Classic Southern Fried Chicken

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

Fried chicken is probably the first dish one thinks of when asked to name Southern dishes. It ranks right up there with cornbread, greens, and grits.

This is a basic Southern fried chicken recipe, and it is easy and delicious. Serve this crispy fried chicken with mashed potatoes and coleslaw, along with steamed broccoli or another favorite side dish. Use bone-in chicken pieces in this recipe. For a fried chicken recipe that is significantly lower in fat, try Southern fried chicken thighs. For boneless chicken breasts or cutlets, take a look at this recipe. For KFC's original recipe, try this recipe.


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  • 4 pounds chicken pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt

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
     The Spruce
  4. In a large heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper.

    Southern fried chicken ingredients in a bag
     The Spruce
  5. Dip a chicken piece in the milk mixture; let excess drip off into the bowl.

  6. Put a few chicken pieces in the food storage bag and shake lightly to coat thoroughly.

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

    Breaded fried chicken on a plate
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  8. Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet to 350 F.

  9. Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, for about 10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. 

    Frying southern friend chicken
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  10. Chicken breasts will take a little less time than other pieces.

  11. Pierce with a fork to see if juices run clear to check for doneness, or use an instant-read thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F (74 C).

  12. With a slotted spoon, move to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt.

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

    Southern friend chicken
     The Spruce
  14. 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 find dry breadcrumbs to the flour mixture.