Fried Chicken

September  5, 2009
6 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

I searched all over for great fried chicken recipes, and ultimately used a lot of ideas combined into this "ultimate" recipe. The baking powder in the coating makes this especially crisp! I like using chicken thigh fillets rather than breasts - they're much more flavorful, and higher in iron, too. And using all-meat means that the chicken is easier to cook through, and you don't have to watch out for bones. —annesfood

Test Kitchen Notes

Annesfood had us at baking powder. Neither of us had ever come across baking powder in a fried chicken recipe before, but since it’s found in a lot of tempura batters, we were optimistic. We were pleased to discover that the batter (followed by a coating of flour, more baking powder, herbs and spices) does indeed produce an extra crunchy crust. At the same time, the meat remains moist and flavorful, having wallowed in a bath of buttermilk, fresh sage and some other herbs and spices. Annesfood adds another interesting detail: she uses boneless chicken thighs, which allows the meat to cook more quickly, thus preventing the coating from getting too dark. Finding boneless thighs with the skin (a requisite for fried chicken in our opinion) is difficult, but you can easily bone your own by making parallel cuts along the sides of the thigh bone and then scraping the meat gently away. – A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Part one: Brine
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
  • 3 cups buttermilk or sour milk
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • Part two: batter and coat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  1. Part one: Brine
  2. Mix all ingredients for the brine. Add the chicken, and let it rest in the fridge for about 3 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces and put them on a rack to drain a bit. Don't wipe off any brine though, but try to shake off any large pieces of garlic that might stick. Let the chicken drain for about two hours.
  1. Part two: batter and coat
  2. Beat the egg and the buttermilk with the first teapoon of baking powder in a bowl. Mix flour, the second teaspoon of baking powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder and thyme in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Dip the chicken pieces in the batter and dredge them with the flour mixture.
  4. Finally, fry in a deep fryer at about 175°C (350°F), for 6-7 minutes or until your chicken is golden and crispy, and well cooked through.
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15 Reviews

James H. May 25, 2023
this the best fried chicken i've ever made, not the best fried chicken i've ever had, but it has the legs to be the best i've ever had, and i need to raise my frying skills. don't mind practicing with this recipe. i believe that folks will enjoy the fact that the breading/coating isn't as heavy as with other fried chicken recipes. aka KFC
Twy April 14, 2022
I made this awesome Chicken for supper tonight. My husband said it was so good that I could sell it. My boys loved it also. I made it using the boneless thighs. This recipe will be cherished and made many more times by me it's a winner. Thank you so much for sharing it. I have been looking for a good Fried Chicken recipe and finally found it. The baking powder sure does make it crispy.
LULULAND April 8, 2021
I just made these for dinner. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and was surprised the crust still stuck on them and stayed! We loved them. But I would use less salt in the brine, as they tasted too salty to me. Less flour, and less buttermilk in the batter as both extras had to be thrown out. Also I would use about a teaspoon more ancho chili powder and I left out the cayenne. I wonder if these would work for chicken tenders, being breast meat? Overall my Hubs was very happy! Thanks for the recipe.
Vera M. February 3, 2021
I've known about the baking powder thing for a few years. Really does make the difference; I even use it in the flour dredge when I do chicken fried steak. I'm just wondering how long I should deep fry if I am using pounded out thighs about 1/2 thick? Lately I have only been doing oven-fried chicken and that is excellent! I've had my pieces marinating close to 18 hours in seasoned buttermilk with hot sauce. Our sandwich sides are buttermilk ranch, tomato, bacon and lettuce. This is gonna be good lol.
Vera M. February 3, 2021
Just wanted to add. This turned out absolutely divine! My baking powder only goes into the seasoned flour as well as a few Tbsps of the buttermilk/hot sauce marinade. I used boneless skinless thighs, pounded out and all breading remained in place just fine. As with tenders or wings, I remove from the buttermilk, drip well, dredge in the flour mixture and place on a cooking rack (on a sheet pan) and place in fridge at least 30 minutes first.
meganvt01 April 7, 2018
This recipe is ridiculously good. I added some smoked paprika in lieu of the cayenne for the kids but wow! This is my new go to
MrsPrincess07 May 19, 2015
I've made this now I don't know how many times and it's the best chicken recipe ever! I use my deep fryer and keep it warm in the oven also. I always make extra because it's just as god the second or third day. Pair it with mashed potatoes, french beans, and homemade biscuits and it's FABULOUS!!
Lisa A. September 30, 2014
This was incredible. I used boneless chicken thighs instead and was so happy with the crunchy outer crust, which was the best ever. It didn't come off in the pan or get soggy. I did warm it in the oven on a rack so extra oil could drip off. Delicious!
Mark P. April 14, 2014
I made this last week and used the Oaktown Spice "Poivre a la Mode" in place of the recipe spices above, plus a little cayenne. Best Fried Chicken EVER!
Gina55164 July 6, 2013
How much longer does the chicken need to cook if the bones are in?
Sarag March 14, 2013
Loved this recipe. Had to make it gluten free but it was still shatteringly crisp and wonderful.
MrsPrincess07 February 8, 2013
OMG!!! This is the most amazing fried chicken I have ever had! I did make some subs (boneless & Skinless Chicken Breast and made my own flour mixture but added the baking powder). This was amazing! The chicken sat in the brine for about 4 hours and it gave the meat such a wonderful flavor and kept it moist. Even without the skin, it still had that perfect flakey coating. I fried it in batches and kept them warm in a 375 degree oven on a wire rack which allowed the extra oil to drain while keeping the meat hot. I'm not one for leaving reviews on food websites, but I had to do so with this recipe! If this is only a contest finalist, I cannot wait to try the winner. But then again, why fix what isn't broke... this recipe is just that good!
MamaIntheKitchen March 7, 2011
This recipe is great! I could not find boneless thighs so easily and did not have the time to make my own so I just kept the bones in and let it cook for longer. Juicy chicken that is really flavorful. But it is lacking salt in the batter to make the crispy bits that fall off more tasty. I made a large batch and put some in the fridge. I was still able to restore the crispiness and not lose moisture when reheating in the oven a few days later. Mmm Yummy!
Jennifer P. September 14, 2009
So, I made this tonight and while I really adapted recipe because I was short on time (no brine), the baking powder did indeed produce the crispiest fried chicken I've ever made. Thanks for this stroke of genius.
Jennifer P. September 11, 2009
Baking powder...who knew. Not a good idea looking at this during lunch time. I'm drooling now.