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31 May

Better Than Fried Chicken with Coconut Aminos Dipping Sauce

Crispy ChickenThere are a lot of recipes out there for paleo/Primal fried chicken, all of them trying to create a crispy, finger-licking good coating using various nut and coconut products. This recipe isn’t for fried chicken, per se, but after tasting it you might give up trying to coat a piece of chicken in anything other than it’s own skin again.

This is likely to be the crispiest baked chicken you’ve ever had, with skin that shatters when you bite into it. And, there’s no messy frying involved. The secret? Dredging the chicken in a mixture of egg whites, baking soda and salt, then letting the chicken air-dry overnight in the refrigerator. This genius method was perfected in Ideas in Food’s recipe for Korean-style chicken wings. The recipe here takes it one step further by not just using wings – drumsticks and thighs are just as delicious using this baking method.

This recipe also ditches the sweet and salty sauce from the original recipe and instead offers a completely Primal sauce made from coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Brushing the sauce on the chicken just before it comes out of the oven makes the skin slightly less crispy, but adds lots of great flavor. The coconut amino sauce is also killer simply as a dipping sauce after the chicken is fully cooked.

This chicken is crispy, salty, sweet, totally finger-lickin’ good and totally Primal. Grab a piece right when it comes out of the oven, because it’ll barely make it to the table before it’s devoured.

Servings: 4 to 6

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour, plus chilling the chicken overnight



Idea’s In Food’s Chicken Coating:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (10 ml)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt (8.6 ml)
  • 3 pounds skin on chicken wings, drumsticks and/or thighs (1.4 kg)

Coconut Aminos Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos (80 ml)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar (7.5 ml)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (6 ml)
  • 1 garlic clove, put through a press or very finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more red pepper flakes or hot chili oil (optional)


In a large bowl whisk together the egg whites, baking soda and salt. Add the chicken and toss really well to coat. Put the chicken on a baking rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece of chicken so none of the pieces are touching. You might have to use two pans. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

Drying Chicken

The next day, preheat the oven to 450 °F (232 °C).

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut aminos, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, garlic clove, green onion and pepper flakes (if using). Split the sauce into two bowls. Use one bowl to brush the chicken during the baking process (optional) and one bowl to dip the chicken in after it’s cooked. Set both bowls aside.

Coconut Aminos Sauce

Leaving the chicken on the same racks and baking sheets, put it into the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken over and bake for 15 minutes more. At this point the meat should be pretty much cooked – thighs and drumsticks might take longer than wings, so make sure to use a digital thermometer to make sure the temp is getting near 165 °F before brushing on the sauce.

Brush both sides of the chicken with the coconut aminos sauce. Put the chicken back in the oven, skin side up, for 10 more minutes until the skin is nicely browned and crispy.

Baking Chicken

Serve the chicken immediately with the coconut aminos dipping sauce on the side.

This chicken tastes best if eaten soon after coming out of the oven. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the skin will no longer be crispy.

Crispy Chicken with Sauce

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Will try the overnight thing – baking soda is surprising, so I hope it makes a difference.

    Tip on oven roasting chicken bits – just buy the whole leg, not drumsticks + thighs, and when the time is up turn off the oven, crack the door, and leave for a while.

    No worries about under-cooking + I think the internal joint makes sure the meat keeps really tender. The drumsticks and thighs separate no problem.

    shtove wrote on May 31st, 2014
    • Hey, I thought I invented that! :-)

      Well, not that, exactly – but one time when I was almost done roasting a chicken, my girlfriend called, her car had broken down, she needed a ride. I wasn’t going to put a hot chicken in the refrigerator or leave it out on the counter, so I just turned off the oven, figuring it was well-insulated enough to keep it hot but not (hopefully) overcook it.

      A half-hour or so later, we had the Tenderest Chicken Ever. It was tender the way supermarket rotisserie chickens are, except not in a slimy or disgusting way. Neither over- nor under-cooked, perfectly juicy – it’s the only way I roast chicken anymore.

