So, how can you achieve the first fact, without falling victim to the second? That's exactly why we're here. If you follow these steps every time you prepare skin-on chicken, we can almost guarantee the end result will be crispy and delicious.
Step one: Pat dry your chicken
Moisture is the enemy of crispiness. When you first open up your package of chicken, pat dry on all sides with a paper towel. Just be mindful of cross contamination and make sure to dispose of the paper towels and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
Step two: Straighten out the skin
While packaged, the skin on your chicken may have gotten folded up or wrinkled. Taking a quick moment to straighten it out and stretch it back over your chicken will allow for more even cooking — and consistent crispiness.
Step three: Allow your pan to fully heat up
While crispy skin can be achieved in the oven, pan frying on the stove top is the most effective method. Heat up your cast iron or other skillet, then pour in a generous portion of your chosen cooking oil and let that heat up, too — almost to the point of smoking. Season your chicken on all sides with salt, along with any other preferred seasonings.
Step four: Don't touch it
Place your chicken in the pan, skin-side down. There should be a good sizzle if the pan was hot enough. And now, your work is done for the next few minutes. Let the skin cook fully before you attempt to flip the chicken — at least three minutes and potentially up to five, depending on thickness.
Now, you're just about done. Cook the other side of the chicken until the center temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees F, then get ready to enjoy the crispest, most delicious skin-on chicken you've ever had.
And don't let the haters bring you down. Chicken skin may get a bad rap for being "unhealthy," but the fat content it adds to your chicken is mostly unsaturated, healthy fats. Not only can this help balance out the macros of your meal (if you're into that), but it also makes the chicken more satisfying — meaning you'll be less likely to reach for high calorie dipping sauces or using a breading.
So, go forth and cook crispy chicken skin. Just make sure you get high quality chicken to start with.