How to make Southern buttermilk fried chicken

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Southern buttermilk fried chicken is an all-American classic. However, you might not always have the time to whip up grandma’s super-secret recipe. When you need a quick pick-me-up that tastes like summers in the South, here’s a weeknight, simple but delicious, buttermilk fried chicken recipe. There is some prep work involved, but it’s so easy you can throw the brine together in the morning before you leave for work and leave the chicken to soak all day so when you get home it’s ready to go (and incredibly juicy).
This is a recipe with a twist: Dig around in your pantry for some cereal (a bit stale is ok!) to add that extra crunch to the batter. The more conventional choice would be something such as corn flakes or crisped rice, but you can get as creative as you like, even opting for a sweetened version for some added complexity to the flavor of the batter.
Cooktop Cove
Southern buttermilk fried chicken
10 minutes prep plus at least 5 hours brining
20 minutes
5 hours, 30 minutes
2-3 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 (generous) tablespoons kosher salt
1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 10 pieces (or buy a pre-cut selection of drums and thighs)
4 beaten eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup crushed cereal (place in a plastic bag and whack it with a rolling pin or grind with a mortar and pestle)
3-4 cups neutral oil, depending on the size of the frying pot (lard, peanut, canola or a combination of peanut and vegetable oil)
Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, spices and salt in a large bowl or large zip-top bag and mix well. Place the chicken into the brine, mix well and place in the fridge (ensuring all pieces are well-covered).
Let the chicken brine at least 5 hours but preferably overnight (or do it in the morning and allow it to soak during the day).
Once you're ready to start frying, put the oil/lard in a large pot on the stove and heat it to 375 degrees F.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and crushed cereal in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
Set up the chicken, egg and flour mixtures to form an assembly line in that order. (Optional: Split the flour mixture between two bowls to make the assembly line more streamlined).
Prepare a plate lined with paper towel where the fried chicken to cool.
When the oil has reached 375 degrees, remove one piece of chicken at a time from the brine. Place it in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, then in the flour mixture again before carefully placing it in the hot oil.
Fry the chicken 2 to 3 pieces at a time, depending on the size of the pot, until golden brown. Flip each piece after a few minutes to ensure it cooks evenly (the interior of the thighs should register 175 degrees and the breasts 165 degrees).
Put the cooked chicken on the paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Pro tip: Use one hand to coat the chicken in the wet mixture and one hand to coat it in the dry mixture to minimize mess and cross-contamination.
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