Classic Southern Fried Chicken

Lunch / Dinner

Classic Southern Fried Chicken

Master the art of southern fried chicken with this traditional recipe. Spread the picnic blanket in your own backyard and serve the chicken hot, or pack it up and enjoy it at room temperature, in true southern fashion.


5 servings

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tips

A cast-iron skillet with a tight-fitting lid is best for frying chicken. The iron diffuses hot, even heat, and the lid seals in steam for super-moist meat.

To keep it crispy on the road, don’t store fried chicken in plastic. Instead, let the chicken cool, wrap it in paper towels, and place it in a paper bag. The paper lets moisture out and keeps the fried coating crisp — even after it cools to room temperature.


Soak chicken pieces in buttermilk 20 minutes, then place them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Combine flour, 1 Tbsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. pepper in a plastic storage container or large paper bag. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shake off excess, and return to rack.

Heat oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high to 360°. Add half the chicken pieces skin side down, reduce heat to medium, and fry until brown, 68 minutes.

Flip chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165° and into the thigh or drumstick registers 170°, about 10 minutes.

Uncover chicken and cook until coating is crisp, 34 minutes. Transfer fried chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Keep chicken warm in a 200° oven while frying the second batch in the same manner. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving.


Massage the buttermilk into the crevices of the chicken to coat it thoroughly, then let it soak.


Try using a plastic container to flour the chicken. Add a few pieces at a time, seal it with the lid, then shake.


To prevent scraping off the crispy fried coating, use tongs to gently grip the chicken when flipping.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 869

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 59g 90%

Saturated Fat 16g 80%

Cholesterol 239mg 79%

Sodium 1387mg 57%

Carbs 19g 6%

Fiber 1g 4%

Protein 62g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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