Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Closeup of several golden brown pieces of deep fried chicken with both light and dark meat on a plate

Frying perfectly crispy buttermilk southern fried chicken in your home is easy enough for anyone to do! I’ve put together a crispy buttermilk fried chicken recipe that delivers that satisfying crunchiness and tender juiciness you want in your fried chicken.

I want you to try this recipe, because it honestly shocked me how on the mark this fried chicken recipe was for what I was trying the get at.

My goal: Create the juiciest, crispiest fried chicken I can in a 24-hour period.

Tools

To make this incredibly crispy buttermilk fried chicken recipe I recommend you have the following tool set available in your kitchen at home:

  1. Deep Fryer
  2. Large Bowl
  3. Measurement Spoons/Cups
  4. Paper Towels
  5. Cooling Racks
  6. Baking Sheets
  7. Medium Mixing Bowl
  8. Spider Skimmer
  9. High Smoke Point Fry Oil
  10. Instant Read Digital Thermometer

You can see that there are a number of utensils you probably have at home, and if you don’t have them you can see below for a number of curated tools I recommend.

If you are curious, click through and consider purchasing them through Amazon, where I receive a small commission which helps support me being able to bring more incredible content to you.

However, if you’ve already go these tools then you’re good to go!

Alternative to the deep fryer, you can also use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven on a burner. Just be sure to have a candy thermometer handy so you can track your temperatures judiciously.

Emphatically, the number one problem I had using my enameled Dutch oven was maintaining temperature, so I recommend you save up and upgrade to a countertop electric deep fryer.

Buttermilk Mixture

Stainless steel mixing bowl with buttermilk brine coated chicken pieces submerged

When I concocted the southern fried chicken style buttermilk mixture I was originally going to use only kosher salt and cayenne pepper.

But, I was reminded of a recipe from Alvin Zhou over on YouTube where he used sugar and rosemary in his brine.

I tried this out and loved what it added to the chicken. I think you should give it a go since it balances the flavors really nicely.

It really depends on where you grew up in the south, since it seems like every region and every family has their own way of flavoring fried chicken.

But I believe southern fried chicken needs a little spice to keep your tastebuds interested!

I would add more the next time I fry this, maybe I just love spice, but this level wasn’t quite hot enough for me.

Breading & Resting

Pale white, flour coated chicken pieces on a cooling rackFlour coated chicken pieces on a cooling rack held up in the sunlight to reflect on their change after resting in the fridge for several hours
Before and after letting the breaded chicken rest in the fridge for several hours.

Thinking back on it, this technique makes a ton of sense for getting the super crispy skin you want on southern fried chicken.

I watched a video explaining the science behind frying chicken and they drew a comparison between frying chicken and searing meat on a hot skillet.

Essentially, if the surface of your meat is dry, it will caramelize quicker, developing more flavor, quicker than if it is saturated.

The same principle applies to frying food. If you drop damp fries into the hot fry oil, the heat will cause the water to evaporate, causing a barrier of steam to prevent the food from actually touching the oil.

Essentially, your food won’t crisp up until all the water is evaporated.

This is why the breading and resting process is so important to frying chicken.

The flour, corn starch, and baking powder dry out the chicken and leach moisture from the chicken. Plus, the cold, dry fridge will help further this process.

Basically, the longer you let your chicken rest in the fridge, the better caramelized the crust will get in the fryer and the quicker it will cook.

You can hack your way to crispier fried chicken!

Frying

Kitchen with a deep fryer set up to cook fried chicken along with a camping chair with a laptop on it and a dog laying in the corner.
Me and Zeus hanging out, frying some chicken together.

Southern fried chicken is deep, golden brown and incredibly crisp and juicy. While much of the crisp and flavor is achieved before frying it, the fry is an important step to finishing out the chicken.

You’ll want to make sure you don’t overcrowd your oil, because severe drops in temperature may occur if you do. Consistency is key, don’t get impatient!

Frying whole pieces of chicken means you need to keep a close eye on your chicken pieces.

I like to fry like with like.

This means I put thighs with thighs, legs with legs, etc.

Breasts are usually too big to fry together, so I fry them alone.

When frying I keep my meat thermometer close by and make sure to check once the chicken looks close to being done.

Just remember that not all parts of the chicken fry at the same rate, so be sure to keep your eye on it. Once it starts floating at the top of the oil, that’s usually a good indicator it’s either done or close to it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is a dank recipe and I hope you try it out.

The chicken was so crispy and delicious I at it for dinner for a week and it was still mouthwatering.

Plus, if you fry a bunch of it up, this stuff goes great when cut up over a salad with some vinagrette!

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Other than that, enjoy and have a great day!

Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 51 minutes
Resting Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 1 minute
Frying perfectly crispy buttermilk fried chicken in your home is easy enough for anyone to do! I've put together a crispy buttermilk fried chicken recipe that delivers that satisfying crunchiness and tender juiciness you want in your fried chicken.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Deep Fried, Whole Chicken
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 1279kcal

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Quarts Peanut Oil

Buttermilk Brine Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper

Flour Coating Ingredients

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp White Pepper Optional for Heat

Instructions

Buttermilk Brine

  • Place chicken pieces into your large mixing bowl.
  • Add in your granulated white sugar, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt.
  • Mix to combine so your ingredients are homogenous and your chicken is fully coated and covered in the mixture.
    Stainless steel mixing bowl with buttermilk brine coated chicken pieces submerged
  • Cover your bowl in saran wrap and place on a shelf in your fridge for up to 12 hours to allow the buttermilk brine mixture to penetrate the chicken.

Flour Coating

  • In your medium mixing bowl add your flour, corn starch, baking powder, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and white pepper (if desired). Mix by hand or with whisk until homogenous.
    Mussed up flour seasoned with spices to act as a fried chicken coating in a stainless steel mixing bowl
  • Remove your chicken from the fridge and one by one remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk brine, allow the excess liquid to drip off, then coat thoroughly in your flour mixture.
  • Ensure every nook and cranny is completely coated in the flour mixture, then tap off the excess flour on the side of the bowl and place the chicken pieces onto cooling racks set upon baking sheets. Repeat for all chicken.
    Pale white, flour coated chicken pieces on a cooling rack

Rest in the Fridge

  • Place your baking sheets with the chicken pieces on them on the shelves in your refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to allow the coating to combine with the buttermilk and to draw moisture out of the skin.
    Flour coated chicken pieces resting on cooling racks on shelves of a refrigerator filled with other grocery items

Fry Chicken

  • Remove the chicken from the fridge when the flour mixture has combined with the buttermilk to for a homogenous surface.
    Flour coated chicken pieces on a cooling rack held up in the sunlight to reflect on their change after resting in the fridge for several hours
  • Heat your peanut oil in your deep fryer to 365 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fry your chicken pieces in small batches, I prefer frying the same pieces together. Wings for 10-12 minutes, legs for 12-14 minutes, thighs for 12-14 minutes, and breasts 14-16 minutes.
  • Once done frying, place your chicken on a clean cooling rack for 10 minutes. Enjoy once cooled down, but while still warm!
    A single, whole, golden brown deep fried chicken wing held up by a hand in the sunlight

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