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You can’t go wrong with delicious buttermilk fried chicken! It’s great for picnics, barbecues, holidays and more. Plus – it’s easier to make than you think!!
Crispy Fried Chicken
Do you love Kentucky Fried Chicken?!
We’ve been enjoying it since I was a little girl and it’s been a staple at so many family picnics over the years. We were so excited to try our own version and were so happy with the results.
Today’s buttermilk fried chicken was simple and beyond delicious! We bought our chicken and cut it up, but you can buy it already cut if you want to skip that step. The breading was our favorite part, and made for an extra crispy fried chicken.
Here are a few things to remember when making the chicken…
Which pieces are best? If your family prefers drumsticks, which is all my kids want, skip buying the mixed package and just pick up a package of only drumsticks. Other than personal preference it doesn’t matter. I do suggest frying like pieces together at the same time as the different cuts will fry at different rates.
Best oil to use: The most common oils used are probably vegetable oil and canola oil. Either work. Some other oils with a high smoke point are coconut oil, peanut oil, and even lard.
Dry Brine, Marinade or No Marinade?
Should I dry brine or use a marinade? Both are great options so it depends on what you’re after.
- Dry Brine: Is a good way to add crispness to the skin of the chicken without changing the natural moisture of the meat. Evenly rub sea/kosher salt, along with any other seasonings, on the outside of each piece. Place the pieces in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but not longer than 24. Coat and fry.
- Marinade: this is mostly used to flavor and tenderize. Because of the low acidic level, the marinade will break down the proteins and create a flavorful tender chicken. Soak the chicken pieces in a marinade of buttermilk or yogurt, along with any seasonings, for at least 1 hour, but not longer than 12. Pat dry, coat, then fry.
- No Marinade: The chicken for this recipe does not call for a marinade, so you don’t have to use one if you don’t want to to save on time.
How to Make Fried Chicken
CUT CHICKEN. Cut up chicken in pieces (You can skin them too if you prefer). If chicken is large, you may need to cut into more pieces (we halved our chicken breasts so they would cook quicker). Set chicken pieces aside.
COATING. Put flour, paprika, garlic salt and pepper in bag and shake around.
DIP. Dip chicken pieces in buttermilk then place in flour mixture and shake around making sure to coat each piece. Place coated chicken on foil lined cookie sheet. Cover with wax paper and let sit until flour is paste-like consistency.
FRY. Add oil to a large skillet and turn to MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add chicken to the hot oil and brown on both sides. Reduce heat and let cook until internal temp is 165 degrees. We cooked in batches – the wings and legs for about 15 minutes; thighs and breast halves were about 20 minutes. We turned the heat back up to MEDIUM-HIGH for an additional few minutes at the end.
Drain crispy fried chicken on paper towel-lined plate.
Air Fryer Instructions
A good alternative to deep frying your chicken is to use an airfryer, You save some of the calories, but still end up with a crispy coating.
- Preheat the airfryer to 390°F
- While the fryer is heating up use a pastry brush to apply a thin coating of oil to the outside of the chicken.
- Fry for about 25 minutes flipping the chicken halfway through.
- When you go to flip your chicken use your pastry brush to apply more oil to any floury spots.
- Check the internal temperature using a thermometer and fry for 3-5 minutes more if needed.
- Use a thermometer: There’s nothing worse than biting into a beautifully browned piece of chicken only to find a raw center. Be sure that each piece is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F
- Use a cast iron skillet with high sides. If you have one, a dutch oven works well. The cast iron distributes heat evenly and the high sides help contain oil splatters.
- For extra crispness add a tablespoon of corn starch to the flour
- Once the chicken has been fried set it on a cooling rack, set on a baking pan lined with paper towels, to allow the excess oil to drip off.
- Did you know you can reuse the cooking oil? Allow the oil to cool completely. Pour the oil through a mesh strainer. Store the filtered oil in a glass jar to be used again.
Storing + Side tips
How to store? Leftover fried chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
How to freeze? You can also freeze leftover chicken for up to 3 months. To reheat: Thaw if applicable and reheat in the oven set to 400°F for about 15 minutes or until hot.
What to serve with Fried Chicken? So many great recipes go with fried chicken, but here are some of our favorites…
- Easy Coleslaw
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Favorite Broccoli Salad
- Baked Parmesan Zucchini
- Homemade Potato Salad
For more chicken recipes, check out:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
- 4-6 pound whole chicken cut into pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour for coating chicken
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- garlic salt (with parsley flakes)
- black pepper
- vegetable oil
- Cut up chicken in pieces (You can skin them too if you prefer). If chicken is large, you may need to cut it into more pieces (we halved our chicken breasts so they would cook quicker). Set chicken pieces aside.
- Put flour, paprika, garlic salt, and pepper in bag and shake around.
- Dip chicken pieces in buttermilk then place in flour mixture and shake around making sure to coat each piece. Place coated chicken on foil lined cookie sheet. Cover with wax paper and let sit until flour is paste-like consistency.
- Add oil to a large skillet and turn to MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add chicken to the hot oil and brown on both sides. Reduce heat and let cook until internal temp is 165 degrees. We cooked in batches – the wings and legs for about 15 minutes; thighs and breast halves were about 20 minutes. We turned the heat back up to MEDIUM-HIGH for an additional few minutes at the end.
- Drain chicken on a paper towel-lined plate. Keep chicken warm in oven until it's all done.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.