Classic Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Classic fried chicken recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Nita West

  • Total: 24 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 14 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8

This fried chicken recipe makes enough for about 8 people. For best results, fry the chicken breasts separately at a slightly lower temperature, around 325 F to 330 F.

Keep pieces of chicken warm in a 200 F oven while you fry subsequent batches.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable shortening (or canola or peanut oil, for frying)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) frying chickens (cut into serving pieces)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for fried chicken
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  2. In a heavy, brown paper bag or large food storage bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper; shake to blend well.

    Combine flour, salt
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  3. Pour the milk into a wide shallow bowl.

    Pour milk into shallow bowl
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West 
  4. Heat 2 to 3 inches of shortening or canola oil in a deep heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon drippings.

    Heat shortening
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  5. When a drop of water spatters when it hits the hot oil, you're ready to start the process for prepping your chicken. The fat should register about 340 F if you're using a thermometer.

    Water spits
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West 
  6. Dip some of the chicken pieces into the milk. 

    Dip chicken in milk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  7. Then place in the bag and shake to coat evenly. 

    Place in bag
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West 
  8. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd.

    Arrange chicken
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  9. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides.

    Fry chicken
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  10. Reduce heat to 350 F and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once.

    Reduce heat
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  11. Drain chicken on brown paper or paper towels, adding a little more shortening and bacon grease if necessary, setting or regulating the temperature as for the first batch.

    Put chicken on paper towels
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  12. Transfer the chicken to a large platter for serving.

    Fried chicken
    ​The Spruce Eats / Nita West
  13. Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!

Tips

  • The best way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165 F. 
  • If you don't have a thermometer prick the chicken with a fork, the juices should run clear with no pink.