Buttermilk Fried Chicken

  • Author: Kate Morgan Jackson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern


There’s fried chicken and then there is buttermilk fried chicken. Here’s a classic recipe that delivers all the crispy goodness to your dinner table. 


  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 quarts buttermilk
  • 1 whole bone-in chicken, cut into pieces. (see note)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups canola oil


  1. Combine salt, sugar, paprika and garlic in a large zippered plastic bag. Using a mallet, smash garlic into salt mixture. Pour mixture into large bowl, add 7 cups of buttermilk and until salt is dissolved.  Add the chicken and pop it in your fridge for about 2-3 hours.
  2. After the chicken has marinated, take it out of the buttermilk mixture and put it in single layer on a wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Pop it back in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. When you are ready to fry things up, put the flour in shallow dish (a pie plate works great for this). Mix the egg, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and pour in the rest of the buttermilk.
  4. Dredge the chicken in flour, then use tongs to dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then back in the flour again. Return to wire rack.
  5. Heat oil to 375 degrees (using instant read or candy thermometer) in large Dutch oven. Add the chicken to the hot oil with tongs (don’t put the pieces too close –  you will probably have to work in batches). Fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 6-8 minutes. Turn over and  fry until second side is golden, another 6-8 minutes.
  6. Transfer cooked chicken to paper towel-lined plate and drain for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve with any of the following: mashed potatoes, cornbread, corn on the cob, green beans, tomato salad, biscuits…you get the idea. And by the way, if you think this chicken is heavenly right out of the frying pan, just wait until you have a cold piece for lunch the next day. Life doesn’t get too much better.


You can also use only chicken breasts or only chicken thighs if you prefer.  We love chicken breasts, and I cut the chicken breast halves in half again for easier eating!