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Why marinate chicken before frying?

Fried chicken is a classic and favorite food around the world. It is a staple food in many fast-food chains and restaurants. However, fried chicken can become boring and a little dry when consumed too often. One way to spice up your fried chicken recipe is to marinate it before frying. Marinating chicken before frying can give your fried chicken delicious and unique flavor to improve the taste and texture. In this article, we are going to explore the benefits of marinating chicken before frying, including what a marinade is, how to properly marinate chicken, and the different types of marinades.

What is a marinade?

A marinade is a liquid mixture made of herbs, spices, oil, vinegar, wine, or other acidic agents used to flavor and tenderize meat, poultry, or fish. It has been used since the ancient times as humans discovered that soaking meat in a mixture can break down the protein enzymes, moisturize the meat, and minimize the tough and chewy texture. The marinade also helps the meat cook faster when frying, grilling, or baking.

How to properly marinate chicken?

When marinating chicken, it is essential to follow the proper marinating guidelines to ensure that the chicken is safe and tasty. Here are some of the rules to follow when marinating chicken before frying:

1. Choose the right vessel – Marinating chicken should be done in a non-reactive container such as a plastic or glass dish that can keep the marinade from corroding or reacting with the container. Avoid using an aluminum or copper container because the acidity in the marinade can react with the metal and cause discoloration and toxic reactions.

2. Use fresh ingredients – The ingredients used in the marinade should always be fresh because they can impact the quality of the marination. Fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables will give a better taste than dried ones, while fresh garlic, ginger, and onions will provide a more robust flavor.

3. Marinating time – Marinating time should be based on the type of marinade and the size of the chicken parts. For example, dark meat chicken such as thighs or drumsticks can handle a more extended marinating time than white meat such as breasts or wings. Usually, marinating for at least 30 minutes is enough to add flavor to the chicken, while overnight marination can improve the texture and flavor.

4. Refrigeration – Marinating chicken should be done in the refrigerator to keep the marinade at a safe temperature. Bacteria can develop in the chicken if left out in the open, causing contamination and illness.

5. Pat dry the chicken- Before frying the chicken, it is essential to pat dry the chicken with a paper towel. This will remove the excess marinade from the surface, preventing the chicken from splattering when frying.

The benefits of marinating chicken before frying

1. Flavor-enhancer: Marinating chicken before frying is a great way to add flavor to your fried chicken dishes. The marinade penetrates the chicken, infusing it with delicious flavors and aromas that can elevate the taste of the chicken.

2. Tenderizing agent: Marinades are also used as a tenderizing agent because of the acidic elements present in the marinade. The acidity breaks down the protein in the chicken, leading to a more tender and juicy chicken.

3. Moisturizes the meat: Marinating chicken before frying can minimize the dryness of the chicken while frying. The absorbed liquid in the marinade prevents the chicken from losing its natural moisture, which results in a more moist and flavorful chicken.

4. Health benefits: Marinating chicken before frying has health benefits too. Studies show that marinating chicken with certain herbs and spices like rosemary, turmeric, and thyme can reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances in the meat.

Different types of marinades

1. Buttermilk marinade: Buttermilk is a popular marinade for chicken because it tenderizes the meat and adds a tangy flavor. You can add spices, garlic, and herbs to the buttermilk mixture for an extra flavor punch.

2. Yogurt marinade: Yogurt marinade is another popular marinade for chicken because of its creamy texture and tangy flavor. To make this marinade, mix yogurt with garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices, and marinate the chicken in the mixture overnight.

3. Brine marinade: Brine marinade is a mixture of salt, spices, sugar, and water used to marinate chicken for an extended period such as 24 hours. This method is ideal for large chicken cuts or roasts. It can help add flavor and moisture to the chicken.


In conclusion, marinating chicken before frying is a great way to transform your fried chicken dish into something extraordinary. The process of marination can tenderize the chicken, add flavor, and keep the chicken moist while frying. Different types of marinades can add different flavors and textures to the chicken. However, it is essential to follow the proper marinating guidelines to ensure that the chicken is safe and tasty.