In this post I’m sharing my favorite Traditional Southern Fried Chicken Recipe.
I know that you’re probably thinking that making fried chicken at home is somewhat of a commitment. It is, but it is so worth it. You will spend a good 30-45 minutes standing by your stove to make this soul food classic.
For me, fried chicken fills my mind with memories of my grandmother, special family dinners, and church covered dish suppers. Happy memories indeed.
My family loves my fried chicken. I don’t make it often enough truly and opt for my easier boneless fried chicken most of the time. When I get the request for “regular” (bone in) fried chicken, I happily oblige.
I’ve previously shared my sweet tea fried chicken, which is also delicious, but it’s taken me too long to get my tried and true classic pan fried chicken shared. Shame on me but here it is y’all!
Traditional Southern Fried Chicken
I recall sharing one of the photos of my fried chicken on Facebook and my first cousin, twice removed, commented that it looked just like my grandmothers.
Well, I don’t think that I could have received a higher compliment in my books and I was beaming a smile ear to ear.
“I know when you think about the South, you think about fried foods, but we eat a tremendous amount of vegetables. I have my own garden, so vegetables have always been a big part of my life. I love broccoli. I love fresh beets. It’s not all about the fried chicken and the biscuits. You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken.” ~ Paula Deen
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Here are a few of my thoughts to enjoy perfect fried chicken:
Buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. It is much cheaper to buy a whole chicken and easy to get the hang of cutting it up yourself.
Fried chicken tastes better when it has cooled a bit, still warm but closer to room temperature. If you try to eat fried chicken right out of the grease you’ll just burn your mouth and not get to taste the wonderful seasonings.
The true secret to Southern fried chicken is in the seasonings. If you don’t get this step right then you’ve totally missed out on why everyone loves bonafide Southern fried chicken.
People are making fried chicken all around the world and calling it “Southern” but it’s not. We know it when we taste it because it is not seasoned properly.
There are many ways to prepare fried chicken but for the traditional style, it gets marinated in buttermilk overnight.
Skillet Fried Chicken
How do I make a traditional fried chicken recipe?
When it comes time to fry your chicken pieces, gently dry some of the buttermilk off of them and set aside on a sheet pan.
Make a well seasoned flour mixture for dredging. You’ll also need a wet mixture for the dredging process.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the dry mixture, then the wet mixture, then the dry mixture; set aside until ready to fry.
Heating your cooking oil is important when frying chicken. If it is not hot enough then your chicken will sit in the oil longer and become greasier.
I prefer using my cast iron skillet to pan fry my chicken. The cast iron holds the heat well and you don’t use as much oil as deep frying.
The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken. ~ Maya Angelou
Begin by frying the dark meat pieces (legs and thighs) and wings. Don’t over crowd your skillet and cook in as many batches as needed.
Fry on each side turning as needed until golden brown on all sides.
The wings will cook a bit faster, in about 10 minutes. The dark meat pieces will take 12-15 minutes.
The chicken breasts are last to fry and will take around 15-18 minutes until done.
Frying chicken in the right oil temperature (325°F to 350°F) will ensure that your chicken is perfectly done when golden brown on all sides.
Practice makes perfect when learning to fry chicken. Be sure to check the internal temperature of your chicken for doneness with an instant read thermometer until you get the hang of it.
Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F for safe consumption.
Step by Step Fried Chicken Recipe
- 2.5-3 lb Whole Chicken, cut up into 8 pieces
- 2 c Buttermilk
- 2 tsp Hot Sauce
Dry Dredge Mixture
- 2.5 c All Purpose Flour
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Poultry Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Creole Seasoning (or Cayenne Pepper)
Wet Dredge Mixture
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 c Buttermilk
- 2 c Peanut Oil, for frying (or Vegetable Oil)
- Combine the Marinade: In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of buttermilk with 2 teaspoons of hot sauce; add the chicken pieces and make sure they're all coated well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight.
Frying the Chicken
- Add peanut oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium low.
- Prepare the dry dredge mixture by combining the flour and seasonings together in a large bowl; set aside.
- Prepare the wet dredge mixture by whisking together the egg with a cup of buttermilk in a large bowl; set aside.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place on a paper towel lined sheet pan. Use a paper towel to gently dry the chicken pieces slightly.
- Dredge each chicken pieces in the dry dredge mixture, then wet, then dry; shake off excess. Place dredged chicken pieces on a foil lined sheet pan. Repeat until all pieces are done.
- Cooking in batches; begin by adding the chicken legs, thighs and wings to the hot oil making sure not to over crowd the skillet.
- Use tongs to turn every 5 minutes, fry the chicken until crispy and golden brown (12-15 minutes).
- Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a paper towel lined sheet pan with a cooling rack placed on top to drain excess cooking oil.
- Continue with frying the remaining breast pieces, turning as needed (15-18 minutes) until crispy and golden brown.
- Transfer the breasts to the lined sheet pan when done.
- Serve after chicken has cooled 10 minutes.
Save the neck and backbone from your chicken to freeze for making stock.
Use an instant read thermometer if needed to test for doneness. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
Cooking oil should be between 325-350°F for frying.
Allow chicken to cool slightly until warm before serving for best flavor.
Season the skin of the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper before dredging for added flavor.
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Baking Sheet with Rack Set - (18” x 13” Pan / 16.8” x 11.8” Cooling Rack) Heavy-Duty Aluminum Cookie Half Sheets Oven Tray with Stainless Steel Roasting Wire - Includes Silicone Feet for Cooking Racks
Lodge 3 Quart Cast Iron Combo Cooker. Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, Fryer, Dutch Oven, and Convertible Skillet/Griddle Lid
Eggs Collecting Gathering Holding Apron for Chicken Hense Duck Goose Eggs Housewife Farmhouse Kitchen Home Workwear (Adult)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3.5gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 311mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 124g
You might also like this recipe for Air Fried Pork Chops from Back to My Southern Roots.
You can also see this fried chicken recipe shared at Weekend Potluck.
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