There’s so much fiery flavor in this jalapeño fried chicken recipe. The jalapeño pepper brining ensures moist and spicy meat, and the breading, with the addition of cayenne pepper, adds its own crispy kick. It’s spicy through and through, and that’s pure yum in our book. This is a memorable alternative to the traditional fried chicken recipe for summer barbecues and family gatherings.
Want a little less heat? Lessen the cayenne pepper powder in the flour mix or remove it completely. That will leave just the jalapeño brine as the heat source. Or, instead of cayenne, you can opt for mild paprika. It’s common on the spice rack, so it can make for a quick-fix alternative if the heat of cayenne is a concern. We don’t recommend smoked paprika or chipotle for substitution here, as the smokiness can really change the flavor of this recipe.
If you’re looking for a delicious spicy side to complement jalapeño fried chicken, try our pickled jalapeño deviled eggs or these spicy fried pickles. They both have a tangy heat that works very well with fried chicken. Or serve this chicken with a chipotle potato salad for a smoky twist.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
- Spicy Chicken Strips: A classic crave-worthy appetizer.
- Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup: This recipe takes feel-good to another level. It’s all the goodness of poppers in soup form.
- Spicy Smoky Pulled Chicken: It’s delicious on sandwiches, tacos, and more.
Jalapeño Fried Chicken
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 8 cups water
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 8 boneless chicken breasts legs, and/or thighs
- 8 cups vegetable oil
- 4 cups buttermilk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
Broil the jalapeños until charred
- Place the jalapeños onto a baking sheet, and broil in the over for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip often to provide even charring.
Brine the chicken spicy-style
- In a saucepot, bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add in the charred jalapeños, garlic, peppercorn, honey, and salt. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the brining mix from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Place the chicken in a sealable container, then cover the chicken with the brine. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight (6 to 8 hours).
Fry the chicken with spicy breading
- Remove the chicken from brine and let them air dry.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper and thoroughly mix.
- Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl.
- In a large pot, pour in the oil. (make sure there’s enough space left to prevent splash back), then heat the oil to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Piece by piece, coat the chicken with the flour mix, then dip it in the buttermilk, then once again coat the chicken with flour mix.
- Place the chicken into the oil (you will need to fry in multiple batches), and fry them for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the fried chicken from the oil, and place them on a plate covered with paper towels to soak in excess oil. Add additional salt and pepper to the chicken immediately. Repeat the last three steps until all chicken is fried.