Who needs to order takeaway fried chicken when you can make the real thing at home for much cheaper? This Southern Fried Chicken is brined in buttermilk for super tender meat and coated in a crunchy, crispy seasoned coating.
My boys are really missing their favourite fast food places at the moment, so I’ve been trying to put a smile on their faces by making home made versions of their favourite treats. This crunchy fried chicken was a massive hit and I’ve already had requests to make it again asap!
Slightly spicy, crispy and perfectly seasoned, this fried chicken is an absolute winner. I’m not going to lie – it does require your full attention to make! But the results are so worth it.
If you don’t eat all the fried chicken straight away, it keeps extremely well in the fridge for a couple of days – it’s really good cold with salad and maybe some creamy coleslaw.
what kind of chicken pieces to use for southern fried chicken
I mostly tend to stick to a mixture of skin on, bone in chicken thighs and drumsticks. They are cheap to buy and let’s face it, everyone loves a chicken drumstick don’t they? You could also use chicken wings if you like.
Personally I wouldn’t use chicken breast fillets here – they would take much longer to cook all the way through, which would risk burning the crispy coating before the inside of the meat is cooked properly.
the spiced coating
The secret to really delicious fried chicken is a spiced, crispy coating. Here are the spices and seasonings I use in my flour mix:
- Fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Dried Thyme
- Smoked Paprika (optional, but really good)
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- I use regular plain flour for the coating. Using Italian “00” flour makes a particularly crispy coating if you have it.
how to get a really crispy coating on fried chicken
use the double dredging method
- Double dredging the chicken pieces ensures that the flour coating stays on the chicken and gives a super crispy, thick coating.
- You simply dip the chicken in the buttermilk, shake off the excess, dip in the flour, shake off excess again, then repeat, pressing the flour coating onto the chicken to make sure it sticks.
- Place the dredged chicken on a wire rack and leave for about 15 minutes. This will allow the crust to “set”
what type of oil do you need to make fried chicken?
It must be a neutral tasting oil with a high smoking point, such as vegetable, sunflower oil or peanut (groundnut) oil.
how to keep the chicken juicy while deep frying
The secret to super juicy chicken is all in the preparation. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk for a few hours breaks down any tough fibres in the meat and will give you fork tender, juicy chicken.
I add a dash of hot sauce to the buttermilk, but it isn’t crucial. However you should definitely add some salt and pepper.
If you’ve never marinated chicken in buttermilk before, you really must give it a go. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back.
how to make your own buttermilk
If you can’t find buttermilk, you can easily make your own version by stirring lemon juice or white vinegar into whole or semi-skimmed milk. Leave for 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly before using.
A mixture of milk and plain yoghurt also makes a very good buttermilk substitution. You would need 120ml of yoghurt to 300ml of milk.
should I fry chicken with the skin on or Off?
Absolutely keep the skin on. The skin gives the buttermilk and the spiced flour something to cling to. The skin also plays a part in ensuring the chicken stays juicy while cooking.
HOW LONG DOES FRIED CHICKEN TAKE TO COOK?
Cooking times depend on the size of the chicken pieces, so please take this as a rough guide only.
ALWAYS make sure the chicken is fully cooked, with no trace of pink meat at all. If you are in any doubt, continue cooking for a further few minutes.
Drumsticks – 10-14 minutes
Wings – 10-14 minutes
Thighs – 12-15 minutes
how to tell when fried chicken is fully cooked
Using a deep frying (also know as sugar or candy) thermometer is the most accurate way of knowing that the temperature of the oil is ready for frying. This is a key factor in recipe success – if the oil isn’t hot enough, the coating on the chicken won’t crisp up and your chicken might end up undercooked, which is a big no-no.
Keep the thermometer in the oil at all times. When you place a piece of chicken in the oil, you will notice that the temperature will dip slightly. You’ll need to control the temperature by adjusting the heat as you fry. The temperature needs to stay between 160-170C at all times.
To test if the chicken is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat – the temperature should read 73C/165F. Any juices running from the chicken should run clear and no trace of pink meat at all.
do you need a deep fat fryer to make fried chicken?
If you have a fryer you can certainly use it, but it’s not essential. My fryer would only fit one piece of chicken in at a time, so I would be standing there for ages!
You can make it in a large, deep, hob safe heavy bottomed saucepan. You will need to fill the pan about halfway with oil. Be prepared to use lots of oil – around 1.5-2 Litres. Do not leave the pan of heated oil unattended at any time and keep small children and pets away.
Is fried chicken greasy?
Providing your oil is heated to the right temperature (see above and in the recipe card below) It should not be greasy. Draining the chicken on paper towels after cooking will also help to asorb any excess oil.
is fried chicken bad for your health?
Obviously, fried chicken is high in fat, calories and salt, so it’s best to keep it for a very occasional treat. But I look at it like this – if it’s homemade, at least you know exactly what goes in it!
how long does fried chicken keep for?
It will keep for up to two days in the fridge. Let the chicken go cold before refrigerating and don’t let it sit out for longer than 2 hours. It tastes just as good cold, although the coating will start to lose the crispiness.
side dishes to serve with southern fried chicken
looking for more chicken recipes?
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you need any further help with the recipe or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me (see my about me page)
- 8-10 chicken pieces (I used drumsticks and bone in, skin on thighs)
- 450ml Buttermilk (see tips in the notes on how to make your own)
- 1 tbsp hot sauce or chilli sauce
- 1/2 tbsp fine salt
- For the seasoned coating:
- 380G Plain Flour
- 1/2 tbsp fine salt
- 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 1.5-2 Litres vegetable oil for frying
- Sea salt for sprinkling on the finished chicken
- In a large bowl, combine 350ml of the buttermilk, hot sauce and the salt. Add the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, but 4-8 hours is better if you have time.
- Remove the bowl of chicken from the fridge. Pour the remaining 100ml buttermilk in a shallow bowl. In a second larger shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and smoked paprika if using.
- Working in batches, drege the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture again, pressing the flour on the chicken so it adheres. Place the chicken on a wire rack and let it stand for about 15 minutes.
- Pour the oil in a large, deep heavy bottomed pan until half way full. Heat on a medium heat until a food thermometer reaches 350F/190C.
- When the oil comes up to temperature, fry the chicken two pieces at a time, turning occasionally until the chicken is golden brown, crispy and cooked through. Keep the temperature of the oil at around 160/170C while the chicken cooks. Drumsticks tend to take around 10-14 minutes to cook through, thighs can take up to 15 minutes depending on their size. To check if the chicken is fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat - it should read 73C/165F. If you are in any doubt at all, place the meat in a preheated oven (200C/180Fan/350F) and cook for a further 10-12 minutes. You can also check the meat by poking the crust with a sharp knife and piercing the meat - any juices should run clear with no trace of pink at all.
- Place the cooked chicken in a bowl lined with paper towels. You can also transfer the chicken to an ovenproof dish and keep warm in the oven if you like. Serve the fried chicken with potato wedges, fries or mashed potatoes, coleslaw and salad.
If you can't find buttermilk, make your own by adding 2 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to 450ml whole or semi skimmed milk. Leave for 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly before stirring and using.
The fried chicken will keep for up to two days in the fridge. Make sure the chicken is cooled to room temperature before placing in the fridge. It is also delicious cold.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 904mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 12g