Classic Southern Fried Chicken

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Super crunchy, classic Southern fried chicken with a slightly salty, flavorful bite. The meat is tender and juicy, and the exterior is light and crispy. Take your time with this… let the soak happen overnight and cook in batches. Cook extra because who doesn’t love cold fried chicken? Serve with mashed potatoes and coleslaw with soft rolls to create that perfect bite.


  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs, with skin
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Crystal ®)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying, or as needed


Combine chicken, buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl. Stir until chicken is well coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Combine flour, 2 teaspoons salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, remaining 1 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator. Working with one piece at a time, remove from the marinade and allow excess to drip off. Coat evenly in the flour mixture, and set on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Pour oil into a large Dutch oven to a depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Add a few chicken pieces to the hot oil and cook, turning once or twice, until golden brown on the outside, no longer pink at the bone, and the juices run clear, 10 to 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Maintain the oil temperature around 320 degrees F (160 degrees C) during cooking. Remove chicken to a clean wire rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Return oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and repeat to fry remaining chicken.

Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 5 hrs
Servings: 8 – Yield: 8 servings



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