You can't go wrong with fried chicken, and my easy crispy fried chicken recipe is the perfect way to get your fix! I like to make a classic buttermilk fried chicken that uses the whole chicken so you can choose your favorite piece of meat!
Easy Crispy Fried Chicken
Nothing beats some finger-licking good Southern fried chicken. With its crispy outer coating and tender, juicy meat, fried chicken is a meal worth sitting down and getting your hands greasy.
They always say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" so I keep this recipe classic by coating the meat with buttermilk. I also use a whole chicken so you have your choice of breast, wings, legs (drumsticks), or thighs and dark or light meat!
This combination of simple ingredients will make a perfectly crispy fried chicken! You could use 4 pounds of just drumsticks or thighs etc., but I like serving up a variety.
- Whole Chicken - A 4 pound whole chicken cut into pieces (breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks).
- Buttermilk - 1 cup or enough to cover the pieces of chicken.
- Salt & Pepper - 2 portions of ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper for both the buttermilk and flour mixture.
- All-Purpose Flour- 2 cups of flour.
- Cornstarch -¼ cup or cornstarch.
- Seasonings - 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried basil, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder.
- Cooking Oil - 1 quart of oil for frying.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
It may seem like a lot of steps, but once you get to it you will realize how easy this recipe is! You will need a mixing bowl, a Dutch oven or deep dish for frying, and some tongs.
- Prep. Cut and prep your whole 4 pound chicken into an 8-piece for frying.
- Whisk. In a large mixing bowl or storage container, whisk to combine 1 cup of buttermilk with ½ a teaspoon of both salt & pepper.
- Mix. In either a gallon Ziplock bag, brown bag, or shallow dish, mix together ½ a teaspoon of both salt & pepper, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon of dried basil, and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne powder for dredging.
- Dredge. One at a time, coat the chicken pieces. Allow each piece of chicken to drip off excess buttermilk before coating it in the flour mixture. Make sure to coat the chicken pieces well on all sides, then shake gently to remove any excess coating.
- Set aside. As you dredge the chicken, set the breaded pieces aside on a tray or rack until you are done with every piece. Cover the breaded chicken with a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper, or a clean kitchen towel and let it sit until the breading becomes paste-like in consistency.
Fry Until Crisp & Serve
- Fry. Heat 1 quart of cooking oil in a deep dish or Dutch oven to 350°F (175°C). Fry the chicken 3-4 pieces at a time, working in batches (leave space between the pieces of chicken so it isn't crowded). Turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
- Return to temperature. After a batch of chicken, allow the oil to return to 350°F (175°C) before moving on to the next batch.
- Cool and rest. Once the chicken is golden and crispy with a a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), move it to a wire cooling rack with paper towels beneath it. Once all the chicken has been fried, let it rest for 10 minutes and serve.
In fact, I wrote a whole post on what to serve with fried chicken if you want some more tasty options!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- You may need more buttermilk. I typically try to keep my buttermilk to just using 1 cup, but have needed up to 2 cups depending on the size of my cut up chicken.
- Don't burn your crust! If the outside coating of the chicken is perfectly golden and crisp, but the inside has not met the internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), you can finish it in the oven. When doing this, I heat my oven to 400°F (205°C) and place the chicken on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan with a rack (for even air circulation). Cook until you reach the safe minimum internal temperature needed for chicken.
- Storing: Wrap leftover fried chicken tightly with aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 3-4 days. In the same container or in a heavy-duty freezer bag, fried chicken can be frozen for up to 4 months (defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating).
- Reheating: To reheat your chicken so that it is still crispy, preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C). Place a wire rack on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and place your fried chicken on top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. This method allows the air to reach every side of the chicken, keeping it crispy!
🍗 More Chicken Recipes
- Air Fryer BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chicken Drumsticks
- Million Dollar Baked Chicken Breast
- Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Baked Avocado Chicken
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad
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- 4 lb whole chicken (cut into pieces)
- 1 cup buttermilk (or enough to cover the pieces of chicken)
- 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper (2 portions of ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper in both the buttermilk and flour mixture)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 qt cooking oil (for frying)
- Cut and prep your whole chicken into an 8-piece for frying.4 lb whole chicken
- In a large mixing bowl or storage container, whisk together the buttermilk, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces into the container with the buttermilk. Add more buttermilk if needed to cover the chicken pieces.1 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- Mix together your all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and cayenne powder) for dredging either in a gallon zip top storage bag, brown bag, or shallow dish.1 teaspoon each, salt & pepper, 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried basil, ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- Coat chicken pieces one at a time, allowing each piece of chicken to drip the excess buttermilk off before coating in the flour mixture. Coat the chicken pieces well on all sides then shake gently to remove any excess coating.
- Set the breaded chicken pieces aside on a tray or rack until all of the chicken has been breaded. Cover with a sheet of waxed paper, parchment paper, or a kitchen towel until the breading turns paste-like in consistency.
- Heat 1 quart of cooking oil in a deep dish or Dutch oven to 350°F (175°C). Working in batches, fry the chicken 3-4 pieces at a time (leaving space between them so that the chicken isn't crowded in your pan) and turning the chicken halfway through the cooking time.1 qt cooking oil
- Allow your frying oil to return to 350°F (175°C) before cooking additional batches.
- Remove fried chicken pieces when they are golden, crispy, and have a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Place your cooked chicken on a wire cooling rack over paper towels until all of the chicken has been fried, the chicken has rested for 10 minutes, and you're ready to serve it.
- I typically try to keep my buttermilk to just using 1 cup, but have needed up to 2 cups depending on the size of my cut up chicken.
- If your chicken is perfectly crisp and golden, but has not reached the minimal internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) you can finish it in the oven. When doing this, I heat my oven to 400°F (205°C) and place the chicken on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan with a rack (for even air circulation). Cook until you reach the safe minimum internal temperature needed for chicken.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!