Gluten-Free Southern Fried Chicken {Dairy-Free Option}

5 from 30 votes
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An easy recipe for crispy gluten-free fried chicken made southern-style with a buttermilk marinade and savory spices. The recipe also has a dairy-free option.

gluten-free fried chicken in a basket with parsley in the background

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

This gluten-free fried chicken recipe is a classic Southern buttermilk fried chicken. As Southerners, my family knows fried chicken and this, my friends, is the real deal! It’s the perfect gluten-free chicken dinner.

The chicken pieces are marinated in homemade buttermilk for both flavor and tenderness.  Then it is dredged in a savory gluten-free flour blend and fried golden brown and crispy.

You can see how easy this fried chicken is to make in the recipe video.

gluten-free fried chicken recipe steps 1-4 photo collage

How To Make Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It is best to allow the chicken to marinate overnight if you can. (photo 1)
  • Prepare the breading by combining the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, thyme, oregano, basil in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients. Or combined the ingredients in a shallow dish. (photo 2)
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 10″ cast iron skillet (or a large skillet) on medium heat until 350°F. You can test the oil to see if it is hot enough by sprinkling a little bit of the flour mixture into the oil. It should sizzle but not smoke.
  • Working one at a time, remove a chicken piece from the buttermilk mixture and place it in the bag with the gluten-free flour mixture. Seal the plastic bag completely and shake the bag to coat the chicken piece with the flour mixture. Place the coated chicken piece on a baking sheet. Repeat the steps until all the chicken pieces are coated. (photo 3 & 4)

  • Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time (do not overcrowd the pan). Place the breaded chicken skin side down first into the 350°F oil. Watch the temperature of the oil, as the chicken causes the oil temperature to drop. Adjust your heat as needed to keep the chicken gently cooking. Fry each piece for 15-18 minutes, turning each piece over using tongs about every 2 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked, golden brown, and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (photo 5 & 6)
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the oil with tongs and place them on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let the fried chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The chicken can be served warm or cold. (photo 7 & 8)
  • Store completely cooled leftovers in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat chicken in the microwave or on a baking sheet and bake uncovered at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is heated through.

What Is The Best Type Of Gluten-Free Flour To Fry Chicken?

I have found that the best type of gluten-free flour to make fried chicken is rice flour. I use a cup for cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. My preferred brand is Pillsbury gluten-free, but you can also use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1, Better Batter, or King Arthur Measure For Measure.

I have not tried this recipe with almond or coconut flour.

Pro Tip For Measuring Gluten-Free Flour

I have found that the best way to measure gluten-free flour is to use the “spoon & level” method. It is always best to use a dry measuring cup to measure flour, not glass measuring cups used for liquid. 

Use a spoon to scoop the flour out of the bag into a measuring cup.  After spooning the flour into a measuring cup, use the back of a knife to level the flour off of the measuring cup. I do this over a bowl to catch the flour.

Please do not use a measuring cup to scoop the flour directly out of the bag or you could get more flour than the recipe calls for. 

gluten-free fried chicken on a black cooling rack

Do I Need The Cornstarch?

I always add cornstarch to my gluten-free flour blend whenever I fry food. The addition of cornstarch is what takes fried food to the next level of crispiness. Please do not skip this step.

How Can I Avoid The Breading Falling Off The Chicken? 

Here are some tips for making sure your breading does not fall off of your chicken.

  • Press the gluten-free flour mixture on the chicken, and do not shake it off to make sure that the flour sticks to the buttermilk.
  • Allow the chicken pieces to dry on a baking sheet for 5 minutes after breading.
  • Make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. This will keep the chicken from touching which can knock off the breading.
  • Use tongs to turn the chicken pieces.
  • Dry the fried chicken on a wire rack and do not touch it for at least 10 minutes.

What Kind Of Oil Is Best For Frying?

My favorite oil to fry with is peanut oil. Other options include vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, and coconut oil.

Vegetable oil is the oil I recommend using for deep frying. It has a high smoke point and once used for frying, it can also be reused.

To reuse the oil allow the oil to completely cool, strain it, and return it to a storage container for later use. I use glass mason jars to store used oil. Old jelly jars work well too.

2 pieces of gluten-free fried chicken on a blue plate with a fork with more chicken in the background

How Long Is Fried Chicken Good For?

Fried Chicken is always best when fresh, but leftovers will be good in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. The skin will not be as crispy reheated.

What Is The Best Way To Reheat Fried Chicken?

For best results, reheat leftover fried chicken in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes. You can also reheat the chicken in the microwave, but the skin will not be as crispy.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Fried Chicken

Making fried chicken both gluten-free and dairy-free is really easy. Just use your favorite dairy-free milk to make the buttermilk marinate. I use unsweetened almond milk.

Some of my favorite dairy-free alternatives that I like to cook with are Smart Balance butter, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened almond, cashew, or coconut milk.

basket of gluten-free fried chicken with parsley in the background

What To Serve With Gluten-Free Fried Chicken?

