Crispy Corn Flour-Coated Chicken, photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Crispy Corn Flour-Coated Chicken

Cuisine: Fusion
Servings: 4 servings

I am very excited to share this recipe for crispy coated chicken with you. Instead of all-purpose flour, which is what I would typically use, I used masa harina corn flour. It’s not even that it’s naturally gluten-free, it’s just because I love the flavor so much and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate the masa harina into my recipes. I have used the masa harina in various ways to create a coating or batter, but never in its dry form straight out of the bag. Think of the possibilities, such as crispy shrimp or chicken wings using a spicy masa harina dredge. And don’t forget to use up those fresh herbs in the mix to add some fresh flavors to your recipes. And to think that for many years I thought masa harina was mostly for preparing tortillas and tamales!

A side of roasted vegetables, such as corn and squash, that are in season are a great pairing for this crispy, masa harina-crusted chicken. Serve with your favorite salsa verde recipe.


  • For the Chicken
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs or breast (a little over 1 pound)
  • tablespoons dry rub season mix (homemade or store-bought)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • For the Masa Harina Dredge
  • cups masa harina flour
  • 3 teaspoon dry rub seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano finely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce (if you do not want to use hot sauce, you can add Dijon mustard instead)

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  1. Pound out the chicken slightly. This will help it cook up more evenly. Season both sides with the dry rub seasoning and set aside.
  2. Set up the two shallow dishes and one baking sheet lined with parchment paper. In one dish combine the masa harina, 3 teaspoons of dry rub, garlic powder, pepper, salt to taste, oregano and cilantro. Stir well to combine. In the second dish, add the eggs and hot sauce and whisk until combined.
  3. Dredge chicken through masa harina mix, then dip into egg and then back into the masa harina. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and let the chicken set for 30 minutes.
  4. In a large skillet, preheat 1 cup of oil to medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Fry the chicken for 4 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Keep warm in low-temperature oven or transfer to a wire rack lined with a baking sheet. Any excess oil will drip down. Serve right away, topped with your favorite salsa recipe.

Chef Notes

  I find that I get the most flavor in my chicken by seasoning in layers. Season the chicken, masa harina and eggs individually for the best results. As I have mentioned, I like to prepare my own blend of seasonings. I start with equal parts of kosher salt and pepper, then add my favorites like smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and onion. Tip: When breading or adding a coating to you favorite recipes, always keep one hand for dry ingredients and one hand for wet ingredients. When you are working with a dry coating like this, it’s a good idea to let it set for about 30 minutes. The coating will become slightly thick like a batter and will stick better during frying. Tip for roasting vegetables: Fresh corn is the quickest to roast. Spread the kernels out evenly out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Squash would roast for about 30 minutes. Carrots and potatoes would roast for 40 to 45 minutes.

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