Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Southern buttermilk fried chicken pieces on tray

The Spruce

Prep: 6 hrs
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 6 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 pieces of chicken
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1480 Calories
90g Fat
56g Carbs
106g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1480
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 90g 115%
Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 378mg 126%
Sodium 1575mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 106g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 216mg 17%
Iron 10mg 55%
Potassium 1112mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditional southern fried chicken recipes are simply chicken dusted in flour and fried crisp, but this delicious variation uses a buttermilk bath for a tangy twist. This buttermilk fried chicken is great hot, but also makes a wonderful picnic item served cold. For a fried chicken recipe that is significantly lower in fat, try Southern fried chicken thighs.


  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken, (cut into 8 pieces)

  • 2 1/2 quarts peanut oil, or vegetable shortening, for frying

For the Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground dried herbs or poultry seasoning

  • 2 cups buttermilk

For the Seasoned Flour

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for buttermilk fried chicken
    The Spruce 
  2. Add the marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.

    Add marinade ingredients to a bowl
    The Spruce 
  3. Add the chicken parts and toss to coat well.

    Add chicken parts to marinade in bowl
    The Spruce
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the chicken is submerged. Refrigerate for 6 hours. You can go overnight if desired.

    Plastic wrap covering bowl with chicken pieces marinating
    The Spruce
  5. Mix together the seasoned flour ingredients in a large baking dish.

    Flour lining bottom of baking dish
    The Spruce
  6. Drain the chicken pieces and toss into the flour.

    Chicken pieces in floured baking dish
    The Spruce
  7. Using your hands or tongs, toss to coat the chicken completely with the flour mixture. Shake off and reserve on a plate.

    Flour-coated chicken pieces on plate
    The Spruce
  8. Heat the peanut oil, or vegetable shortening, in a heavy Dutch oven to 350 F.

    Heated oil in bowl with thermometer reading 350 F
    The Spruce
  9. Carefully add the chicken and fry for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and you have reached an internal temperature of 180 F.

    Chicken fried in oil with thermometer reading 180 F
    The Spruce
  10. Allow to drain on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

    Fried chicken pieces draining on rack
    The Spruce 
  11. Serve and enjoy!


  • You can also fry the chicken in a heavy cast iron skillet filled halfway up with oil. If you use this method, you need to fry pieces for 10 minutes, turn them over, and continue cooking until done.