      Bob Geary wrote on June 3rd, 2014
  2. Looks interesting. I have a lazy method for crispy skin; just bake chicken ~45 minutes at 450 in a pyrex cake pan. No turning needed! The ~45 minutes is for drumsticks and thighs, which I buy cheap from Trader Joe’s. Shorter if I am doing just wings, longer if I have breasts. I salt and use some sort of seasoning. Right now my family is loving TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute which is like Mrs Dash. I sometimes use curry powders, chili rubs, etc.

    Michele wrote on May 31st, 2014
  3. Have you ever tried coating chicken with egg wash and PORK RINDS? Pour a whole bag into a food processor, run until they become dust, then use them as you would flour to coat the egg-dipped chicken. Cruuuunnnnnnchy!

    Wenchypoo wrote on May 31st, 2014
    • Dear god I am trying this!

      Trevor wrote on June 2nd, 2014
    • i can vouch for the pork rind coating. it’s awesome and i’ll never have to miss out on fried chicken again.

      mihir wrote on June 3rd, 2014
    • I do this with Pork Chops! Dear God it’s amazing!!! :)

      Sarah wrote on October 28th, 2014
  4. sounds great, going to try this next week.

    Paul wrote on May 31st, 2014
  5. Great idea on the egg whites and baking soda. I want to try this with squid (time in oven adjusted) also.

    I agree that too many recipes are just rehashes of an old way of eating that merely substitute a different flour/flours.

    JoanieL wrote on May 31st, 2014
  6. Hmm…I would probably opt for some Franks Red Hot Sauce instead of the sauce in the recipe. Sounds delicious!

    Stephen wrote on May 31st, 2014
  7. Finally a decent use for the left over egg whites I get after making a smoothie.

    Eleanor wrote on May 31st, 2014
  8. Looks delicious but I can’t bring myself to put raw chicken uncovered in the refrigerator. Perhaps it’s a OCD thing?

    Lucylu wrote on June 1st, 2014
    • My husband freaks out at that too…every time I have to reassure him that the very dead, raw chicken can’t jump off the dedicated defrost pan, on to the dedicated “raw meat shelf” and in with the lettuce. Not to mention, the rawness of meat doesn’t float around in the fridge. :) Doesn’t help as we have this discussion multiple times a month!

      Erin C wrote on June 2nd, 2014
    • You can also quick dry it on the bench in front of a fan for an hour.

      Hannahbelle wrote on June 11th, 2014
  9. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Just added wings to the shopping list. When we bake our wings until the skin is crispy, we store (the few) leftovers in paper bags–just standard paper lunch bags. This keeps the skin crispier longer in the fridge than if you store them in a plastic bag. I’m not sure if that would work for these, but if you have the bags, it might be worth a try.

    Uhura wrote on June 1st, 2014
  10. Will be trying this method with legs this week as I need a break of the typical oven roasting method. I love Asian flair cuisine, so this should be REALLY good:)

    IslandSeeker wrote on June 1st, 2014
  11. Really interesting to add baking soda. Like this recipe but am wondering if It’s really necessary to refrigerate overnight. I can see myself skipping that step.

    Jamie Miller wrote on June 1st, 2014
  12. How do I do this without eggs?

    E wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  13. Sounds great but I am allergic to egg. Any substitute suggestions for the egg whites? Thanks!

    Debra wrote on June 2nd, 2014
    • You might try just tossing with the baking soda and see where it takes you. This is how Serious Eats does it, and I can testify that my wings turned out great:

      Steph wrote on June 2nd, 2014
      • Actually that serious eats recipe you linked to uses baking powder (like this MDA recipe, not baking soda.

        I made the MDA recipe last night and didn’t have baking soda so I used baking powder. I know there are differences, but will see how it works, they were in the fridge overnight and going in the oven tonight.

        PK wrote on June 2nd, 2014
        • I suspect they have similar properties. :)

          All I know is: it works!

