This Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe is packed with all the tips you need to make EXTRA crispy fried chicken. Once you give this a go, you won’t have it any other way!
Oh boy, is this post a long time coming. I’ve been testing out this fried chicken recipe for a loooooong time, and I’m super excited to finally share with you the tried, tested and perfected recipe! Follow me…
Extra Crispy Fried Chicken
I hope we’re all in agreement that the best fried chicken is mouthwateringly tender on the inside, tooth shatteringly crispy and flakey on the outside and bursting with flavour all over. This recipe will give you exactly that.
I’ve packed this post with everything you need to know in getting perfect fried chicken, so let’s start right at the beginning.
What cut of chicken to use for fried chicken?
I always get a whole chicken and cut it up, just because I like the variety. This post is already going to be lengthy as it is, so I won’t add a tutorial on how to do it, but if you don’t know how to cut a whole chicken for fried chicken then check out this video.
From this, you’ll get 10-12 pieces of chicken (depending on if you split the wing in two or not, here I do).
If you opt not to use a whole chicken, just use a variety of different cuts i.e half thigh half drumstick.
Just make sure you use bone in skin on chicken. This will result in the crispiest/juiciest fried chicken.
Buttermilk Chicken Marinade
The absolute key to getting tender and crispy fried chicken is using a buttermilk marinade. Marinading the chicken in a (seasoned) buttermilk tenderises the chicken and injects a huge amount of flavour. As I explain in my Homemade Popcorn Chicken post, the buttermilk penetrates the chicken and makes it go flaky when you coat it in flour. The flakier the chicken, the crispier it is!
How long to marinate chicken in buttermilk?
A minimum of 4 hours, a maximum of 24 hours. Personally I very rarely marinate the chicken for less than 12 hours, and find the longer you marinate the chicken the more tender it becomes. Some recipes suggest a minimum of 1 hour, but from experience you just don’t get the same results. Some recipes also suggest the marinade stops being effective after 4 hours, but again, from experience I tend to differ from this. Anyway, if you’re going to the trouble of making fried chicken why risk it and shorten the marinading time!?
Fried Chicken Seasoning
I split this into the wet seasoning (buttermilk chicken marinade) and dry seasoning (flour seasoning).
Buttermilk Chicken Marinade Seasoning
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- White Pepper
This is similar to the flour seasoning, just with a few adjustments. Mainly the inclusion of white pepper. This gives you that classic KFC style chicken taste, definitely don’t skip this!
How to marinate chicken in buttermilk
- Pour your buttermilk in to a suitably sized bowl and add your seasoning.
- Stir to combine.
- Add your chicken and fully coat.
- Pop over cling film and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Fried chicken dry rub
Once you’ve marinated the chicken, it’s time to coat it in seasoned flour.
Shake off some of the marinade, then coat in the seasoned flour. Really make sure you rub the flour into every part of the chicken so absolutely none of the flesh is showing. It’s too often I see people roll the chicken in the dry rub a couple of times and be done with it. Really make sure you get in every crevice.
Fried chicken dry rub seasoning
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Baking Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
Using baking powder in fried chicken is another crucial ingredient in getting a crispy coating. When the baking powder hits the hot oil it creates lots of tiny air bubbles, which in turn creates an airy and crispy batter.
How to coat chicken in flour
- Add seasoning to flour and mix. I find this easiest in a small tray, but you could also use a bowl.
- Shake some of the buttermilk off the chicken and one by one coat in the dry seasoning. Really get as much flour in every part of the chicken.
- Give the chicken a little shake.
- Place on a tray ready to deep fry.
Deep Fried Chicken
Of course, to get truly crispy chicken, it’s got to be deep fried.
What oil to use for deep frying?
You want to use an oil with a high smoking point, which essentially means it can go to high temperatures without turning into smoke. You also want a neutral flavoured oil. We’ve already injected enough flavour into the chicken, so no need for a flavoured oil too. For this reason I use vegetable or sunflower oil.
What temperature to deep fry chicken?
