When it comes to family restaurant chains in our area (and there seems to be many more than we need, in my opinion), Chili’s seems to reign as the one that we frequent. Sean has always liked the food at Chili’s since he was little and is well-known throughout our family for his affinity for their cheese fries. Almost as much as he likes those, he and Michelle also both prefer the classic chicken crispers that you can find on their menu. I decided recently that I was going to try and find a copycat recipe for this particular recipe and see if I could make them at home and if they would even be close to what you get at the restaurant. I found the recipe on Chili’s at Home, a blog that features their recipes, and it seemed pretty easy to do so I gave it my best shot.
Copycat Chili’s Chicken Crispers
For the Batter:
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
For the Chicken:
Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening for deep frying
10 chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For the batter, combine the beaten egg, the milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk the ingredients until they are well combined. Add the 3/4 cup of the self-rising flour and the cornstarch, whisking into the mixture until the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
To cook the chicken, Heat the vegetable oil or shortening in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven until the oil registers 350 degrees on a deep fry or candy thermometer inserted into the oil. Place the all-purpose flour in a medium shallow bowl. Coat the chicken pieces with the dry flour and then dip the chicken into the batter, making sure to coat it completely. Allow the excess batter to drip off and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. When the oil has reached the proper temperature, place 3 pieces of the battered chicken into the hot oil and fry the chicken for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is well browned. Drain the fried chicken pieces on a paper towel-lined plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Just a couple of things about this recipe. First, if you can’t find self-rising flour near you, you can easily make your own. Take 1 cup of all-purpose flour and whisk in 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and you will have your own self-rising flour. Second, you don’t have to use chicken tenderloins for this; I only had some boneless chicken breast on hand, so I cut them into small strips and used those, so we actually ended up with more than 10 pieces. I have to say that I think this recipe is pretty much spot on. The coating seemed exactly like what you get at the restaurant. I read elsewhere that Chili’s actually uses an MSG as an ingredient, so the chicken broth is a solid substitute to give you the flavor enhancement without the MSG. The coating is light and crunchy and the chicken is cooked through perfectly. I served this with tater tots and the obligatory corn on the cob. You could easily make your own favorite dipping sauce or use whatever you like to dip them in. I actually made Chili’s avocado-ranch dip to use, which is one of our favorites as well, but you could just use ketchup, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, hot sauce or whatever you like best.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!