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Buttermilk Deep Fried Chicken


Deliciously tender and juicy chicken with a crisp and seasoned crust. You’ll love how the breading won’t fall off; a short chilling period makes sure it sticks.

As a bonus, cold fried chicken straight from the fridge makes the perfect evening snack.

plated buttermilk deep fried chicken.

Classic Buttermilk Fried Chicken

5 from 1 vote
A classic method of making fried chicken: a buttermilk marinade and perfectly seasoned flour blend add up to juicy, flavorful chicken. A true crowd pleaser.
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
marinating: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 375kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
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  • 8 pieces chicken bone in, skin on
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour all purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (Lawry's, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart oil for frying peanut or vegetable


  • Marinate. Soak the chicken pieces in the buttermilk in a very large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to 12 hours.
    bowl of buttermilk with chicken pieces in it.
  • Bread. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and seasoned salt in a large mixing bowl. Take out the chicken pieces, shaking off the excess buttermilk, and dredge them in the seasoned flour, one by one.
    seasoned flour in bowl.
  • Chill. Place the floured chicken pieces on a wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours to help the flour stick.
    raw breaded chicken on wire rack.
  • Fry. Preheat the deep fryer to 340 degrees (or use a heavy-duty Dutch oven filled with three inches of oil and use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature). Fry the chicken, covered, for 12-15 minutes per side until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. The internal temperature should be at least 165.
    chicken pieces before and after deep frying.
  • Serve. Place a clean cooling rack over a baking sheet with layers of paper towels. Place the cooked chicken on top and allow to drain. Serve immediately, or hold in a 200-degree oven.


If you don’t mind waking up early, you can do thiss all in one day, but make sure you’ve allowed yourself enough time (6 hour soak + 2 hour chill +30 minutes cooking.)
It is easiest to have the chicken soak in the buttermilk overnight, then dredge them in flour in the early afternoon and cook for dinner in the evening.
The frying temp is lower than many recipes, but the chicken needs to cook a long time to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked. If the oil is too hot, the crust will burn before the chicken is cooked.


Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 1064mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 216mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this?Let me know how it was! Please see below for serving ideas, storage instructions, and substitutions.
  • chicken pieces,  bone-in, skin on
  • buttermilk
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • seasoned salt (Lawry’s, etc.)
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • cayenne pepper
  • oil for frying, peanut oil is best but vegetable is okay too!
concrete surface with chicken pieces, spices, buttermilk, and flour
  • Rimmed baking sheets
  • Metal cooling racks to place the breaded chicken to chill and the cooked chicken to drain.
  • A deep fryer. (You can certainly deep fry without one, but there’s nothing quite like a deep fryer. My recommended model maintains a perfectly even temperature and drains the oil so you can reuse it and save money.)

🥫 Storage instructions

Any leftovers can go in the fridge, tightly covered.

You can eat them cold or reheated in an air fryer or oven. The microwave will work in a pinch, but the skin won’t be crispy.

Fried chicken does not freeze well.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Save money on your chicken. I’ve found the most affordable way to get bone-in chicken is to buy a few bulk packages of one single cut. Look for bone-in thighs, drumsticks, and breasts. You can always buy a whole chicken and cut it up, but it’s more work and more money.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on your oil temperature! If it gets too cold, the breading will fall off and you will be sad.
  • Place the chicken in the deep fryer basket. You’ll need to cook this in batches and make sure they have enough room to swim in the oil without touching each other.
  • I flip even if I am cooking in a deep fryer, as the chicken pieces are usually so large that they aren’t fully submerged.
fried chicken on white plate

What to serve on the side

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close up view of chicken on cooling rack
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