The Secret To Perfect Crispy Chicken Skin Is Hiding In Your Cupboard

I don’t think I’m being arrogant when I say I’m a decent, if not amazing, cook. I make spectacular roast spuds. I have a fallback rota of go-to recipes that are good enough to keep my takeaway bill in the reasonable range.

With that said, roasted meat is my downfall.

I tried brining my turkey for the first time last year; it was succulent and tasty, but the skin was far from crispy. When I do achieve the perfect crispy skin, I usually dry out the bird in the process.

Which is why I was pleased to hear that a low-effort, skin-crisping trick was lying in my cupboard; turns out, I’d only been a sprinkle of baking powder away from poultry perfection.

Why does it work? 

Baking soda works similarly to salt, in that it helps draw moisture to the surface of the chicken. This then quickly evaporates, leading to a drier- thinner skin ― that’s much more likely to crisp up.

Baking soda and salt go great together in a dry brine because of the drying and crispifying (yep) effects they combine.

The pair provides a great way to help non-fried chicken taste fried. But you can use it for your Sunday or Christmas roast, too ― it’s perfect for chicken and turkey. 

Serious Eats puts the ideal ratio of salt to baking powder at about one teaspoon of baking powder per tablespoon of salt ― I’ve been following this guideline for a while now, to great results.

Resting is important for great results, too. Leave your dry-brined poultry in the fridge overnight if you can.

But whatever you do, don’t skip the baking powder ― it’s saved my skin (or at least my chicken’s) more times than I can count.