5 Ingredients or Fewer

Judy Hesser’s Oven-Fried Chicken

July 10, 2021
116 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4, or 3 big eaters
Author Notes

This smart recipe comes from our co-founder Amanda Hesser's mother Judy, and will give you the best fried chicken you can make without committing yourself to quarts of hot oil (this recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of butter). Best of all, the process is simple and mostly hands off. As Amanda writes, "I sometimes add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and grated lemon zest to the flour mixture. The cheese underlines the nutty flavor you get from frying and the zest brightens the dish. It is delicious without these, too. My family likes it at any temperature and at any time of day, even cold out of the fridge for breakfast." Adapted slightly from Cooking for Mr Latte (W. W. Norton & Company, 2003).

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- OXO Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Five Two Roasting Pan
- GIR Silicone Spatulas

Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
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Judy Hesser’s Oven-Fried Chicken
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt (divided, plus more for serving)
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (organic or natural, not Perdue or somesuch)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (plus more for serving)
  1. In the morning, combine 2 tablespoons salt and about a cup of warm water in a large bowl or container. Stir to dissolve the salt. Trim the chicken of excess skin and fat. Add the chicken to the bowl. Cover with very cold water and add a tray of ice cubes. Swish around with your hand to disperse them. Chill in the refrigerator until dinner time.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the chicken from the fridge and pat dry completely with paper towels. Put the butter in a roasting pan large enough to fit the chicken in one layer (But remember, Judy says, "You don't want to crowd it or then it'll stew, like mushrooms"). Place the pan in the oven. In a 1-gallon freezer bag, pour in the flour, remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper. Give it a good shake. Add the chicken pieces two at a time and shake them until thoroughly coated. As you lift them out of the bag, shake them off vigorously. This is vital. You do not want a gummy coating. Line them up on a plate, and repeat with the rest.
  3. Lay the chicken pieces in the roasting pan, skin side down, and oven-fry until a chestnut brown and crisp on the bottom, about 40 minutes (sometimes it takes as long as an hour). Don’t flip them until this happens. Use a thin spatula to scrape them up off the pan and turn them; cook the other side until the bottom is browned, which will take less time, around 20 minutes. Remove the pieces from the oven as they finish cooking, and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Just before serving, grind fresh pepper over top and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • meli6
  • Emilio Casillas
    Emilio Casillas
  • panania
  • Bonnie
  • Sue Bernstein Brodsky
    Sue Bernstein Brodsky
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Recipe by: Genius Recipes

