Why It's Important To Rest Your Fried Chicken

There's nothing quite like a piece of perfectly fried chicken. The crispy, crunchy, flavorful coating balances perfectly with the moist interior, creating something that any meat eater would find hard to resist. When it's done well, it's a thing of beauty.

However, fried chicken isn't always the easiest dish to master, and there are many mistakes that people make when attempting the seemingly simple dish. The coating has to be thick enough to give you a satisfying crunch, for example, but not so thick that it creates an impenetrable barrier. The chicken also needs to be cooked through to prevent any food safety issues, but you also don't want it to be completely overcooked and dry.

And that's not even mentioning the steps that happen before you drop your chicken pieces into the oil. In order to get the maximum amount of flavor, it's necessary to brine the meat and season the flour, as per Southern Living. You also want to ensure your meat is dried so the coating can stick to the chicken pieces rather than sliding right off, as Food & Wine advises.

There is one mistake you may be making, though, that you didn't even know was an issue with fried chicken. If you're chowing down on the still-steaming chicken the moment you pull it from the frying pan, you're doing your chicken a disservice (per Southern Living). A little patience is key for a truly mouth-watering fried chicken.

The case for resting fried chicken

So you've been careful every step of the way and followed all the rules to avoid any common fried chicken mistakes, and now you're ready to chow down on your perfectly crispy creation. However, if you want the best possible fried chicken, you absolutely need to allow it to rest (via Southern Living). Yes, the same way you'd rest other cuts of meat.

You might think that you want to enjoy your chicken before it cools down and the exterior potentially gets soggy. However, that's only an issue if you opt to cool your piping hot chicken pieces on paper towels, which can indeed, cause the exterior to steam and thus lose its crispness, as per Bon Appétit. Instead, plop your chicken on a wire cooling rack atop a baking sheet and wait a few minutes until it has cooled down.

As Southern Living explains, you want to do this for two reasons. First of all, on a practical level, you'll avoid burning your mouth. However, the more important factor is that short rest time will allow the juices within the meat to redistribute, leading to delectable chicken juice. It's the same reason you let other cuts of meat rest — you don't want those juices to all come pouring out onto your cutting board, you want them to remain in the protein itself. So, simply add a few minutes of rest time and you'll effortlessly level up your go-to fried chicken recipe.