3 Step Perfect Fried Chicken

| Chef Tips To Excellent Fried Chicken |


Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Works Because Its Simple

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How To Make Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

| Works Because It’s Easy |


Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken- Done The Right Way

Making perfect southern buttermilk fried chicken isn’t easy, but it can be with a little help. In this article, all the steps needed to win at frying chicken are going be outlined in a few steps.

First, would like to point out two different schools of thought.

To Brine the Chicken or Not?

When it comes to grandma’s southern fried chicken the first ingredient is love, second is time. Using “time” to your advantage in the perfect fried chicken game is a winner every time.

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Chef Tip

  1. Salt the chicken the night before cooking. The salt adds flavor to which the chicken really needs, and also pulls out some of the moisture in the skin, making it easier to get crispy chicken. The chicken skin will also tighten up around the pieces of chicken helping the skin not fall off.
  2. Brine the chicken the night before to add more moisture. Brining forces osmosis to take place. Which is an exchange of moisture from a bi-directional relationship with the protein? Take equal parts salt & sugar with water. How much? You want the water to taste very salty like the ocean. Go 2/3 salt to 1/3 sugar

 Step 1

Preparing the Chicken for Perfect Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Purchasing a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself saves a bunch of money. When you buy cut up chicken you are paying to have someone else cut it up for you. Check the price of 2 chicken breasts next trip to the grocery store. You’ll notice they cost a ton in comparison to the cost of a whole chicken. About the exact same price. Crazy

In this article below the skills are taught to cut up your own chicken into 10 pieces. Take your chicken skills to the next level

Cutting Whole Chicken Into 10 Pieces or MORE? Tips For Success & Safety



Step Two

The Buttermilk Marinade

The marinade has three effects

  1.  Increases moisture
  2.  Adds flavor
  3.  Tenderizes the Chicken

All three sound great, but there’s one more. The marinade is the “Wet” part of our future flouring process. Dredging/flouring process will use this exact same buttermilk marinade. Which means one less step than normal when frying chicken and less mess.

Ingredients/Printable Recipe Card Below

  • 4 Cups of Buttermilk
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of Favorite Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbps of Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp of Sea Salt


Step Three 

On To Cooking The Southern Fried Chicken

southern fried chicken recipe

If you have a deep fryer I would suggest using it as it offers complete coverage of the chicken while frying. This promotes even cooking and browning.

I love using a cast iron skillet personally. Cast iron is considered the best in the south. Even a number of restaurants will fry chicken using cast iron.

First, if you choose to use cast iron, use the ones with the really high sides/walls. Just make sure you have enough oil to cover close to the top of the chicken, even better over the top of the chicken. Balancing act goes on with managing the oil.

Oil needs to be at least 350 to 375. Going to 375 works best so your oil temperature recovers quicker each time you add another piece of cold chicken to the hot oil. Use a temperature probe to know your oil temperature. If the oil gets too hot and the flour burns, all the oil will take on a burnt taste, and you will not have perfect Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken


Chef Tip: Don’t over crowd the pan and be patient

When you add to much chicken too quickly, it lowers the oil temperature and can cause oily fried chicken.

Second, too much chicken at once can cause steaming to take place and the flour dredge can start to come off leaving oil boiled chicken.

Chef Tip: Start cooking the dark meat first, as it takes the longest to cook.

If you have a deep fryer, then cook the chicken the whole time in the fryer. No oven needed.  Watch the internal temperature and stop cooking once you reach 158 on the white meat and 168 on the dark meat. Allow the chicken a little bit of time to rest before eating, so the internal temperature comes to the desired finished temperature. The chicken’s internal temperature will continue to increase once out of the oil.

When pan frying I suggest finishing in the oven.  This will help with even cooking. Cook the chicken till it is nice and golden brown and then into the oven. 400 Degree oven till 158 on the white meat and 168 on the dark meat. Allow the chicken to rest once out of the oven for 5 minutes. 



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how to make southern fried chicken

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Steven Pennington
Guide to how to make perfect fried chicken
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 d
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Frying
Cuisine Southern/International



  • 4 Cups of Buttermilk
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp of Favorite Hot Sauce Doesn't make it hot
  • 1 Tbsp of Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tsp of Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp of Sea Salt

Flour/Dredge Mix

  • 3 Cups of AP Flour or Cake Flour Use 3.5 Cups
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Oregano

Frying Oil

  • Peanut Oil & Canola Oil
  • Use enough oil to come close to the top of the chicken


  • Brine or salt your chicken first. You do not have to do this step. Personal choice. I suggest trying all options in the article and see what makes you the happiest.
  • Step One: Make the buttermilk marinade, then add the cut up chicken to it. Use large freezer bags to store the chicken in and marinade overnight in your refrigerator. Place the freezer bag on a cookie sheet or in large bowl to help keep your refrigerator clean.
  • Step Two: 
    Add dry ingredients together for the flour/dredge mix and combine well
  • Step Three: Frying the chicken - 
    If using a deep fryer the temperature needs to be between 350 to 375, closer to 375 is best due to each piece of cold chicken being adding will lower the oil temperature. Cook until internal temperature reads 158 white meat/ 168 dark meat. then allow the chicken to rest for 3-5 minutes. However long you can wait 🙂
  • If using a large skillet or cast iron, fry chicken to golden brown and finish in 400-degree oven until internal temperature reads 158 white meat/ 168 dark meat. The oven helps with even cooking.


Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Works Because Its Simple


If you like extra thick crust crispiness. Repeat the flouring/dredge process twice before frying.
Process: Out of buttermilk, into flour, then back into buttermilk, then into flour one last time before adding to the hot fry oil.
Keyword Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken
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