Kefir-Battered Cast-Iron Fried Chicken Recipe

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Kefir-Battered Cast-Iron Fried Chicken Recipe

When a craving for fried chicken hits, I turn to this recipe, which tastes nothing like chicken that's been passed through a fast-food window—and that’s a good thing. The chicken is marinated overnight in kefir, so the lactic acid helps tenderize it while imparting a subtle buttermilk flavor. It’s fried in grapeseed oil, which is high in polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E, plus has a high smoke point, making it a nice substitute for olive or vegetable oils when frying (sautéing and stir-frying, too).

4–6 servings


    • 1 1/2 cups organic plain whole-milk kefir
    • 1 cup kosher salt
    • 1 whole organic chicken (about 3 pounds)
    • 1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, crushed
    • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Pinch of Maldon sea salt


    1. In a bowl, mix the kefir with 1/2 cup of the kosher salt. Set aside.
    2. Trim and cut the chicken into 10 pieces: 2 drumsticks; 2 thighs; 2 wings; and 2 breasts, each cut in half (leave the breasts on the rib cage). Pat all the pieces dry with a paper towel, then add the chicken to the kefir mixture. Cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, pull the bowl out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking.
    3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet near the stove.
    4. Place a 9-inch cast-iron pan on the stovetop and pour in the grapeseed oil. Begin warming the oil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, mix together the panko, flour, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 cup kosher salt.
    5. Remove one piece of chicken at a time from the kefir marinade and dredge it in the panko/flour mixture, making sure that all surfaces are covered. Lift the piece of chicken up, gently shake it off, and place on a plate. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated.
    6. Take a small amount of the panko/flour mixture and place it in the hot oil in the cast-iron pan. It should bubble up around the sides and brown slowly. If it browns too quickly, turn the heat down and wait a few minutes and try again. If it does not bubble at all, turn the heat up, wait a few minutes and try again.
    7. Once the oil is at the right temperature, place about half of the chicken pieces in the pan, leaving room between the pieces. You should be able to fry all the chicken in two batches. When one side of a piece of chicken is brown, 7 to 10 minutes, gently flip it in the pan using tongs or a slotted spatula. Repeat on the other side until golden brown. Remove each piece from the pan once browned and place on the rack in the baking sheet. Repeat until all pieces are browned. Place the baking sheet pan in the oven and bake for about 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each piece with a touch of sea salt.
Don’t worry too much about the salt in this recipe—most of it will be left behind in the marinade bowl.

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    By | 2018-02-01T20:50:00+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Featured, Recipes Menus|0 Comments

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