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Last Updated on November 28, 2020

Marinated in tomato juice and then breaded with a tapioca flour mix, this Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken is Finger Licking Good! It’s juicy and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

paleo fried chicken

Lately, I’ve had a hankering for Paleo Fried Chicken.  I’m not joking when I tell you that I grew up eating southern fried chicken once a week.

My mother is a magician when it comes to the kitchen and I was her willing apprentice.  With time, I soon learned the charms of taking plain boring chicken and transforming it into a dish that my father, who was born and raised in the south, would love.

However, it wasn’t until I met my father-in-law that I discovered the secrets to transforming the recipe from “I love this chicken” to “I want to marry this chicken.”

The thing is, when he told me his techniques, I didn’t write all of them down.   Sadly, he passed away four years ago and it was important to me to try to recreate his recipe.  This is patched together from the memories of his children, his ex-wife, and myself.

I decided to share this recipe as my first sneak peek from my cookbook, Paleo Eats.   This recipe is just small taste of what you will find inside.

paleo eats cookbook

What you’ll need for this Recipe:

COATING

How to Make This Paleo Fried Chicken Recipe:

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss to evenly coat with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the bacon fat to 325 degrees. Try to keep the oil no higher than 325 degrees.

Make the coating: Place the tapioca flour, salt, and pepper in a large paper sack and shake to combine. Drop the pieces of chicken into the bag and shake to coat the chicken on all sides.

Place the chicken in the hot oil and cook until golden brown on both sides, roughly 10 to 15 minutes per side, and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove and set on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan.

Notes

If the chicken is golden brown on the outside but is not yet fully cooked on the inside, set it on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven at 350 degrees to finish cooking, roughly 8 to 10 minutes.

If you like this Paleo Fried Chicken recipe, you’ll love:

Paleo Battered Onion Rings

Fried Chicken Taco Shell (Keto)

Paleo Chicken Fried Steak

Did you make and love this recipe?  Give your review below and make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

paleo fried chicken
Yield: 6

Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken that is Finger Licking Good!

Prep Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 55 minutes

Marinated in tomato juice and then breaded with a tapioca flour mix, this Paleo Fried Chicken is juicy and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and toss to evenly coat with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the bacon fat to 325 degrees. Try to keep the oil no higher than 325 degrees.
  4. Make the coating: Place the tapioca flour, salt, and pepper in a large paper sack and shake to combine. Drop the pieces of chicken into the bag and shake to coat the chicken on all sides.
  5. Place the chicken in the hot oil and cook until golden brown on both sides, roughly 10 to 15 minutes per side, and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove and set on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Note: If the chicken is golden brown on the outside but is not yet fully cooked on the inside, set it on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven at 350 degrees to finish cooking, roughly 8 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1259Total Fat: 116gSaturated Fat: 45gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 65gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 2373mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 30g

Did you make this recipe?

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346 Comments

  1. This was a beautiful story. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had was prepared by a grad student from Nigeria while I was still an undergraduate. He infused the oil with habaneros and he served it up with a warm meal mush that was native to his cuisine. He expressed a fondness for my yellow rice. I should have married that man….but that was long ago so I’ll have to settle for the chicken :O)

  2. I love to cook with cast iron, this recipe looks delish ! I have not tried making fried chicken since going Paleo I will have to try this!

  3. I really want to try this recipe, I’m always looking for a good southern fried chicken recipe πŸ™‚

    demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. just started looking into paleo. I have multiple allergies and I already eat many paleo dishes and am looking for more.

  5. I’ve always loved the taste of Fried Chicken however have been hesitant to make it due to so much oil wasted, do you just toss the fat out after? I save my bacon fat since going paleo but I don’t know what the norm is with left over frying fat.

    1. I reuse the oil. I strain it and place it in a closed container and store it in a cool place. You can reuse it until it smells funny but I usually chuck mine after 3 or 4 times. I only use tallow, bacon fat or coconut oil due to the high smoke point and how saturated the fats are.

  6. Wondering if this can be done to the same effect with only breast meat, I have a very large aversion to bone in any type of meat. I’ll have to give it a try since the rest sounds delicious!

  7. Being from Louisiana originally, I appreciate the Southern recipes! Look forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for your great recipes!

