Can bread flour be used for fried chicken?

Fried chicken is a beloved staple in American cuisine. It’s crispy, juicy, and always hits the spot. However, have you ever wondered if there are variations to the traditional way it’s prepared? Specifically, what type of flour should be used to create that perfect breading for fried chicken? In this article, we’ll explore whether bread flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour for fried chicken, and how it affects the final dish.

A Brief History of Fried Chicken

Fried chicken has been around for centuries, with origins tracing back to Scotland in the 16th century. However, it’s the Southern United States that is largely credited with popularizing fried chicken as a quintessential comfort food.

Understanding Flour Types

Before diving into whether bread flour can be used for fried chicken, let’s discuss the different types of flours. There are various kinds (such as all-purpose, bread, cake, pastry), with each having a unique feature that makes them suitable for specific tasks.

  • All-Purpose Flour: The most common type of flour found in pantries across America. It’s versatile and has moderate protein and gluten levels.
  • Bread Flour: Has higher protein and gluten content than all-purpose flour and usually results in chewy baked goods.
  • Cake Flour: Has lower protein content than all-purpose or bread flour and results in lighter cakes.
  • Pastry Flour: Falls between cake flour and all-purpose flour regarding protein content, being a middle ground suitable for making pastries like pie crusts.

When frying foods like chicken or fish at high temperatures with oil to create a crispy exterior layer – selecting the right type of flour is an essential factor in determining its success.

Bread Flour vs All-Purpose Flour: How They Compare Regarding Frying Chicken

While both types of flours contain wheat as their base ingredient – they differ in several aspects that make them suitable for unique cooking purposes, including fried chicken.

The primary factor that sets bread and all-purpose flour apart is their protein content. Bread flour commonly comes with a 12-14% protein content and more gluten formation than all-purpose flour. On the other hand, all-purpose flour usually has a 10-12% protein content.

When it comes to frying chicken, bread flour’s higher gluten structure can result in a denser but crunchier breading. Alternatively, all-purpose flours utilize in making tender breading with less chewy texture. The greater density of bread flour can require longer fry times as well as little caution when cooking if you want to avoid an overcooked product.

How Does Each Affect Fried Chicken Differently?


One factor that many people consider important when frying chicken is the level of crispiness achieved on the outside. Between the two types of flours being compared – bread flour will produce a crustier Golden-brown appearance due to its denser texture from its higher levels of gluten development.


Both types give different textures and finishes concerning fried chicken.

All-Purpose Flour – Produces a light-textured layer on your food evenly without dark overlaps while imparting delicate flavors.

Bread Flour – Gives more dense layer with bold peripheral highlights

Preserve Moisture

Even more crucial to anyone who dislikes dry meat, both flours have shown various results in retaining moisture while providing distinct outcomes.

Bread Flour – produces crispy skin but not necessarily juicier meats than All-Purpose Flour

All-Purpose Flour – produces tender meat

Bread Flour Fried Chicken Recipe

Here’s how you can use bread flour to ensure perfectly crunchy chicken:


  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder (optional)
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup bread flour


Step 1: Cut your whole chicken into pieces and season it with salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder; season to tenderness preference.

Step 2: Cover the chicken in buttermilk and allow it to marinate overnight or at least about four hours.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, mix two cups of bread flour with any other seasoning you prefer ( some ideas can be cumin, smoked paprika)

Step 4: After marinating overnight, drain the chicken from the buttermilk into the breading mixture one at a time. Add enough breading mix & shake well so that no excess sticks onto the food.

Step 5: Heat up three inches of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown without overheating. Also, you can deep fry for extra crispy products.

Serve your chicken immediately and enjoy!

Tips For Using Bread Flour To Fry Chicken

Here are some tips when using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour for frying chicken:

  • Let it sit in the bread crumb coating for an additional few seconds to create a thicker layer if more dense layers are preferred.
  • Be mindful of the timing when cooking because then may turn out darker than if you use all-purpose flours.

Experimenting With Other Flours

Using experiments by different chefs and home cooks alike – results can vary concerning choosing either all-purpose or bread flour. Therefore what’s recommended is finding what suits palates better regarding specific tastes because everyone has their takeaway after experimenting with these two types of flours.

However, alternative options worth exploring are rice or cornstarch flours used in Korean-style fried chickens as topping agents creating similarly tasty yet unique tasting dishes.

FAQs and common concerns addressed

Q: What if I only have X type of flours but not the ones recommended? A: All-purpose flour is the most commonly used for frying chicken, and bread flour may be suitable depending on how crispy you want your breading. While cake or pastry flour has its advantages, they don’t do well when frying due to their low gluten contents.

Q: Can I use gluten-free substitute flour? A: Gluten-free substitutes such as rice flour are excellent alternatives for people who can’t consume gluten-containing foods. Its lighter texture than all-purpose flour will still produce very light breading that may not stick the same without a dredging process.

Q: If bread flour has more protein, does it mean that it’s better at making a crispier crust? A: Yes – since protein develops into gluten – having higher levels can cause more strength in doughs or batters resulting in crunchy or crispy textures relative to those with much lower fortified proteins like All-Purpose Flour.


In conclusion, there’s no guaranteed answer about which is better when compared; however, there’s an array of debate between them from different outcomes produced by each. Recipes involving both flours were shared above so anyone who wants to be particular about crispiness versus tenderness can make informed decisions regarding flour choice. What results after experimenting with them entirely depend on individual choices and doing away with traditional methods sticking close to home might yield delicious findings.


  1. Q: Can I use bread flour to make fried chicken? A: Yes, you can! Bread flour is a great option for coating your chicken before frying. Its high protein content makes the coating crisp and crunchy.
  2. Q: Is bread flour different from all-purpose flour when used for frying chicken? A: Yes, it is. All-purpose flour has a lower protein content compared to bread flour which can make the fried chicken less crisp and crunchy.
  3. Q: Should I use bread flour exclusively for my fried chicken recipe? A: Not necessarily. It’s perfectly fine to use other types of flours or even a combination of flours depending on your preference.
  4. Q: Can you substitute bread flour with self-rising flour when making fried chicken? A: While you technically could swap out bread flour with self-rising flour, the resulting crust may be too thick and heavy due to the added leavening agents in self-rising flour. Stick to using bread flour or all-purpose flour to get the crispy texture that you’re after.

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