Is Fried Chicken Paleo? (Solved!)

Before you chose to live the paleo diet life, you already knew you’d have to give up certain delicacies. But you just cannot let go of fried chicken, and this longing has left you wondering if fried chicken is paleo. Well, read on to find out.

Is friend chicken paleo?

The usual fried chicken is not paleo because it is made with non-paleo ingredients. In many cases, when people make fried chicken, they bread the chicken with all-purpose flour, coat it with buttermilk, and fry it in peanut oil.

Unfortunately, all three of these ingredients are not paleo. So, traditional fried chicken is not paleo.

But you don’t have to toss fried chicken out of your diet when you go paleo. With a few tweaks to a regular fried chicken recipe, you can make your fried chicken paleo. In the article below, we discuss various things you should know about fried chicken and a paleo diet.

fried chicken legs on a bowl with lemon grass

Why is Fried Chicken Not Paleo?

Fried chicken is not paleo, but you can make it paleo.

Traditionally, people prepare fried chicken with ingredients that are not paleo-friendly. So, it is very likely that the every day fried chicken before you is not paleo.

The usual ingredients used in making fried chicken include peanut oil for frying and buttermilk, cornstarch, and all-purpose flour as the batter.

Peanut oil is the preferred type of oil for frying chicken because it has a high smoke point. In other words, it can get to very high temperatures without burning, so it is perfect for deep frying. Unfortunately, peanut oil is leguminous, so it is not paleo.

Buttermilk is a dairy product. So, for sure, it is not paleo. Then, cornstarch and all-purpose flour are refined carbs. So, they are also not paleo.

The bottom line is that the ingredients used in making regular fried chicken make it non-paleo. But if you replace these ingredients with paleo-friendly ingredients, fried chicken can be paleo.

marinated fried chicken with oil garlic thyme on table

How to Make Paleo Fried Chicken

As said already, you can make paleo fried chicken by replacing the non-paleo ingredients from a typical fried chicken recipe. The following are some ideas that can help:

Fat for Frying

In place of peanut oil, you can use any of the following fats to fry your paleo fried chicken:

  • Ghee
  • Avocado oil


ghee in a jar and cloth on the table

Now, you may be wondering why we recommended ghee, a dairy product, in place of peanut oil. Well, since ghee comes from clarified butter, it contains negligible lactose. So, it won’t do much harm to your paleo diet.

Besides, when you clarify butter, its smoke point rises. This makes ghee a perfect replacement for peanut oil.

Avocado Oil

avocado oil in jar and fresh slice avocado

Avocado is paleo. So, for sure, avocado oil is paleo and can replace peanut oil in your fried chicken recipe. But apart from that, avocado oil has a high smoke point—up to 271℃. So, it can fry chicken without burning easily.


raw organic almond flour on wooden bowl

Instead of using all-purpose flour and cornstarch, which are refined carbs, for coating your chicken, you can work with the following paleo-friendly options:

  • Almond flour
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Cassava flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Tigernut flour
  • Green banana flour
  • Coffee flour
  • Sweet potato flour
  • Chestnut flour
  • Sunflower seed flour


beaten eggs and whole egg on tray wooden table

In place of buttermilk, you can prepare your fried chicken batter with eggs or coconut milk. Both alternatives are paleo, so they will not affect your paleo diet.

Is Fried Chicken Healthy?

Regular fried chicken is not very healthy. Besides using non-paleo ingredients, it is pretty high in fat, carbs, and overall calories. Fried chicken may also contain high sodium, which is not healthy.

Regular fried chicken recipes contain refined carbs such as all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Ordinarily, refined carbs are unhealthy because they are mainly sugar and processed grains. But beyond that, if you use ample amounts of these carbs in frying chicken, your overall carb intake might be excessive.

fried chicken legs with fried potatoes with sauces on side

Ordinarily, peanut oil contains trans fat, which is not really the best type of fat out there. But when you deep-fry chicken in peanut oil, you raise the overall level of trans fat in the preparation. More trans fat equals increased risk.

The combination of higher carbs and more trans fat raises the overall calories in traditional fried chicken. Of course, you most likely already know that more calories are usually not okay.

Healthier Ways to Make Fried Chicken

We already hinted that deep-frying is not the best way to make fried chicken. Deep frying raises the overall fat content of your preparation, so you are better off without it.

The following are two healthier, non-deep-frying ways to make fried chicken:

Air Frying

air fryer homemade crispy chicken drumstick

You do not need oil to air fry your chicken. Air fryers work by constantly circulating heated air around your chicken.

The heated air dries the chicken, giving it a crispy texture. So, you get something like deep-fried chicken but without the excess oil or fat.


old man pull roast chickens out of the oven for home party preparation

Another healthy way to make fried chicken without deep frying is baking. Baking fried chicken is similar to deep-frying. You need breading and a liquid for coating the chicken. However, you do not need oil.

The oven is already pre-heated to a high temperature. This high temperature helps you achieve a crispy texture similar to deep-fried chicken.

Final Thoughts

The typical fried chicken recipes contain peanut oil, buttermilk, all-purpose flour, and cornstarch. Unfortunately, none of these ingredients are paleo, so the usual fried chicken is not paleo. However, if you want, you can switch non-paleo ingredients for paleo ingredients to make your fried chicken paleo.


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