You want to get the oil to about 350f/175c. When you drop in the chicken it will drop to about 320f/160c, and that’s fine. To maintain that heat a medium flame should be fine. If it becomes too hot simply pour in some oil to lower the temperature.
How long to deep fry chicken?
Anywhere between 10-15mins, depending on the cut of chicken. I.e wings will probably cook quicker than drumsticks. The crust should be deep golden and the inside white and piping hot. Work in batches of 3 (4 max) pieces at a time.
Once you’ve fried the chicken, place it on a wire rack to rest. The chicken will actually carry on cooking from leftover heat.
From there, give the chicken a final sprinkle of salt to draw out the last bit of moisture from the batter for extra crispiness.
And there we have it folks! Perfect buttermilk fried chicken is yours for the taking.
Anywho, let’s tuck into the recipe shall we?
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How to make Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Full Recipe & Video)
This Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe is packed with all the tips you need to make EXTRA crispy fried chicken. Once you give this a go, you won't have it any other way!
- 3.3lb / 1.5kg Chicken divided (see notes)
- 3-4 cups / 750ml - 1litre Vegetable Oil, or as needed for deep frying (see notes)
- 2 cups / 500ml Buttermilk
- 1 tsp each: Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, White Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt
- 2.5 cups / 375g Plain Flour
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 2 tsp each: Oregano, Baking Powder
- 1.5 tsp Salt, plus extra to sprinkle at the end
- 1 tsp each: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
In a bowl, combine the wet mix with your chicken, ensuring it's fully coated by the marinade. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for an absolute minimum of 4 hours, but the longer the better (up to 24hours). Remove at least 30mins before you intend to use it to bring to room temp.
Meanwhile, combine all of your dry mix. I find this easiest in a small tray, but you can also use a bowl. Dip a piece of your chicken into the mix and fully coat. Really make sure you get the mix in every part of the chicken. Place on a tray and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Heat up enough oil to comfortable cover the depth of your largest piece of chicken. Drop a piece of mixture in, if it slowly sizzles to the top you're good to go. You want the oil to be approx 175c/350f (it will drop when the chickens in, that's okay). A medium heat should obtain this.
In batches of 3 (4 max) gently place your chicken in the oil. Deep fry for 6-8mins on each side or until deep golden and white through the centre. (see notes). If you’re not confident deep frying just test with one piece first. Place each piece on a wire rack when finished and sprinkle with salt to draw out the last bit of moisture. The chicken should be piping hot with the juices running clear.
Watch how to make it!
a) What cut of chicken to use? - I always use a whole chicken as I like the variety. If you do this I recommend cutting the breast in two so everything is evenly sized. I also cut the wings in half and deep fry them separately (as they cook quicker). If you don't want to use a whole chicken, just use 10 pieces of your favourite cuts i.e thighs/drumsticks/wings and make sure you use skin on bone in.
b) What oil to use for deep frying? - You want to use an oil with a high smoking point and a neutral flavour. For this reason I use either vegetable or sunflower oil. Olive oil is not suitable for deep frying.
c) How long to deep fry for? - it depends on the size of cut, but anywhere between 10-15mins. When you drop the chicken in the oil the temp will drop from 350f/175c to about 320f/160c, so keep it at that temp. The chicken is done when the batter is golden and the inside is white with the juices running clear. The chicken will actually carry on cooking once it's taken out the oil due to carry over heat. Just make sure it's piping hot when it's stabbed.
d) Calories - this is really difficult to calculate as it's difficult to tell how much oil and buttermilk is soaked up AND to know which cuts of chicken you'll use. This calculation is based on using chicken thighs only, on the assumption that 1/2 a cup of buttermilk sticks, 1 cup of flour sticks, 1 tsp of salt is absorbed and 2 tsp of oil per thigh is soaked up. Calories per thigh. Just take this calculation with a pinch of salt. Pun intended.
If you loved this Deep Fried Chicken Recipe you’ll love my Deep Fried Bloomin’ Onion!