Southern Fried Chicken Thighs

Southern fried chicken thighs
The Spruce
  • Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 10 chicken thighs (10 servings)

A low-fat Southern fried chicken? Yes—compared to other fried chicken recipes, not celery sticks. By using boneless chicken thighs (which cuts down on cooking time) without skin, a low-fat buttermilk coating, and frying quickly in hot oil, this Southern fried chicken is significantly lower in fat than the traditional fried chicken recipes.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fried Chicken Thighs Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, buttermilk, paprika, cayenne, and half of the salt and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.

    Soak chicken thighs in buttermilk and spices
    The Spruce
  3. Add the flour and remaining salt and black pepper to a baking dish. Using tongs, remove the chicken, 2 to 3 pieces at a time and coat well in the seasoned flour. Be sure to press the flour into the meat and cover completely. Shake off excess and reserve on a baking sheet.

    Coat chicken thighs in flour
    The Spruce
  4. When all the pieces of chicken are dredged in the flour, add about an inch of oil to a heavy frying pan. Over a medium-high flame, heat the oil to 375 F.

  5. Test the oil, then add the chicken and cook for 7 to 8 minutes per side, until the outside is browned and the meat is cooked through.

    Fry chicken thighs in oil
    The Spruce
  6. Serve immediately or hold in a warm oven if frying in batches.

    Fried chicken thighs on a plate
    The Spruce
  7. Serve and enjoy.


  • A cast-iron pot is a tried-and-true tool for frying chicken. It's been an American standby for centuries because, in addition to its durability, its thick walls also retain heat very well. That means that the oil temperature drops less when you put a batch of chicken in, helping create crisper skin and more uniform cooking. If you don't have a deep cast-iron skillet, a Dutch oven also works well.
  • To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of​ the coating from the chicken into the oil. The coating will bubble and begin to fry. This is the perfect temperature to fry in.
  • You can also use an electric deep fryer for this recipe, although it won't necessarily yield better results. If going that route, make sure the oil is heated to 375 F, put the chicken pieces in a single layer in the fryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd. If the chicken is fully submerged in oil, you won't need to turn it, unlike in the pan method. Using a meat thermometer, take out white meat when it's reached 150 F, and the dark meat when it's reached 175 F.
  • When you're done, you can pour the old oil into a container and refrigerate it, so it becomes solid. Then, scoop it out and put it into the trash when you're ready to take it out. Even better, recycle it. Whatever you do, avoiding pouring it down the drain, which can clog your pipes and pollute city water treatment plants, making it impossible to clean and ultimately polluting rivers.