I don’t know about you, but I’m a big chicken girl. It’s probably my favorite protein simply because chicken is absolutely versatile. And where there are a variety of flavors and preparations, there are also countless opportunities for delectable wine pairings! In this blog post, we’ll explore the best wine pairings for chicken based on different preparations of this adaptable protein.
There is perhaps no greater preparation than chicken that’s been brined, dredged in your coating of choice, and deep fried to a crisp. I mean, who doesn’t love fried chicken?! In my experience, the secret to a really juicy, tender fried chicken is all in the brine. The best wine pairing for fried chicken is a wine that’s loaded with acidity to refresh the palate from the richness of this deep fried specialty. Ideally, the wine will have fruit forward flavors to balance out the savory, fatty aspects of this dish, too.
That’s why sparkling wines are the best pairings for fried chicken. You could go high class with an elegant bottle of Champagne, or keep it simple with a quality bottle of Prosecco. Reach for an organic or natural sparkling wine to balance out this indulgent meal.
Check Out This Selection of Natural Sparkling Wines from The Waves:
Perhaps the most comforting version of pollo, roasted chicken is easy to prepare if you have an oven and never fails to impress your guests. That slow roasted savory flavor is irresistible and can be transformed depending on what aromatics you add while roasting. Personally, I love roasted chicken with garlic, thyme, and rosemary – yum!
Since the flavors of this dish are elegant and simple, the best wine pairing for roasted chicken will be found in a medium-bodied wine without heavy tannins or overpowering flavors. A sultry, earthy Pinot Noir, an aged Chardonnay from Bourgogne, or a fruit-forward Gamay would all be divine. I find French wines tend to pair best with roasted chicken.
BBQ or Grilled Chicken
Nothing screams summer more than bbq chicken. Though I can eat bbq chicken all year long, I love when grilling season arrives! If you enjoy your chicken on the barbecue slathered in barbecue sauce, then you’re my people.
The best wine pairing for chicken in this case is a red wine that’s fruit forward with spicy undertones. Think Zinfandel, Grenache, or Cabernet Franc. These wines are bold enough to stand up to the flavors of barbecue sauce and the char from the grill. Plus, their fruit flavors with hints of spice will complement the sweet, tangy barbecue sauce.
Need more ideas for the ultimate wine pairings for just about anything you want to throw on the grill?
And don’t miss my yogurt-marinated spiced chicken kebabs paired with a Grenache or Grenache Rosé!
Simply put, chicken and lemon are a match made in heaven. Actually, this protein can be enlivened by just about any citrus. I adore this recipe for oven roasted orange chicken with fennel. Though my favorite citrus chicken dish is my very own recipe for chicken piccata, which I learned from my Italian husband, isn’t an authentic Italian dish. I digress…
If you’re chowing down on a lemon-based chicken recipe, then be sure to select a wine with at least a similar level of acidity as your dish. That way the wine will balance out the citrus without becoming too flabby on your palate. I love a Picpoul Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, or Gruner Veltliner with citrusy chicken recipes. Picpoul Blanc is hands down the best wine pairing for chicken piccata.
The Ultimate Wine Pairings for Chicken Salads
There are a ton of chicken salad options to satisfy any palate. From Chinese chicken salad to the classic chicken caesar salad, I appreciate them all. When selecting a wine pairing for chicken salad, you’ll want a wine that’s light enough to be savored alongside a salad with fresh flavors, too. Rosé is the perfect match.
Select a bottle from Provence for a light, crisp expression. If you’re looking for something more fruit-forward or with a little bit of oomph to the palate, try a rosé of Grenache or Pinot Noir. Tavel is my pick for when I’m craving a bolder rosé.
P.S. This is my go-to caesar dressing recipe that is so simple to prepare and loaded with flavor.
Other Preparations to Consider
We all know that chicken recipe options are endless. A quick search on Pinterest will demonstrate just that. So, as a final note, let’s cover creamy chicken recipes and spicy ones, too.
For creamy dishes, you’ll want a fuller-bodied white wine to complement the richness of the dish. Try a Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation for a creamier flavor profile or white wines from the Southern Rhône. Those are some of my favorites, as I’m not a buttery Chardonnay kind of girl. Though I do believe Chardonnay is the ultimate wine pairing for chicken pot pie.
For spicy recipes, try finding a wine with a hint of residual sugar and fruit-forward flavors. You’ll want to skip wines with high tannins that are too astringent when paired with spicy heat. I’ve outlined tips on selecting wines for spicy cuisine in this blog post.
Ready to Get Cooking?
My Le Creuset is a must-have kitchen accessory for roasting, frying, and even sautéing chicken. They can be a little pricey, but these dutch ovens will last you a lifetime.
I hope you enjoyed this round up of the best wine pairings for chicken. For those in need of further food and wine pairing inspiration, this is one of my favorite cookbooks when I’m ready for an out-of-the-box pairing.