Can You Fry Chicken With Cornmeal

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The answer is no. But, can you fry chicken with cornmeal? The answer to this question is, yes! Chicken is great. Fried chicken is even better. When you take Crispy Chicken Tenders and dip it into a mixture of grits, cornmeal, and spices, you get what has to be one of the greatest tastes in the history of mankind.

Are you looking for the health benefits of cornmeal? Cornmeal is a fine ground powder made from dried corn. It has been used for centuries with recipes and as a food additive. This article identifies some of the health benefits of cornmeal.

Can You Fry Chicken With Cornmeal

While we’ll never turn down a deliciously deep-fried piece of meat, there’s something delightful about crunchy, pan-fried chicken, too. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it. Maybe it’s the undeniable flavor. Either way, in this Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken recipe, you’ll see exactly what we mean.

For a crispy, golden exterior, our proven pan-fried chicken uses a mixture of breadcrumbs and cornmeal. After a quick pan-fry, this mix works its magic to create a super crispy crust on the outside with moist, tender meat full of flavor on the inside. This coating combination also works well on pork chops and boned chicken thighs.

So, home cooks who master this simple crust can get creative with other dinner dishes, too. With only five ingredients and 10 minutes of actual cooking time, this simple chicken recipe is perfect for hectic weeknights or family Sunday suppers, alike. Now, that’s pan-fried chicken at its best.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1/2 cup seasoned fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Crispy chicken tenders on a pink plate with a container of dipping sauce next to it

Directions

  • Step 1 – Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
  • Step 2 – Cook chicken in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Crispy Chicken Tenders

There are days when all I want to eat are crispy chicken tenders.

And maybe some french fries. (Though crispy roasted potatoes will work, too.)

And I’ll be honest that is pretty much every day.

It’s not that I don’t love a broad range of cuisines, from Sichuan fish-fragrant eggplant to Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes with marinated feta to Indian-inspired Bombay rolls.

I love all those things.

But sometimes I just want the glorious breaded white meat middle-American kid food that is usually called the chicken tender but also goes by the name chicken strip or chicken finger.

I want them almost as often as I want pizza.

Chicken pieces in a buttermilk marinade in a zip-top bag

And I’ll be honest that these are not tenders, in the strictest sense, because they do not come exclusively from the tenderloin of the chicken.

Rather they are sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts that spend about a half hour marinating in buttermilk with a bit of salt.

And then they are dredged in a mixture of flour and cornmeal and a smattering of seasonings. I like a bit of smoked paprika and garlic and onion powder along with the all important salt and pepper, though you can adjust those according to your preference.

Flour and cornmeal breading mixture with a dish of whisked egg nearby

Then they’re dredged in a beaten egg mixture and coated in the flour mixture again.

One trick to getting more of those all important crispy bits is drizzling a bit of buttermilk into the breading mixture before dipping the chicken in it.

It helps to make more bits of breading cling on for maximum textural goodness.

Breaded strips of chicken waiting to be fried

Then a pan with about a half-inch of oil gets heated up to about 350°F, which, if you don’t have a thermometer, is approximately when you drop in a little blob of batter in and the oil immediately bubbles and sizzles around it.

Then the breaded chicken pieces go in and fry until they are golden brown on each side, which takes about 3 or 4 minutes per side.

Then they get set on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

Crispy chicken tenders on a pink plate with a container of dipping sauce next to it

And then you have marvelously crispy chicken tenders, ready for dipping, if that’s your thing, though they don’t need any adornment.

They’re crisp, salty, savory, simple kid food.

And they’re easy for grownup to love, too.

Crispy Chicken Tenders on a pink plate

Crispy Chicken Tenders

These chicken tenders are breaded in a simple flour and cornmeal mixture. Fine ground cornmeal works better here than a coarse grind, but any standard cornmeal is fine.

You can also omit the cornmeal and just use all-purpose flour instead. But the cornmeal adds nice texture and flavor.

The buttermilk marinade helps to keep the chicken moist. Just a half hour makes a big difference.

Adding a bit of buttermilk to the breading mixture before adding the chicken helps to enhance the crispy bits that form around the edges of tenders when they fry

These are shallow-fried to create the delightful crisp texture you can only get from frying while using less oil than is necessary for deep frying.

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Marinating Time 30 minutes
  • Cook Time 8 minutes
  • Total Time 43 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola or peanut oil, for shallow frying

For the breading

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Slice each chicken breast into 4 strips, lengthwise. Add the chicken, buttermilk, and salt to a zip-top bag and let marinate, refrigerated for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the beaten eggs to a wide, shallow dish.
  3. Add the flour, cornmeal, smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper to a wide shallow dish, such as a pie plate or baking pan and carefully mix together.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and add about a tablespoon of the buttermilk marinade to the dry breading mixture.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, one at a time, and place in the breading mixture to lightly coat. Then transfer to coat with the beaten egg mixture and return to the breading mixture to coat a second time. Place on a wide plate or baking sheet and continue with remainder of the chicken pieces.
  6. Add about 1/2-inch of oil to a wide skillet and heat to 350°F. You can test to see if the oil is hot enough by adding a small bit of moistened breading mixture to the oil—if the oil sizzles and bubbles immediately the temperature is right. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
  7. Add the chicken pieces to the oil, a few at time, be sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until golden on one side, then flip over and fry until golden brown on the other. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or about 7-8 minutes total, to cook through. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on the paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Serve.

Health Benefits Of Cornmeal

Also known as maize (Zea mays), corn is one of the world’s most popular cereal grains. It’s the seed of a plant in the grass family, native to Central America but grown in countless varieties worldwide.

Popcorn and sweet corn are popular varieties, but refined corn products are also widely consumed, frequently as ingredients in processed food.

