Here’s How to Make the Most Perfect Fried Chicken Ever

A buttermilk brine and a cast-iron skillet are essential for making the best fried chicken in your own kitchen
Fried Chicken

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Here’s How to Make the Most Perfect Fried Chicken Ever

Fried Chicken

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Ahhh, fried chicken — crispy, golden and utterly delicious. Fried chicken is a classic American comfort food loved by all ages and made for all occasions. With crisp, craggy, and lightly spiced crust on the outside and moist buttermilk marinated meat on the inside, it’s no wonder why so many people love fried chicken. There is magic in fried chicken that makes it equally delicious hot, cold, and any temperature in between. Such a revered dish can seem intimidating to make yourself, and the need for deep frying can also cause people to hesitate to make a recipe, no matter how delicious it might be.

Follow our comprehensive step-by-step guide to making fried chicken at home, with no fancy equipment, and check out the different fried recipes that we love best.

Buttermilk Brine

Buttermilk Brine
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Brining the chicken in buttermilk before you fry it gives the meat a tangy flavor, and a moist and juicy texture. It also means the flour coating will cling more easily to the chicken. Leave the meat in the brine for at least four hours.

For the Beasley's Chicken + Honey Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Spice the Brine

Spice the Brine

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The best way to add a gentle spiciness to your chicken is by adding the seasoning to the buttermilk brine. A mixture of cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano makes the tastiest chicken we’ve ever tried.

For the Dakgangjeong (Koreatown Fried Chicken) recipe, click here.

Room Temperature Chicken

Room Temperature Chicken
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Bring the brined chicken to room temperature before frying it. Remove it from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before frying, otherwise the cold chicken will cool the oil, resulting in a longer cooking time, and therefore tougher chicken.

For the Saffron Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Breading Process

Breading Process

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There are three key steps for coating the chicken. First, toss it in flour, then in a lightly beaten egg, then in flour again. Make sure you season the chicken every step of the way.
 

For the Sitty’s Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Add Cornmeal

Add Cornmeal

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For an extra crispy crust, replace one quarter of the coating flour with cornmeal. To make the crust lighter and airier, add a couple of teaspoons of baking powder to the flour.
 

For the Perfect Southern Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

For an Extra Craggy Crust

For an Extra Craggy Crust

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For the most textured crust, add a splash of buttermilk to the flour and work it into the flour with your fingers, until it’s slightly lumpy. Then make sure you really pack it on when you’re adding flour the second time.

For the Cold-Smoked Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Rest the Chicken

Rest the Chicken

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Let the chicken rest on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before frying it, so that it forms an extra craggy crust.
 

For the Crispy Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

No Deep-Fryer Required

No Deep-Fryer Required

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You don’t need a deep-fryer to make the best fried chicken: A sturdy cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven will work perfectly.

For the Perfect Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Choosing the Oil

Choosing the Oil

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When frying chicken, you should never use oil with a low smoke point, such as extra-virgin olive oil, as this will cause the chicken to have a bitter taste. Instead, opt for canola, vegetable, or peanut oil.

For the Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe, click here.

Heating the Oil

Heating the Oil
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Fill the pan or Dutch oven at least halfway with oil: Make sure that you use enough oil to cover half of your thickest piece of chicken. Heat the oil until it reaches a steady 350 degrees F, using a thermometer to check the temperature.

For the Oven-Fried Chicken recipe, click here..

Separating the Meat

Separating the Meat

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Before you start frying the chicken, separate out the white meat from the dark meat, as the dark meat will take longer to cook than the white.

For the Sweet Chick's Buffalo Fried Chicken and Waffles recipe, click here.

Add the Chicken

Add the Chicken

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To add the chicken to the pan, use some tongs, and add it one piece at a time. Lay the chicken in away from you so that you don’t splash yourself with the hot oil.


For the Gluten-Free Fried Chicken recipe, click here.
 

Don’t Overcrowd

Don’t Overcrowd

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Make sure you don’t add too much chicken to the pan: You’ll probably need to fry your chicken in batches to make this possible. Cooking too much chicken at once will lower the oil temperature and increase the cooking time.

For the Southern Fried Chicken BLT recipe, click here.

Cover the Pan

Cover the Pan

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Once you’ve added the chicken to the pan, put the lid on it and set your timer for six minutes. Covering the pan may seem like a dangerous idea, but it will keep the oil hot so the chicken cooks quickly, before the coating starts to burnOr you can just go out to one of the 75 best fried chicken places in America
 

For the Southern Fried Chicken recipe, click here

Flip the Chicken

Flip the Chicken

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After six minutes, remove the lid, and flip every piece of chicken with the tongs. Quickly sprinkle salt and pepper on top of every piece before the grease dries. Don’t replace the lid, but cook the chicken for 4-5 more minutes, without flipping it again. To check whether the chicken is done, use a thermometer to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees F.

For the Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) recipe, click here.


 

Let the Fried Chicken Rest

Let the Fried Chicken Rest

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Once cooked, use the tongs to carefully remove the chicken from the oil. Place the chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to allow any excess grease to drip off. Let it cool for 10 minutes before eating — the chicken interior will still be really hot.

For the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Fried Chicken, click here