Skip to Content

"Nutshell" Damn Good! naked fried chicken w/ spicy vinaigrette sauce

Sharing is caring!

A flourless but extra crispy fried chicken recipe that will make you rethink whether you need to add flour. Chicken is double-cooked and tossed in a delicious vinegar based sauce.

Prepare to embark on a culinary adventure that redefines the art of fried chicken. In a world where tradition meets innovation, flourless fried chicken takes center stage, offering a gluten-free and delightfully crispy alternative.

Each succulent bite is a testament to creativity in the kitchen, where the absence of flour becomes an opportunity to explore new textures and flavors. But this dish isn't just about the chicken; it's a dance of contrasts, as a fiery and zesty vinaigrette sauce drizzles over the crispy golden pieces. The result is a harmonious fusion of crunch and heat, a symphony of sensations that captivate the palate.

Join us as we uncover the secrets to crafting the perfect plate of flourless fried chicken, elevated to fiery perfection with a spicy vinaigrette sauce that promises to tantalize your taste buds like never before.

"Naked" fried chicken achieves that familiar super crispiness and elevates that natural chicken flavor. Make Monday a fried chicken night. Use Sunday for the prep work and then Monday is a super quick fry.

naked fried chicken with spicy vinaigrette

What Is Fried Chicken Without Flour AKA "Naked Chicken"?

Naked means it’s actually batter-free or flourless fried chicken; chicken is fried without any type of flour, breading, starch, or batter whatsoever. Skipping out on the flour makes this a really good low carb fried chicken dish.

Why wouldn't you want to use flour in a fried chicken recipe?

There are several reasons why someone might choose not to use flour to make fried chicken, and these reasons can vary depending on dietary restrictions, personal preferences, or culinary choices. Here are some common reasons:

  1. Gluten-Free Diet: For individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, using wheat flour for breading is not an option, as it contains gluten. They might opt for gluten-free alternatives like rice flour, cornstarch, or a blend of gluten-free flours for their fried chicken.
  2. Low-Carb or Keto Diet: People following low-carb or ketogenic diets aim to minimize their carbohydrate intake. Traditional flour contains carbohydrates, so they might choose almond flour, coconut flour, or crushed pork rinds as a low-carb substitute for breading.
  3. Crispier Texture: Some cooks prefer a lighter and crispier texture for their fried chicken, which can be achieved by using alternative coatings like cornmeal, panko breadcrumbs, or even crushed crackers. These coatings often result in a different texture compared to flour.
  4. Nut Allergies: Wheat flour is a common allergen, and some individuals have nut allergies. They might choose nut-free alternatives for breading, like cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
  5. Cultural Preferences: In some regional cuisines, traditional fried chicken recipes call for coatings other than flour. For example in many Asian cultures starches from potatoes, tapioca, or corn are used.

Beats and Eats (music to pair with flourless fried chicken)

Pairing Alice in Chains' hauntingly beautiful song "Nutshell" with a plate of flourless fried chicken drizzled with spicy vinegar sauce creates a sensory experience that's both soulful and fiery, much like the contrasting elements of this culinary combination.

As the melancholic chords and haunting lyrics of "Nutshell" envelop you, let the music's raw emotion set the stage for your meal. Picture yourself in an intimate setting, where the music's resonance matches the depth of flavors you're about to savor. The tender, flourless fried chicken, boasting a crispy and nutty coating, arrives on your plate. It's a testament to culinary creativity and dietary adaptability.

Now, pour the spicy vinegar sauce with its zesty tang and fiery kick over the chicken. The flavors meld seamlessly, like the lyrics and melodies in the song, creating a harmonious balance of textures and tastes. Each bite of the chicken is a revelation of succulence, while the sauce adds a vibrant and lively contrast.

This pairing is a testament to the artistry of both music and cuisine, reminding us that sometimes, the most remarkable experiences are born from the fusion of seemingly disparate elements. Whether you're exploring the depths of your emotions through music or the depths of flavors through your meal, this combination of Alice in Chains' "Nutshell" and flourless fried chicken with spicy vinegar sauce promises a journey that stirs the senses and leaves a lasting impression.

