The typical breading for fried chicken is usually all-purpose flour but some mix in other kinds of flour to create a crunchy coating. Cornstarch is one kind that you can mix in but there are some recipes that use potato starch and even rice flour for their recipes.
These create a delicious crunch but for those who love their fried chicken with a super crispy coating that looks the part, too, breadcrumbs are an alternative coating that can deliver a similar crunch and may even look more appetizing than just plain flour.
The best kind of breadcrumbs for this crunchy layer is usually Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. These are dried breadcrumbs that have a shredded texture instead of the sandy texture that many dried breadcrumbs look like. These breadcrumbs have an uneven texture so when this is fried, these create the crispy texture that you want.
Dried breadcrumbs with the sandy texture are usually made with toasted bread which have become stale and hardened. These are then finely processed to create the tiny, sand-like pebbles of your typical breadcrumbs.
However, these aren't always available when you are craving some good homemade fried chicken and for those times when you can't go to the store, there are alternative "breadcrumbs" you can use that can still deliver the same crunch you want.
One such ingredient substitute is cornflakes. Many households with children probably have a box of plain cornflakes. Plain cornflakes, which do not have a sugary coating, are best for fried chicken. If you have never used cornflakes before in your cooking, you need to learn how to use this breakfast cereal as a versatile ingredient in your kitchen. It doesn't need to be just for fried chicken! You can use it for a dessert recipe or even as that crunchy topping of your macaroni and cheese that you wish had more texture than just mushy and creamy.
Need more ideas? Here's what you can do with cornflakes when you substitute it for your usual breadcrumbs:
1 Lightly crush cornflakes and coat fried chicken in cornflakes.
If you are making fried chicken and don't have any breadcrumbs, lightly crush some plain cornflakes and use it instead. You may need to adjust your heat for this recipe since cornflakes can burn easier than plain flour but if you're used to using breadcrumbs, you'll know that Medium heat is best for when pan-frying these fried chicken pieces.
The way to do this is to lightly crush the cereal. You can use a bag and roll a bottle or can over the cornflakes to crush it or you can place these in a mini chopper, blender, or food processor to pulverize the flakes into finer granules. You may want to leave a few large pieces for extra crunch but overall, the cornflakes should be just like breadcrumbs when it comes out. Then, just use as you would typical breadcrumbs for that crunch you are looking for in your fried chicken.
2 Use it as a substitute for cookie crumbs.
Graham cracker crumbs are not the only crumbs you can use for your no-bake dessert recipes. Since corn can be ground up into a flour, why not treat finely crushed cornflakes as an alternative to cookie crumbs? Cheesecakes do not always have a graham cracker crust so you can swap out that cookie with another kind of cookie or use cornflakes instead. Adjust the amount of sugar and the melted butter just in case the cornflake crumbs are not as absorbent of the butter as graham cracker crumbs are.
3 Use it as a crunchy topping.
Many pasta recipes usually lack a crunchy texture. That's why there are recipes that call for frying some fresh breadcrumbs in a pan with some butter and garlic until toasted before these are sprinkled on top of the pasta. Macaroni and cheese are famous for these crunchy breadcrumb toppings but you don't need to be limited by that pasta recipe! You can even top a vegetarian pasta with it just to give it something different from its mostly vegetable mix-ins.
Do you have a box of cornflakes that could use an upgrade? Try one of these recipes and discover another way to make your cooking more creative while staying delicious and satisfying with every meal you make.