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Best Southern Fried Chicken – Traditional Buttermilk Recipe

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Ready for the best Southern Fried Chicken you’ve ever tasted? Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, it’s a comfort food that warms both the heart and the soul. This is my favorite fried chicken recipe – a classic recipe that even beginner cooks can make with our easy step-by-step recipe.

hand holding crispy fried chicken drumstick

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Many people get intimidated when it comes to recipes that require deep frying but I’m telling you it’s not difficult! Like our hush puppies, fried catfish, and country fried chicken, this buttermilk fried chicken is easy to make, it just requires a little time and patience. The result is crispy, crunchy chicken that’s perfectly moist on the inside.

Why I love this recipe

This Southern fried chicken recipe holds a special place in my heart because it captures the essence of true Southern comfort. With a flavorful, well-seasoned crust and succulent, juicy meat, it’s a dish that’s perfect for family gatherings or picnics and always a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients for this recipe.

Southern fried chicken ingredients in bowls on marble countertop
  • chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, or breasts)
  • buttermilk
  • all-purpose flour
  • seasonings – paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper
  • peanut oil for frying (canola oil or vegetable oil have a high smoke point and can work too)

Step by step

  1. In a large bowl, place the chicken pieces and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet, cast iron skillet, or dutch oven to 350°F.
  1. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off.
  2. Using tongs, roll each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour mixture, pressing the flour onto the chicken to create a good coating.
  3. Carefully place the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the skillet; fry in batches if necessary.
  4. Fry for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. Place the fried chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Tips for best results

  • Soaking the chicken in the buttermilk marinade not only adds flavor but also helps tenderize the meat, don’t rush this step.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the oil temperature is correct. This prevents greasy chicken.

Flavor variations

All Southern cooks have their own favorite fried chicken seasonings so don’t be afraid to play with the recipe and make it your own.

Consider adding a few dashes of hot sauce to the buttermilk marinade for a kick of heat or playing with the seasonings in the flour mixture.

Thyme, chili pepper, and seasoning mixes like creole, cajun, or Mrs. Dash can all be delicious in the flour dredge.

fried chicken in brown bowl

Serving Suggestions

Wondering what to serve with fried chicken? Southern fried chicken is a very versatile dish! Serve with green beans, collard greens, creamed corn, sweet potato french fries, or mashed potatoes and white gravy for a classic Southern dinner. Or, enjoy it cold as picnic fare with coleslaw, potato salad, and buttermilk biscuits

Storage

For the best experience, enjoy your fried chicken immediately.

If you have leftover fried chicken, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer to keep the crispy exterior texture.

hand holding fried chicken drumstick with bite taken out

If you try this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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fried chicken in brown bowl

Best Southern Fried Chicken – Traditional Buttermilk Recipe


  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

Southern fried chicken is a classic comfort food that is easier than you may think to make. Chicken is soaked in buttermilk then dredged in spiced flour and deep fried to create a crispy, crunchy crust over moist, juicy meat.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces (drumsticks, breasts, wings)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • vegetable, peanut, or canola oil for frying

 


Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, place the chicken pieces and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet to 350°F.
  4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and allow excess to drip off.
  5. Roll each piece in the seasoned flour mixture, pressing the flour onto the chicken to create a good coating.
  6. Carefully place the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the skillet; fry in batches if necessary.
  7. Fry for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through to 165°F.
  8. Drain the fried chicken on a paper towel-lined plate.

 

  • Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: main course
  • Method: frying
  • Cuisine: Southern

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 638
  • Sugar: 4.3 g
  • Sodium: 190.1 mg
  • Fat: 27.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Protein: 58.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 174.5 mg

Keywords: Southern fried chicken

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