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Spicy Fried Chicken Recipe Without Buttermilk

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Spicy fried chicken recipe without buttermilk, so crispy, so juicy, and so irresistibly saucy. This finger-licking good dish brings all the heat you crave, with red chili flakes and Thai-style flavors. Perfect for a hot and crunchy appetizer or a protein-rich meal with rice.

Spicy fried chicken without buttermilk on a banana leaf in a clay dish with decorative flowers in the background. A hand lifts a drumstick with a bite taken.

You won’t want to miss out on my hat yai fried chicken, my deep-fried chicken drumsticks recipe, and the best Thai fried chicken.

Spicy fried chicken recipe without buttermilk

In Thailand, we don’t use buttermilk for fried chicken. Instead, we use crispy flour like tempura flour or cornstarch for a perfect crunch.

Crispy flour is a quick and easy alternative to buttermilk.

Thai woman eating spicy fried chicken.

Using crispy flour instead of buttermilk gives the chicken a crispier crunch without weighing it down. It’s lighter with an incredibly crunchy, thin crust. It’s the perfect base for letting the spicy flavors shine.

Deep-fried spicy chicken

Spicy Thai-style fried chicken is a game-changer.

Start by marinating the chicken for a peppery kick, then fry it up until it’s crispy and golden.

We’ll then coat the chicken in a finger-licking sauce made of red chili flakes, chili sauce, and oyster sauce. You’re in for the best no-buttermilk chicken recipe ever!

Crispy fried chicken without buttermilk on a banana leaf in a clay dish.

Chicken breast, drumsticks, wings, or thighs, this recipe is so versatile. It serves as a crunchy appetizer, or pair it with rice for an easy chicken dinner.

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Choose the right oil for frying chicken. Go for a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable oil or sunflower oil. They’re both budget-friendly and perfect for frying.
  • Let the spicy sauce soak in. After coating the chicken in that hot sauce, give it a minute to let the sauce penetrate the meat. This will make is juicier and flavorful.
  • Check oil temperature. Use a kitchen thermometer to keep your frying oil at the perfect temperature (350-375°F).
  • Customize the heat. Feel free to use less or more chili flakes, or skip ’em altogether for the kids.
  • Drain excess oil. After frying, place the chicken on a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip off, ensuring crispy chicken.
  • Fry in batches. Don’t overcrowd your frying pan, cook in batches for maximum crispiness.
Hand lifting a sweet and spicy fried chicken drumstick over a clay dish with more fried chicken.

Ready for the best sweet and spicy fried chicken recipe without buttermilk you’ll ever try?

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Overhead view of recipe ingredients: crispy flour, water, chicken, white pepper, white sugar, oyster sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, salt, dried chili flakes, a small mortar and pestle, and colorful flowers.

Marinade

First, the chicken is marinated in a peppery batter.

  • Chicken – For this recipe, you can use any cut of chicken. Drumsticks are my preferred choice because they’re filled with juicy meat, but you can use chicken wings, breast, thighs, or even chicken fillet for crisp tenders. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure that the chicken gets cooked through
  • White pepper – Marinating the chicken in white pepper gives it a subtle hint of pepper. You can use black pepper as a substitute.
  • Crispy flour – Crispy flour is the collective name for batters that can be used to add a crispy layer to fried food. Cornstarch or tempura flour is a popular choice in Asian fried chicken recipes.
  • Water

Spicy sauce

After frying, the chicken is coated with hot and spicy sauce.

  • Thai chili flakes – To make red chili flakes, simply crush dried chilies with a mortar and pestle. In Thai cuisine, we use them to add heat to lots of different dishes, from soups to stir-fries and even marinades.
  • Oyster sauce – Oyster sauce is a thick brown sauce with a salty, umami flavor.
  • White sugar – A bit of sweetness is needed to balance out the spicy and savory flavors. Alternatively, you can use palm sugar or honey.
  • Chili sauce – You can use my Thai hot sauce recipe to make homemade sriracha, or any brand of store-bought chili sauce works fine.
  • Ketchup – I used tomato ketchup.
  • Water
  • Salt

Short recipe video

How to make spicy fried chicken without buttermilk

  1. Make spicy fried chicken batter

    Combine white pepper, crispy flour, and water in a big mixing bowl.A marinade mix of water, crispy flour, and white pepper in a large glass mixing bowl.

  2. Marinate chicken

    Coat the chicken drumsticks or your cut of chicken with the marinade and let it rest in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.Marinated chicken drumsticks in a large glass bowl.

