How to Make Crispy Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a beloved dish known worldwide for its crispy, golden exterior and juicy, flavorful interior. A staple of Southern cuisine, this classic comfort food has been perfected in kitchens across the globe, each adding its unique twist to the traditional recipe. Perfect for family gatherings, picnics, or a satisfying meal any day of the week, classic fried chicken is a versatile dish that never fails to please. This recipe will guide you through creating the perfect fried chicken with a seasoned flour coating and tips for achieving that irresistible crunch.

Why You’ll Love This Fried Chicken

  • Crispy and Flavorful: A well-seasoned crust that’s crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
  • Comfort Food Classic: A dish that evokes nostalgia and brings comfort with every bite.
  • Customizable: Easy to adjust the seasonings in the flour mixture to suit your taste preferences.
  • Family Favorite: Loved by both adults and children, making it perfect for any meal occasion.

Ingredients Notes

  • Chicken: Use a mix of chicken pieces like breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings for variety.
  • Buttermilk: Soaking the chicken in buttermilk tenderizes the meat and helps the flour coating stick.
  • Flour: The base of the coating, which crisps up during frying.
  • Seasonings: A blend of spices such as paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper adds depth to the flavor. Feel free to include other spices like cayenne pepper for heat or dried herbs for additional flavor.
  • Oil for Frying: Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil, for frying.
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Recipe Steps

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Begin by soaking the chicken pieces in buttermilk for at least an hour (or overnight in the refrigerator) to tenderize the meat.
  2. Season the Flour: In a large bowl, mix together flour with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’re using.
  3. Dredge the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring it’s well-coated.
  4. Heat the Oil: In a deep fryer or large, heavy pot, heat the oil to 350°F (175°C). Use a thermometer to monitor and maintain the temperature.
  5. Fry the Chicken: Fry the chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 15 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
  6. Drain and Serve: Transfer the fried chicken to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain excess oil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Storage: Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in an oven preheated to 375°F (190°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy and warmed through. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the crust soggy.


  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl, ensuring they’re fully submerged in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. Prepare for Frying:
    • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to fry it, allowing it to come to room temperature. This ensures more even cooking.
    • In a large shallow dish, mix the all-purpose flour with the remaining 1 teaspoon of black pepper, cayenne pepper (if using), and additional salt to taste.
  3. Dredge the Chicken:
    • Lift a piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, coating it thoroughly. Shake off any excess flour and set the coated chicken on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  4. Heat the Oil:
    • Fill a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven with about 1 inch of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) over medium heat. Use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature.
  5. Fry the Chicken:
    • Carefully place several pieces of chicken in the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken in batches if necessary. Cook until golden brown, turning once, about 10 to 15 minutes per side. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) when done.
    • Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature between 300°F (150°C) and 325°F (165°C) during frying.
  6. Drain:
    • Use tongs to transfer the fried chicken to a clean wire rack set over a baking sheet (or paper towels) to drain any excess oil.
  7. Serve:
    • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Fried chicken can be enjoyed hot, at room temperature, or even cold.
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