Crispy Fried Chicken without Flour Ingredients

For The Fried Chicken

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Whole Chicken cut into 4 pieces (2 breast/wing halves; 2 thigh/drumstick halves) or individual pieces chicken drumsticks, chicken breast, and wings
  • Peanut Oil

For The Spicy Vinaigrette

  • Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh ginger
  • Red bell pepper
  • Dried herbs (thyme, oregano, basil)
  • Piri piri spice seeds or crushed red pepper seeds
  • Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Rice vinegar
  • Tamari Sauce - gluten-free soy sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion powder (optional)
  • Garlic powder (optional)

How To Make Crispy Fried Chicken Without Flour

Making the best naked fried chicken requires three critical steps all of which are very simple to execute. The three steps include brining, steaming, and frying.

Brine The Chicken

Cut the chicken into smaller pieces.

Add water, sugar, and salt to a large bowl and stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Place the chicken in an extra-large ziplock bag then add the liquid brine and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, buttermilk plus fresh herbs make for a great brine and can be used. Simply blend the herbs with the buttermilk.

Steam the Chicken

The idea of steaming chicken prior to frying may be a new one to most, but its really effective in ensuring a moist bird as well as creating that extra crispy skin, especially in lieu of the fact that there is no breading which means all your crispy goodness has to come 100% from the fried chicken skin.

To steam, place a cup of water in a pot. Add the pasta/steamer insert to the interior of the pot. Add the chicken and cover the pot with the lid. Heat the pot on medium to start the steaming and reduce to low then let the chicken steam 10-15 minutes.

Remove the chicken. Allow to cool and then refrigerate at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.

Make the Sauce

Chop the ginger, garlic, and peppers finely and then mix in a medium bowl with both the dry and liquid ingredients. Set aside.

sauce in a glass bowl

Fry The Chicken

After steaming, comes the frying, but you only need to fry just long enough to crisp the skin and brown the chicken as the steaming process is all the real cooking you’ll need.

Pre-heat your oil in your fryer or frying pan to 375 degrees F. I like peanut, but vegetable oil or even canola oil works fine.

Allow chicken to come to room temperature. Add to the hot oil and cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside on a cooling rack.

Place chicken pieces (cut them smaller if preferred) into a large bowl. Add the sauce and toss the chicken until well covered.

The beauty of this steam first approach, is the chicken actually spends less time in the oil which is how you get that clean chicken flavor. You also still get that beautiful golden brown color due to the sugar in the brine. From a frying perspective, this also means the chicken spends very little time in the oil. Less time frying means getting dinner on the table quickly.

naked fried chicken with spicy vinaigrette
Fried chicken ready for chopping into pieces prior to saucing

Sauce The Chicken

fried chicken in a bowl of sauce

As a finishing touch you can dip the fried chicken in your favorite sauce or spicy vinaigrette similar to how most people approach chicken wings. This recipe calls for a spicy Asianish vinaigrette, but feel free to create your own or use a pre-made store-bought option.

Just place chicken pieces (cut them smaller if preferred) into a large bowl. Add the sauce and toss the chicken until well covered.

naked gluten-free fried chicken with spicy vinaigrette

What to serve with this Flourless Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Feel free to choose whatever sides you typically use with your normal fried chicken recipe. Otherwise try any of the options below or see this comprehensive guide to what to serve with fried chicken.

Belgian French fries

Purple potato fried

Collard greens slaw

Blistered Okra and Tomatoes

Wine Braised Greens

Southwestern Corn Saute

naked fried chicken with spicy vinaigrette

Crispy fried chicken cooking tips and considerations

It always amazes me to see so many fried chicken recipes that don’t call for brining despite the fact that we go to extreme measures to brine Thanksgiving turkeys. Brining is an essential step as it both tenderizes the meat and flavors the chicken prior to any cooking. We’re talking the difference between a good fried chicken and a great one!  So make time and brine.

Steaming works because as mad food scientist Alton Brown explains it renders some of the fat under the skin of the chicken which allows for more crispiness than normal. Steaming plus resting overnight in the fridge equals even more crisp. Refrigeration allows the skin to dry out more and the cooling tightens the skin. It’s for this reason I suggest doing all the pre-frying stuff on Sunday. This way you can take the chicken out from the fridge Monday after work and then fry it.

To keep this chicken all the way gluten-free I used Tamari sauce instead of regular soy since it's gluten-free. The full sauce is vinegar-based and marries Asian and Portuguese flavors together for a sticky finger-licking good time. It’s got fresh ginger and garlic, rice vinegar and Piri Piri spices. Other chiles dried or fresh can work if you don’t have access, but you’ll want some heat to contrast the sweetness as well as to stand up to the vinegar given the ratio of vinegar to oil in the vinaigrette.

