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Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken on a grey slate with dip and salt
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4.89 from 18 votes

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

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!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Marinating Time4 hrs
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Finger Food
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 pieces
Calories: 365kcal
Cost: £3 / $4


  • Deep Pot & Tongs (for deep frying)
  • Large Mixing Bowl & Cling Film (for marinating)
  • Curved Tray or Large Flat Bowl (for dredging chicken)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board (if dicing up whole chicken)
  • Kitchen Thermometer
  • Cooling Rack & Paper Towels


  • 3.3lb / 1.5kg Whole Chicken, divided (or individual bone in skin on pieces - see notes)
  • 4 cups / 1litre Vegetable Oil, or as needed for deep frying (see notes)

Wet Mix

  • 2 cups / 500ml Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp EACH: Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, White Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt

Dry Mix

  • 2.5 cups / 375g Plain/All Purpose 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, 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 (important - frying cold chicken causes it to seize up and go chewy).
  • Meanwhile, combine all of your dry mix. I find this easiest in a small tray, but you can also use a shallow 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, this will give you those 'flaky' parts which make the chicken extra crispy. The more craggy/flaky the chicken is the crunchier it'll be. Place on a wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Heat up enough oil to comfortably 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 - 180C/356F. The temp will drop when the chicken hits the oil, and that's okay, just try to maintain a heat of around 320F/160C. A medium heat should obtain this.
  • In batches of 3 (4 max) gently place your chicken in the oil, making sure you add the same cuts at the same time so they cook at an even rate (thighs, drums, wings). Deep fry for 6-8mins on each side or until deep golden and white through the centre (see notes). Don't move the chicken for the first couple of mins, you need the batter to attach to the chicken. Timings will depend on the size of the chicken pieces, how many there are and heat retention, so just be vigilant. Bring heat back to 175C/350F - 180C/356F between each batch.
  • Place each piece on a wire rack with paper towels underneath when finished and sprinkle with salt to draw out the last bit of moisture and bring out the seasoning. The chicken should be piping hot with the juices running clear. In all circumstances the chicken internal temp 165F/75C (take into consideration it continues cooking slightly once out the oil).



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. Again, just make sure you fry similar sizes together. Try to avoid very large pieces to avoid the outside cooking before the centre does.
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? - Anywhere between 10-15mins, but this is dependent on how big the chicken pieces are, how well the heat is maintained and how many pieces are in the pan. 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. Also, try to cook similar sized pieces in the same batches so they all cook at the same rate.
d) How to prevent batter falling off - Firstly, just make sure you thoroughly coat the chicken, i.e really rub the flour into every crevice of the chicken. Secondly just ensure the temp of the oil is correct. If it’s too high the batter cooks in seconds and might break away from the chicken. If it’s too low, the batter just becomes sludgy and way slip away. Thirdly, just make sure you carefully place it in the oil and then don’t move it unless you’re flipping it or making sure it doesn’t stick to another piece.
e) Buttermilk - You can make your own buttermilk if you can't find it at the store. Just combine 2 cups milk with 2 tsp white vinegar. Allow to sit for 10mins (it will curdle slightly) then use as per recipe.
f) 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.


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.14g | Protein: 39.63g | Fat: 17.56g | Saturated Fat: 9.796g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.035g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.037g | Trans Fat: 0.039g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.63g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2.2mg