Sourdough Discard Fried Chicken Strips

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If you have jumped on the sourdough bandwagon then you likely have lots of sourdough discard. If you’re like me there are only so many sourdough discard crackers, flatbreads, and banana bread you can make. Why not try something different like these sourdough discard fried chicken strips.

Sourdough Fried Chicken on dark back ground with ranch dipping sauce

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These chicken strips are tender, juicy, and crispy. They have just a slight tang from the sourdough discard. Dipping the chicken in sourdough discard works much the same way as dipping it in buttermilk. The bacteria in sourdough discard and buttermilk help to tenderize the chicken.

If you prefer baked chicken strips try my Baked Sourdough Chicken Strips.

How do you make a sourdough starter?

There are several tutorials online that teach you how to create and care for sourdough starter. Some of my favorites can be found at King Arthur Flour or Feasting at Home.

As you get to know your starter you can adjust your process to suit your routine. Because I wanted to reduce the amount of discard I generate I have actually converted my starter to a micro starter which you can read more about at Cooks Illustrated.

Sourdough Tip: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make one of these sourdough discard recipes.

How to cut chicken for chicken strips

For tender juicy chicken it is important to cut chicken strips across the grain. This makes the chicken fibers shorter so that the chicken tears easier and seems more tender.

TIP: Freeze the chicken breasts for 15-20 minutes to make slicing easier.

Chicken strip dry brining on cooling rack

Why should you dry brine your chicken?

Dry brining also known as salting is a great way to ensure moist meat with a little extra flavor without the extra mess associated with wet brining. Dry brining seasons the meat and changes the structure of the proteins to allow them to retain more of their moisture.

When chicken is dry brined the salt draws the juices inside the meat to the surface. The juices dissolve the salt and are then are pulled, along with the dissolved salt, back into the meat seasoning the chicken throughout.

Once absorbed the salt breaks down or denatures the tough muscle proteins, like myosin, which allows the chicken to retain more moisture as it cooks.

How to dry brine

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with about 1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  3. Place the chicken on a cooling rack placed inside of a sheet pan and refrigerate the chicken uncovered for 6 to 8 hours. If you don’t have a cooling rack for your sheet pan you can buy one on Amazon. You can also buy a cooling rack and sheet pan set.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes before frying. This will allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Room temperature chicken will cook more evenly and prevents the oil from cooling too much as more chicken is added.

How do you get the batter to stick to the chicken?

Batter sticks best when the exterior of the chicken is really dry. Which is why we first pat the chicken dry with paper towels and refrigerate ituncovered for several hours. The dry air inside the refrigerator will help dry the exterior of the chicken.

breading station

How to batter the chicken

  1. Pour the sourdough discard into a shallow dish. I like to use a pie plate.
  2. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, kosher salt, chili powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, celery salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground mustard, ground ginger, and black pepper.
  3. Dip the chicken into the sourdough discard and then coated it with the seasoned flour. This method can be a bit messy. The best way to minimize the amount of coating that sticks to your fingers is to use one hand for the dry mixture and one hand for the wet mixture. Use your left hand to coat the chicken with the sourdough mixture and place it in the seasoned flour mixture. Use your right hand to coat the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture.
  4. Place the chicken on a foil-lined pan while you follow the same process to coat the remaining chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for fifteen minutes so that the flour absorbs the liquid and better adheres to the chicken.

Cooking instructions

  1. Pour the oil into a frying pan until it is about one inch deep. I love using my cast iron skillet for frying chicken. The two just seem like they were made for each other.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer and reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the oil.
  3. If you have one you could also heat the oil in a deep fryer. They make regulating the temperature super easy.
  4. Working in small batches, place the coated chicken strips in the hot oil without crowding them too closely together, you don’t want the temperature of the oil to drop too low. I usually split my chicken into three batches. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Approximately 2-4 minutes per side.
  5. Cover the pan with a splash guard to minimize the amount of oil splatter.
close up of sourdough chicken strips on a white plate with ranch dipping sauce

How do you know when the chicken is fully cooked?

