Chicken Cracklings

These ultra crispy chicken cracklings are really easy to make and made slightly healthier because they are baked rather than fried.
close-up of chicken cracklings in a serving dish
Mr. K loves chicken cracklings. He gets really excited if he ever sees it on a menu. So this past weekend, I decided to try making my own.
close-up of seasoned chicken crackling

close-up of baked chicken crackling

I was surprised at how easy they were to make. It took only about 30 minutes and they are baked rather than fried, which let me feel slightly less guilty. I can’t decide which side looks better– the side with all the seasoning or the plain golden backside.

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chicken cracklings in a paper cone on a cutting board
It might have taken only about 30 minutes to make, but Mr. K finished them off his share in about ten. And then promptly asked me to make them again.

But I told him no more for a while. These are absolutely delicious, but definitely not something one should be eating often.
close-up of chicken cracklings on a cutting board

To make the chicken cracklings, first you’ll need some chicken thighs. Keep in mind that the skin shrinks quite a bit when it’s finished cooking. I used a bag of frozen thighs. You remove the skins, pat them extremely dry with paper towels and then lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You want to  make sure you use parchment paper underneath so the skins don’t stick.
raw chicken skin place on a parchment lined baking sheet
Then you put a sheet of parchment paper on top, covering the skins. Then take another baking pan and lay it on top, so it adds weight on top and keeps the skins from curling during cooking. It also prevents splattering of oil so you have very little clean-up when you’re done. You oven roast the skins for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and roast another 10-15 minutes until they are completely crisp.

Writing this post is making me quite hungry…
baked chicken cracklings in a glass

Chicken Cracklings

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
These ultra crispy chicken cracklings are really easy to make and made slightly healthier because they are baked rather than fried.

Ingredients:

  • Skins of 8 chicken thighs
  • chicken rub seasoning of your choice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Dry chicken skins with paper towels. Lay skins down on parchment paper and sprinkle seasoning on surface of each skin.

  2. Take another sheet of parchment paper and lay on top of skins, completely covering them. Take another baking sheet of the same size and place on top to weigh down the skins. This keeps the skins flat during cooking and also prevents oil splattering in your oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

  3. Briefly remove top baking sheet and parchment paper so you can flip the skins over. Then put parchment paper back on followed by top baking sheet and bake another 10 minutes. Check on skins. Skins are done when they are golden and completely crispy. If not done, bake another 5-10 minutes. Mine took about 30 minutes total.

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

24 comments on “Chicken Cracklings”

  1. OMG – now we’re talking, and everything in moderation, right? These look superb – perfect snack and beer food. I love the look of them and will definitely give them a try very soon. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Wow these look awesome. I love the presentation in your photo, wrapped in paper & on such a pretty cutting board! =)

  3. Wow, I am so intrigued by this recipe! I love the skin on fried chicken, but I don’t think I’ve ever had chicken cracklings…YUM.

    • Oooh, they are really delicious! The skins are stretched out, a lot of the fact is rendered off, and it’s just super crunchy skin.

  4. Neat idea but I agree that it’s a sometimes food. I saw a whole package of chicken fat – skins included – at a grocery store. It was bargain basement price. Next time I see it, I’ll consider making these.

    • Interesting, I’ve never seen that before at the grocery store. that is a lot better than taking off all the skins from chicken thighs. Now I have a whole bag of skinless chicken thighs that I don’t know what I’m going to do with.

  5. “slightly healthier”!!!! love it! i like how you made the skins flattened out, making the pieces look bigger instead of all curled up.

    as for the chicken thighs, you can marinate it with Jufran (or Mafran banana ketchup), soy sauce, pineapple juice and then bake it…

    • The flattening out also makes it cook faster and prevents splattering all over your oven so much less messy. Thanks for the tip on the chicken thighs!

  6. A couple of questions: Since I’ve never had these I don’t know what seasonings (other than salt) would be good. Any suggestions for a newbie? Also, is there any reason you specified thighs? I really only like breasts. Isn’t the skin the same all over?

    • Honestly, it’s really up to you. You can do a simple salt and pepper, or a seasoned salt mix like Lawry’s or Morton’s, or a chicken seasoning rub. My advice is taste the seasoning and if you like it, put it on as that is what your chicken skins will be flavored with. And yes you can use breast skin too. I said thigh meat because you need quite a few and thigh meat tends to be cheaper.

  7. Oh, cool idea using another sheet to prevent them from curling! My mom makes these every once in a while but in the “non-healthy” way, haha.

    • I like how much easier this is too and you don’t have to worry about oil popping and spraying and possibly hitting you.

  8. Chicken crackling?? surely the preserve of pork..? But apparently not.. got to say i’ve never heard of it before.. but i sure going to try it. The pictures make it look mouthwatering !

  9. I usually make these when I make chicken jerky or something like that (a good use for the thigh meat, BTW, and fairly similar texturally). I do a whole tray of thighs (10-12) all at once, and take the skins and trimmed fat and toss them in a small pot. I let the lard render while I cut up the thighs, then once they’re in the oven I start draining the fat (golden, lovely, and chickeny) for use on toast and such. By about 30-45 minutes, the fat is all gone, leaving me with about a solo cup of nearly dry, completely crisp crakins…

    This idea is interesting, so! Where does the fat go – does it just slide around the pan?

  10. Hello, I went to a local butcher and got  3 lbs of chicken skin  and I tried to make your chicken cracklings and they turned out chewy and they never crisped up. What could I be doing wrong?  

    PS I’m just a dude who doesn’t know how to cook.

  11. Hi, thanks for taking the time to post this.
    Here are some comments.
    I have a fan oven. Put it on 200C (about 390F) and after 10 minutes it started to smell delicious. 
    I took it out after 13 minutes to turn them over. Baked them for 7 minutes on the other side and took them out, but they already taste slightly burnt. They also look darker than yours.
    Such a shame, but the underlying taste is pretty good.
    So, if you have a fan over, cook for 10m max on each side and possibly turn down the heat to 180C. Needs a bit of tweaking.

  12. worked beautifully at 425F for 15 minutes on one side, and left in the oven for 5 minutes (with the oven off) on the other side. the double cookie sheet is clutch. Thanks, Kirbie!

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