Naked Chicken Is Not What It Sounds Like

Food trends are constantly shifting as technology — and people's tastes — change. One of the hottest trends on the rise is "naked" chicken, but there's nothing R-rated about this popular update on a mouthwatering classic.

Naked chicken refers to the style of cooking crispy, fried chicken that doesn't include any heavy breading or batter. It replaces the oil-heavy deep fryer with modern conveniences like convection ovens and air fryers that can create perfectly crispy chicken skin without any thick, flour-based coating. These gadgets accomplish this using the principles of convection heating, in which hot air is blown over food held in a basket or tray to allow the air to circulate on all sides.

But don't make the mistake of thinking naked chicken is boring. The simple, blank canvas this unbreaded poultry provides allows you to "dress it up" with your favorite flavors, from delectable sauces to tasty dry rubs. Without competing with thick, floury batter, it's easier to enjoy both the flavor of the chicken itself and whatever unique seasonings you choose to add.

Naked chicken is easy to make and easy to clean up

Naked chicken can also save busy cooks some time in other ways. There's no need to spend precious minutes tinkering with batter to achieve the perfect texture or carefully dipping each piece of your chicken. And while this benefit is less obvious, naked chicken also typically makes cleanup more manageable, with fewer bowls to wash and fewer opportunities to make a mess. There's also no need to invest in the cost of a dedicated deep fryer (and the copious amount of oil it requires), as air fryers and convection ovens are becoming a more common and versatile part of many home kitchens.

Naked chicken is also a good choice for those with certain dietary restrictions. No breading means no carbs, making naked chicken suitable for keto eaters craving fried chicken. It also eliminates the presence of gluten, a critical factor for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerances. Overall, naked chicken is a crispy, deliciously easy blank canvas for flavor — a great way to try out any number of mouthwatering chicken wing recipes.