The Best Southern Fried Chicken (+Video)
If you want a crazy delicious chicken recipe, then it has to be this recipe for The Best Southern Fried Chicken. Crispy, flavorful and absolutely divine!
CRUNCHY SKIN AND TENDER CHICKEN
I’m from the south and we all know that Fried Chicken is a staple here. Something that you are born to love and born to eat! This recipe for The Best Southern Fried Chicken is one of my favorite recipes and one that took me a few years to get just right. This recipe produces a crunchy exterior with moist chicken on the inside. The absolute perfect chicken in my opinion. Really good fried chicken takes time so don’t rush this one.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
No. This is non-negotiable here. If you’re are going to go through the trouble of making fried chicken, you will be missing out on so much flavor. It has to be real buttermilk too. Not the stuff that you make with milk and vinegar. And overnight soak is optimal for maximum juiciness.
The mixture of the cornstarch and flour helps give it that extra crunchy exterior.
This recipe works with any cut of chicken. The key is just making sure the chicken is cooked to 165F degrees internal temperature.
Peanut oil has a neutral flavor that won’t compromise the flavor of the chicken. Canola oil would be my second choice.
I deep fry my chicken in a deep fryer but you can also do this in a deep, heavy bottomed pot. I just find that you often get darker burn-like spots with a cast iron pan if you aren’t super careful.
Well, you’ll need to use their famous 11 herbs and spices. Just substitute the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in this recipe for the following seasonings: (you will skip the step of seasoning the individual chicken and pieces and stir these seasonings in with the flour/cornstarch mixture)
2 teaspoons salt
½ tablespoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon pepper (use white pepper if you have it)
The possibilities are endless. Some of our favorites are: Southern Fried Okra, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Butter Swim Biscuits and Macaroni and Cheese.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- whole chicken (cut up) – you can just use your favorite cut of chicken here: breasts, thighs, wings, legs
- salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder – this is the blend of seasonings I enjoy but feel free to use your favorite or use the copycat KFC seasoning blend above in the FAQ
- buttermilk – this is key, do not substitute – this really makes the meat so tender and keeps it from being dry
- hot sauce – this is optional but adds a nice little kick
- cornstarch – this is what gives you that crispy skin to don’t skip it
- peanut oil – this is my favorite oil to fry in since it isn’t going to take away flavor from the chicken (and its the less stinky kind of oil)
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN:
Place the cut up chicken in a large bowl. Add the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, toss to coat the chicken in the spices.
Add the buttermilk and hot sauce to the bowl, stir until everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but it’s best if you can let it sit overnight.
In a medium-sized bowl add the flour, cornstarch, salt and black pepper.
Whisk this mixture together until completely combined.
Taking the chicken pieces one at a time, let the excess buttermilk drip off. Coat in the flour mixture, make sure the chicken is well coated. Shake off any excess. Set the chicken aside and let it sit for a few minutes until the coating starts to look a little pasty.
Fill up your deep fryer (deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven) with peanut oil (or frying oil of your choice) and preheat to 350°F. Carefully add the piece of chicken to the deep fryer. Fry until golden brown, turning every few minutes. You will need to fry in batches so you do not overcrowd the fryer.
Chicken is done when golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Depending on the size of the chicken, dark meat takes about 12-14 minutes and white meat takes 8-10 minutes.
When the chicken is done frying, place it on a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately sprinkle a little flaked salt on top. Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces.
HOW TO STORE:
- Chicken needs to be stored in the refrigerator. To do this, you will want to let the fried chicken cool completely before preparing to store, this will help the coating stay crisp.
- Place the cooked chicken in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator where it will stay good for up to 5 days. You can reheat in the oven, microwave or an air fryer. The oven and the air fryer will help keep the skin crispy while re-heating.
- If you want to freeze the fried chicken then you will want to store in an airtight container and place in the freezer where it will stay good for up to 6 months.
- To reheat Fried Chicken from frozen you will want to let it thaw in the refrigerator and then bake it in the oven (at 400F degrees) or use an air fryer until heated through.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
The Best Southern Fried Chicken (+Video)
- 1 whole chicken, cut up (or 8 pieces of your favorite cuts of chicken)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- peanut oil (for frying)
- flaked salt (for serving, optional)
- Place 1 whole chicken, cut up in a large bowl. Sprinkle on top of the chicken: 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons onion powder then toss to coat the chicken in the spices.
- Add 2 cups buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons hot sauce, stir until everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but it’s best if you can let it sit overnight.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons paprika and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Set aside.
- Fill up a deep fryer (deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven) with peanut oil (or neutral frying oil of your choice) and preheat to 350°F.
- Taking the chicken pieces one at a time, let the excess buttermilk drip off. Coat in the flour mixture, make sure the chicken is well coated. Shake off any excess. Set the chicken aside and let it sit for a few minutes until the coating starts to look a little pasty.
- Carefully add the piece of chicken to the deep fryer and continue with the next piece. Don't add more than three or four pieces at at time. You will need to fry in batches so you do not overcrowd the fryer. Fry until golden brown, turning every few minutes.
