You may associate fried chicken most with the American south, but cultures all over the world fry up their own versions of the bird. The seasonings and accompaniments may be different, but a crispy, golden-brown crust hiding tender meat is practically universal. When you’re getting bored of your standard fried chicken recipe, give one of these popular and unique versions a try.

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The most popular fried chicken in Japan is karaage. It’s made with bite-sized pieces of skin-on chicken thighs, so it’s always juicy and packed with flavor from the crispy skin. Because it’s made with just a light coating of cornstarch and flour, it’s often made at home as well as in restaurants. It’s great dipped in a light ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

Recipe: Just One Cookbook

Related: 20 Chef Secrets for Crisp, Juicy Fried Chicken

While traditional German schnitzel is coated with breadcrumbs, this updated recipe uses panko, which fries up much more crispy and flaky. Don’t skip the step of pounding the chicken, because it’ll cook faster and have a greater amount of crunch. A simple sauce of browned butter, capers, lemon, and parsley adds a tart, fresh tang.

Recipe: Food & Wine
Contrary to popular belief, Nashville hot chicken is not the same as buffalo-style chicken. Instead of coating the heavily-seasoned fried chicken with sauce that will make it soggy, the fiery red coating on Nashville chicken is made from the oil the chicken is fried in. That gives the chicken more flavor, a beautiful gloss, and keeps the chicken crunchy.

Recipe: Grandbaby Cakes

Related: Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America

Boneless fried chicken breasts are called milanesa in Mexico, and you’ll often find them in sandwiches called tortas. This one includes chicken that’s breaded with crushed butter crackers and some dried hot chile flakes. The rolls get a thick layer of mayonnaise mixed with Mexican cheeses before being baked so it’s melty and bubbling, plus a generous amount of guacamole.

Recipe: Pati Jinich

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Classic southern fried chicken always includes a long buttermilk soak which tenderizes the meat and adds flavor. The flour dredge is simple but effective with black pepper, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne. For best results — and to feel connected to your grandma — fry the chicken in a deep, cast iron skillet.

Recipe: Food & Wine
Korean fried chicken is famous for its shatteringly crisp and crackly exterior, making it light and filling at the same time. You can get restaurant-quality results at home using this recipe, which includes drying the wings out with baking powder, cornstarch, and salt before dipping them in a batter that includes vodka.

Recipe: Serious Eats
The name may sound a little silly if you’re not used to it, but “chicken fried” can refer to the procedure of breading and frying something, and in the case of chicken fried chicken, that’s a boneless chicken breast. Like chicken fried steak, it almost always comes with cream gravy and mashed potatoes for a rib-sticking meal. 

Recipe: Tornadough Alli

Though it wasn’t created in the Ukrainian city it’s named after, chicken Kiev has gained popularity there and you can find it at a lot of restaurants. It’s a deceptively simple recipe with garlic and herb butter stuffed inside chicken breast, but frying the chicken without the butter seeping out can be difficult. Use a small sharp knife to cut a little pocket in the chicken, then secure it closed with a toothpick.

Recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen

Related: Ukrainian Dishes Americans Will Love
Malaysia’s version of fried chicken, ayam goreng is full of ingredients you won’t normally see in fried chicken in the U.S. The bone-in chicken pieces are marinated in a curry paste full of ginger, shallots, lemongrass, turmeric, coriander, and coconut milk before being coated in cornstarch and fried crisp. A drizzle of garlic chili oil plus fresh cilantro adds another layer of flavor.

Recipe: Recipe Tin Eats

Whether you only eat Buffalo wings during the Super Bowl or it’s a staple in your house, making them at home is a lot more economical than always getting takeout. There’s much debate over whether you should coat the wings with anything before frying, but this recipe’s light coating of spices and flour is a good compromise. Frank’s Red Hot and butter is the classic sauce, but you can doctor it up with anything you like.

Recipe: All Recipes

In the southwestern part of China is a city called Chongqing where they make a delicious dish of bite-sized fried chicken pieces stir fried with an amazing amount of dried chile peppers. There’s also a large amount of Sichuan peppercorns in the dish which impart the mala — that unmistakable mouth-numbing sensation.

Recipe: China Sichuan Food
If you’re a fan of fast-food fried chicken sandwiches — especially Chick-Fil-A — then you need to try this recipe. It’s only got five ingredients, so it’s pretty uncomplicated, but the results are amazing. Marinating the chicken in pickle brine straight from the jar is the key step to imparting flavor and moisture. Mixing a little buttermilk into the dry breading creates bigger, crunchier bits of coating on the chicken, just like at good fast food places.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: The Best (and Worst) Fast-Food Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
It’s hard to beat the sweet and savory combo of fried chicken and waffles, popular all over the U.S. now. Southern-style, buttermilk-soaked thighs are fried and laid on top of a savory waffle made with cheddar, green onions, and hot sauce. The sweet hot maple glaze is what brings everything together, with honey, chili powder, cayenne, and apple cider vinegar.

Recipe: Food Network

Related: The Best Fried Chicken and Waffles Across America
You may be familiar with tonkatsu, which is a Japanese fried pork cutlet, but it’s a popular way to prepare chicken as well. Unlike karaage, katsu is usually made with boneless chicken breast, and it’s coated in panko. That gives it an ultra-crisp exterior that you won’t be able to get enough of. Serve it with finely shredded cabbage, rice, and the barbecue-like tonkatsu sauce on top.

Recipe: Just One Cookbook
Many countries in southeast Asia make stuffed chicken wings, including Vietnam. Chicken wings with the tip still on are deboned and then carefully stuffed with something similar to an egg roll filling with ground pork and shrimp, mushrooms, noodles, fish sauce, and seasonings. The whole thing is fried so the skin is crispy, then covered in an onion and chile sauce.

Recipe: Wok and Kin
Parsi cuisine is a blend of Persian and Indian, and chicken farcha is a popular dish served as an appetizer or at festivals. It’s very similar to southern fried chicken, but with the added flavors of chiles, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon. It’s also coated in breadcrumbs, something that differs from the norm in the U.S. 

Recipe: Archana’s Kitchen
Italian chicken breast cutlets that have been coated in breadcrumbs and fried are called milanese. Like its cousin schnitzel, pounding the chicken thin is an important step. This recipe includes a simple arugula salad with shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar on top as a fresh and sharp accompaniment to cut through the fried chicken. 

Recipe: Food Network
If you’ve ever enjoyed popcorn chicken, you may have Taiwan to thank for it. The fried chicken sold at street stalls is almost the same, and it’s just the right size and shape for popping in your mouth too. This version is marinated with garlic, shaoxing wine, and soy sauce, then deep fried in batter for a thick coating. Fried basil leaves are a fragrant way to finish the dish.

Recipe: Woks of Life

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