Cooking chicken in a cast iron skillet is a key factor in achieving a golden brown color when frying. Cast iron pans are great conductors of heat and help the chicken cook evenly.
Choosing the right cooking oil is also important for cooking fried chicken to a crisp golden brown. The best oils to use for frying chicken are canola, peanut or vegetable, which are neutral in flavor. Avoid using extra-virgin olive oil, which leaves a bitter taste in chicken. The recommended amount of cooking oil to use is 1 to 1 1/2 inches, which is preheated to 350 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking oil must never be overheated because this can result in a dark brown crust and undercooked meat.
The person cooking should place several pieces of chicken in the hot oil to cook in batches. It is important not to overcrowd the pan, as this causes chicken to cook longer and become soggy. One method to ensure even cooking is to cover the pan and allow pieces to cook for 6 minutes. The chicken continues to cook for another 9 minutes without the lid. Cooking tongs are useful for turning the chicken so it can brown on both sides. Inserting a meat thermometer into one or two pieces helps determine whether the meat is done. The ideal temperature for fried chicken is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.