Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk fried chicken
Buttermilk fried chicken. Daniel Loiselle / Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 1 cooked chicken (5 servings)
Ratings (28)

When you make fried chicken, you're either going to coat the chicken in a flavorful batter, or dredge it in seasoned flour. Both methods will make excellent fried chicken, but this recipe uses the seasoned flour approach because it works better with the skillet-frying method (as opposed to deep-frying).

First, we marinate the chicken in buttermilk, which adds flavor and also helps the seasoned flour adhere to the chicken.

The longer you marinate the chicken, the better, but overnight is plenty. If you're in a hurry, at least let it marinate for 2 to 3 hours. It really does make a difference.

You can marinate the chicken in a big dish covered in plastic, or you can divide the marinade and the chicken into two gallon-sized zipper bags, which is a good technique because you can squeeze out the air so the marinade will really envelop the whole surface of the chicken.

Finally, to do the actual frying, we use a relatively small amount of oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. The oil should come between 1/3 and 1/2 of an inch up the side of the pan, and when we fry the chicken we'll flip it to cook both sides.

What You'll Need

  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds, cut up into 8 pieces)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • For the Seasoned Flour:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 inch vegetable oil (or shortening for frying)

How to Make It

  1. Cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise with a sharp knife. The breasts are much larger than the other pieces, so cutting them in half lets all the pieces cook more evenly.

  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large dish and stir to blend. Add the chicken and coat it with the marinade. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let it air dry at room temperature for half an hour on a rack with a sheet pan underneath.

  1. Combine the seasoned flour ingredients in a shallow pan and stir to blend.

  2. Add the shortening or oil to the pan, no higher than half an inch deep. Too much oil and it could boil over when you add the chicken. (This isn't an issue if you're using a deep pot like a Dutch oven rather than a skillet, but there's still no need to use any more oil than you have to.)

  3. Heat the oil for five or six minutes, until it's at 350°F. It's best to use a thermometer to measure the temperature and be sure to use one that's accurate. If the oil isn't hot enough, the chicken will be too greasy.

  4. Dredge five pieces of the chicken in the seasoned flour and carefully add them to the oil. Cook for 10 minutes, then carefully flip them and cook for 10 more minutes or until the juices run clear and the breading is golden brown. Drain on paper, bring the oil back to 350° and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

More Chicken Recipes:
•Easy Roast Chicken
• Lemon Roast Chicken
• Pan Roasted Chicken
Garlic Roasted Chicken
• Chicken in a Pot
Braised Chicken

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 1060
Total Fat 57 g
Saturated Fat 16 g
Unsaturated Fat 23 g
Cholesterol 314 mg
Sodium 1,140 mg
Carbohydrates 29 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 103 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)