  3. Fry chicken

    Chicken drumsticks being deep-fried in a wok.

    Heat oil to a steady 350°F or 180°C in a deep pot, deep-fryer, or wok and add the marinated chicken pieces to it. Fry them for about 12 to 15 minutes, aiming for a golden-brown hue and an internal temperature of 165°F for fully-cooked chicken. Make sure to flip them a couple of times for even cooking. Once they’re done, transfer them to a wire rack or paper towels to let them drain.

  4. Make spicy sauce

    Spicy sauce prepared in a wok.

    While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. In a large wok or skillet over medium heat, combine red chili flakes, oyster sauce, white sugar, chili sauce, ketchup, water, and salt. Stir and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  5. Coat chicken

    Top-view of spicy fried chicken drumsticks in a wok.

    Toss the chicken into the wok and thoroughly coat each piece. Serve immediately.

Kitchen tools

  • Large skillet or second wok: For making the spicy sauce.
  • Measuring spoons & cups
  • Wire rack or paper towels
  • Large mixing bowl: For marinating the chicken.
  • Deep fryer or large wok: For deep-frying the chicken.
  • Tongs

How to serve fried chicken

Serve fried chicken hot while it’s still crisp. Combine it with a salad, potatoes, rice, or vegetables for a complete meal. Serve with a dipping sauce as an appetizer, or combine it with other finger food.

Combine it with one of my other recipes:

How to store

To keep your crispy spicy fried chicken tasting great, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Reheating instructions: The best method to reheat fried chicken is with an oven, preheated to 375°F for optimal crispiness. Alternatively, you can use an air fryer for 3–5 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a different cut of chicken?

Yes, you can make this recipe with any chicken cut, like breast or wings. Just adjust the cooking time to ensure the chicken gets cooked through.

How spicy is this spicy fried chicken?

The spiciness of this recipe can totally be adjusted to your personal heat tolerance. For me, it’s got just a hint of spice. If you’d like to turn up the heat, feel free to add more chili sauce or chili flakes.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can easily make this ahead of time by frying the chicken beforehand and reheating it in an oven or air fryer later. Make the sauce beforehand as well, and coat the chicken with the sauce right before serving it. The drumsticks can enjoyed eaten cold as well. Alternatively, you can let the chicken sit in the marinade until you’re ready to fry.

Can fried chicken be frozen?

Yes, fried chicken can be frozen for later use. After the chicken has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight freezer-safe container and store it in your freezer. Allow the chicken to defrost in your fridge before reheating it.

What kind of flour for crispy fried chicken?

For making crispy fried chicken, you can use several types of crispy flour. All-purpose flour, cornstarch (which is gluten-free), rice flour, and tempura flour are all common options for creating a perfect crispy coating.

What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is the tangy, creamy liquid left behind after churning butter. It’s a kitchen ingredient for making baked goods rise, fried chicken, tenderizing meat, and even dressing.

More Thai chicken recipes you’ll love

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Spicy Fried Chicken Recipe Without Buttermilk

Spicy fried chicken without buttermilk on a banana leaf in a clay dish with decorative flowers in the background. A hand lifts a drumstick with a bite taken.
This spicy fried chicken recipe without buttermilk delivers irresistibly crispy and juicy chicken, drenched in a bold Thai-style sauce, making it the ultimate dinner or hot appetizer.
Praew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Appetizer
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

MARINADE

  • 18 ounces chicken drumsticks, wings, or thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons crispy flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

SPICY SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup tomato
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • Combine white pepper, crispy flour, and water in a big mixing bowl.
  • Coat the chicken drumsticks or your cut of chicken with the marinade and let it rest in your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil to a steady 350°F or 180°C in a deep pot, deep-fryer, or wok and add the marinated chicken pieces to it. Fry them for about 12 to 15 minutes, aiming for a golden-brown hue and an internal temperature of 165°F for fully-cooked chicken. Make sure to flip them a couple of times for even cooking. Once they're done, transfer them to a wire rack or paper towels to let them drain.
  • While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. In a large wok or skillet over medium heat, combine red chili flakes, oyster sauce, white sugar, chili sauce, ketchup, water, and salt. Stir and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Toss the chicken into the wok and thoroughly coat each piece. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • You can make this recipe kid- and family-friendly by adjusting the amount of chili flakes and chili sauce.
  • Get crispy flour at Amazon.

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