The Mysterious Ingredient Responsible For The Crispiest Fried Foods

How do you get something crispy? And by crispy, we're talking the kind of crisp that makes an audible crunch the second you sink your teeth in it like the perfect fried chicken or pizza crusts.

There are a lot of answers to this question, considering how many ways there are to go about it. You may consider dunking your food into a pot of boiling oil the best way to give it a crunchy golden exterior. You can even argue that using an air fryer is the far superior method of getting a perfect crisp. These are very good methods, but there's one key component that makes or breaks the recipe — the batter. 

Of course, there are different ways to produce a delicious batter that will provide that shatteringly crisp exterior all fried foods have. Food Network suggests using a batter used by Michael Symon, one that uses everything from cornstarch to vodka, while Food. recommends a no-frills all-purpose version that includes flour, baking powder, and beer. A good batter should be flavorful, stick to the food, and must crisp up without becoming a soggy, clumpy mess.

But while some batters might promise to give you crispy fried food, one secret ingredient supposedly guarantees a perfect extra-crispy coating. 

What exactly is EverCrisp?

Evercrisp? Isn't that a type of apple? While Evercrisp is indeed a tasty variety of apples, the EverCrisp we're talking about promises to ensure a much crispier crust on your fried foods. But how exactly does it work? What's in it that makes it so special?

According to Kitchen Alchemy from Modernist Pantry, normal batters and breading can absorb moisture thanks to a certain protein. This protein allows moisture to remain in the food, leading to a soggy exterior. As Modernist Pantry's development chef Scott Garren explains, substituting 20% of regular flour for EverCrisp in a recipe will help remove that protein, which will in turn prevent moisture from being absorbed into the food. Less moisture equates to a crispier exterior. While EverCrisp can be used in standard fried chicken or tempura recipes, Garren also tells us that EverCrisp can be used to make crispier waffles — a perfect help for those dealing with gooey, undercooked waffles during breakfast.

EverCrisp is made using wheat dextrin. Wheat dextrin, according to, is a by-product of wheat starch when the starch is chemically processed. While wheat dextrin is used in a variety of industrial and household uses, it's said to "reduce cholesterol, boost immune function, improve mineral absorption, and reduce excess body fat." It's this compound of EverCrisp that gives it its unique crisping powers, as a 2003 study in Food Hydrocolloids revealed that a wheat dextrin-based batter keeps food crispier for longer than an "egg-based" batter. 

Does EverCrisp actually work?

While EverCrisp's PR team can tell us the benefits of using it, we must first see if EverCrisp actually keeps its promises to give a fair assessment.

Epicurious' Matthew Zura reviewed EverCrisp to see if it was what it claimed to be. Zura tested two batches of beer-battered onion rings, using a conventional recipe for one batch and using EverCrisp in another batch. According to Zura's test, the onion rings made with EverCrisp did indeed turn out to be significantly crispier than their standard counterparts, although he noted that he was unable to note the promised "four extra hours" of crispiness due to consuming them all in a matter of minutes. 

One chef can attest to EverCrisp's unique properties. Eric Huang, chef and operator of Pecking House, is said to use EverCrisp in his recipe for the restaurant's famous fried chicken. Combining a "buttermilk paste" and a seasoning of Chinese five-spice and EverCrisp, as Taste tells us, gives the fried chicken an "earth shatteringly" crisp and crunchy texture. The chicken itself seems to be incredibly popular, in part to the extensive waiting list that many have joined just to have a reservation. 

While it would appear that EverCrisp does indeed work as intended, it's up to you to see if it stands up to your grandmother's fried chicken recipe or if it blows it out of the water.