This is my KFC-inspired Zinger Burger that’s crispy, tender and so DELICIOUS!
If you love KFC Zinger burger that’s uber popular in Pakistan, you will LOVE this recipe! Growing up, I remember devouring so many zingers and creating this recipe took me right back to my childhood and the gluttonous days. The crisp of this fried chicken is out of this world. No egg binding and just plain ol’ all-purpose flour coating!
The biggest reason why this recipe is different is that it does not call for egg or buttermilk binding. Instead I use ice cold water, which sort of allows the flour coating to stay on. Can you believe that I only used cold water?! A few followers on my Instagram and Tiktok who’ve worked at KFC confirmed that cold water really is the secret to their extra crispy KFC Zingers.
Tip to get the chicken CRISPY with the classic Zinger crumb texture
- Marinate the chicken in the spices for a couple hours if possible. You can also leave it overnight in the refrigerator for maximum flavor.
- The water should be cold. I throw in some ice cubes for good measure.
- Take time to coat chicken with the flour. Simply rolling for a few seconds won’t do. You need to press in the flour and keep rotating the pieces. Work it for at least 60 seconds and up to two minutes. I can’t stress this tip enough.
- Don’t let the chicken sit after the final coat to avoid the coating from getting too hard.
- Fry on medium high heat. Chicken breast has a VERY short cooking time and it’s an unforgiving piece of meat. Once you go over the 3-5 minute mark, there is no salvaging it.
- Chicken thigh is a forgiving cut of meat. You can use chicken thighs but my personal preference is chicken breast. I find the chewy texture of chicken thighs (when deep fried) unbearable. Before you gasp in despair, note that your favorite Shake Shack and Howlin’ Ray’s in LA both use chicken breast:p
KFC Zinger Burger
- 1 chicken breast
- 3/4 tsp red chili powder increase to 1 tsp if you like really hot chicken
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder optional
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder optional
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- all-purpose flour
- ice-cold water
- Rinse and pat the chicken dry before dividing it into three pieces, keeping them 1/2 inch in thickness
- Add the seasoning to the chicken and massage really well. Let the chicken marinate for a couple hours if possible, but at least 20 minutes.
- To coat the chicken, add a cup or more of flour in a large bowl and coat the chicken really well for about 15 seconds.
- Next dunk the chicken pieces in ice water (or just really cold water) for 3 seconds and then dip back into the flour for the final coating. Really work in the flour in a rotating motion for at least 60 seconds and up to 2 minutes. You will begin to see crumbs form on the chicken.
- Fry the chicken pieces in medium high heat for only 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the piece. For 1/2 inch pieces, 4 minutes is max. Don't overcook because chicken breast will dry out.
- To assemble the Zinger burger, toast buns and smear both sides with some herb mayo (or any mayo). Lay lettuce leaves on one side and place the fried chicken piece. Top with sliced cabbage (sprinkled with lemon juice), some jalapeno/fresno peppers and more herb mayo.
- Enjoy this classic crispy Zinger burger with some French fries!
- DO NOT overcook because chicken breast has a very short cooking window.
- Plain flour is all you need for coating because there is plenty of spice in the chicken. However, you can season the flour if you want.
- If you don't see crumbs form after the final coat at all, you can dip it again in water and repeat. I have not done this because two coats are all I need.