Lately, I've been looking at a few deep fried recipes and have noticed different types of refined starches being used.

As far as cornstarch goes, I've seen a sweet potato and Idaho/Russet (normal) potato fry recipes that used cornstarch for crispiness. This bon apetit recipe uses a light coating of cornstarch as well. In this Chinese recipe, the egg plant is coated with cornstarch for crispiness as well. It would appear, that cornstarch seems to be favored for light coating.

Flour, seems to be much more widely used for heavier battering. Flour seems to be paired with baking powder in a lot of buttermilk fried chicken or fish recipes.

I also found a un-cited forum post on chow-hound which claims:

Corn starch is a bit crispier than flour, but if you want best results fro a single-layer fry coating then rice flour is the best. -RealMenJulienne

My question is what would happen if you subbed cornstarch for the flour dredging in something like buttermilk chicken? More crispiness? What about rice flour, is that the crispiest?

How do you choose the best starch/flour when choosing to deep fry foods?

*Note, if the scope is too wide, let's answer this question in the context of fried chickens dredged vs. lightly coated.

2 Answers 2


Imagine you fry it as a whole

If you want potato starch. Think, what it is like to fry a whole potato because potato starch come from potato. People cook base on recipe and lost interest in how the ingredient is made.

If you want crisp imaging what it like to deep fried rice. So, rice flour will make your food crispy.

  • Empirically I've found rice and corn starch to be great for light coatings. Specifically, I was wondering what would happen if you substituted rice/corn (or potato) flour for all purpose flour in a heavy batter recipe such as fried fish or buttermilk fried chicken. Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 15:38
  • Then the answer you after is double crumb. And double fried. Fried low heat to cook then high heat to crisp. Always corn or rice flour for crispness. Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 20:05
  • I know about the double dredging technique, I was wondering what would happen in the case of rice/corn flour substitution of all purpose flour in a wet dredged recipe. Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 20:07
  • Not as crispy as it would be. Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 20:08
  • So, if I understand you correctly: for a beer battered cod recipe it would be better to use all purpose flour over a corn/rice flour substitution. Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 20:11

Frying batters containing wheat flour may not get as crisp as batters containing Riceflower, Potato or Tapioca starch, or proprietary gluten-free self raising flour as the gluten that gives bread a nice chewy consistency can take away from the crispness of the batter

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