These include tortillas, tortilla chips, polenta, cornmeal, corn flour, corn syrup, and corn oil.

Whole-grain corn is as healthy as any cereal grain, as it’s rich in fiber and many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Corn is typically yellow but comes in a variety of other colors, such as red, orange, purple, blue, white, and black.

Nutrition facts

Here are the nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of boiled yellow corn

  • Calories: 96
  • Water: 73%
  • Protein: 3.4 grams
  • Carbs: 21 grams
  • Sugar: 4.5 grams
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Fat: 1.5 grams

Carbs

Like all cereal grains, corn is primarily composed of carbs.

Starch is its main carb, comprising 28–80% of its dry weight. Corn also provides small amounts of sugar (1–3%) .

Sweet corn, or sugar corn, is a special, low-starch variety with higher sugar content, at 18% of the dry weight. Most of the sugar is sucrose

Despite the sugar in sweet corn, it is not a high-glycemic food, ranking low or medium on the glycemic index (GI)

The GI is a measure of how quickly carbs are digested. Foods that rank high on this index may cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.

Fiber

Corn contains a fair amount of fiber.

One medium bag (112 grams) of cinema popcorn boasts approximately 16 grams of fiber.

This is 42% and 64% of the Daily Value (DV) for men and women, respectively. While the fiber content of different types of corn varies, it’s generally around 9–15% of the dry weight

The predominant fibers in corn are insoluble ones, such as hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin.

Protein

Corn is a decent source of protein.

Depending on the variety, the protein content ranges from 10–15%

The most abundant proteins in corn are known as zeins, accounting for 44–79% of the total protein content

Overall, the protein quality of zeins is poor because they lack some essential amino acids 

Zeins have many industrial applications, as they’re used in the production of adhesives, inks, and coatings for pills, candy, and nuts

SUMMARY

Corn is mainly composed of carbs and fairly high in fiber. It also packs a decent amount of low-quality protein.

Corn oil

The fat content of corn ranges from 5–6%, making it a low-fat food

However, corn germ, an abundant side-product of corn milling, is rich in fat and used to make corn oil, which is a common cooking product.

Refined corn oil is mainly composed of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, while monounsaturated and saturated fats make up the rest

It also contains significant amounts of vitamin E, ubiquinone (Q10), and phytosterols, increasing its shelf life and making it potentially effective at lowering cholesterol levels

SUMMARY

Whole corn is relatively low in fat, though corn oil — a highly refined cooking oil — is sometimes processed from corn germ, a side product of corn milling.

Vitamins and minerals

Corn may contain a fair amount of several vitamins and minerals. Notably, the amount is highly variable depending on the corn type.

In general, popcorn is rich in minerals, whereas sweet corn is higher in many vitamins.

Popcorn

This popular snack boasts several vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Manganese. An essential trace element, manganese occurs in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. It’s poorly absorbed from corn due to this vegetable’s phytic acid content
  • Phosphorus. Found in decent amounts in both popcorn and sweet corn, phosphorus is a mineral that plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
  • Magnesium. Poor levels of this important mineral may increase your risk of many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease
  • Zinc. This trace element has many essential functions in your body. Due to the presence of phytic acid in corn, its absorption may be poor
  • Copper. An antioxidant trace element, copper is generally low in the Western diet. Inadequate intake may have adverse effects on heart health

Sweet corn

Sweet corn boasts a number of vitamins, including:

  • Pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, this acid is found to some extent in nearly all foods. Thus, deficiency is rare.
  • Folate. Also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid, folate is an essential nutrient, especially important during pregnancy
  • Vitamin B6. B6 is a class of related vitamins, the most common of which is pyridoxine. It serves various functions in your body.
  • Niacin. Also called vitamin B3, niacin in corn is not well absorbed. Cooking corn with lime can make this nutrient more available for absorption
  • Potassium. An essential nutrient, potassium is important for blood pressure control and may improve heart health

SUMMARY

Corn is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Popcorn tends to be higher in minerals, while sweet corn tends to be higher in vitamins.

Other plant compounds

Corn contains a number of bioactive plant compounds, some of which may boost your health.

In fact, corn boasts higher amounts of antioxidants than many other common cereal grains:

  • Ferulic acid. This is one of the main polyphenol antioxidants in corn, which contains higher amounts of it than other cereal grains like wheat, oats, and rice
  • Anthocyanins. This family of antioxidant pigments is responsible for the color of blue, purple, and red corn
  • Zeaxanthin. Named after corn’s scientific name (Zea mays), zeaxanthin is one of the most common plant carotenoids. In humans, it has been linked to improved eye health 
  • Lutein. One of the main carotenoids in corn, lutein serves as an antioxidant, protecting your eyes from oxidative damage produced by blue light
  • Phytic acid. This antioxidant may impair your absorption of dietary minerals, such as zinc and iron

SUMMARY

Corn provides higher amounts of antioxidants than many other cereal grains. It’s especially rich in eye-healthy carotenoids.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a special variety of corn that pops when exposed to heat.

This happens when water, trapped in its center, turns to steam, creating internal pressure, which makes the kernels explode.

A highly popular snack, popcorn is one of the most common whole-grain foods in the United States.

In fact, it’s is one of the few whole grains consumed on its own as a snack. More frequently, whole grains are consumed as food ingredients, such as in breads and tortillas

Whole-grain foods may have several health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

However, regular popcorn consumption has not been linked to improved heart health

Even though popcorn is healthy on its own, it’s often eaten with sugary soft drinks and frequently loaded with added salt and high-calorie cooking oils, all of which may harm your health over time

You can avoid added oils by making your popcorn in an air popper.

SUMMARY

Popcorn is a type of corn that pops when heated. It’s a popular snack food that’s categorized as a whole-grain cereal. To maximize its benefits, make homemade popcorn without oils or additives.

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