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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 Lonergan


  • 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.
  • A brown paper bag is the classic way to shake and coat fried chicken. If you don't have a paper bag, you can use a sturdy plastic bag instead.
  • You don't need a thermometer to fry the chicken. Instead, when the oil is hot (but not smoking), add a drop of water to the pan -- if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough for the chicken. You want to maintain a fairly steady temperature as the chicken cooks, so don't overcrowd the pan with too many pieces at once (which will bring down the temperature). If the oil is really flying and it seems to be too hot, you can turn down the temperature slightly.
  • When using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil, you want the oil to stay at about 350°F.
  • If you're using a meat thermometer to know when the chicken is done, white meat will be best at 165°F, while dark meat can be cooked to 170-175°F for the best texture.
  • Never cover your warm fried chicken with foil. This traps steam and moisture, which will make your chicken soggy.
  • How to make sure that the breading doesn't fall off of the fried chicken: Allowing the chicken time to dry on the wire rack after dredging ensures that the flour adheres to the meat. Don't skip that step! Also, flip your chicken only once when frying -- the more that you mess around with it, the more likely the breading will fall off.
  • For even more flavor, add garlic, herbs, shallots, or onion to your buttermilk. The flavors will infuse the meat and add unique taste to your crispy fried chicken.
  • Season the flour mixture with other herbs and spices for more layers of flavor, too. For instance, try a teaspoon paprika, onion powder, 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1-2 teaspoons pepper, oregano, thyme, or just about any other flavors that you like with your chicken.
  • Use any chicken pieces that you prefer. For instance, instead of cooking the parts from a whole chicken, you can just fry chicken breasts or just fry the drumsticks. You'll want about 4 lbs. of chicken pieces in total.


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