  8. I’ve always been scared to try to fry a chicken, paleo or not! But I would love to take this opportunity to try! Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I love everything about this giveaway! The chicken recipe sounds great and I’ll be making it soon. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I just found your website looking for ice pop recipes. I then joined and saw this giveaway. Thank you for the website and the giveaway. I would love to have a cast iron skillet. I haven’t had one in over 15 years. It was a handy-me-down that I didn’t know what to do with back then, so I got rid of it. I have yet to get another. Thanks again.

  11. Kelly Bejellie’s site is the answer to my entry into the Paleo world! I am thoroughly enjoying all the wonderful recipes.for this ” Change of Lifestlyle,

  12. Our family does eat grains, but we don’t introduce them to our children till they’re toddlers, and I have a sister and several friends who do eat paleo. So finding good recipes that paleo and non-paleo eaters can all enjoy together is great!

  13. Can’t wait to try this…looks so yummy!!!!
    So glad I found your site and look forward to receiving your emails and recipes.
    Thanks!!

  14. I recently saw Fatwork’s lard at my favorite grocery store (I live near Portland), so now that I know you love it, I’ll give it a try!

  15. A dear woman who helped raise me always made the best fried chicken. She would marinade it in milk or buttermilk and spices, shake it in a grocery bag of seasoned flour, then fry in a mix of bacon fat and oil. Seeing your recipe made me think of Lee! Thanks! I will give your version a try soon.

  16. I susbscribe to your weekly emails. I received a new one today and your description of your cookbook totally hooked me “comfort and for busy people.” Thank you.

  17. your recipes bring back a lot of favorites and they’re very easy to use thanks for all the effort you put in the kitchen

  18. Wow!!! Another amazing recipe!!! You keep them coming! Very much appreciated as I have Celiac and other allergies. Looking forward to your wonderful book!!! Thank you for all of your time and energy that you put into this blog and into the books!!!

  19. I love a good fried chicken but it is seldom done well anymore. THIS recipe sounds wonderful and I’ll be trying it.

  20. my mom used to use a cast iron pan for cooking everything! i was just thinking how much i need one too!

  21. That looks like my mom’s fried chicken. I’m sure it is delicious. I’ve never heard of using tapioca flour though. My grandmother always used cast iron and I really want to get me some to cook with. And FatWorks, mmm, an entire company devoted to fat, that’s the life!

  22. I believe your cookbook is going to do awesome! I think comfort food is so important in life…I mean we are living the paleo lifestyle in search of some kind of comfort i.e. allergy relief….so I believe you should not worry about the “Paleo Police” they will be too busy reading all of our awesome picture posts of us cooking your recipes when we receive your cookbook! It’s going to be amazing! I’m so excited for you! Hugs!! xoxox Cheers!!

  23. I recently started cooking with a 12″ Lodge cast iron skillet and your comment about a workout made me laugh. It’s true! But I also love it and am going to get a smaller one for when I cook for just myself so that my muscles don’t get too big. πŸ™‚

    1. Teresa, my SIL has a huge Lodge Dutch Oven that I can barely lift but it makes the most amazing pot roast ever.

  24. I really enjoy your site, I find your recipes very user friendly. Going to your site is like having a good friend walking along side me in my journey to a healthier and pain free free. Thank You

  25. Can’t wait to try this recipe. My kids love country fried chicken. Thank you for the tips of where to find Paleo approved fats in Portland. I live in Happy Valley and have been buying approved fats online. Also I have been bugging all of my friends and co-workers for the best places to buy meat in the area. The Paleo journey has been great for me so far and that is because people like you post such wonderful recipes that make the transition much easier on me and my family. Thanks for ALL you do for us!

  26. I need to try this. I’ve never seen a marinade like this for fried chicken using tomato. Is this a regional specialty?

  27. Can’t wait to try this fried chicken. I’ve tried many of your recipe remakes (paleo style) and love them!

  28. I will be making this for my husband. He is very picky at eating and loves chicken… Do you think I can use boneless, skinless chicken breast? That is all he will eat.

    I have use a lot of the recipe on your site, I am on my 3rd week of Paleo, I made the change for my husband he was having a lot of issues and finding food that he will eat is very hard.

    Thank you,

  29. I absolutely love your blog and am dying to get a cast iron skillet to show my kids what real southern fried chicken tastes like!

  30. Thank you for helping me change my diet! Getting food reactions has been a dramatic change for me. I appreciate your making it easier!

  31. Thanks so much for this giveaway! I love fried chicken, too. My husband is the fried-chickentender-maker in our house. He uses coconut oil with it and I don’t know how he does it but they are the BEST chicken tenders EVER!

  32. I’ve only recently started to exploring Paleo cooking and have never tried tapioca flour. Your fried chicken recipe sounds delicious and I’m wowed by your results with the tapioca flour.

  33. Hi!

    I also have to follow a low carb diet. Do you think almond flour will work instead of the tapioca flour? Great contest!

    Thank you,

    Sherrie Lee

    1. Sherrie, I’m not sure. You would need to think of a way to get the flour to stick to the meal and you would not also get the nice crunch that you get from the tapioca flour.

  34. What an awesome giveaway! I could use more cast iron, I cook with it most of the time. And thank you for sharing a source for good fats. It’s something I need to start cooking with.

  35. I have never owned a cast iron skillet before and would sure love to have one as everyone I know loves to cook in them.

  36. This is FABULOUS! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to live paleo in a classic middle class Georgia home? Now I can have Sunday chixken again! (Aside: thank you for having a ridiculously mibile-friendly site!)

  37. i have been eating paleo for 6 months but never thought to use tapioca flour on fried chicken…look at what I have been missing!

  38. That looks so good. I don’t exactly eat Paleo, but am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is very similar. This looks totally doable and functional for my diet!

  39. I told myself no more cookbooks until I came across yours and now another cookbook has been preordered. I like a lot of the recipes but I think the fried chicken and key lime pie is what helped make the decision. It’s also nice to support a fellow Oregonian.

  40. I think I may have just died & gone to heaven…Fried chicken was my comfort food as a child & this recipe sends me way back! After leaning heavily in the Paleo direction & trying to eat healthier in general, I wouldn’t have considered ordering friend chicken even though it was calling to me. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us – I can’t wait to try it!

  41. I was looking at this giveaway when my son looks over my shoulder and said Mmmm that chicken looks yummy mommy. I knew right away this was something I had to enter because my son is a picky eater and I remember my growing up and seeing a Cast Iron Pan in my kitchen. Everything that was cooked in it was delicious.

  42. I don’t know what I’m impressed by more, the simple coating, or the spice mix! The mix sounds so savory and amazing, I’ve bookmarked this to make for my family when they visit in 2 weeks!

  43. Wow, I’ll have to try this recipe. I never would have thought of marinating in tomatoes. I have tried buttermilk or a pickle-type brine before, so this is totally different. Sound good, though.

  44. Ive heard a lot of good things about paleo recipes. This one looks so good, I will have to try it, Thank you!

  45. Looks like a good recipe. I’ve never soaked my chicken in tomato juice, but maybe the acid helps tenderize the chicken? Definitely will give it a try. Thanks

  46. This looks DEElish! And your giveaway is fab. I know cast iron is one of the missing ingredients on my road to health. Thanks Kelly Bejelly!

  47. Great giveaway!! Your recipes are wonderful. Can’t wait to make this new one in my new cast iron!!

  48. Oh my goodness this looks delicious! You make the recipe so easy to follow. Thank you for adding me to your giveaway.

  49. Being a Southern girl too, I ALSO was raised on Fried Chicken …. but your recipe sounds SO much better! I can’t wait to try it!

  50. I think everyone should try using a cast iron skillet. I love them and can’t cook fried potatoes without one!

  51. That looks so delicious. πŸ™‚ I have always wanted a cast iron skillet and making fried chicken with it would be perfect!

  52. I’ve got to try this recipe! Your recipes are some of my fiance’s favorites and they’re so easy to make!

  53. My guy makes the world’s best fried chicken — I don’t really know what he does, because it would ruin the magic, but I’m sure a new skillet would make it even better. THanks for the chance!

  54. This is literally the first time I’ve seen a fried chicken recipe with tomatoes in the marinade. Can’t wait to try it.

  55. I had never heard of Paleo until now! I’m looking forward to receiving my newsletter and learning more!!!

  56. Fried chicken is my favorite. This looks wonderful. My daughter makes awesome cornbread in her skillet.

  57. I dont own a cast iron fryer nor have I ever cooked in one but it seems more and more cooking shows say its the ‘way to go’. I would love to try one.

  58. I would love to win and try out this recipe! It looks amazing. I have never tried authentic Southern fried chicken before.. and it looks so good!

  59. Loved reading this- what a great tribute and wonderful way to remember a loved one- I have my grandma’s recipes and enjoy making her soups. It is a way to feel close to her once again.

  60. WOW! Made this last night. Knocked my socks off – sooo good.
    I have been hesitant to buy another paleo cookbook, but after that – I’m in. Ordering it today.