut with chicken recipes, this crispy gluten free oven fried chicken with (dairy-free) creamy lemon sauce will make chicken dinner night exciting again! And you will NEVER guess the 2 secret ingredients that make the meat incredibly moist and flavorful.
- 1 cup “whole” plain, unsweetened almond juice (such as New Barn)
- 1 cup pickle juice (see notes below)
- 1 1/2 pounds pasture-raised skinless bone-in chicken legs or boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or a combination of the two)
- 4 cups sprouted corn flakes (such as Arrowhead Mills Organic Sprouted Corn Flakes)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2/3 cup cassava flour (or sprouted spelt flour if not gluten free)
- Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 organic, pasture-raised eggs (such as Vital Farms)
- Unrefined avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Creamy Lemon Sauce, for dipping, optional
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk and pickle juice. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Meanwhile, add the corn flakes and Italian seasoning to a food processor. Process until ingredients are blended into crumbs. Transfer the crumb mixture to a shallow baking dish and set aside until you are ready to cook the chicken.
- When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the flour out on a large plate, crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk well. Remove one piece of the chicken from the brine and shake off any excess moisture. Season chicken with salt and pepper, dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour mixture, dip in the egg and then roll in the seasoned corn flake crumbs. Transfer chicken piece to the parchment paper and brush the top with oil. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- When all of the chicken pieces have been coated, transfer to the oven, lightly brush the tops with a very thin coating of oil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove chicken from oven, flip and lightly brush the top of the other side with oil. Bake for another 20 minutes or so, or until outside is crispy and brown and inside is cooked through. Serve with Creamy Lemon Sauce for dipping, if using.
Look for naturally fermented pickles, such as Bubbies brand (Note: naturally fermented pickles are sold in the refrigerated section of your supermarket or natural foods store.)