Andrew Zimmern's Paper Bag Trick For Perfect Fried Chicken

Everyone with a tried-and-tested fried chicken recipe up their sleeve has a trick for getting it right, such as particular seasoning blends and unexpected secret ingredients. If you're into dredging your chicken, there's a simple tweak to your technique that will make cleanup a breeze (and can be customized to include the spice blend you favor for your own version of the comfort food classic).

As he demonstrated in a TikTok video, chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern prefers to use a large paper grocery bag in order to dredge his chicken. He explains in the clip that the unorthodox vessel is ideal for dredging larger pieces or quantities of meat.

Any fans of the nostalgic Shake 'n Bake packaged chicken mix will know the technique all too well — he simply places his flour and preferred seasonings in the bag, adds in the chicken pieces, and then folds the top of the bag a few times until it's closed and secured. Then, he gently agitates the mixture so that the flour coats every square inch of raw chicken, resulting in an even coating that will help the chicken develop that crispy exterior.

If trying his go-to approach, Zimmern advises not to shake the bag too vigorously, lest the paper break at the bottom under the weight of all that chicken.

Opinions on the simple trick

Andrew Zimmern's trick isn't exactly rocket science — with the right technique, you could evenly dredge your chicken using a bowl or plastic container. However, the paper bag can reduce the amount of cleaning you'll do afterward. Unlike reusable vessels, which have to be carefully washed and sanitized to help kill any salmonella that might be lingering on the surfaces the raw chicken touched, the bag can just be thrown away at the end.


Want to know the secret to super-crispy, evenly coated fried chicken? Use a paper grocery bag with flour and seasonings for dredging. Full recipe at the link in my bio. #knifeskills #friedchicken #andrewzimmern #cheftok #kitchenhacks #cookingtiktok #cookingathometiktoktv #cookwithme #friedchickenrecipe

♬ original sound – Andrew Zimmern

The simple video received over 500 comments from foodies and fried chicken lovers on the platform, and it seems the technique is applicable to more than just chicken. A few commenters noted that they used the exact same method on catfish, so it could presumably be a quick and convenient way to dredge a wide variety of proteins or even vegetables. And, many others noted that their parents or grandparents used this method, proving that Zimmern's trick is a tried-and-true approach that has popped up through the generations.

There were some commenters that expressed wariness regarding how clean the interior of the paper grocery bag was, indicating that they'd prefer to use a different type of vessel, such as plastic Ziploc bags, for dredging purposes. However, deep frying the chicken at high temperatures typically kills bacteria, as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so that particular worry may be unfounded.