Fried Chicken: A Southern Favorite

Southern Fried Chicken recipe
Southern Fried Chicken -- Comfort food at it's finest!. Credit: Iain Bagwell
Ratings (6)
  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1560 Calories
85g Fat
47g Carbs
144g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

My family has always been big on picnics and when I was a child one of my mother's standards for these occasions was cold, fried chicken. Being a Southerner, she pan-fried it instead of deep-frying. The night before a trip to the mountains or the lake she'd fry two whole chickens (the wish-bone was my favorite piece) and it would be perfectly crisp and luscious that night. The next day on the picnic it would somewhat soggy but luscious in a different way - almost a different dish. This can easily be doubled or tripled for dinner on the first go around and the next day's picnic fare.


  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For the Coating:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Thoroughly mix marinade ingredients in a zippered plastic bag, add chicken, and refrigerate 12 - 24 hours, turning occasionally to ensure coverage. (If you're in a hurry, you can skip the delay and simply dip the chicken in the marinade and then proceed to step 3 but chances are it's not going to be as juicy.)

  2. Mix coating ingredients in a zippered plastic bag and shake well. Empty into a deep bowl or square baking dish.

  3. Remove chicken from marinade, shake off excess marinade, then dredge in coating.

  4.  Set chicken aside on a plate and allow to rest for 30 minutes in a refrigerator.

  5. Heat 1/2 to 1 inch of oil in a medium, straight-sided, lidded skillet over medium high heat.

  6. Once oil is hot, re-dredge chicken in coating, shake off excess, and add to skillet (skin-side down).

  7. Cook for four minutes or until a light golden brown.

  8. Turn chicken over, reduce temperature to low, cover and cook 15 - 20 minutes more. (Ideally, cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 150F for breasts or 155F for thighs.)

  9. Remove cover, increase heat to medium-high, and turn over again. Cook another 5 minutes until coating is crisp and mahogany brown.

  10. Drain on a plate on paper towels or drying racks above tinfoil lined baking sheets.

Note1: Stick with either breasts or thighs that are the same size to assure equal cooking times.

Note 2: If doubling recipe, cook in two batches to avoid over-crowding or use a large to very large skillet.

Note 3: Although cast iron is widely lauded as the skillet of choice for pan-fried chicken, I find stainless steel or aluminum work better. Cast iron is slow to heat and slow to cool and you really want a quicker response when you turn the burner down and up.