You really can make Classic Deep Fried Chicken like Gramma used to make. Check out our tips for making it without a ton of prep work. No dip in this egg batter then dip in that flour mixture mess here!
There’s always a bit of a mess when it comes to deep frying chicken but we’re making homemade fried chicken as simple as possible.
What Cut Of Chicken Should I Use?
You can totally buy a whole chicken and cut it up into 10 pieces – 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs, and each breast gets cut in half for a total of 4 breast pieces. If you’ve never done that before, get the steps for cutting up a whole chicken here.
Or, you can save yourself the time and hassle and buy 4 pounds of whatever cut of chicken you want. Like all drumsticks. Or thighs. Or only chicken breasts. Yup, that means you can make a whole batch of your favorite pieces of fried chicken. You’re the one making it so make it the way you like it best!
How To Make Classic Fried Chicken
You’ll start by marinating the chicken pieces in buttermilk and hot sauce for a minimum of 3 hours (or better, marinate them overnight or all day while you’re at work). Once they’ve been marinated in the buttermilk mixture you’ll coat each piece in delicious seasoning with spices like paprika, garlic powder, and nutmeg.
Instead of having you dip chicken pieces in flour then egg, we’ve put the flour and spices in a bag and you just add the chicken to that and shake. Just like shake ‘n bake but this is seasoned flour instead of crumbs, so you get that crispy classic coating that you crave daily. You know you do. Mmmmm.
I always recommend using a thermometer (like this one) when you deep fry chicken so you know the oil is the right temperature (350°F) to cook the inside of the chicken without burning the outside crust. Then, to know that the chicken is cooked through, use a different kind of thermometer, an instant-read thermometer. You’ll be golden! Ha!
What To Serve With Fried Chicken
There’s so many great side dishes that go with fried chicken. Try these amazing mashed potatoes or some quick cornbread muffins. And don’t forget the veggies! Classic succotash is full of great ones like corn and okra.Print
- 4 lb. whole chicken (cut into 10 pieces, breast cut in half)
- 2 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tsp. hot sauce
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 3–4 cups vegetable oil
- In a large glass container mix together buttermilk, hot sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place chicken pieces into the buttermilk and cover. Refrigerate and leave it for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Before frying, in a zip top bag, mix flour with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, sweet paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and nutmeg. Close and shake it well to mix.
- Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk, letting the excess drip off. Place 2 pieces in the bag and shake it well, until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Remove and place on a wire rack. Repeat for remaining pieces of chicken.
- Get out a wide saucepan deep enough to fit the 4 cups of oil and have the same amount of space left over (for when you drop in the chicken and the oil level rises). Add oil and heat over medium heat until it reaches 350°F.
- Place chicken in the oil and fry for about 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Once the chicken is dropped into the oil the temperature will lower to 300°F – 325°F. Keep it at around that temperature, adjusting the heat of the stove to do so. Lower the heat if the exterior of the chicken seems to be cooking faster than the interior.
- Chicken is done when internal temperature is 165°F or higher on an instant-read thermometer.
This post originally appeared in April 2019 and was revised and republished in June 2022.