          Steph wrote on June 2nd, 2014
      • Thanks! I’ll give it a try!

        Debra wrote on June 2nd, 2014
    • Have you tried chia seeds soaked in water? It turns glutinous and thick like egg whites.

      Joanne McKenney wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  14. do you put the chicken in the oven cold, right out of the fridge or let it get to room temp first???

    Beth wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  15. I’m gonna try this on the Weber Kettle instead of the oven…. I have a new tool for doing wings on the Weber Kettle called a Vortex. It is basically a Stainless Steel cone that the hot coals go it and creates a HOT blast that circulates due to the shape of the Kettle and almost cooks with convection. I can do regular wings to “Fried” like crispness in about 30 minutes and not flipping.

    Bob wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  16. All I can say is, I’m on my way to the grocery store! Just ate chicken gizzards and hears with a coating of coconut flour/almond flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper baked in a coconut oil on hottish oven. Didn’t crisp as well as I would have liked, but were very tasty and hit all the right notes of ‘fried gizzards.’

    Rosanna wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  17. I made this tonight with chicken thighs. they were in the fridge for 20 hours not 12 but worked great. They sizzle away in the oven like they are being deep fried.
    They were delicious. I will make these again for sure.

    Liza wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  18. Tried this last night and it was excellent. We’ll play around with some different spices in the future but this technique is in the rotation for sure now!

    Paul wrote on June 4th, 2014
  19. UPDATE: Just had this for dinner tonight. Very good, though a little more salty than what we usually eat. I agree with others’ postings above, this technique is definitely a keeper for baking chicken legs. Thanks for a great dinner!

    IslandSeeker wrote on June 4th, 2014
  20. Did these last night (dried out overnight, but only put the egg white/baking soda mix on a few hours before baking), good flavor, sprinkled some extra sesame oil and seeds on to finish. I didn’t love how the skin had the slightest egg-y taste, but mixed w/ the meat it was fine.

    SB wrote on June 6th, 2014
  21. Had these tonight using some bone-in skin-on breasts and they were delicious. Cooked them without the sauce so they were really crispy. Served them with gravy, carrots and green beans – yum! (Are green beans Primal, by the way?)

    Lucy A wrote on June 6th, 2014
  22. This was VERY good… chicken nice and crispy, too. We will definitely make this over and over but I do advise either spraying the rack with coconut oil (or rubbing it with butter, etc.) before cooking as the chicken will stick to the grate, otherwise. You could make this on a broiler pan and line it with foil, also. (The food would not touch the foil as it is on a rack above). It is great, though, and so easy!

    Vivian wrote on June 7th, 2014
  23. Definitely not better than fried chicken, not even close. Why not just cheat once a month or once every two months and eat the real deal.

    Jason wrote on June 10th, 2014
  24. This was delicious, thank you Mark! Wow, that skin with the seasoning… I could just eat all the skin off the thighs and leave the meat.

    Grace wrote on June 14th, 2014
  25. In case anyone is wondering what happens if you accidentally use baking soda instead of baking powder…it’s still delicious! :) Really enjoyed this chicken. (I used drumsticks.) The sauce was yummy though we’ll probably cut back a little on the sesame oil next time. And we definitely want to try this method for buffalo wings. Along with your balsamic chicken this one will be in our regular rotation! Thanks for another great, easy and delicious recipe.

    Ellen wrote on June 22nd, 2014
  26. I meant to say baking powder instead of baking soda. oops!

    Ellen wrote on June 22nd, 2014
  27. Worst recipe! Don’t try unless you want smoke billowing out of the oven from the fat burning on the baking sheet after dripping off the chicken.

    Alyssa wrote on July 9th, 2014
  28. This recipe is amazing!! It’s a huge hit with the whole family. I served it with braised cabbage. The sauce on the cabbage is so good. My husband said he just fell in love with me all over again.

    Tammy Thompson wrote on July 9th, 2015

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