Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken is a unique variation of fried chicken that is cooked twice. Chicken drumsticks are first marinated in a spice paste, then fried a second time in oil until golden brown. The result is a flavorful, slightly sweet and spicy dish with juicy, crispy texture, all without batter or breading, served with a spicy chili sauce.

Pouring Spicy Chili Sauce over Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken

Inspired by Ayam Goreng (Indonesian and Malaysian fried chicken), there is a 2-stage cooking process involved in this easy turmeric chicken recipe. 

This is the perfect fried chicken for those who don’t like batter or breading. The bonus of this is that the marinade is able to flavor both the chicken skin and the flesh, resulting in amazingly crispy chicken.

Freshly fried Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken on a cooling rack

Delicious marinade

It’s not often done, but the chicken is first cooked in a very tasty blended marinade of shallot, garlic, ground coriander, ground turmeric (fresh turmeric can also be used), garam masala, fresh ginger, and brown sugar.

Spicy dipping sauce

The chicken is delicious on its own, but even better when served with a slightly sweet and spicy sauce for dipping. A delicious combination of chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger.

Drumsticks and thighs of Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken garnished with cilantro

Low carb/keto fried chicken

Because there is no breading or batter, this makes it suitable for low carb and ketogenic diets, as well as being gluten-free and lower in calories (if you’re counting, it’s approximately 472 calories for 2 pieces of chicken).

Double cooked fried chicken

The method for this dish involves a 2-step cooking process where the chicken is first cooked in the marinade and then fried. While it may seem like a lot of work to cook the chicken twice, it serves two purposes. The first cooking step seals the flavors into the chicken and cooks the sauce. The frying step crisps up the chicken and further seals in the flavors.

A bowl of Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken pieces with a bowl of Spicy Chili Sauce

Best chicken for Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken with Spicy Chili Sauce

Any combination of chicken pieces can be used for this dish. I chose drumsticks, but chicken wings or a combination of both can also be used.

Skinless fried chicken

If you prefer not to eat chicken skin, you can use skinless chicken breasts or skinless chicken thighs.

I call this chicken ‘spiced’ because there are spices added, but it is not inherently spicy. It is served with a chili dipping sauce that adds a delicious, sweet and spicy kick, allowing you to control how much spice you want in every bite. Alternatively, you can leave it out for the kids.

Serving turmeric fried chicken

This dish can be a finger-licking good appetizer or served with simple white rice, brown rice, toasted coconut rice, grilled mushrooms, edamame salad, or low-carb cauliflower rice.

Turmeric fried chicken in the air fryer

Cook the chicken up to step 4 of the recipe (cooking in the marinade), then transfer it to the air fryer (instead of frying in oil) in a single layer without overlapping. Cooking time will depend on your air fryer (set to 390°F/200°C for about 15-20 minutes). Use a meat thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reads 165°F/75°C.

Turmeric is a very vibrantly colored spice. Turmeric stains, including skin, white counter tops, plastic and clothing so please be mindful when blending the marinade.

If you’ve made this Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken with Spicy Chili Sauce, leave a comment, star rating or a question below.

Yield: 4

Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken with Spicy Chili Sauce

Turmeric Spiced Fried Chicken with Spicy Chili Sauce in a paper lined bowl

Marinated in spices, cooked in the marinade then fried without breading.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes


  • For the sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons garlic chili sauce (sambal olek)
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • For the chicken:
  • ¾ cups (65 grams) shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2-inch (6 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 pieces of chicken (drumsticks or thighs)
  • Canola or vegetable oil


  1. For the sauce:
    Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved and bring to a simmer until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. For the chicken:
  3. Add the shallot, garlic, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, brown sugar and salt to a blender. Add 4 tablespoons water and blend until you get a chunky paste. Add the paste to the chicken and coat well. Marinate for 2 hours, or overnight, refrigerated.
    Add oil to a Dutch oven or high-sided heavy pan. Fill no more than 1/3 full and heat to 350°F/175°C.
  4. Add the chicken to a high sided pan along with the marinade and toss to coat well. Bring to a simmer and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes per side until the water has evaporated and there is just paste left. Turn off heat and leave in the pan.
    When the oil is ready, add the chicken in small batches (2 or 3 at a time), to avoiding crowding the pan. Fry for 10 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway through. The internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer should be no lower than 165°F/75°C. Remove and drain on a rack or paper towel. Serve warm with the sauce.


Spicy chili garlic sauce makes 1 ½ cups (354 m)

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 472Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 160mgSodium 1386mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1gSugar 7gProtein 43g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.