There are so many side dishes that go really well with this gluten-free dinner recipe. Below are some of my favorite recipes that my family loves to have with fried chicken.

More Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes To Try!

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5 from 30 votes

Gluten-Free Southern Fried Chicken

Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
marinate: 2 hours
gluten-free fried chicken in a silver basket
An easy recipe for crispy gluten-free fried chicken made southern-style with a buttermilk marinade and savory spices. The recipe also has a dairy-free option.

Ingredients 

Buttermilk Marinade

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 cups milk, dairy-free use unsweetened almond milk, cashew or coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Dredging Mixture

  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 4 cup vegetable oil for frying, I like peanut oil

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. It is best to allow the chicken to marinate overnight if you can.
  • Prepare the breading by combining the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, thyme, oregano, basil in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients. Or combined the ingredients in a shallow dish.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 10" cast iron skillet (or a large skillet) on medium heat, until 350°F. You can test the oil to see if it is hot enough by sprinkling a little bit of the flour mixture into the oil. It should sizzle, but not smoke.
  • Working one at a time, remove a chicken piece from the buttermilk mixture and place it in the bag with the gluten-free flour mixture. Seal the plastic bag completely and shake the bag to coat the chicken piece with the flour mixture. Place the coated chicken piece on a baking sheet. Repeat the steps until all the chicken pieces are coated.
  • Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time (do not overcrowd the pan). Place the breaded chicken skin side down first into the 350°F oil. Watch the temperature of the oil, as the chicken causes the oil temperature to drop. Adjust your heat as needed to keep the chicken gently cooking. Fry each piece for 15-18 minutes, turning each piece over using tongs about every 2 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked, golden brown, and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the oil with tongs and place them on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let the fried chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The chicken can be served warm or cold.
  • Store completely cooled leftovers in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat chicken in the microwave or on a baking sheet and bake uncovered at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is heated through.

Video

Notes

  • For the dairy-free option I used unsweetened almond milk.
  • Peanut oil is my favorite vegetable oil for frying. 
  • Store completely cooled left-overs allow in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat chicken in the microwave or on a baking sheet and bake uncovered at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is heated through.
  • Mama says, "check all of your labels!"

Nutrition

Serving: 2piecesCalories: 676kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 40gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 1774mgPotassium: 644mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 935IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 229mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!

About Audrey Roberts

I'm Audrey Roberts, a busy mama of four and I love sharing the recipes that I make for my family. I make gluten-free family-friendly recipes that are simple and delicious that you can too! I use easy to find ingredients that won't break your budget. You will also find dairy-free options and Paleo recipes. I am also the author of The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook, which is an Amazon Best Selling Cookbook in the US and Internationally. Living gluten-free since 2010. I hope by me sharing my journey it may help you with yours.

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40 Comments

  1. I love all your recipes! I love that you make it easy for me to eat gluten free foods! Thank you!

  2. I tried this recipe out for my daughter who’s gf/df. Turned out great! I halved the recipe and used oat milk for the soak and used a pkg of chicken tenders. Delicious! I love all of Mamma Knows Gluten Free recipes.

    1. ? white vinegar contains barley. my son who is coeliac can’t have barley. is this meal really gluten free

      1. Hi Dawn, most white vinegars are distilled from grapes and thus naturally gluten-free. However, as we state in all of our recipes, make sure to check the labels! Some brands may include barley, so it is important to double-check the ingredients list to be sure!

  3. How in the heck is this possibly?!?! My son was diagnosed with serious gluten and dairy allergies 6 months ago. This whole journey has been a difficult one. I never thought in a million years that fried chicken could be done gluten and dairy free and honestly… I would have never known this was G & D free if I hadn’t made it myself.
    I did start late making this late so I only marinated it for the minimum of 2 hours. I added more salt to the marinade and a little to the flour mixture to give the chicken more flavor since my marinade time was so short. I was worried that my chicken would have an Italian flavor with the oregano and basil but it did not. It was delicious!

  4. AMAZING!!! I have finally found a true replacement for floured fried meats!!! I have missed fried chicken so much since going GF. I adjusted and omitted some of the spice to our liking, but the base of recipe is incredible. Thank you so, so much!

  5. Delicious! We are gluten free (Celiac and wheat allergy), egg free, tree-nut free and soy free and lactose intolerant and this was a recipe the whole family could enjoy!

  6. I was recently diagnosed with celiac, and I am a vegetarian… But, I still cook for my husband. He just had a bite of this and could not believe how amazing it was! Not oily at all! THANK YOU!!!!

  7. Thank you for this recipe!!! I’ve been craving fried chicken but haven’t found a good recipe until now. I used pounded chicken breast instead of legs and thighs and even 30 minutes after the first one finished it was still crispy and juicy. This is the best I’ve ever mad that’s gluten, dairy, and egg free. The family loved it. I’ll definitely be using this again.

  8. This is absolutely delicious and crispy. I’ve made it easily 10 or 12 times now and my family prefers it to the wheat flour versions we’ve made. I cut chicken breasts like ‘tenders’ and fry that instead of the legs. I comes out wonderfully. Thank you so much for this great recipe!