335 Reviews

meli6 July 25, 2023
I made this chicken last and we loved it! Wanted to tear off the crispy skin of the leftovers! But held back. Eating the leftovers tonight and it reminds me of cold fried chicken when I was a kid back in the 60’s.
abevrob12 July 21, 2023
I think this is one of the best pages for reviews, I love reading what people are doing, why they come from, I look forward whenever I do this recipe for the reviews. Thank you all
SQUARED G. July 21, 2023
My mom was from Mississippi and this was exactly how she made “fried” chicken, it was amazing. I do it just exchange the flour with my own gluten free flour blend. Delicious!
abevrob12 July 21, 2023
I was so excited when I read your reply and saw that you exchanged the flour for gluten free flour. Thank you, actually, sundown today, will start the chicken.
SQUARED G. July 21, 2023
Believe me it works! I’m a gluten free baker and I blend my own flour that I used and sell so give it a go!
abevrob12 July 21, 2023
How do you blend your own flour?
SQUARED G. July 21, 2023
Tried many different formulations until I perfected one I loved. Lot of experimenting.
Scott L. February 18, 2023
My Lord, what a game changer! So straightforward and simple, with outstanding result.
I’ll certainly think twice about dragging out the deep fat fryer. You just can’t go wrong with this folks.
Emilio C. December 11, 2022
Has anyone tried this with chicken wings? I LOVE this recipe as is, make it about once a month. I'm looking to make chicken wings for a party, but letting people choose their own sauces. Think it'll work?
panania May 30, 2022
This was awesome. I always make a recipe multiple times to make sure I remove any issue I may have caused. By the time I got to my last iteration of this, it was perfect; crispy, buttery, spicy (but in a good way), just perfect. Thank you.
JP December 11, 2022
Please tell us any tips you learned along the way. My experiments have not yet perfected it
abevrob12 July 21, 2023
Not sure if this is a tip but I keep a kosher home so I don't use the butter even tho it is chicken, instead olive oil. Also no brining, I think the chicken is too salty; otherwise the recipe is perfection.
beth F. May 21, 2022
This is perfection in its simplicity and flavor. Confession- I can never leave anything alone, and I did add some dill pickle juice to my brine mixture as well as some garlic powder to my flour.. but beyond those flavor enhancers, the method was just the best. RAVE reviews at dinner last night. It took a solid 50 minutes for the skin to get browned before the flip, plus one pan rotation due to an obvious hot spot in the oven. This is just a terrific recipe that I highly recommend. One thought if not making 8 thighs is to use an oven safe large chef pan or cast iron (preheated with the same method)- my bet is that it will crisp and brown a bit faster.
Melissa H. March 27, 2022
I’ve made this recipe four times in the last six weeks. Easy and delicious. Couple notes: I have never brined the chicken longer than four hours, once only 90 minutes. Don’t think it makes any noticeable difference as long as you do it for one hour minimum. I use rice flour. I place the baking sheet in the oven when I turn it to preheat. Once the oven is at temperature, then I put the butter in the hot pan and put back in the oven until it melts. I have to bake one hour before it’s brown enough to flip. I brine the excess skin and bake with the chicken, makes great crunchy salad topping.
Sara G. April 12, 2022
I was going to ask if anyone had success with a gluten free version but I saw your review right away. Glad to read that rice flour worked for you.
Melissa H. April 13, 2022
I started using rice flour a while ago for any recipe that calls for a flour coating. It works well for pan frying fish, or a recipe I have for eggplant parm where the eggplant is oven fried. The rice flour results in a crispier crust, which I prefer. Decided to use it for the chicken as well, some other reviews recommended as well. Works great!
Sara G. April 23, 2022
Great to know! I’ve used cornstarch previously with not great results.
Bonnie February 10, 2022
Has anyone used bone in skin in chicken breasts or boneless skin on chicken breasts? I’m not a fan of dark meat.
abevrob12 February 10, 2022
I am and have actually made it that way, doing it this morning. The recipe is so good and flexible in terms of the part of the chicken you use, do what you like. You will not be disappointed in this recipe, I promise.
Bonnie February 10, 2022
Thanks so much. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. About how long did you bake the breasts ?
abevrob12 February 10, 2022
My best answer is I always follow the cooking instructions, however since you will be using breasts make sure you use your thermometer, remember ever when you remove whatever it is your baking, it continues to bake once out of the oven. It will turn a beautiful golden color, this is my favorite chicken recipe and I don't think you will be disappointed. The recipe is really foolproof
Bonnie February 10, 2022
Thanks for the info. Yummy!
abevrob12 February 10, 2022
I forgot, because I keep a kosher home, I don't use butter but instead olive oil
Mwoj288 February 9, 2022
Love this recipe. Have made it multiple times and each time it’s great!!! Have been wondering if I could sub in gluten free flour?
ICanBurnWater February 9, 2022
Yes I used King Arthur measure for measure flour and it works well. It just will not brown as much. If you try another type of flour please let me know how it comes out!
Melissa H. April 13, 2022
Rice flour works very well also.
Arlene January 7, 2022
I'm about to make this recipe using drumsticks (that's all I have). Any advice for how to get them brown and crispy all over?
LizzieB December 12, 2021
I can't understand any rating other than 5 stars. I have made this recipe now dozens of times and it is a huge hit, hot or cold. I love to make extra for lunches.
I think the key are the following steps: shake off extra flour, put the butter in the hot sheet pan about 2 minutes before the chicken so it doesn't burn, LEAVE it for 40 minutes without peeking! I usually cook the second side a bit longer than the 20 or so minutes called for after flipping.
Deejay October 28, 2021
My family couldn't believe how delicious this turned out--the meat was juicy, tender, and perfectly seasoned, and the skin crispy and delectable. I followed the instructions pretty much as written but incorporated some helpful suggestions from other reviewers - specifically I used rice flour in place of all-purpose, ghee in place of butter to avoid the problem of smoking, and used parchment paper on the baking pan to prevent sticking. The chicken thighs emerged from the oven cooked to perfection with a golden crust and flavorful meat. Rave reviews from my family - this is absolutely going into regular rotation. So easy and such great results! Thanks for such a family-friendly recipe.
dr B. October 11, 2021
This recipe is solidly in our rotation. We use Publix Greenwise thighs and the recipe never fails.
Sue B. September 8, 2021
Great, delicious, and fairly easy. Just thinking ahead: anyone see any reason I could not substitute matzo meal for the flour? Please advise. Ty!
alamalveaux September 5, 2021
Tried this recipe for the first. Oh my gosh!! How I wish I had known about this cooking method years ago. Well, this is my new way of frying chicken for my family.

Has anyone ever tried this same recipe with fish? If so, please share your thoughts?
abevrob12 July 21, 2023
Did anyone ever answer the fish question?
Deanna June 6, 2021
This is super delicious - my chicken was very crisp, moist, and flavorful. I made it per recipe/video and now can’t wait to try different herbs & seasonings as recommended by other reviewers. I do recommend watching the video because it explains melting the butter in a pre-heated pan (not stated in the written directions).
Also - as recommended by another reviewer - the Brussels sprouts salad (Merrill Stubbs) goes great with the chicken. I took the advice in the video and used some pan drippings for the dressing. Yum.
Throw in a nice French white wine and wow, winning chicken dinner!
Arrxx June 3, 2021
Has anyone tried this with a buttermilk brine instead of water?
Jayne P. July 7, 2021
Please could you try it, then report back. I am sure it would be extremely good.
Risottogirl July 30, 2021
Not buttermilk, but I have used feta brine! And pickle juice! Both were fantastic. Pickle juice maybe a tiny bit better because they were spicy dills :)
Canuck April 10, 2021
Can I line up the sheet pan with aluminum foil and then pre-heat?
abevrob12 April 11, 2021
Absolutely does not interfere with the taste. I want as little clean up as possible and the foil really conducts the heat beautifully. I constantly make this chicken so I promise, you will be fine.
dr B. October 11, 2021
I prefer using parchment paper. If the butter/fat is not quite enough the foil will peel with the chicken when turning over. I preheat with other recipes but have never found the need with this one.
abevrob12 December 15, 2020
This was absolutely delicious!!!! I followed the recipe, no ad-libbing; it was crisp, moist and best of all, not fried. I would certainly make this again and again