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Recipes: Honey-Brined Fried Chicken Breasts

Why would anyone choose to cook with honey as opposed to pouring it over a hot biscuit, pancake or the like – or use it to sweeten their coffee or hot tea in lieu of sugar?

Worker bee busily making honey
Worker bee busily making honey
Look how brown and crisp this chicken looks on the outside

As it turns out, there are at least seven benefits to using honey when you cook. Honey:

  1. is great for glazing roasted and baked foods to promote surface browning and enhances crispness;
  2. enhances flavors – it is welcomed as a natural sweetener for hot teas and cold beverages, particularly when there is a large variety of honey flavors available;
  3. is a great addition in pastry- and cake-making as it provides texture and feel;
  4. prolongs shelf life, which makes it a natural preservative for pickles and sauces;
  5. is an essential ingredient in providing moisture in rich cakes and prolonging the retention of that moisture;
  6. is binding due to its viscosity, making it a brilliant ingredient that aids the shaping of desserts such as pastries, puddings and cakes; and
  7. contributes a delightful golden hue to sauces, dressings, jellies and frozen desserts.

Find out which of these benefits arise when you make this recipe for honey-brine fried chicken breasts.


  • 3 cups cold water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Mix cold water, kosher salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir until salt dissolves.
  2. Add chicken breasts, and weigh them down with a plate to keep them completely submerged. Cover entire bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove bowl from refrigerator; drain and dry chicken.
  4. Pour buttermilk over chicken in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  5. Combine flour, black pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
  6. Coat each chicken breast in flour mixture until well covered on all sides; place flour-coated chicken breasts on a cooling rack to dry for 15 minutes.
  7. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet to 350° F. Cook chicken breasts until browned and no longer pink in the center, about 10 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165° F.
  8. Transfer chicken to a cooling rack; allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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