Fried Chicken

August 21, 2013
7 Ratings
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Settle in. Clear your mind. Then, be in the moment and your fried chicken dinner will be the best ever. To cut the chicken into 9 you cut the double lobed breast crosswise into three pieces. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 2 chickens, around 3 pounds each, each chicken cut into 9 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (optional, it is used for a crispier crust )
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut oil
  • 2 slices pancetta, 1/16 inch thick this adds a really nice subtle flavor to the finished product
  1. After you have cut up your chicken, place it in a tray or on a sheet pan with sides. Season it on all sides with kosher salt. Place it back into the fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  2. When you are ready to fry the chicken, combine the flour, cornstarch, dried seasonings, salt, and pepper in a large plastic or paper bag. Give it a shake to mix.
  3. Work with three pieces of chicken at a time. Place the first three pieces into the flour. Close the bag and shake it around until the chicken is coated evenly. Before you remove the chicken to a cooling rack give it a gently shake to rid it of excess flour. Continue with the first flour coat until all the pieces are floured.
  4. Again, working with three pieces at a time dip the first three pieces of chicken into the egg wash( the buttermilk and egg whisked together). Make sure they are coated on all sides. Remove them from the wash and place them into the flour bag. Gently shake and roll them until they are fully coated for the second time. Remove them to a cooling rack once more. Continue until you have finished with all the pieces. Now let the flour-coated chicken rest for 20 minutes to form a crust.
  5. Turn your oven to 250? F.
  6. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and oil. You can use a deep fry thermometer but I never really find them accurate unless you can submerge then at least 2 inches up the stem. The pancetta is your canary in a coal mine. As the oil heats it will begin to bubble. It will get you close to the right oil temperature but then you need to go with the crouton method. In other words I take a piece of bread, pinch off a corner and drop it into the oil. If the oil is hot enough the bread will sink almost to the bottom but before it gets there the bubbles that have formed from the hot oil will carry it back to the top. If the bread sinks to the bottom and rests, gets a few bubbles and then slowly rises, the oil isn't hot enough. On the other hand if the bread hits the surface of the oil and it looks immediately like it is surfing a volcano then the oil is way too hot -- remove the pot from the heat, let it cool for a few minutes then place it back on the heat and test again.
  7. Remove the pancetta when it is crispy.
  8. When the oil is right, begin frying 5 to 7 pieces of chicken at a time. Just be sure to give the chicken some room. This, of course, is a common sense moment. It all depends on the size of your pot -- you be the judge. Just realize if you crowd the chicken, the crust will cook together and you either have one big piece of fried chicken or you'll have to break off pieces of the crust, which is less than desirable.
  9. After you place the chicken into the pot, let it sit for 15 to 30 seconds before you attempt to turn it. This moment of time allows the crust to set so when you go to turn it the crust doesn't fall off.
  10. Turn the chicken as necessary. If by chance your oil has not risen above the chicken you will need to turn it more often but by no means add oil after you have begun frying.
  11. Brown the chicken on all sides. Once it has browned, remove it to a tray with a cooling rack and place it immediately into the heated oven.
  12. After the last batch of chicken goes into the oven, let all of it rest in there for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish any sides that need it, dress the salads, and get everything to the table.
  13. Platter up the bird and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bpfox
  • amysarah
  • Romney Lewis
    Romney Lewis
  • thirschfeld

17 Reviews

Jojo January 3, 2014
I love this recipe. I am currently gluten free and dairy free. So instead of buttermilk I use kefir and it's still fantastic. Didn't have peanut oil but olive oil works just fine.
Little S. October 13, 2013
Would appreciate a little more detail in some areas of recipe.
step #6 - Give a oil temperature range, (350 to 375 degrees F). Can be checked easily with an infrared thermometer,(Harbor Freight Tools). You can control temp without needing excessive oil to measure accurately. Handy tool for cooking.
step #11 - Browning the chicken needs to have a time limit. This is too vague and can result in under or over cooking.
Jojo January 3, 2014
Little Susan, you can really put a time limit on browning chicken on a stove top. You just need to monitor it. As for under cooking that's why you put in the oven afterwards. You should not leave the chicken to get dark brown on the stove.
JohnL March 4, 2014
YES Little Susan! I use my infrared thermometer EVERY DAY, and now that I have one, would seriously not want to cook without. It's indispensible for recipes where I need to pre heat a non stick pan and want to get it good and hot before adding food, but don't want to risk damaging the pan. I keep my little Bonjour model right next to the stove. Absolutely LOVE this little gadget. It is so worth the $35 or $40 I paid for it on Amazon.
mrsn October 7, 2013
can't wait to try this. I've been told by my family and others that I make the best fried chicken. But I do the "hurry up" method and let it sit in fridge in buttermilk overnite. Personally, there are times I think the breast(don't cut them up) are a bit dry. I'm gonna use this recipe the next time I do chicken.
Bud October 7, 2013
my wife has an allergy to peanuts what is the next best oil to use? and will this also work in a low pressure chicken bucket fryer?
cyberdeck October 6, 2013
Peanut oil is also much more healthy than canola oil.
Bob October 6, 2013
Can you use canola oil instead of peanut oil.
Romney L. October 6, 2013
I have found that using peanut oil makes a significant difference in the texture and therefore taste, but canola oil can be used.
Romney L. October 6, 2013
Peanut oil makes it crispier and it will cook a lot faster because peanut oil can get hotter without burning.
Dalex September 1, 2013
What about skinless frying? Is it possible
Pegeen August 27, 2013
Tom, thanks for this great recipe. Would love to get your thoughts (or from any other fried chicken masters out there).

I just happened to hear, on NPR’s Splendid Table, Jane and Michael Stern’s glowing report of a BBQ fried chicken from Keaton’s Barbeque in North Carolina.

About 9min 20sec into the program.

As described, the recipe is to take fried chicken then dunk it bubbly hot BBQ sauce. The crispy fried crust soaks in the BBQ sauce, which becomes a mahogany glaze.

There’s no recipe on either web site. Would you put the BBQ-dunked chicken into a low oven to harden up the sauce? Or just let it sit at room temp until the BBQ sauce hardens?

JohnL March 4, 2014
Didn't catch that broadcast, but maybe this will help: Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue either dunks their chicken in their famous white barbecue sauce or they serve it alongside. It doesn't "harden". It's moist and sloppy and so good! Knife & fork food unless you don't mind being messy use your hands.
bpfox August 27, 2013
How long (approximately) does it take to cook the chicken through? I gave up on fried chicken because it always seemed endless until the inside was no longer pink.
amysarah August 27, 2013
The chicken looks great, but in Step 4, you say to dip the pieces in the egg wash...I don't see eggs (just buttermilk) in the ingredient list, nor anything about making the wash. Am I missing something?
thirschfeld August 27, 2013
Thank you amysarah and you are not missing something I was. It should be there now.
Muse August 21, 2013
You have elevated making fried chicken to an art form! Peace, Light and Love.