Cast Iron

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

March 17, 2015
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

The real kicker here that the chicken pieces get dipped into the buttermilk and flour mixture twice so that the ratio of meat to crust is practically 1:1. The crust is perfectly thick, crisp, and well-seasoned. In my cookbook, this chicken sits on a black pepper biscuit with pickles, a drizzle of honey, and plenty of seedy mustard, but we recently enjoyed the chicken on thick slices of white bread with mayonnaise and crisp dill pickles.

Make enough for leftovers because nothing beats thinly sliced cold fried chicken over a bowl of greens. —Ashley Rodriguez

What You'll Need
  • For the spice mix:
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
  • For the flour and buttermilk dredges:
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, for frying
  1. The day before you plan on frying the chicken, whisk together the paprika, oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to form the spice mix. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the spice mix, then sprinkle the rest all over the chicken thighs. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To fry the chicken, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and reserved spice mix in a pie plate or shallow dish.
  3. Mix together the buttermilk and egg in another pie plate or shallow dish.
  4. Set up a wire rack over a sheet tray. Fill a large, heavy skillet (I use my 12-inch cast-iron pan) with oil until 3/4-inch high. Set on high heat and bring to 360° F. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, then the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture again, and finally back into the flour.
  6. Fry the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until deep golden brown all over. If the chicken is not fully cooked (the internal temperature should read 165° F), place the chicken on the wire rack and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Monica Borrin Flint
    Monica Borrin Flint
  • Eddie Roche
    Eddie Roche
  • Jan Weber
    Jan Weber
  • Julie
  • Jules Galette
    Jules Galette
Author of Date Night In (2015) and creator of the blog, Not Without Salt.

19 Reviews

Mo March 15, 2017
This recipe doesn't mention chicken parts or type? Is this a whole chicken needed to be cut or buy in pieces? Can white and dark meat be fried in same temp of oil? Skin on or off? Soak in buttermilk overnight, pat dry and use new buttermilk for frying? More details would be helpful to this novice chicken fryer. I have never done it and am eager to try it out. Thanks! Mo
Lori March 16, 2017
The recipe calls for 4 boneless AND Skinless chicken thighs.
Since there are only two thighs on a whole chicken, you are better off to buy the chicken thighs (dark meat) that are already prepared.
Personally, I use fresh buttermilk for dredging...
Mo March 17, 2017
Thanks Lori. Is this a good general rule of thumb to take the skin off or buy skinless when deep frying chicken? Can legs and breasts be added at same temp? So no buttermilk overnight necessary? What about overnight brining? I have read that brining overnight can make the chicken to salty?
Chris K. December 12, 2016
Advanced F52ers: do you think I could use chicken breasts instead of thighs? Would you image them to turn out drier? Can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks for your help.
María December 14, 2016
Hi Chris! I tried using breast meat instead to make nugget like appetizers and they were delicious. With smaller bits you won't need quite as much oil for frying, also they'll be done a lot quicker! Enjoy 😊
Chris K. December 14, 2016
Maria- thank you for your response! I'll be trying this out this weekend. Cheers!
Monica B. December 11, 2016
This recipe was highly recommended (and citation given) by author Michael Chabon on The New Yorker Magazine Radio Broadcast yesterday (December 11, 2016). I cant wait to try it.
Lance B. December 17, 2016
Beat me to it!
ABeaconCook October 1, 2015
We've made this recipe twice now...cannot say enough! Absolutely delicious. The only tweak we made was we cut the seasoning in half & added a "shake" of tabasco which was perfect for our taste. We will not use another fried
chicken recipe! Thanks again!
Eddie R. March 28, 2015
Looks great. Do you rinse off the dry brine before frying or leave it on? Thanks!
Heather L. April 8, 2015
I'm certainly not the author of this recipe, but I'm equally certain that you would NOT rinse off the dry seasoning before cooking the chicken.
Jan W. March 23, 2015
I just made this recipe with bone-in, skin on thighs and legs, and it turned out so perfectly that I may never buy fried chicken in a restaurant again. I kept the leftover pieces in the fridge wrapped in paper towels, and the crust still had some crunch to it! The chicken meat was so tender that I think if I had marinated it in buttermilk overnight, it might have fallen apart! The spice mix is just about perfect too. Here's a photo of it with the buttermilk biscuits ( ) I made to serve alongside them:

KJones March 22, 2015
I love Pine State Biscuits' chicken! If this is similar, it's a keeper!
Lori March 22, 2015
Here in the south, we soak the chicken in buttermilk overnight- a natural tenderizer.
Julie March 19, 2015
This looks great -- I can't wait to try it. Thanks!!
Jan W. March 19, 2015
Glad to see a buttermilk-fried chicken recipe using a skillet (the only proper way). Some Southerners would tell you that you risk censure by using skinless thighs or removing the skin, but I think it's a good idea. However, I do prefer that my thighs have the bone in - would it make much of a difference to this recipe?
LKPeller March 19, 2015
How much baking powder? The recipe doesn't specify. Thanks!
Sylvie G. April 21, 2015
Yes it does it's 1/2 tsp... ;)
Jules G. March 18, 2015
This seems like a great recipe to use a base to make hot chicken.