Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken {grain-free}

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious

My friends, it’s Wednesday. Hump day. The halfway mark of the week.

That means you’ve had just enough of the work week (and enough of these freezing cold mornings) to wish for the weekend, but the weekend still isn’t close enough for you to feel like that respite is near. So you’re in need of some mid-week comfort food.

And to me, there are few better comfort foods than fried chicken!

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious

It’s always interesting to me the things that  I get cravings for. French fries, mozzarella sauce, soft pretzels… Things that I never used to eat that often before my allergies, but now that I can’t have them, I want them weekly! The law of forbidden fruit, I guess…

Fried chicken is another one of those things. I used to have fried chicken about twice a month when the comfort food craving hit. But recently, after going grain free and coconut free, when my craving hit, I found myself marooned on a fried chicken-less island! And that, my friends, is a very sad place to be.

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious

But I’ll tell you, one of the greatest blessings of having such a limited diet is that it has forced me to become quite the creative and tenacious cook!

Which is good, because my body can be pretty persistent and pretty persuasive. It doesn’t really take “no fried chicken” as an answer…

So, one thing led to another, and now I have a perfect midweek, paleo, gluten and grain-free fried chicken recipe for myself!

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious

And what fantastic fried chicken it is! Golden brown, perfectly crispy, and decadently tender. I almost prefer this new paleo fried chicken to traditional fried chicken because the crispy “grain” is finer and almost melts in your mouth! (Is that a weird thing to say? Do you know what I mean??)

And really, I don’t taste a difference at all. It might even be a bit richer than traditional fried chicken because I fry it in lard instead of the traditionally used vegetable oil! But then again, I am biased… 😉

This is the perfect weeknight, Wednesday comfort food because it’s super easy. You mix the “breading” in a big plastic bag and then coat your chicken by shaking it in the sealed bag. New fashioned shake-and-bake, y’all! No flour-egg-flour dipping required.

A crisp in the skillet and a finish in the oven gives you some bomb good, crispy, juicy fried chicken.

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious

Now those last two days til the weekend don’t even seem that long. 😉

Going grain-free doesn’t have to mean missing out!

Amazing Grain-Free Crispy Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Serving Size: 2 pieces of chicken


  • 6 pieces of chicken (I only used four, but had enough flour mixture left over to make more if I wanted)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper {omit for AIP}
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (or paprika, if you're not nightshade free)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1/2 cup lard, shortening, or oil
  • leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme for sprinkling, optional


    (Make this recipe into buttermilk fried chicken by marinating the chicken overnight in enough buttermilk to cover the meat before following the rest of the recipe.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Dry all of the moisture off of the chicken pieces with a few paper towels. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Add the tapioca starch, sea salt, black pepper, sage, turmeric, and garlic power, if using, to a ziplock bag. Seal and shake until all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Add 2 pieces of chicken to the flour mixture in the bag. Seal and shake until the chicken is evenly coated. Gently shake the chicken as you remove it from the bag to shake off the excess flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining chicken, two pieces at a time.
  5. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the lard over medium-high heat until it spatters when a drop of water is added to the pan. One by one, with tongs, add the pieces of chicken to the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet. Do this in batches if you're using larger pieces of chicken. Fry them in the lard until the breading is crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Remove the chicken to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the chicken until it's done all the way through, about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
  7. Sprinkle the chicken with fresh thyme leaves if desired, serve warm, and enjoy!

The weekend countdown begins!

Amazingly Crispy Paleo Fried Chicken via StrictlyDelicious



  1. Shelly says

    This looks amazing!! Do you have any idea if this would work with arrowroot instead of tapioca (I’m super sensitive to tapioca). Thanks!

    • says

      Shelly, I’ve always tried this with tapioca, but I think it would! In other recipes I’ve tried the two are very interchangeable. I hope you get to try this with arrowroot!

  2. says

    Just wondering why you fried THEN baked these, whereas you baked THEN fried your popcorn chicken. Is it because of the tapioca starch? I’ve had terrible luck with tapioca starch, so I’m reluctant to use it anymore!

    • says

      Allison, good question! It is because of the different “flour.” With cassava flour I found that frying first made the cassava “breading” soggy and fall off. So I baked then fried that recipe. With tapioca starch I treated it the way I used to fry chicken–frying then baking.

      Tapioca starch can be a tricky ingredient to work with! But between this fried chicken and the AIP pizza crust with pesto sauce, Ive come to LOVE it!

  3. says

    Hello, Claudia! I sprinkled the thyme on the cooked chicken after it was done baking. I’ve updated the recipe to note that! Thanks!