Prep Time: 12 hrs | Cook Time: 12 mins | Total Time: 12 hrs 12 mins | Servings: 8

These are the best and the crunchiest fried chicken that you can either fry or bake. To ensure best results, the chicken pieces are brined in buttermilk overnight, then dredged in the flour mixture for a minimum of 4 hours. Guaranteed to deliver crunchy, flavorful, and juicy chicken on the inside!


4 pounds chicken

1-quart buttermilk

1 tablespoon Tabasco or hot sauce of choice

2 c. flour

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon kosher white pepper

vegetable oil for frying

How to make The Best Southern Fried Chicken

Step 1: To brine, place the pieces of chicken, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large sealable container or plastic bag. Combine to coat the chicken, then place in the fridge overnight.

Step 2: Mix the flour, cornstarch, and seasonings in a medium mixing bowl. And using a wire rack, top a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the brine and dredge the pieces in flour, coating the pieces evenly. Place them on the wire rack and into the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 3: When ready to fry the chicken, fill a deep cast-iron pan halfway with vegetable oil. Or half full, if using a Dutch oven. Before frying, let the chicken come to room temperature.

Step 4: Once the oil reached 350 to 375 degrees F, add the chicken. The oil temperature will drop once the chicken is added. Make sure to keep the oil temperature between 320 to 325 degrees while frying. Fry the chicken in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Once the internal temperature of the chicken reached 165 degrees F it’s done.

Step 5: Take the cooked pieces of chicken out and transfer them on a wire rack to cook. If desired, season with salt. Enjoy!


Depending on how many people I am serving, I get one or two whole chickens. Removed and discarded the backbone, then carved them (or ask a butcher) into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 drumsticks each).

I use peanut oil for frying as it has a high smoke point but you can use any oil such as soybean oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, or sunflower oil.

The buttermilk brine keeps the chicken moist and tender. Brine the chicken for at least 8 hours up to 12 hours maximum. Or you can use a saltwater brine (a cup of kosher salt to a gallon of water). If desired, you can add Tabasco hot sauce to the brine.

For dredging or coating the chicken pieces, I use well-seasoned flour. If using a regular AP flour, add rice flour or cornstarch for that extra crunch and seasonings such as paprika and celery salt. Allow the chicken pieces to sit overnight in the flour mixture (minimum of 4 hours). This way the chicken will be hydrated and create a better crust.

For smaller pieces of dark meat, fry for about 10 to 12 minutes at a continuous 320 degrees F or 12 to 14 minutes if using large pieces like whole half breast pieces. For chicken strips, cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Keep in mind that the frying time of the chicken depends on the sizes of the chicken pieces. You’ll know when the chicken is done when its internal temperature reached 165 degrees F.

You can bake the chicken in the oven instead of frying. After spraying the brine, dredge the chicken on both sides with cooking spray. Place in a preheated 425 degrees F oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue to bake for 20 minutes more or until crispy. The chicken is done once the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 691kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 908mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 655IU | Vitamin C: 4.9mg | Calcium: 166mg | Iron: 3.6mg