Chicken with perfectly crispy skin is practically a Southern culinary institution. Unfortunately, it's oh-so-easy to mess up and get stuck with soft chewy chicken skin. How unappetizing! To avoid this downer, we have a simple but life-changing hack to share with you. We'll also offer some tips for grilling and baking crispy chicken. You'll be eggs-cited to show off your new skills at your next BBQ!

The Trick For Getting Perfectly Crispy Chicken Skin

kid eating chicken strip
MIA Studio/Shutterstock

It's quite simple once you think about it, but the simple trick to perfectly crispy skin is to not marinate it. That's right, when you want to end up with chicken your guests won't stop "clucking" about, simply don't let whatever marinade you're using touch the skin. We'll break down this game-changing tip into a couple steps for maximum ease.

What You'll Need

  • baking dish
  • marinade
  • chicken thighs, wings, drumsticks, or breasts (skin on)
  • paper towel

Step #1: Magical Marinade

Pour your marinade of choice into the shallow baking dish, making sure not to overfill it.

Step #2: Chicken Time

Carefully place your pieces of chicken into the dish, leaving the skin side up so it's not exposed to the marinade.

Step #3: Radical Refrigerator

Next, let marinate in the fridge uncovered. This allows the skin to dry up a bit more for extra crispy goodness. Now you're ready to prepare some amazing crispy chicken!

crispy chicken thighs

Cooking Methods

Now that you know how to keep skin crispy, we have a couple pointers for our two favorite methods of cooking chicken.

Grilling Notes

  • For a great grilled chicken with the ultimate crispy finish, make sure to pat dry the chicken to remove any excess marinade before grilling. This is super important, so don't skip it if you're pressed for time.
  • Then, you'll want to season with salt and pepper and grill on low with the skin side down. This temperature choice helps the fat render but not escape the cut of meat, for super moist and crave-worthy chicken.
  • For the last few minutes of cooking, simply flip the chicken so it's skin side up to make sure it's fully cooked. Remove from heat to let rest, but do not cover with tin foil or the steam effect can ruin the crisp you've worked so hard to cultivate.

Baking Notes

  • We love baked chicken, which is optimal in winter so you're not wrestling with cold weather while grilling. It's vital to follow the above marinade steps, then remove the chicken from the liquid and pat dry.
  • You'll also want to bake your chicken (we recommend thighs since they are more flavorful) skin side up in a new baking dish so it can sear in the oven. We suggest baking at about 400 degrees for 35 or so minutes, longer depending on your oven. It's important not to touch the chicken while it cooks.
  • Then, remove it from the oven and let rest without covering in tin foil.
crispy chicken on cutting board

So as you can see, it's possible to nail that perfectly crispy skin that chicken is known for. Simply use our foolproof tip with the right cooking method and the right choice of meat cut and you'll be the talk of the town!

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