Whoever said beauty comes from within, definitely wasn’t talking about fried chicken. A beautiful, golden-brown, crispy crust is just as important as the tender, juicy meat that lies within. Now, you can have the best of both worlds with this foolproof recipe for making a stellar batch of Buttermilk Fried Chicken at home!
While bone-in chicken is notorious for being difficult to fry, you can count on this easy fry pan-to-oven method for perfect results. Oh, yes. This chicken is as perfect on the inside as it is on the outside, and it comes packed with flavor thanks to a buttermilk soak and a well-seasoned flour speckled with a classic Southern spice blend!
Feeding a crowd? Add these easy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Strips to your menu!
HOW TO MAKE BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
- Soak Chicken In Buttermilk – Combine hot sauce and buttermilk in a large bowl and add the chicken. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Make Seasoned Flour – Prepare the seasoned flour by combining the flour and seasoning in large zip-top bag.
- Batter the Chicken – Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, place it in the seasoned flour, seal, and shake to coat.
- Fry – Fry the chicken in hot oil for about 5 minutes, turning it about half-way through.
- Bake – Finish cooking the chicken on a sheet pan in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU FRY
- Don’t fry ice-cold chicken. Guess what happens when you add ice-cold meat to hot grease? It not only makes it difficult for the protein to evenly cook through, but it also lowers the overall temperature of the grease.
- Make sure the oil temperature is right. This is quite possibly the most important factor when it comes to getting that crispy, crunchy crust! If the oil is too hot, it’ll burn. If it is too cold, you can count on that crust to be wimpy, greasy, and sad.
- Give it a good soak. Give the chicken enough time to absorb flavor and tenderize in the buttermilk marinade. Two hours is really all you need.
- Fry, then bake. For most, frying chicken, cooking it through properly, and getting a beautiful golden crust can be a real challenge. The solution? Develop the crust in the frying pan and let it finish cooking in the oven. This method ensures your chicken properly cooks through and promises a gorgeous, irresistible golden-brown crust.
WHAT KIND OF CHICKEN TO USE
Most fried chicken recipes call for a “fryer chicken,” which is a whole chicken that weighs around 4 pounds. But, unless your butchering skills are up to speed, you might find it easier to work with pre-cut pieces.
If you are not using whole chickens, your best bet is to purchase bone-in, skin-on legs or thighs. Wing portions and boneless breast halves would also work for this recipe.
Try to avoid bone-in chicken breasts (especially those large in size) as they will take much longer to cook than the rest of the meat.
WHY IS BUTTERMILK GOOD FOR FRIED CHICKEN?
Not only is buttermilk a miracle ingredient for getting seasoned flour to adhere to chicken, but it also serves as a tenderizer. When you add meat to a bowl of buttermilk and allow it to soak for any extended period of time, the enzymes in the buttermilk go to work breaking down the meat’s protein. And, not just on the surface like most marinades, but actually penetrating all the way through.
HOW LONG CAN CHICKEN MARINATE IN BUTTERMILK?
You can marinate cut up pieces of chicken in buttermilk and get fabulous results in just 2 hours, but feel free to let it soak for up to 24 hours.
THE BATTER | BUTTERMILK AND SEASONED FLOUR
Fried chicken in the South is just as much about the batter as it is about the meat that lies beneath it. For a flavorful exterior, you’ll need a heavy-hitting seasoned flour that consists of all-purpose flour and a classic Southern spice combo of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
There’s no need for a dredging station. Buttermilk serves as a sort of glue for the seasoning, and when the two make their humble collision in a zip-top, gallon-sized bag, the batter is formed, and it is pure, unadulterated Buttermilk Fried Chicken magic.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN OIL IS READY FOR FRYING
As mentioned earlier, the temperature of the oil is quite possibly the most important factor when it comes to getting that crispy, crunchy crust on a batch of Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Too hot, and the batter is burnt. Too cold, and you’ll be left with a greasy, sad exterior.
What you want, is for the temperature of the oil to stay situated right around 350°F. Here are three ways to help you determine if it’s time to fry or to wait:
- Stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, all the way to the bottom of the skillet. If the oil bubbles around the handle, it is hot enough for frying.
- Another quick (and seriously fun) way to gauge the temperature of your frying oil is to use an infrared thermometer. Just hold the thermometer about 6″ from above the center of the skillet, point, and pull the trigger! You could also use a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer, but make sure they are not coming into direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
- If you sprinkle in a bit of flour into the oil and it quickly sizzles, you’re likely good to go. However, if it sizzles, blackens and puts off an unpleasant odor, it’s safe to say you need to turn down the heat. If you add a sprinkle of flour and you hear and see nothing, turn the heat up slightly.
3 WAYS TO TELL WHEN CHICKEN IS DONE
- The safest way to tell whether or not your chicken is properly cooked through is by using a thermometer.
- Another way to tell is whether or not the juices run clear when poked with the tip of a knife. If the juices are red or pink, you’ll need to extend the cooking time.
- The color of the meat is another good indicator. Regardless of whether it is dark meat or white meat chicken, the meat should be white, not pink.
HOW TO TAKE THE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF BONE-IN CHICKEN
To take the temperature of bone-in chicken, insert a thermometer into the centermost part of the thickest portion of the meat, taking care not to touch any bone. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165°F.
SOUTHERN SIDES FOR BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
5 MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Crock Pot Chicken and Rice
- Baked BBQ Chicken
An easy, foolproof recipe for Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Tender and juicy on the inside, crispy, crunchy, and perfectly golden-brown on the outside!
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 3 generous dashes hot sauce (optional)
- 8 pieces (about 4-5 pounds) bone-in chicken legs, wings, and/or thighs or boneless chicken breasts
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 4-6 cups canola or vegetable oil
Stir together the buttermilk and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken pieces and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Set out the chicken out at room temperature (still in the buttermilk) for 45 minutes before frying to remove the chill.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.
Add the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to a gallon-sized, zip-top bag, seal, and shake to combine.
Remove a few pieces of chicken from the buttermilk at a time, allow the excess buttermilk to drip off, and add them to the bag. Seal and shake until thoroughly coated. Set the breaded chicken aside until the oil is ready.
Add enough oil to a large skillet so that it is about half-way full. Turn the heat to medium-high, and adjust as needed to maintain a temperature around 350°F.
Carefully place 2-4 breaded chicken pieces in the hot oil at time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan and frying in batches as necessary. Fry each piece for 3 minutes on the first side, then turn and fry for 2 minutes more. You are looking for a golden-brown crust. Then, transfer the fried chicken to the prepared baking sheet.
Once all of the chicken has been fried, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
The safest way to ensure your chicken is properly cooked through is to use a thermometer. The internal temperature should read 165°F.
Another way to tell if chicken is cooked through is whether or not the juices run clear when poked with the tip of a knife. If the juices are red or pink, you'll need to extend the cook time.
The color of the meat is another good indicator of whether or not chicken is cooked through. Regardless of whether it is dark meat or white meat chicken, the meat should be white, not pink.