Chicken Skin Chips (Pan, Oven, or Air Fryer)
Dec 25, 2023
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This FOOLPROOF crispy Chicken Skin Chips (Cracklings) recipe is a great low carb or paleo snack, or crispy topping! Learn how to make this crunchy snack in the pan, oven, or air fryer!
Below I’ll go over my go to method for making crispy chicken skin, and how to achieve the light and crunchy chicken chips that are so delicious!
Watch the Chicken Skin Chips recipe video below!
Ingredients for Chicken Skin Chips
These crispy Chicken Skin Chips, or chicken cracklings are one of my favorite snacks! You can season them however you like, but here are the ingredients you’ll need to make them as delicious as possible:
- ½ lb chicken skin about 8 pieces of skin removed from thigh or breast, including any excess yellow fat from the chicken
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pro Tips for Crispy Chicken Skins!
- Keep the chicken skin flat! Lay the chicken skin fat side down, and let the chicken skin render in the pan as it gradually comes to temperature. This initial rendering of the fat will help the chicken skin hold its shape resulting in flat pieces.
- Save the chicken fat! Crisping the chicken skin up in the pan will render out a lot of chicken fat. Strain this fat and save it in an airtight container to use for potatoes or other vegetables!
- Pan Selection: Use the largest (preferably non-stick) pan you have to crispy up the chicken skin, such as a large frying pan. This will prevent any skin from tearing if it is stuck to the pan.
What other seasonings can I use?
I offer my unique blend of seasonings that I think make the chicken skin chips absolutely delicious! But the beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever seasonings you like. Mix it up and try seasonings like onion powder, sugar, parsley, or chili powder!
Or you could simply season them with kosher salt and black pepper and they would be equally delicious! Season them while they are hot so that the seasoning sticks to the chicken. I’ve seen other recipes recommend seasoning them before cooking, but I do not recommend this. The chicken skins will shrink considerably once cooked and they made be over seasoned if you season them beforehand.
Chicken Skin Chips: Recipe Instructions
1. Lay the Chicken Skin flat on a non-stick pan
Place chicken skin face down in a cold nonstick pan along with any excess chicken fat. If there is other chicken fat you’ve removed from the chicken, place it in with the skin.
2. Render out the fat over medium heat
Turn the heat to medium and cook until you hear sizzling, about 1-2 minutes. Use a spatula to keep the chicken skin as flat as possible. The lower heat here will set the chicken skin to be flat (if the heat is too high they will curl up), so let a bit of the fat render before moving to the next step.
3. Add water and fry the chicken skin
Add the water to the pan and bring to a high simmer over medium high heat. Continue cooking until the water has evaporated. The water will help render out any additional fat from the skin to crisp up all parts of the chicken skin evenly! Once the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to maintain a temperature of about 350F in the pan. I like using an infrared thermometer for this. Continue cooking until the chicken skin is golden brown and crispy!
You will know once the skin is done when they have a deep golden brown color that looks like the photo below. The chicken skin will be firm, but not hard, and the skin will further crisp up when drained on a paper towel in the next step. During the cooking process, don’t be afraid to give them a few flips if you see spots cooking faster than others.
4. Drain the chicken skin on a paper towel and season
Remove and drain on a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
5. Store the chicken skin and save the chicken fat!
Sprinkle the seasonings on the chicken skin chips while hot, which will allow the seasonings to stick to the chicken skin. Alternatively, cut chicken skin into bite size pieces and use on top of stir fries, noodles, soups for extra crunch!
BONUS TIP: Save the chicken fat!
Crisping the chicken skin up in the pan will render out a lot of chicken fat. Strain this fat and save it in an airtight container to use for potatoes or other vegetables!
Can you make Chicken Skin Chips in the Air Fryer?
Yes you can! Place the chicken skins in a flat layer in your air fryer basket and sprinkle with a touch of kosher salt. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the chicken skin and a flat ceramic plate to keep the chicken skins flat (if you are ok with them curling up, you can omit this step). Air fry at 350F for 15 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Season with your favorite seasonings!
Can you make fry Chicken Skin in the Oven?
Yes! Similar to the air fryer, place a piece of parchment paper on one baking sheet and lay the chicken skins flat on the baking sheet and season with salt. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the skin and a baking sheet on top of the chicken skin to keep them flat. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Season with your desired seasonings!
If you liked this recipe, be sure to find some of my other popular air fryer recipes below:
- Air Fryer Crispy Pork Belly (SUPER CRISPY)
- Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings (SUPER CRISPY!)
- Air Fryer Chicken Skewers
Chicken Skin Chips (Crackling)
- Place chicken skin face down in a cold nonstick pan along with any excess chicken fat.
- Turn the heat to medium and cook until you hear sizzling, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add water to the pan and bring to a high simmer. Reduce the heat back to medium and continue cooking until the water has evaporated, leaving the rendered fat to crisp up the skin, flipping as needed until a deep golden brown.
- Remove and drain on a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle on chicken skin while hot.
- Alternatively, cut chicken skin into bite size pieces and use on top of stir fries, noodles, soups for extra crunch. Strain the rendered chicken fat into a glass or airtight container to use for potatoes or vegetables!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.