Pioneer Chicken Recipe

Junior Burger
2005/01/12 14:01:38
Does anybody have a "real" recipe for Pioneer Chicken from the 1980's?

I grew up in So Cal and Pioneer Chicken was always the best!!

Lone Star
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/12 14:19:58
I remember the Pioneer Chicken chain from the two years I spent in Bakersfield when I was in high school. Good Chicken!

The Uncle Phaderus website is a great place to go for an obscure or old recipe. Lots of fun to browse there. This is where I found a recipe for the chicken, but don't know it is the "real one" or not.

From: Morgan
To: phaedrus
Sent: Monday, December 30, 2002 11:15 AM
Subject: Pioneer Fried Chicken


I am maybe a million people have been trying to recreate the
Pioneer Chicken recipe. Pioneer Chicken is all but dead. It
was a Southern Cal Chain that was very suddenly taken over by
Popcorn Chicken - which is nothing like Pioneer Chicken. If
you have eaten it, you know it is the best by far of all the
fast food chickens.

I believe they use a batter - it may contain corn flour?

There is a couple of restaurants still in existence one can be
found at
(You will see what the chicken looks like)

Unfortuneately, this restaurant is too far from where I live to
travel there for chicken.

Can you help - I really would love to make it at home for my


Hi Morgan,

I've never had Pioneer chicken. We've never had it in the Southeast as far as I know. I did find one recipe that claims to be a copycat of Pioneer fried chicken. It's quite novel in that one flavors the cooking oil. See below.


Deep fry (not pressure fry) chicken pieces which
have been coated with a batter made from "Dixie
Fry - Original Recipe" seasoned coating mix and
cold water. I haven't quantified the amounts of
each. Just aim for a thin batter consistency... experiment.
(Dixie Fry is usually near the Shake-N-Bake products
at the store.)

But there's something more: the first step, before
dipping the chicken or frying it, is to FLAVOR THE
OIL you'll use, by adding approximately 1 drop of
TOASTED SESAME OIL for each ounce of vegetable
oil in the deep fryer or pot. The one drop to an
ounce measurement is approximate, as the size of a
drop can vary. I've had success simply adding 1/2
teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to one 48 oz. bottle
of vegetable oil. (You'll probably find sesame
seed oil near chow mein or in the Asian foods
section at regular grocery stores. It is OK, but
the TOASTED sesame seed oil is what's really needed
for this recipe. It probably will be harder to find.
You could try a gourmet or fancy grocery... maybe a
catalog will have it.)

Heat the oil to the proper temperature. I use about
350 degrees and cook the chicken longer, but I don't
know what the correct frying times and temperatures
should be, considering food handling safety, etc.,
and I am not advising you on that.

Dip the chicken pieces (which have been rinsed with
water and patted dry) into the thin batter. Remove
them and carefully lower them into the seasoned oil
and cook until done.

Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/12 18:58:11

tried that recipe...was not even close...

Wish it were that simple

Will keep looking...thanks for the help!
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/12 19:07:57

Is the Pioneer Restaurant (chain?) perhaps the same one (chain?) I remember circa 1968-69 in Witicha Falls, TX
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/21 11:51:22
What I can't figure out is the Pioneer Chicken places that are still open in LA are independent but I have been to 3 of them in the past couple years and they all have the chicken recipe perfect...and there is no corporate place where they are all getting the batter

It is the darn crispeist chicken you will ever eat...I have pictures of the chicken...but not sure how to post em

Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/22 17:05:21
I remeber Pioneer Chicken very fondly, myself! I used to live within 2 blocks of one, on Sunset Blvd, in East Hollywood. I haven't lived in that neighborhood for 10 years now, but the last time I remember seeing it was about 5 years ago, on a drive-by. I'll have to check and see if I can find listings for L.A. area Pioneers. Unless someone already knows where to look? Hint. Hint. :-)

RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/22 17:13:40
The Pioneer Chicken on Sunset is still there.
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/22 18:00:14
This is a link to the stores I know of in LA

The one on Florence in Bell Gardens was very clean as of 2003...and very nice folks working there as well

RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/01/22 18:11:04
Pioneer Pete:

There is also a Pioneer Chicken on Sunset just past Fountain that is not on that list. Next time I'm in that part of Echo Park I'll have to see where the Pioneer Chicken is; I know there is a Pioneer Market on Sunset and Echo Park but the only restaurant that I'm familar with is a chinese take out place (in a building that looks like it could be an old chicken place) though I could be wrong.
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/03/06 14:09:46
Originally posted by ericats

Pioneer Pete:

There is also a Pioneer Chicken on Sunset just past Fountain that is not on that list. Next time I'm in that part of Echo Park I'll have to see where the Pioneer Chicken is; I know there is a Pioneer Market on Sunset and Echo Park but the only restaurant that I'm familar with is a chinese take out place (in a building that looks like it could be an old chicken place) though I could be wrong.