- Chicken is done when golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Depending on the size of the chicken, dark meat can take about 12-14 minutes and white meat takes 8-10 minutes (these are estimates – use a meat thermometer for accurate doneness)
- When the chicken is done frying, place it on a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately sprinkle a little flaked salt on top. Continue with the rest of the chicken pieces.
- You can let this soak for a minimum of 2 hours but the key to the best flavor is letting it soak overnight. It gives time for the buttermilk to do its magic!
- The mixture of the cornstarch and flour helps give it that extra crunchy exterior. Don’t like it crunchy? Just leave out the cornstarch.
- If you want a bigger kick of flavor to the crust, add more garlic & onion powder to the flour coating mixture. Also, Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour (in the box) is a delicious substitute!
- We love sprinkling extra salt after the chicken has been fried, it gives it extra flavor, this is optional.
- We used a whole cut up chicken, you can buy it that way or break down your own.
- Peanut oil is the best for frying this recipe but canola or vegetable work as well.
- I deep fry my chicken in a deep fryer but you can also do this in a large cast iron pan as well.
- Buttermilk is absolutely necessary for this to turn out moist. If you cannot find buttermilk you can make your own by mixing 1 cup of regular milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then stir.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
- ½ tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- ½ tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
- 1 tablespoon pepper (use white pepper if you have it)
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Planning using recipe for family reunion. What deep fryer do you use?
Who doesn’t like fried chicken? My Grandmother, Mrs. Willie Bell Perkins, could really fry chicken. It was always crispy but moist.. One day I will fly up some chicken and enjoy it. I might add some potato salad. My dessert can be a nice payday candy bar. Yes, I was born in the South (MS). To all the Mothers who cook for their families, thank you so much.
Brenda M. Russell
Hi Brandie, Do you still use the cornstarch if you use the seasoned flour you recommended? Thanks so much for this recipe. Even being from the south I’ve never managed to get my fried chicken crispy like my Nana did.
Hi Kris! Yes you’ll still want to use it. The cornstarch really helps with that crunchiness 🙂 Hope that helps!!
This chicken is delicious and easy to-boot! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and it really crisps up nicely.
I’ve been to a few stores and haven’t found celery salt?? Where exactly can I get it?
Really? I live in a small town and it’s at my small town grocery store. It’s a pretty common ingredient. Perhaps you can order it online?
Can i use a nonstick skillet?
Yes you could. I would make sure it’s a heavy skillet though that way it ensures the most even cooking. Thinner pans can distribute the heat unevenly and you end up with hot spots.
Excellent flavor! As I had plenty of buttermilk and flour mix (I used the KFC seasonings), I dipped and floured twice. I used chicken breasts cut into thirds. Little bit of coating coming off after I took them out of the oil, but nothing significant. Chicken was done and juicy. I cooked 3-4 minutes each side for a total of about 7-8 minutes. Will definitely make again! Thank you!
Thanks so much Kimberly! I appreciate you taking the time to come back and leave a review!
Easy recipe and tasted good but there was flour mixture left over. Also, a lot of flour fell off when first placed in the oil. The buttermilk didn’t seem thick and sticky enough for the flour mixture to adequately stick.
Thanks so much Lulu! As long as you shake off excess flour you shouldn’t be seeing that much flour coming off. It is normal for a little to escape though. Another tip is to let the chicken sit for a few minutes until you see the chicken coating starting to look pasty. Once it looks like that, go ahead and pop it into the oil. Hope that helps!
Okay, I’ll say it: it’s the best fried chicken I ever had, and I’m from the south, AND I made it with boneless skinless breasts. Dammit lady this is good. Now do fried shrimp and hush puppies.
LOL! I love it Liz! Ok let me work on that. I have a recipe I like for fried shrimp but I don’t LOVE it yet so give me a little more time to recipe test and I’ll make sure its right when I share it! 🙂
This is not going to work in an air fryer. There is not enough oil. Air fryer chicken will require a light coating of breading mix that is then sprayed with PAM. That’s ok for chicken fingers or wingettes but not traditional fried chicken
She said to “reheat” in an air fryer if you have any leftovers…..not to do the initial cooking in an air fryer.
Update. It doesn’t come out right at all in the air fryer. Major disappointment. To keep the breading intact I’ve seen suggestions to let it sit for a awhile after breading to let it stick to the skin better. I’ll try that next time. Thanks again
Thanks for testing it in the air fryer. That is something I haven’t attempted yet in the air fryer. I am going to try to recipe test one that will work in the air fryer though! Stay tuned!
Seems to me that mixing Franks Red Hot Sauce and milk will create the buttermilk effect as Franks is mostly vinegar.
Yes – you are correct. And its not spicy at all like some might think. If you do want more spice, just add a bit more hot sauce and some chili flakes to the coating.
I tried doing it in the wok cuz I couldn’t find my cord for my deep fryer, recent moved into this apartment. Other than the coating getting a bit broken up from flipping, it was delicious. Moist as can be. Great taste too. Doing a couple of pieces in my air fryer just to see how it translates to that. Thanks for the recipe.
Perfect. Just the recipe I’ve been looking for. Thank you
What’s a good substitute for cornstarch?
Is it an allergy? You could use rice flour, arrow root or even maybe tapioca.
Not yet but will. Thank you for sharing.
Have you tried this in the air fryer?
No I haven’t – I’m sorry!