Why Your Breading Has Soggy Spots (And How To Fix That Mistake)

There's nothing like the sensation of biting into the crispy, crunchy, flavorful breading of a perfectly fried piece of chicken, pork chop, or other protein. But home cooks without extensive frying experience often end up with disappointingly soggy or gummy spots in their breading. Luckily, there's an easy fix for this common problem at the start of the traditional breading process.

Many people first coat the to-be-fried item in flour, which helps the egg wash (or other liquid) better cling to the surface before a final dip into bread crumbs or another coating. But this flour can also trap the moisture that escapes as you cook your meat. When moisture combines with the plant protein in traditional wheat flour, its gluten develops. If the meat isn't fried at an adequate temperature or for a long enough period, this undercooked gluten creates a sogginess that can ruin even the best-quality pork chops or chicken.

To prevent this, swap out your flour for cornstarch. If you don't have some already, this affordable kitchen staple is readily available at practically any grocery store and can last indefinitely when stored in a cool, dry place inside an airtight container.

Use cornstarch instead of flour for crispy breading

The reason why this swap is so effective is simple: Cornstarch is gluten-free and composed solely of the starchy corn kernel endosperm. It works just as well in helping liquid cling to your meat but without any gluten, there's no risk of your breading becoming gummy.

While gluten is a common cause of soggy fried chicken or pork chops, it's by no means the only one. Another reason your fried chicken is turning out soggy is that the oil temperature is falling below the ideal frying level, which is right around (or slightly above) 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This might be happening because you're cooking too many pieces at once, and the cool, uncooked meat is lowering the oil temperature. Patience is key — frying just a few pieces at a time will help ensure each one has the best, crispiest breading possible.

Keep this simple cornstarch trick in mind the next time you're frying and you might be surprised by its results. Using the best type of oil for frying is also a step in the right direction.