The high acidity in the sauce is perfect for fried chicken. It’s basically playing the role of a pickled jalapeno or pickle slices commonly served at chicken joints. Or when I think of the best hot chicken I’ve had there was a strong vinegar presence either from the powdered vinegar in the seasoning or the pickled condiments.

Additional Tips

  • Keep the brine simple – water, sugar, and salt. Buttermilk is always a great option too
  • Stacking Chinese Bamboo Steamers are great for steaming food, but if not available a pot with insert and lid get the job done
  • Let the chicken cool before frying. If you have the time refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours. Then let reach room temperature before frying.
  • Chop/cut the chicken into smaller pieces after frying. This makes it easier to toss in the vinaigrette. It also makes the chicken more finger food like similar to wings/drummettes.
  • For the vinaigrette chop the ingredients the old school way using just your knife to get small, somewhat evenly chopped pieces. You don’t want big pieces of raw ingredients nor the mushy minced stuff you get from using graters and other tools. Using just a knife you will get better presentation and even, balanced flavor throughout the sauce.
  • Feel free to use your own favorite sauce. Just be sure it has enough acid for the chicken. The more vinegar the better unlike a traditional vinaigrette.
chicken wing held in the air with fingers

Naked Fried Chicken FAQs

Is flourless fried chicken gluten-free?

Most fried chicken recipes call for flour; afterall this is what provides that crispy exterior. Flour, unless it's any of the commercial gluten-free flours contains gluten. Also, the recipe is Asian-ish and calls for tamari in place of soy.

Most don’t realize that many sauces, condiments, and marinades house gluten. Tamari is essentially gluten-free soy sauce and can be found in the international or Asian section of any mainstream grocery store these days.

Can I use cornstarch to fry chicken instead of flour?

Yes, you can use cornstarch to fry chicken instead of flour, and it's a popular choice for those seeking a different texture and flavor in their fried chicken. Cornstarch creates a lighter and crisper coating compared to flour, and it's also gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten intolerance or allergies. Here's how you can use cornstarch to fry chicken:

Is this flourless fried chicken keto?

Yes, flourless fried chicken can be considered keto-friendly, depending on how it's prepared and the specific ingredients used. The ketogenic (keto) diet is characterized by a very low carbohydrate intake and a higher fat intake. Flour is high in carbohydrates, so avoiding it in fried chicken aligns with the principles of a keto diet.

When making flourless fried chicken for a keto diet, you typically use alternative coatings that are lower in carbs. Common options include almond flour, coconut flour, crushed pork rinds, or a blend of these ingredients. These alternatives provide a similar crispy texture to traditional flour coatings but contain fewer carbs.

Can I deep fry this chicken?

Yes, you can deep fry flourless chicken. I think most people think of crispy oven fried chicken when considering flourless fried chicken. However, deep frying chicken can produce a crispy and delicious result, similar to traditional flour-coated fried chicken.

This recipe doesn't rely on any alternative coatings, but leverages multiple cooking methods including deep frying to get crispy flourless results.

What can I use for frying chicken without flour?

I chose to steam and dry wings ahead of frying them to get a really super crispy fried chicken without using any flour. However Frying chicken without flour is possible, and there are several alternatives you can use to achieve a crispy and flavorful coating. Here are some options:

  1. Pork Rinds: Crushed pork rinds or pork panko can be used to coat chicken, providing a crunchy and savory crust. It's a keto-friendly choice.
  2. Cornmeal: While not flour, cornmeal can be used for a traditional Southern-style coating. It's gluten-free and adds a slightly sweet and grainy texture.
  3. Breadcrumbs: If you're not strictly avoiding gluten, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs for a crispy coating.

How to reheat your leftover fried chicken

Reheating leftover flourless fried chicken while maintaining its crispy texture can be a bit of a challenge, but it's certainly possible. Here are a couple of methods to reheat your chicken without compromising its texture and flavor:

  1. Oven Method (Recommended for Larger Quantities):
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. The wire rack allows hot air to circulate around the chicken, preventing it from becoming soggy.
    • Arrange the leftover chicken pieces on the wire rack.
    • Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes. This will help restore the crispiness.
  2. Air Fryer Method (Recommended for Smaller Quantities):
    • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
    • Place the leftover chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded.
    • Air fry for about 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the coating becomes crispy.
  3. Skillet Method (Quick Option):
    • Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
    • Add a small amount of oil or butter to the skillet.
    • Place the leftover chicken in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until heated through and the coating becomes crispy.