  9. One of our family members recently found with gluten sensitivity. Made this using large chicken tenders from Costco, soaking for 4 hours in buttermilk with salt, pepper. No dairy allergies in the home. Made the dredge exactly as the recipe describes using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour (Pillsbury wasn’t available), and was amazed at how good the results were. Peanut oil from Walmart. Would have never known this was gluten-free. Thanks for the detailed instructions. Easy to follow.

  10. This was very delicious! I made chicken nuggets instead of bone in chicken and it worked great! I also made fried pickles using the buttermilk soak and flour dredge and they were awesome as well! Thanks so much!

  11. I made this 2 weeks ago and it turned perfect. Today I double dredged it and it was a disaster! It was salty, the batter did not work at all. I will make it again with the original recipe.

  12. Made this yesterday for my boyfriend’s birthday and he loved it! I have food allergies (gluten and dairy) so I used almond milk for the first marinade. I didn’t have time to marinate overnight but I did all day and cooked in the evening. Everything came out delicious: crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I used pink Himalayan salt with the seasoning and a dash of turmeric. Next time I’ll try the air fryer option. Never even thought of it!

  13. This chicken was fabulous! Can’t even tell it’s gluten free! The flavor is fabulous too. I’ve never brined a chicken before. Goodness! I’ll never not brine again! Sooooo tender!

  14. So tasty! I highly recommend this recipe. I have made this a few times for my family. Wonderful detailed cooking instructions are easy to follow.

  15. Delicious and definitely worth the extra cholesterol occasionally. Just in case you are short on time, I only marinated in buttermilk for 4 hours and that was plenty.

  16. Delicious recipe! And I used Coconut Flour because that’s what I had on hand. Worked well! Thank you for a gluten free option for me, who is Celiac, that my kids still enjoy!

    1. I am so happy that you all enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing that the coconut flour worked in the recipe and for the 5 star recipe review.

  17. Never thought we’d get Mama’s fried chicken again, but this comes really close! Will use this again, and again!

  18. Since I can’t eat cow dairy I marinated my chicken pieces for 4 hours in goat yogurt. Then I used a deep fryer and the oven rather than shallow fry in a pan. I preheated my oven to 350, then set my fryer for 350 degrees, cooked 2 pieces at a time for 8 minutes and put them in the oven on a baking rack for about 4 minutes. When the internal temperature of each piece read 165 degrees I removed the pieces and set them on paper towels to drain. The only change to the actual recipe itself to was I added more salt to the dry mixture. BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER. CRISPY AND JUICY. EVEN BETTER COLD THE NEXT DAY. THANK YOU!!

  19. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! Have not had good fried chicken since I stopped eating gluten and dairy. My husband, who does not like to eat gluten-free, LOVED this fried chicken and kept saying, “Don’t ever loose this recipe!!!” Thank you, Thank you!!! I made this recipe exactly as instructed except my husband cooked each pierce in a deep fryer on the balcony.

  20. This recipe was the BEST!! Oh, my!! I made this for my niece who has Celiac, and has not had fried chicken in forever. Her eyes lit up and she could not believe just how DELICIOUS this gluten free fried chicken was!! Everyone eating this fried chicken dinner I made, loved it. Even my father-in-law…who really doesn’t eat fried foods, and really hasn’t eaten fried chicken ever…had THREE PIECES!! He said it was so moist and flavorful. I also made the GF pie crust from this website (Mama Knows Gluten) and made a pumpkin pie. That was also a winner! My niece said this was the first time she was ever truly “full” after a meal. So, a big THANK YOU, Mama Knows Gluten, I will be trying out more of your recipes!!!I wanted to add a note, that the dredging flour for this recipe was enough to use for 12 bone-in, skin-on thighs, and 12 boneless, skinless thighs!! YUM!

  21. Personally for me, a Canadian and my hubby, an Australian, we found the spice mixture a bit tame. I sprinkled some sea salt on them after frying which helped. I loved the crispy coating and will make this again but will try a different spice combo more to our tastes. Love what you do Audrey, you have been a life saver for me since I have had to go gluten, dairy, soy and sugar free 6 months ago.

  22. This was fantastic. Used it to fry chicken breasts to copycat a fast food chicken sandwich for my gluten free wife. Really, really excellent.

  23. I used the recipe to make chicken tenders and deep fried them – so delicious! Mine turned out slightly soggy after sitting on the rack for a few minutes, but I’m pretty sure that’s because the oil temp dropped. Kids loved them and I get to enjoy the fried food heartburn without the gluten/dairy cramps and annoyances!

  24. Thank you for this great recipe! It’s turned out PERFECT! I used unsweetened oat milk as the lacto free option. And I air fried them. Super crispy and crunchy!

    Also – the dry mix is a bit too much for this recipe. But then again, there a no harm cooking up another batch of fresh chicken!

  25. Miss REAL southern fried chicken? This recipe is right on. The marinating overnite is key. Will be using this over and over and over. GREAT!! Thank you!