Classic Southern Fried Chicken

Classic Southern Fried Chicken
The Spruce
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

This classic recipe is Southern fried chicken at its easiest. Serve alongside mashed potatoes, coleslaw, creamed corn, or another vegetable side dish. This dish calls for bone-in pieces—however, other recipes use boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs with equally delicious results. If you're looking for a little more spice, this KFC-style chicken provides it.


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  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
  • 3 cups vegetable oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Southern friend chicken ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 F and place a rack in a large baking pan.

  3. Combine milk and eggs in a bowl. Whisk to blend well.

    Whisked eggs and milk in a mixing bowl
     The Spruce
  4. In a large heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons salt, and pepper.

    Southern fried chicken dry ingredients in a bag
     The Spruce
  5. Dip the chicken pieces in the milk mixture and let excess drip off into the bowl. Set already dipped pieces aside on a plate until you have 3 to 4.

  6. Take the dipped chicken pieces and put them in the food storage bag. Close it and shake well to coat chicken pieces thoroughly.

    Chicken coated in flour mixture for fried chicken
     The Spruce
  7. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

    Breaded chicken on a plate ready to be fried
     The Spruce
  8. Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet to 350 F. While it's heating up, set aside a large serving plate lined with paper towels.

  9. Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, for about 10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Be careful not to put too many chicken pieces in at once—even if they can comfortably fit—because this will dramatically drop the temperature of the oil, affecting crispness of the final product. Note that chicken breasts will take a little less time than other pieces that have bones.

    Lightly browned southern fried chicken in oil
     The Spruce
  10. The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F. Alternatively, you can pierce with a fork to see if juices run clear.

  11. With a slotted spoon, move done chicken pieces onto paper towels to drain. Sprinkle liberally and immediately with salt.

  12. Transfer the drained chicken to the prepared pan with rack. Move the chicken to the oven to keep warm while frying subsequent batches.

    Golden brown southern friend chicken with ketchup on the side
     The Spruce
  13. Serve and enjoy.


  • Leftover fried chicken can be reheated with good results. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Heat the oven to 400 F. Place a rack on a baking sheet. Put the chicken pieces on the rack and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the milk with evaporated milk or buttermilk.
  • Replace the salt and pepper with a seasoned salt blend.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs to the flour mixture.