My Air Fryer Bariatric Recipe is a remake of a favorite comfort food! Fried chicken was one of my much loved dishes pre-op and I daresay one of the most popular drive-thru and fast food items ordered before weight loss surgery by patients. But many of us quickly abandoned the dish post-op due to the high fat and carbs it brought along with its good protein.
Its the coating and cooking method that is the problem with fried chicken, excluding it from the post-op bariatric diet. But now with my low fat and low carb Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe, you can enjoy this favored comfort food once again!
Air Fryer Bariatric Recipe
This family favorite has been given a big bariatric recipe remake! It was a challenge to develop a coating and method of cooking that produced a satisfying fried chicken — with a crisp outer crumb and juicy flesh on the inside. But my latest air fryer bariatric recipe beats anything that I have tried before!
My quest when developing a low carb fried chicken recipe was to find a crumb coating that did not have a high-carb wheat flour base or an allergen nut flour base — in other words, it had to be both grain-free and nut-free. The crumb coating also had to stand-up to the air fryer cooking method for success – but fear not my air fryer bariatric recipe can be prepared in the regular oven, too, with some provisos.
Crumb Coating, Bariatric-Friendly Star Ingredient
The winning coating I developed uses coconut flour along with crushed pork rinds as the star ingredient! My secret lies in crushing the pork rinds to the degree of fineness that I like and adding seasonings. Then I ‘bread’ in much the same way with an egg wash as when making traditional fried chicken.
I tend to lineup the ingredients in bowls assembly-line fashion to make the process easiest and to avoid too much clumpy coating. I first dredge the chicken in the coconut flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and next press into the seasoned pork rind crumbs. This makes the coating adhere well to the chicken. Now it is ready for cooking in the air fryer (or conventional oven). Simple as that!
What Kind of Chicken?
Use pretty much whatever cut of chicken you fancy! My recipe quantity will coat about 6 drumsticks or 3 drumsticks and 3 thighs or about 6-8 chicken tenders, depending upon size. I prefer to use skinless and boneless chicken tenders, but as with all things this is a personal choice.
Note that the nutritional stats below are based on skinless and boneless tenders and thusly will differ for drumsticks and thighs. Serving size is, of course, entirely up to you, your stage of bariatric diet, appetite and tolerance, and so on. What I can tell you is my air fryer chicken tenders are firm protein and so, along with some accompaniments, make a very filling main meal with a good level of protein.
Air Fryer Cooking Info
I have a couple of air fryers and the recipe has worked well in both, but there will be small variations. Most of this concerns the size of your cooking basket – if your air fryer basket is small then you may have to cook the chicken in batches. This is owing to the necessity to arrange the chicken in a single layer without the pieces touching. And if the basket isn’t non-stick then you may need to lightly grease it before adding the chicken.
Most air fryer models require preheating and I recommend 200 C/400 F for about 5 minutes (but do follow your own manufacturer’s instructions).
Air Fryer Cooking Times
Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 75 C/165 C or the flesh is no longer pink when pierced with the tip of a knife and there are no pink juices.
Air fryer cooking times will vary depending upon whether you are cooking drumsticks, thighs, breasts, or boneless tenders. This will vary between 15-30 minutes, depending upon the chicken portion, its size, whether boned or boneless, and the model of the air fryer used.
The denser cuts, like drumsticks, take longer than the thinner tenders, for example. So if you’re cooking a mixed batch of chicken pieces then simply remove the quicker cooking pieces soonest and keep warm while air frying the remainder.
Crumb Coating Flavor Variations
You can play around with flavor variations to the crumb coating but be sure to stick with coconut flour for the best crispy results. I recommend using flavored pork rinds instead of plain, different spices, a few dried herbs and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to enhance flavor. I like to add some grated lemon zest occasionally too.
Cooking in Conventional Ovens
You may adapt my air fryer bariatric recipe for fried chicken for cooking in a conventional oven, but the finished chicken won’t be as crispy as in the air fryer. For drumsticks cook in a conventional oven at 200 C/400 F for about 20-30 minutes (depending upon size) and for breasts and tenders cook in a hotter oven at 230 C/450 F for 16-20 minutes, again depending upon size. Cook on a non-stick tray for best results.
You will doubtless have your favorite side dishes for fried chicken. But I think it’s hard to beat a good coleslaw — and you can get my favorite apple based autumn coleslaw here. Close second choices for me are dips, sauces and salsas like guacamole, tomato salsa, and a creamy chive and soured cream type dip.
If you want something more substantial then a cauliflower mash is good, courgette/zucchini type fries (dusted with Parmesan perhaps), or a complimentary colorful and many-textured salad would be ideal.
Air Fryer Low Carb Fried Chicken Recipe
25 g/¼ cup coconut flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
55 g/1 cup crushed pork rinds/pork scratchings
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder (optional)
About 6 chicken drumsticks, thighs, breasts or 500 g/1 lb chicken tenders (I used tenders for my recipe so images and stats reflect this)
1. To make the coating mix the coconut flour with the salt and pepper in a medium shallow bowl, mixing well.
2. Beat the eggs in a second shallow bowl.
3. Mix the crushed pork rinds/pork scratchings in a third bowl with the paprika and garlic powder if used.
4. To coat the chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, dip into the egg, shake off any excess, then press lightly into the pork rind mixture to coat on all sides. Set aside until you are ready to cook.
5. To cook, preheat the air fryer to 200 C/400 F for 5 minutes. Arrange the coated chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook for about 15-30 minutes until thoroughly cooked and crispy. See details above about cooking times according to size and how to cook in the conventional oven. Cook in batches if necessary and keep those cooked first warm in a low oven or under tented foil.
6. Serve immediately with your chosen accompaniments, or allow to cool, then serve as part of a lunch box meal if liked.
WLS PORTION: ½
CALORIES PER PORTION: (using chicken tenders) 306
PROTEIN: 49.3 g, CARBOHYDRATE: 1.5 g, FAT: 10.7 g
Return to Slender by Eating Right with Every Bite,
© Recipe and images copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd