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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
🧂 a note about what you’ll need
- chicken pieces, bone-in, skin on
- all-purpose flour
- seasoned salt (Lawry’s, etc.)
- cayenne pepper
- oil for frying, peanut oil is best but vegetable is okay too!
- 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.
What to serve on the side
- Biscuits, of course! My four-ingredients biscuits always turn out.
- Southern-style coleslaw is always served with deep-fried chicken in our house. It’s the law.
- And since this has been a long process, let’s make an easy dessert and whip up an easy berry cobbler with frozen berries.
- Don’t forget the peach-raspberry tea.
📘 Related Recipes
- From-scratch deep-fried chicken tenders are super popular with kids and ready with a lot less prep work.
- Homemade French fries are easy to make once you have the deep fryer out.
- Onion rings without breadcrumbs are crunchy and delicious.
- Don’t want to deal with chicken pieces? Make buttermilk chicken tenders!