Simple Delicious Fried Chicken Recipes

Crispy Buttermilk Wings

Smoked Fried Chicken

Fried Whole Hen

Jerk Fried Chicken

Garam Masala Fried Chicken Thighs

Lemon Pepper Wings

Crispy Air Fryer Wings

Smoked Fried Chicken

Chicken Karaage

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Vegan Fried Chicken Sandwich

Pan Fried Chicken Thighs

Fried Chicken Wings Without Flour

Air Fryer Buffalo Wings

Super Crispy Air Fryer Wings

Air Fryer Jerk Wings

Fried Harissa Wings

For a non-fried delicious chicken recipe try this smoked Jamaican jerk chicken recipe.

Making Fried Chicken With No Flour

If you make this flourless, but crispy fried chicken recipe or any other from the site, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists. 

Lastly, go to my YouTube channel and subscribe to be notified when new weekly videos are uploaded.

naked fried chicken with spicy vinaigrette

Naked Fried Chicken With Spicy Vinaigrette

"Flourless" or naked fried chicken with a super crisp exterior and juicy center, then tossed in a spicy Asian-Portugese flavored vinaigrette.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Soul Food
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


Fried Chicken Ingredients

  • 4 cups water lukewarm
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 Whole Chicken cut into 4 pieces (2 breast/wing halves; 2 thigh/drumstick halves)
  • Peanut Oil

Spicy Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs thyme, oregano, basil
  • 1 teaspoon piri piri spice seeds crushed red peppers or fresh thai chiles work well as substitutes
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ tablespoon paprika
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup Tamari Sauce
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Spicy Vinaigrette Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl well or alternatively place in a lidded container and shake well.
  • This will keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days

Make the brine

  • Combine water, sugar, and salt in a large container with lid and stir until the sugar and salt dissolves. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate 1-4 hours.

Steam the chicken

  • Prepare your steamer ((steamer basket or pot with lid and insert)
  • Drain the chicken and put it into steamer
  • Turn the heat to medium and set the steamer lid slightly ajar. Steam for 30-40 minutes then remove from steamer and let cool on a rack. Chill the chicken on the rack in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight if you have time

Fry the chicken

  • Remove steamed chicken from the refrigerator and let it reach room temperature (about 30 minutes)
  • Prepare a fryer of skillet for frying. Heat oil to 375 degrees F and fry the chicken in batches 6-8 minutes. Chicken should be a deep golden brown color and crispy AF. Remove to a paper line plate or rack to drain.
  • Allow to cool enough to handle then cut the chicken into smaller pieces.
  • Put in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Serve



  • Have plenty of napkins on hand when eating, unless you are like me and lick your fingers. Fair warning it will be tough not to.
  • Feel free to make enough sauce to use on other recipes for the week including salads and other proteins.
  • For sous vide cooking - for thighs - cook at 165 degrees F for 1-2 hours; for breasts cook at 140 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours
  • Let the chicken cool before frying. If you have the time refrigerate overnight or at least for a few hours. Then let reach room temperature before frying.
  • Chop/cut the chicken into smaller pieces after frying. This makes it easier to toss in the vinaigrette. It also makes the chicken more finger food like similar to wings/drummettes.
  • For the vinaigrette chop the ingredients the old school way using just your knife to get small, somewhat evenly chopped pieces. You don't won't big pieces of raw ingredients nor the mushy minced stuff you get from using graters and other tools. Using just a knife you will get better presentation and even, balanced flavor throughout the sauce.


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 635mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Subscribe To My YouTube ChannelSubscribe To My YouTube Channel for full length recipe videos. Click the bell icon to be notified when I post new videos.
My YouTube Channel
Tried this Recipe? Tag it Today!Mention @foodfidelity or tag #foodfidelity!

Sharing is caring!

Recipe Rating

Sean Dougherty

Saturday 31st of July 2021

Interesting...... I pressure fry my chicken with oil in a pressure cooker like Colonel Sanders. I’ve been wanting to try naked style in the pressure fryer. I just may do this for lunch! Thank you for the great recipe.

Marwin Brown

Saturday 31st of July 2021

That sounds cool. Are you using a pressure fryer?

David M Abner

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

yessir!! yessir!!! yessir!!!!!

I've always wondered why you had to flour or batter chicken in order to fry it... this just proves you don't.. that was some d@@m goooood eatin!!!!!!

Marwin Brown

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Thank you sir! some conventions we just don't question, but probably should at times.


Monday 16th of July 2018

Tempting chicken ever!!!


Tuesday 17th of July 2018

Thanks! You gotta try it!