On average the chicken should fry on each side for 2-4 minutes. The chicken will be golden brown and crispy. The most accurate way to ensure the chicken is fully cooked is to check it with an instant-read probe thermometer. This one from Thermoworks is my favorite. Fully cooked chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do you keep fried chicken warm and crispy?

After frying the chicken place it on an inverted cooling rack in a paper towel-lined baking sheet. The paper towels will help wick away excess oil while the inverted cooling rack keeps the chicken tenders elevated just enough to prevent them from becoming soggy.

Place the baking sheet in a 170 degrees Fahrenheit oven while you fry the remaining chicken. Do not cover the chicken. It will trap the steam which will make the chicken soggy.

Storing

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.

close up of chicken strips on dark background

Reheating

To reheat the chicken tenders place them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes.

How to make your own frozen chicken tenders

Prepare and cook the chicken as usual but only cook it until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool to room temperature and then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to a zip-top bag, label with the date and contents, and store for up to three months.

To reheat frozen chicken strips: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Reusing the Oil

Oil used for frying can generally be used 3-4 additional times before being discarded. Some of the flavor from what you fry will transfer to the oil. This is generally a good thing except for when you fry fish. Anything you fry after frying fish will taste a bit fishy.

Once the oil has cooled filter it using a fine mesh strainer lined with coffee filters. Refridgerate until the next use.

Straining used oil can take a few hours depending upon how quickly it flows through the strainer. According to Cook’s Illustrated there is a faster way to clean oil using cornstarch.

close up of sourdough chicken strips on white plate

Sourdough Discard Fried Chicken Strips

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 50 minutes

These sourdough discard fried chicken strips are tender, juicy, and crispy. They have just a slight tang from the sourdough discard.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into 1-inch thick strips
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240g) sourdough starter

Breading

  • 1 ½ cups (180g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Cooking

  • Oil for frying – use a neutral oil like avocado, canola, peanut, or safflower

Instructions

Dry Brine

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with about 1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  3. Place the chicken on a cooling rack placed inside of a sheet pan and refrigerate the chicken uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes before frying.

Batter

  1. Pour the sourdough discard into a shallow dish. I like to use a pie plate.
  2. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, kosher salt, chili powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, celery salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, ground mustard, ground ginger, and black pepper.
  3. Dip the chicken into the sourdough discard and then coated it with the seasoned flour. This method can be a bit messy. The best way to minimize the amount of coating that sticks to your fingers is to use one hand for the dry mixture and one hand for the wet mixture. Use your left hand to coat the chicken with the sourdough mixture and place it in the seasoned flour mixture. Use your right hand to coat the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture.
  4. Place the chicken on a foil-lined pan while you follow the same process to coat the remaining chicken.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest for fifteen minutes so that the flour absorbs the liquid and better adheres to the chicken.


    Frying

  1. Pour the oil into a frying pan until it is about one inch deep.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer and reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Working in small batches, place the coated chicken strips in the hot oil without crowding them too closely together, you don't want the temperature of the oil to drop too low. I usually split my chicken into three batches. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Approximately 2-4 minutes per side.
  4. Cover the pan with a splash guard to minimize the amount of oil splatter.

Notes

How do you keep fried chicken warm and crispy?

After frying the chicken place it on an inverted cooling rack in a paper towel-lined baking sheet. The paper towels will help wick away excess oil while the inverted cooling rack keeps the chicken tenders elevated just enough to prevent them from becoming soggy.

Place the baking sheet in a 170 degrees Fahrenheit oven while you fry the remaining chicken. Do not cover the chicken. It will trap the steam which will make the chicken soggy.

Storing

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.

Reheating

To reheat the chicken tenders place them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 709Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 244mgSodium: 5243mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 90g

This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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sourdough fried chicken strips on white plate with ranch dipping sauce

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