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Chile-Lime Fried Chicken

Chile-Lime Fried Chicken

This is a modified fried chicken recipe that I've done twice now.  The original was courtesy Sunny Anderson at the Food Network.  Changes include more spices, easier prep using more commonly found chili powder vs dried, toasted, and ground whole chilies.  I also added additional components to the brine to enhance the flavor.  Note that this is NOT a spicy hot chicken recipe.  Chili power is very mild, if you want more heat, you could always add a teaspoon of Cayenne powder to the rub (and/or brine).  The overall methodoligy will be familiar to anyone who's made fried chicken at home.  Easy!

Prep Time: 20 min

Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr

Cook Time:  50 min

Serves: 4 servings



  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 10 chicken thighs (about 2.5 lbs.)


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • zest from the (2) limes, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Peanut oil, for frying


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Honey, for dipping


Brine:In a large bowl or resealable plastic bag add the water, salt, sugar, chili powder, cumin, liquid smoke, bay leaf, crushed garlic and lime juice, stirring to dissolve. Add the chicken and refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.  

Rub: Combine all the ingredients and stir to combine.  Set aside for later.  

Remove the chicken from the brine, place on a cutting board and pat dry.

Sprinkle the rub over the chicken pieces, try for even coverage being sure to turn the chicken to coat both sides.  Set up a dredging station and put the flour, cornstarch, salt in one bowl (and add black pepper if desired).  Mix the eggs and milk in a second bowl.

Take the chicken and dredge in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, then back into the flour.  Set aside on a tray to set the coating.  (about 30 minutes, I prefer the refrigerator to help dry the 'batter').  If using the refrigerator, before frying allow the chicken to come to room temperature before frying (just a few minutes on the counter top should do)

Shake off any excess flour and add the chicken pieces to the oil in batches, making sure to keep frying temperature at around 350 degrees F. Fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes depending on piece of chicken and whether you are using boneless or not.

Remove the chicken to a cooling rack to allow the air to circulate and the oil to drain.  Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and season with tiny pinch of salt (optional) and a spritz of lime juice. Serve with honey for dipping.

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