Chef John's best chicken recipes!
Here they are, a Sweet 17 of Chef John's best chicken recipes. They cover every method of cooking -- from stewing to grilling, frying to baking -- and tackle just as many of the world's cuisines. Enjoy top-rated recipes for tandoori, chicken Parmesan, cacciatore, chicken curry, and of course American classics like buttermilk fried chicken and chicken and biscuits. They're all here, and more!
The trick to this super-simple recipe is to sear the chicken to a beautiful brown crust and cook the mushrooms until they give off their natural juices. With this technique, Chef John builds big flavor using just two main ingredients -- chicken and mushrooms -- plus salt and pepper, a little olive oil for sautéing, and a little butter to finish the dish.
Twice-frying chicken results in extreme crispy excellence on the outside and juicy, tender goodness on the inside. "I've always considered myself something of a fried chicken expert," boasts Chef John. "And this Korean fried chicken is officially my favorite. No other method has the same combination of tender, juicy, flavorful chicken and plate-scratching crispiness as this recipe does. It's simply a must-try!"
This is an easy variation on the Indian classic. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and a terrific mix of spices. "Tandoori chicken gets its name from the clay oven it is traditionally cooked in, the tandoor," explains Chef John. "Don't worry if you don't have a tandoor clay oven sitting in the backyard; a grill will work just fine."
This composite curry draws from many influences. The result is a wonderful combination of flavors, spices, textures, and colors. Chef John explains: "I decided not to follow any specific recipe from any particular country or culture, but instead I made a simple composite of every peanut curry I've ever come across. I didn't use coconut milk, as I feel that's a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter."
Remember the chicken and mushroom recipe above that only calls for a few ingredients? Here we go again. "This is one of those rare recipes where the name is the same as the ingredient list," says Chef John. "You're going to be so shocked at how flavorful, juicy, and amazing this roast chicken comes out."
"This classic comfort-food recipe is easy to adapt," says Chef John. "You can make it thicker or thinner by changing the amount of roux and having a little extra stock on hand. Usually I make this with leftovers from a large roasted chicken."
With this chicken Parmesan, Chef John is shooting for something a little different. Unlike many restaurant preparations, Chef John’s method doesn’t overwhelm the chicken with sauce and cheese. By holding back a little on the sauce, he gets a crisper crust on the chicken. This delicious meal seems fancy but is actually pretty easy to make.
Chef John’s version of a popular Southeast Asian grilled chicken dish features Chinese 5-spice seasoning (along with lime juice, ginger, garlic, chile sauce, fish and soy sauces, and rice vinegar). "Chinese 5-spice blend has a proven track record of awesomeness when combined with smoky, caramelized meats," says Chef John.
9. Chicken Kiev
So remember the chicken and mushrooms recipe and the salt-roasted chicken recipe above that were super easy to make and required just a few ingredients? Well, this ain't like those. Truth be told, it's a little worky. "I'm not going to say this chicken Kiev is easy to make," says Chef John. "It's really not. But when you pull this off, you'll be enjoying one of the greatest chicken experiences of your life." Enjoy it with a nice glass of Chardonnay.
The topper here is a layer of pre-made buttermilk biscuit dough. Baked in the oven, the biscuits come out golden brown and crispy on top, like chicken pot pie, while on the bottom the texture is a bit like chicken and dumplings.
Get ready for Italian-style comfort food. "This simple Italian dish is packed with chicken, peppers, mushrooms, and herbs for a satisfying one-pot meal," says Chef John. Bake it in the oven, and you'll have a simple, delicious chicken dish -- and an easy cleanup job ahead.
This flavorful stir-fried chicken is the total package. It gets some sweetness from brown sugar, a touch of heat from Sriracha, and loads of savory umami from soy and fish sauces. The key here is to put a deep, dark mahogany caramelization on the chicken pieces (preferably chicken thighs). Here's Chef John getting it done just right:
But wait, we're not done with the super-simple yet incredibly delicious roast chicken recipes that call for just a few ingredients. Here's Chef John's flavorful indoor alternative to outdoor grilled chicken. When the rain and/or snow season ruins your dreams of grilled chicken, fire up the broiler and use this method. "Not only are you getting the same intense, direct heat as the grill," says Chef John. "But you also have more control since you can adjust how far the chicken is from the flame."
"Certain dishes have a special place in my heart and this is one of them," says Chef John. You'll sauté mushrooms and shallots and then reduce a sauce made with Marsala wine and a little chicken stock. The wine brings out the mushrooms' earthy, savory flavors.
This classic buttermilk fried chicken is a little worky -- you’ll toss the chicken pieces with 11 spices and then marinate them in buttermilk. But the results are definitely worth the effort. "I love the tangy tenderization that the buttermilk provides," says Chef John. "After the buttermilk soak, dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, and fry them in hot oil until crisp and cooked."
This simple, soul-warming soup is essentially chicken and noodles with a few diced veggies. What makes it so very good is the homemade roasted chicken stock. Delicious, comforting, and ridiculously easy!
This recipe takes the basic ground-chicken burger and combines it with the concept of the satay. Top your chicken satay burgers with quick pickled-veggie slaw and peanut sauce. Watch Chef John get it done: