These deliciously crispy fried chicken gizzards are a southern classic. First simmered until wonderfully tender, then battered and fried to golden perfection. This is a great recipe for lovers of chicken gizzards and first-time experimenters alike.
What are chicken gizzards?
The gizzard is basically the stomach of the chicken. Since chickens don't have teeth, they instead use a muscular stomach to grind up food and send it on its way through the digestive system. Organ meats like gizzards are high in protein, high in vitamins, an excellent source of iron, and low in fat.
How to clean chicken gizzards
When cooking chicken gizzards it is important to clean them properly. You may want to trim off any excess connective tissue, sinew or silverskin on the gizzards since it will be chewy. Also wash gizzards to remove any debris inside. Most gizzards are sold partially cleaned already, so it doesn't require much effort. Sometimes a quick rinse under the faucet is all you need.
If you purchase whole gizzards that haven't been cleaned you will want to slice them open to clean out any debris inside the gizzard. You will also want to remove any of the thicker yellow-tinted lining that may still be attached to the exterior. Basically, if it doesn't look like something you want to eat it needs to be trimmed off or washed.
How do chicken gizzards taste?
Gizzards are a tough muscle with a very firm almost chewy texture. The flavor is reminiscent of dark chicken meat but slightly gamier. This distinctive taste can be an acquired taste for some. Grilling gizzards or deep frying them are two of the best ways to introduce people to try this part of the chicken for the first time.
What do I need for frying gizzards?
- Chicken gizzards
- Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, sage, and cayenne pepper.
- Frying oil - I recommend canola oil or peanut oil. However, any vegetable oil will work.
How to make them tender
You can fry chicken gizzards without taking the extra time to make them more tender, but simmering them in liquid for one hour will make them noticeably more tender when eating. There is no need for a rolling boil, simmering them at a low temperature in a pot or large saucepan is all that is needed.
You can simmer in water or chicken broth for added flavor. I also occasionally add bay leaves to the simmering liquid. Once you are done simmering place your tender gizzards in a refrigerator to cool.
Tip: The longer you simmer the more tender they become.
How to make fried chicken gizzards
You can use a traditional home deep fryer for my chicken gizzards recipe, however, being a classic southern dish I think using a cast iron chicken fryer is more traditional. Whatever you choose to use, the important thing is that it has deep enough walls to contain a few inches of hot oil for frying.
My fried gizzard recipes only call for a single dredging of flour and seasonings. This works, but it creates an unexcitingly thin breading on the chicken that isn't very crisp or flavorful. Instead, I like doing a proper dredge that includes a dunk in beaten eggs. This thickens up the breading significantly. This is the same style of breading you would find on traditional fried chicken.
To bread the chicken gizzards first combine flour with the seasonings. In a separate dish, mix together the egg and milk until well beaten. Begin by tossing the gizzards in milk (or soaking them in milk beforehand), then drain gizzards from the milk and add to the flour mixture. Work in batches as needed.
Once fully coated in flour place gizzards in the egg mixture. As you remove them from the eggs let the excess egg drain off prior to adding them back to the flour mixture one final time. Giving them two coats of flour is the secret to making the coating exceptionally crisp.
Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry the breaded chicken gizzards until the breading is golden brown. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
What dipping sauce goes with fried chicken gizzards?
The best dipping sauce for fried chicken gizzards is whichever one your favorite is! However, if you aren't sure where to start, give one of these suggestions a try:
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Fried Chicken Gizzards
- 1 ½ pounds chicken gizzards
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk plus two tablespoons for mixing with egg
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- oil for frying
- Clean the chicken gizzards as needed.
- Heat a large pot of water on the stovetop to a simmer and add the gizzards. Simmer for one hour to tenderize them, using enough water to cover the chicken.
- Remove chicken from the water and cool in the refrigerator while soaking in one cup of milk.*
- Once cooled, set up your dredging station by mixing the flour and seasonings in a large dish, and beat one egg with two tablespoons of milk in a separate dish.
- Drain the gizzards from the milk and lightly dredge in the flour mixture. Work in batches until all of the gizzards have been coated.
- Place each of the floured gizzards in the beaten eggs and let any excess egg drain off prior to placing directly into the flour mixture for one more coating.
- Fry chicken gizzards in batches in 350 degree oil until golden brown. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack or paper towels, then serve with your favorite hot sauce or preferred dipping sauce.