Fiesta Fried Chicken

March 31, 2011

For my “other half’s” birthday this year. . . he requested FRIED CHICKEN. Oh Lordy! I feel pretty passionate about the way I like my Fried Chicken, even though I have never made it myself. I HATE when you eat Fried Chicken and it just tastes like bland grease. That is the worst. So, I wanted to make sure this was some good ole BIRTHDAY FRIED CHICKEN.

I remembered a Mexican Fried Chicken recipe I saw on The Rachael Ray Show a few months back that I wanted to try and never had the time to execute. This was the perfect opportunity.

At the birthday chicken fry, we offered both Mexican Fried Chicken and Southern Crispy Fried Chicken for a fun little taste test. This twist on Fried Chicken was a HUGE hit with our 20 family members. . . but I will say my Mom’s Southern Crispy Chicken held its own. I will share that recipe with you sometime soon, I promise.

You can see RR’s full recipe and method, here – but I wanted to tell you what I liked about the recipe, and what I will do differently next time!

The RR recipe is on the left, and my changes will be next to each ingredient in BOLD...


  • 3/4 cup Mexican honey, plus some for drizzling   KF- I used Agave Nectar instead
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar  KF- Definitely a keeper. This made the chicken very tasty!
  • 2 large pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, each cut in half across the breast to produce 4 pieces similar in shape and size to thighs KF- Went skinless. Also cut breast in half to speed up cooking time.
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on pieces chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on drummers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying, such as soy or canola
  • 4 extra-large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs     KF- Used cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ancho or medium-heat chili powder, a palmful KF- Would increase by 25%
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, half a palmful
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/3 palmful    KF- Would double
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion, 1/3 palmful    KF-Would double
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/3 palmful
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/3 palmful
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish


Mix honey and vinegar in a bowl and add chicken. Toss to coat and marinate 4 hours. Drain chicken pieces on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  KF:Used Agave Nectar instead of honey. Marinated for 6 hours.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Oil should reach between 350°F and 375°F for frying.

Beat egg whites in a shallow dish. Combine cornmeal or breadcrumbs with flour, baking powder and spices.

Coat the chicken pieces in the egg whites then toss in the flour mixture.

Fry in small batches, 12-14 minutes per batch, until deep golden and juices run clear. Season hot chicken with a little extra salt as they come out. KF: Chicken needed almost 17-20 minutes for doneness. AT LEAST.

This is a finished batch, resting on an opened brown paper sack. The sack helps to collect the grease. Not super pretty, but hey…chicken fries aint pretty!

Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce. I couldnt even snap a picture without people reaching for more chicken. SUCCESS!