Fried Chicken isn’t overly challenging to pair with, provided you match it with an acidic wine, such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, or Chianti. Heavier reds will crush the delicate chicken flavours, so it’s best to stay away from those. For heavenly pairings, however, a sparkling wine of any sort is our number one choice. Fried Chicken tends to be greasy and salty, and the bubbles in a sparkling wine clear the palate making each bite taste just as delicious as the last.
Best Wines with Fried Chicken
- Pinot Gris
Champagne and Fried Chicken
Quite a few people think Champagne means any wine that is bubbly, however, this is not true. Real Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, and it is crisp, acidic and refreshing. It’s the perfect foil against a fatty piece of fried chicken as it cuts through the oil and the salt. For Champagne, we’d recommend a Brut style, as Dry variants are sweeter than you’d expect.
Champagne is also expensive, and may not be worth the expense or trouble for typical food like a bucket of Chicken. Thus, any sparkling wine with its bubbles would work, such as Crémant, Cava (which is a little zesty), Prosecco (which is a little sweet) or a Sparkling Rosé (which is perfect for spicy fried Chicken) While these pairings aren’t as perfect or complementary, they are well suited to refreshing your palate with every bite.
Sancerre and Fried Chicken
Sancerre is acidic, so once again it sheers through the fat and salt content of Fried Chicken. What we love about Sancerre is that it is also herbal, with lots of grassy or green notes of basil or tarragon on the nose. With this in mind, it will complement KFC, with its eleven herbs and spices, or it will add its own herbal flavours to the party.
Sancerre is a French Sauvignon Blanc, and as such, Sauvignon Blanc will pair up nice with Fried Chicken. It’s the herbal, plus smokey and chalky flavours of Sancerre that make it a better pairing than a New World Sauvignon Blanc.
Lambrusco and Marinated Fried Chicken
Modern Lambrusco is slightly spritzy and dry to slightly sweet. Consider it a red sparkling wine with ith cherry and blackberry notes that are perfect for Fried Chicken marinated in soy sauce and ginger.
As this is a red grape-based wine, it does feature tannin, which loves the fat and protein of fried Chicken. Meanwhile, it’s also acidic, meaning that it cuts right through the deep-fried goodness, keeping your mouth refreshed, along with its palate-cleansing bubbles.
Riesling Paired with Fried Chicken
Riesling is a crisp and acidic wine featuring notes of citrus and orchard. Anything deep fried loves a lemony acidic component, as it draws out those delicate flavours you may have never noticed before. (think of how you might squeeze a bit of lemon on deep fried and battered fish, or deep fried shrimp).
Riesling does come in a lot of styles, and we feel a slightly spritzy and slightly sweet Riesling is our favourite with fried Chicken.
Pinot Gris and Fried Chicken
Pinot Gris is essentially Pinot Grigio, but the style is typically a little more fruitier. We’re suggesting Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio) as it’s quite accessible, not overly expensive, and does a great job of cutting through the fat and salt of Fried Chicken. The fruitiness helps elevate this pairing, adding a little more complexity to each bite.
American Brown Ale and Breaded Fried Chicken
For beer pairings, we’d recommend an American Brown Ale, which has a combination of bright hop and dark roast flavours, rounded out by full bodied malt characters. The malt aspect complements the breading of the fried chicken, while the bright hoppy flavours and carbonation cut through the grease and salt.
If you are dipping your Fried Chicken into some BBQ sauce, this beer is muscular enough to work with any style of sauce.
Most beers, due to their carbonation, will go just fine with Fried Chicken. However, other beers that elevate the pairing are Altbier, Black IPA and American Amber Ale.