I happen to be at Sunset and Echo Park yesterday and indeed there was a Pioneer Chicken there. The building was in such bad shape that I thought the place was closed but I saw some people sitting inside so I guess it's functioning.
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/07/26 10:22:06
Hey Pete,

I was just online looking for existing Pioneer Chicken restaurants (because I was surprised to drive by one in Beverly Hills the other day). It was neat to read your posts on!

Have you tried calling one of the existing Pioneer chicken restraunts to see if they'll give you some tips (or hopefully, the whole recipe)?

If you EVER find out what the recipe is, PLEASE post it or email me! I'd LOVE to have it!!!

Hugs and best wishes,

Rhianna :)
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/07/27 01:21:34
Ooooh! Thanks for the memories!

I loved Pioneer's bucket of gizzards. Nothing like it!

I used to hang out at the Pioneer on Westwood near Pico.

Miss that place! Loved that I could go in and just buy a leg.
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/09/15 21:07:44
The 3 Pioneer Chicken restaurants I've been to in the LA area are in Echo Park, Sunset Blvd. and Olympic Blvd. The one on Onlypic Blvd really SUCKS. The chicken is dry and does not have that authentic Pioneer Chicken flavor. The Echo Park one comes 2nd and to me, the best is the Sunset Blvd. I so hope that these last 2 surviving chains (in my area) will never die out.
Ankle Biter
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2005/10/25 19:49:38
Can you believe i registered to this forum simply because this topic caught my eye. Anyway i'll get to the rest of the forum after i make a post here.

Anyway i'm sorry but i can't help you with the recipe but i will add my thoughts on some of the existing Pioneer Chicken locations left in the Los Angeles County. Unfortunately i have to disagree with some people. Someone said that the Sunset Bl./Fountain Av. location is the best. I disagree. I went to that location for the first time ever yesterday and honestly i disliked it. So far the best and real authentic flavor comes from the Boyle Heights location on Whittier Bl/Soto St. I guess the fact that only that location concentrates on just chicken is what makes the flavor authentic. The Sunset Bl./Fountain Av. location has all these menu's that i'm sure didn't exist in the 80's. They have BBQ ribs, hamburgers, seafood, rotiserrie chicken, pies, etc........and that's when i'm like "Whoa whoa whoa. I don't recall Pioneer Chicken selling all this b.s."

If anyone remembers more clearly then correct me. I was indeed a child when pioneer was all over L.A. back in the 80's and early 90's but i don't remember BBQ ribs at a Pioneer before.

Anyway the i recommend you old schoolers give the Boyle Heights location a try. It's all about the chicken and not some other foods found in alternate locations. I believe the same situation goes on in Echo Park with the un-pioneer menu's. I still gotta try that location, Olympic, and Bell garden's a try.

Does anyone remember Pioneer Chicken locations on Central Av./Florence Av.? There were also 2 locations in Huntignotn Park. One was near the corbers of Slauson Av./Pacific Bl. which is now a Dentistry. The other was on Florence Av./Pacific Bl. which was later a Popeye's and today a Money Gram.
Junior Burger
RE: Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2008/03/17 18:34:49
Pioneer Chicken recipe<<<<<<<<<< It took me 25 atempts but I think I nailed it . Chicken strips
recipe good for 2 chicken breast worth of meat..
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Krusteaz "original" pankake batter , {not the just add water one}
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
table spoon of paprika {which is were it gets the color}
Salt, well I use1 teaspoon
then cold water till you get a pancake batter consistancy...

take chicken breast 1/2 frozen slice lengh wise into 4-6 inch strips about 3/4 inch wide , then freez solid.

take frozen chicken strips dip in batter then lay on a plate w/ wax paper then freez again .{I learned this wile making them when I worked at Pioneer chicken:0)}

then fry in peanut oil .

I worked at Pioneer chicken for about a year in Costa Mesa on Victoria and Harbor when I was a freshman going to Costa mesa High so I could afford my 12 peice strip meal and an orange bang per day habit :0)

this recipe worked for me ,only one missing link the BBQ sauce :0P ,so if this works for somone who is in LA and can get me some from one of the few locations left email me and I will give you an address to send some to PLLLLLLEASE!!! I am in Boston ,,, not that much home food here no IN n OUT , no Carls Jr., no Del Taco . or Jack in the crack.So hook me up..

Joshua Arellano
Junior Burger
Re:Pioneer Chicken Recipe 2012/05/28 14:20:33
I simply love this this place my parents put me on to PIONEER being that when they where my age that was the best chicken place they would go to . So now being 21 and over the years hearing my parents talk about it i finally fount a pioneer  close to where my girlfriend lives . THERE'S A PIONEER OFF THE 710 FREEWAY in BELL GARDENS OFF THE FLORENCE AVE (BELL GARDENS) EXIT. 6323 Florence Ave, Bell Gardens, CA 90201. This place is better than any fast food chain chicken restaurant ever. I dont understand how popeys took over Pioneer chicken. Popeys is no where near Pioneer chickens caliber. You would think there would be  a Pioneer everywhere but there isn't which is sad. I currently live in the inland empire and its worth the drive to Pioneer being that im out there often anyway .