Fried Chicken Thighs, Marinated in Homemade Italian Dressing

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For a full breakdown on exactly how to fry chicken, I invite you to check out Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Heather says:

We don’t fry chicken often, but sometimes when chicken thighs are well under $1 per pound the temptation is overwhelming. Recently we had a long conversation on the hidden sources of high fructose corn syrup. One easy way to avoid HFCS is to make your own dressings and marinades. Italian dressing is an incredibly simple marinade for chicken, fish, and pork; it’s also good on salads. Go figure.

*Edited to note* If you don’t want to actually fry chicken you can always oven-fry chicken as a healthier alternative.

Fried Chicken

Italian Dressing / Marinade Recipe

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar – experiment and find your favorite (apple cider, wine, balsamic, etc)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp grated Parmesan

Add all of the ingredients to a cruet if you’re fancy or into a mason jar if you’re me. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Sure you could whisk it all together, but that takes the fun out of it.

Marinate 3lbs of chicken thighs in approximately half of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the unused portion. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours. About 1 hour before cooking bring the covered dish out of the fridge and allow to approach room temperature.

Never allow food to sit in the bacterial danger zone for more than two hours, this increases the chance of food poisoning. Not only will the chicken not be sitting out for two hours, it will also be fully cooked before serving, ensuring this is a safe practice.

When handling raw chicken, always wash your hands thoroughly before touching anything else. Use paper towels or immediately place kitchen towels with dirty linens to avoid the chance of cross-contamination.

Frying Dredge

  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose or plain flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 – 4 tsps salt
  • 3 tsps fresh ground pepper
Whisk together or place in a bag and shake together. It doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s well combined.
If you use a 12″ skillet you’ll need 3 cups of peanut oil to fry the chicken. Heat the peanut oil to 325F and have a lid ready to help contain the spatter.
One at a time remove a chicken thigh from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the thigh in the frying dredge and place skin side down in the hot oil. Fry 3 – 4 pieces of chicken at a time, but do not crowd the pan. Too much chicken in the pan will cause the oil temperature to drop and create greasy chicken.
Cover the skillet and allow to fry for 6 minutes before turning.
Use caution when removing the lid from the pan, as some condensation could drip into the oil which would spatter.
Turn the chicken, cover, and fry for an additional 6 minutes.  Repeat and cook for an additional 3 minutes each side, checking the temperature before the last turn. If the thigh is at 165F, it is done.
Place on paper towels to drain any excess grease and hold in a warm oven (200F) until all the chicken is done.
Suggested sides:
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7 thoughts on “Fried Chicken Thighs, Marinated in Homemade Italian Dressing”

  1. Wow! This sounds scrumptious! I'm all about wanting to have foods without HCFS and other unnatural ingredients!
    My recent post Menu Plan Monday March 29th – April 3rd

  2. Thanks. I would love to have more recipes for salad dressings. Most of the dressings I've made myself I haven't liked much. I love fried chicken, but I must admit it's a lot of trouble. I'm not sure I'm patient enough to keep frying them over and over. I'm also not very experienced at deep frying, or whatever this is. If only someone else would come over and make these! Maybe one day I'll do it. Thanks for the recipe–I'll definitely print it and keep it for that day.

    • You can always use the oven-fried version which is much less hassle. The last time I think I made real fried chicken was in the fall, so it's not something I'm in the mood for often, either. Although I do admit to having a strong desire for a buffalo chicken sandwich, but I'm pretty sure I could be satisfied with grilled.

  3. Ah-ha! I saw right away where some of my chicken-frying troubles are from: not enough oil, and too crowded of a pan. The dressing looks great; perhaps I can break my son's bottled dressing addiction with it!

    • Mine won’t be broken until I can find a recipe for Vidalia Onion dressing substitute. Good luck with your next attempt. I have to admit, when I finally got it right, I was less than modest about it. 🙂


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