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This fried chicken recipe will make easy crunchy, golden chicken. The key to make a brine with buttermilk, cornstarch AND a secret oil temperature! Perfect with creamy mashed potatoes, or creamy macaroni salad .
WHY THIS FRIED CHICKEN RECIPE WORKS?
- The brine makes the chicken so flavorful
- The buttermilk make it nice and tenderlicious
- Cornstarch is used to make crispylicious.
- Unlike most fried chicken recipes, this one uses a lower cooking temperature which doesn’t burn the chicken and makes it golden in color.
- Using a meat thermometer to monitor the oil temperature will help to keep the temperature steady.
Just hearing someone talk about fried chicken can make a person hungry. When it’s made correctly it’s so darn good!
This fried chicken recipe is super easy to make. It’s so good and seasoned just right. You will be sinking your teeth into it in no time!
When I was a kid my mom and southern grandmother showed me how to fry chicken. We used a brown paper bag. We would add the chicken pieces to the bag and shake the bag to coat the chicken with the flour.
Back then we didn’t use a meat thermometer. These days, I still use my brown paper bag, Ziploc, or a large plastic container with a lid. And of course I ALWAYS use my meat thermometer. I use it religiously. A thermometer will take all the guesswork away.
CAN CHICKEN BRINE OVERNIGHT?
Please do not brine chicken overnight using the salt measurement in this recipe because the chicken will turn out salty. If you must brine it overnight use way less salt.
HOW TO MAKE BRINE FOR FRIED CHICKEN?
I always use buttermilk when I brine the chicken. Soaking the chicken in buttermilk helps tenderize it and it will keep the chicken nice and tender while it is frying. The brine is simple. It consists of salt and sugar and buttermilk. The sugar will not make the chicken sweet. I brine the same day I make fried chicken.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BRINE CHICKEN?
If you have time, ONLY brine the chicken for 3-4 hours AND use 1/4 cup of salt and sugar. If you are short on time then only 2 hours. I can’t recommend brining the chicken in buttermilk enough though. It will make the best-fried chicken so don’t skip out on it.
HOW TO MAKE SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
I’ve broken down the steps to make it easy for you to read and added some tips below. You can find the full recipe at the end of this post.
Fried chicken seasoning:
Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Please do not fry chicken cold.
Season both the flour and the chicken before you fry it.
To achieve a nice golden color and crunch add cornstarch to the all-purpose flour. It makes the chicken crunchy and gives the chicken a nice golden color.
DO NOT RINSE THE CHICKEN AFTER BRINING.
Just discard the buttermilk and brine marinade then pat the chicken dry. Coat the chicken in flour first, then dip it in the egg then back into the flour. The egg helps in making super crunchy fried chicken.
WHAT IS THE BEST OIL FOR FRIED CHICKEN?
A lot of recipes say to use canola oil or peanut oil. Peanut oil works well but I usually use vegetable oil. Whatever oil you choose, make sure it’s a very high smoke point oil. Vegetable oil or peanut oils works well.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FRY CHICKEN?
Like most recipes, this one also takes about 15-20 minutes to fry the chicken. After you coat the chicken in the seasoned flour, shake off the excess flour and leave the coated chicken alone for 10-15 minutes so that the flour can absorb some.
Do not overcrowd the dutch oven or deep fryer. Overcrowding the dutch oven/deep fryer will reduce the oil temperature and your chicken will end up greasy and soggy.
Fry the chicken flipping occasionally to prevent dark spots until golden brown for 15-20 minutes or the meat temperature reads 165 F on a thermometer. Fyi, smaller chicken pieces will cook faster.
Cast Iron, Dutch oven or a deep fryer? I used a large dutch (I use a 6qt) oven or a hard bottom aluminum frying pan does the job. Fill the dutch oven with 2 1/2 quarts of vegetable oil.
Deep fryers are great too if you don’t have a dutch oven then use a deep fryer. Refer to your deep fryer manufacture manual for frying information.
HOW TO TELL WHEN THE FRIED CHICKEN IS DONE?
Use a Thermometer: I always check the temperature of the oil every 3-5 minutes. If you don’t have a meat thermometer then please purchase. Use it to maintain and track the oil temperature. You will know exactly what the oil temperature is. You’ll also know when your fried chicken is done.
With a thermometer, there is no need to play the guessing game. No chance of undercooked meat. No chance of getting food poisoning. If you are a pro at frying chicken then you probably already know whether your chicken is done or not, but it’s still good to use one. I’ve been frying chicken for years but I always use a meat thermometer.
WHAT IS THE BEST TEMPERATURE TO FRY CHICKEN?
Adjust the heat every now and then to maintain the temperature. Keep the oil temperature at 300 F. If you happen to check the meat and it’s higher than 300 F, reduce the heat immediately.
Once you get the oil temperature at 300 F, check it a couple minutes later because you may need to adjust the heat again to a higher temperature. The key is to try to keep the heat to at least 300 F.
HOW TO DRAIN FRIED CHICKEN?
Do not drain on paper towels or the chicken will end up soggy. To keep the chicken crunchy and crisp, drain the chicken over a wire rack set over a baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 and place the wire rack set over the baking sheet into the oven. Place the cooked chicken on the rack in the oven until you are finished frying all of the chicken.
So there you have it, follow these tips and you will have perfectly golden and crunchy southern fried chicken.
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This fried chicken recipe will make easy crunchy, golden chicken. The key to make a brine with buttermilk, cornstarch AND a secret oil temperature!
- 5 lb whole chicken cut up into 10 pieces
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/4 tsp red pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt plus an additional 1/4 teaspoon
To a large Ziploc bag add buttermilk, salt, and sugar. Gently mix well. Add the chicken pieces. Refrigerate for 2- 4 hours.*See notes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Remove the chicken from the brine. Pour the brine down the drain. Pat the chicken dry then place the chicken on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.
To a large brown bag or Ziploc add 1/2 tsp of pepper to the flour and the rest (except for the salt) of the flour ingredients. Mix the flour and seasonings together. Season the chicken with the leftover salt.
To a bowl, add 3 eggs and whisk. Add the chicken pieces to the flour and shake the bag to coat the chicken. Remove the chicken and place it the chicken into the egg mixture then flip the chicken to coat the other side in the egg mixture.
Place the chicken back into the flour and shake to coat again then place it on the parchment lined bake tray. Let the chicken sit to absorb the flour for 10-15 minutes.
To a Dutch oven over medium-high heat add the oil. The oil is ready once the temperature reaches 300 F. Use a thermometer to maintain and track the temp. Add the chicken pieces to the dutch oven but do not overcrowd it. Flip the chicken a couple times as it cooks. Fry the chicken for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and the temperature of the fried chicken reaches 165 F. Fyi, smaller pieces of chicken will cook faster.
To keep the fried chicken crunchy and crisp, drain the chicken over a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet for about 10 minutes. To prevent soggy chicken, do not drain on paper towels.