Juicy and Flavorful Fried Chicken

August 30th, 2008 by katie

Every year, without fail, in addition to carrot cake, my mother asks for this flavorful fried chicken for her birthday dinner. Most years I burn the breading while the inside is still raw and we sit around watching while the salvaged, non-burned pieces finish cooking in the oven. I always deep fry one or two fingers and usually ruin one or two pieces of kitchen equipment. This year was different. This year I anticipated all or these problems and had planned against them. And this year it actually worked. I did deep fry my fingers, as usual, but the chicken breasts came out perfectly breaded, golden and crispy, and thoroughly cooked and juicy.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Serves 6, prep 10 min, cook 40 min, brine several hours before to overnight, adapted from Recipezaar

Brine Ingredients

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • buttermilk, cream, or milk to cover


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • flour
  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, or chicken pieces
  • peanut oil
  1. Prepare the brine by pouring about a cup of milk into a large container that will fit all of your chicken. Whisk in the salt and sugar until well combined and then add all of your chicken pieces. Add additional milk until all chicken is covered. Cover your container and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
  2. Rinse chicken breasts and blot on paper towels until dry. In a deep bowl combine all the liquid ingredients and spices, buttermilk through black pepper, and whisk to combine. In a separate dish combine baking powder and baking soda, then when ready to bread whisk into buttermilk until foamy.
  3. Set about 4 cups of flour in a shallow dish alongside the buttermilk batter.
  4. Heat 1 or 2 deep pots with several inches of peanut oil. I usually only attempt one batch of three breasts at a time. If you overcrowd your pot your oil will cool and not cook as well so consider the size of your chicken pieces and your pot sizes.
  5. Start by dredging your chicken completely in plain flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into buttermilk mixture until fully coated then allow excess to drip back off. Then coat again in flour and place coated breast on a rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet to contain the floury mess.
  6. Repeat with all chicken pieces, add fresh flour as needed.
  7. Check your oil by dropping a chunk of battered flour into the pot. If there are no or few bubbles your oil is not hot enough. If it immediately blackens and smokes then it’s too hot. If you have a candy or deep fryer thermometer the temp you want is about 350°F.
  8. Once your batter chunk bubbles and floats and slowly turns golden, your oil is ready. Using tongs, gently lower each chicken piece into the oil. Cook approximately 20 minutes, turning half-way through when batter is golden and begins to brown.
  9. Check cooked chicken with a meat thermometer, however don’t be surprised if it gives you a wacky number, my meat thermometer never says what its supposed to. Regardless of the reported temperature, if the juices run clear when you remove the meat thermometer you are probably good. Sprinkle with Kosher salt if desired and place in a warm oven while you cook the second batch of chicken, if necessary.
  10. Serve with coleslaw and biscuits and have someone who loves you lined up to do the dishes.

Try these dishes with your fried chicken:

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Posted in Main Dish

11 Responses

  1. sweetbird

    Holy cow that’s amazing. Fried chicken is one of my weaknesses. Like bacon, it’s one of the very few things that keep me from being a vegetarian.

    Yours looks delicious!

  2. noble pig

    I would ask for it too! Looks perfect in every way and juicy is the best.

  3. alexandra's kitchen

    buttermilk is one of those magic ingredients. it makes chicken so tender. this fried chicken looks amazing — a perfect entree for the slaw!

    I agree. I just love using buttermilk but I always have trouble using it all up, so I always try to combine as many buttermilk recipes as possible into that week’s menu. – Katie

  4. Marie

    Hi Katie, Your fried chicken looks perfect! Brining it with the sugar and buttermilk must make it taste amazing too.
    I don’t fry much but I would make an exception for this! Thanks so much for the link also!

  5. Kristen

    With my horrid frying experience, I probably shouldn’t give this recipe a try, but you know what? It looks AMAZING! I’ve never seen friend chicken look so good!

  6. Kevin

    That chicken is perfectly golden brown and looks nice and crunchy!

  7. melissa

    What a fantastic job Katie! Thanks for sacrificing your fingers. 🙂 I really need to try a recipe for fried chicken for my husband, as it’s one of his favorites. I’m hesitant I suppose because I never seem to be able to fry things crispy without also burning them. I need to give it another go.

  8. Deborah Dowd

    If you are going to eat something fried ,this is totally worth it! The buttermilk really makes the chicken delicious!

  9. aileen

    i made this for my boyfriend’s birthday and he said it was the best fried chicken he’s ever had. i had to agree. 🙂
    thank you for posting this!

  10. Tanya

    YUM! This chicken looks so delicious…I’m hungry now. I’ll for sure have to make it.

  11. Sam Jo

    I have been looking for a good fried chicken recipe! I always have a hard time when frying bigger pieces of chicken! I will give this one a try!

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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