Classic Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Classic fried chicken in a basket

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  • 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.


  • 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.

  2. In a heavy, brown paper bag or large food storage bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper; shake to blend well.

  3. Pour the milk into a wide shallow bowl.

  4. Heat 2 to 3 inches of shortening or canola oil in a deep heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon drippings.

  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.

  6. Dip some of the chicken pieces into the milk. 

  7. Then place in the bag and shake to coat evenly. 

  8. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd.

  9. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides.

  10. Reduce heat to 350 F and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once.

  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.

  12. Transfer the chicken to a large platter for serving.

  13. Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!


  • 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.