Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Old fashioned, buttermilk marinated, flour coated, crispy, tender fried chicken recipe.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Marinating time: 8 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of chicken parts (thighs, drumsticks, wings, breasts), skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 cups buttermilk (can also use plain yogurt thinned with a little milk)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, tarragon) or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups canola oil, rice bran oil, or peanut oil

Method

1 Marinate chicken in buttermilk mixture: Mix the buttermilk, sliced onion, herbs, paprika, and cayenne in a large bowl. Put the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture and coat completely. Marinate overnight (at least 8 hours).

2 Drain chicken, prepare bag with flour and seasonings: Place chicken pieces in a colander and let drain of excess buttermilk mixture. In a large paper or plastic (sturdy) bag, mix flour with garlic salt, onion salt, cayenne, salt and pepper.

3 Heat oil in thick-bottomed pan: Heat 2 cups of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum—something that can take the heat) on medium high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil (but not so hot that the pan is smoking), about 350°F. Remember when working with hot oil, always have a pan lid close by.

4 Coat chicken pieces with flour: Place chicken pieces in bag with flour mixture and shake until thoroughly coated.

5 Fry the chicken: Working in batches, add the chicken pieces to the hot oil in the pan and fry on one side for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown, and then use tongs to turn the pieces over and fry for another 10-12 minutes, again until golden brown.

Frying Chicken in Skillet Buttermilk Fried Chicken With Tongs
Fried Chicken in Buttermilk Breading Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Be careful to keep the oil hot enough to fry the chicken, but not so high as it burns the chicken.

6 Remove to rack to drain of excess oil: Use tongs to remove chicken from pan. Place on a rack over a cookie sheet or broiling pan for the excess oil to drain. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Cooling on Rack Serving Fried Chicken on Plate