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Fried chicken drumstick on a plate with coleslaw and biscuits in the background
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5 from 3 votes

Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

The absolute best Crispy Fried Chicken recipe with buttermilk! This classic Southern fried chicken is tender and juicy on the inside, and perfectly crisp and golden brown on the outside.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe, Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe, Skillet Fried Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Inactive Rest Time 9 hours
Servings 4 people
Calories 466kcal
Author Blair


  • 1 large chicken (4 pounds), cut into pieces (or 3-4 lbs. of your favorite bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 cups peanut oil, vegetable oil or vegetable shortening
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter


  • Place chicken in a bowl with the buttermilk. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  • Place the flour, salt and cayenne in a large brown paper bag and gently shake to combine (if you don’t have a paper bag, you can use a large, sturdy plastic bag).
  • Remove chicken from the buttermilk. Add one piece of the damp chicken to the paper bag. Hold the bag closed and shake it so that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack; repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. Allow the chicken to dry for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with the butter over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking), and a drop of water sprinkled into the pan sizzles, add the chicken, making sure you do not crowd the pan. Cover and cook until the chicken begins to turn brown, about 8-10 minutes (reduce the heat slightly, if necessary). Turn the pieces over, cover again, and cook for about 10 more minutes. Drain on a rack. Season warm chicken with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Repeat the process to cook the remaining chicken in batches. Serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold!


The nutrition information provided is merely an estimate, and does NOT include any butter, oil or buttermilk absorbed by the meat in the soaking and frying process.
  • If you prefer to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil, you want the oil to stay at about 350 degrees F.
  • Fried chicken is best when it is fresh and the skin is still crispy. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days; however, the skin will not be as crispy when reheated.
  • How to reheat fried chicken: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet and allow the chicken to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes (this ensures that it reheats evenly). Next, reheat the chicken until the skin feels hot and very crispy, about 15 minutes.
  • A brown paper bag is the classic way to shake and coat fried chicken. They're a little bit harder to come across these days (which is why I always save mine when I get them), so if you don't have a paper bag, you can use a sturdy plastic bag instead.
  • Never cover your warm fried chicken with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your chicken soggy.
  • If you're using a meat thermometer to know when the chicken is done, white meat will be best at 165 degrees F, while dark meat can be cooked to 170-175 degrees F for the best texture.
  • For even more flavor, you can add garlic, herbs, shallots or onion to your buttermilk. The flavors will infuse the meat and add unique taste to your crispy fried chicken.


Serving: 1/4 of the chicken | Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 377mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg