Monday, July 13, 2009

Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Southern, Fried, but Not Southern Fried

Not being from the south, I had no idea that this recipe I've been calling southern fried chicken for a long time, was not really southern fried chicken.

It w
as southern, and it was fried, but the addition of the buttermilk marinade apparently disqualified it from being a true southern fried chicken recipe.

According to my sources deep within the southern fried chicken subculture, real southern fried chicken consists of chicken parts, dredged in seasoned flour, and fried in hot oil until crisp and cooked.

That's it. If any additional steps or ingredients are added, and you still call it southern fried chicken,
someone may drop a, "Well, bless your heart" on you. Sounds nice, right? It's not, ask a southerner.

I'll have to try that pure version one day, but I love the tangy tenderization that the buttermilk and associated bacteria provide, so I don't see any reason to change my approach.

Yes, this is a messy project, but there are perks to having a Dutch oven full of oil around for a few days. You already saw the Paczki we made, and you will see a French fry demo soon, so stay tuned.

I decided to show a couple minutes of me cutting up the whole chicken into the classic eight-piece meal. I did speed it up to make it somewhat bearable, so if you need to, go back and watch it a few times to see the nuances of the dissection. Enjoy!

UPDATE! It seems I wasn't clear in the video regarding the temperature. The oil is 350 degrees F. to start, but when the chicken goes in it will drop to about 300. It should rise back to 305-310 and be held at that until done, about 20 minutes. I've added a notation in the video, so hopefully that will help!




Ingredients:
3 1/2 pound chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)
2 cups buttermilk

for the seasoned flour:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

2 1/2 quarts peanut oil for frying

191 comments:

ira said...

Hey John.

This recipe looks fantastic, but I just have one teensy problem: I'm allergic to peanuts. Would you be able to recommend a subsitute oil for frying? I've run into this problem a few times, because apparently peanut oil's high smoking point makes it fantastic to fry anything imaginable. Is there an oil out there for me?

Keep up the great work! Rest assured I have told all my friends about foodwishes.com. Repeatedly.

:: ira

Asian-Malaysian said...

Part of me wished that this was going to be one of your amazing baked "fried" dishes. Deed fried a small amount of fish with beer batter over the weekend and still managed to make a bit of a mess of the kitchen. Guess theres no way around it for the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Fire trucks! how was your birthday? hope you had a good one

Ollie (England) said...

Hey Chef John,
I'm across the Atlantic where we don't seem to like Buttermilk very much. I was just wondering if you knew an easy way to make it? Hope you had a good birthday and thanks for the site!

CharGeorge said...

Does going through the breast bone put a lot of wear and tear on a knife? I don't have a cleaver, so I'd be doing it chef's knife.

Alexis said...

Chef John! I object! The wingtips are certainly not useless. Toss them in a baggie and stash them in the freezer along with other chickeney bits that would otherwise go in the trash (like the carcass from a roasted chicken) Then you can use it all to make stock.

SP said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!

Chef John said...

Ira- I know alton brown uses canola oil to fry, so try that.

olli- you can use some plain yogurt thinned with milk, would be very similar.

CG- as long as the knife is sharp no prob, use your steel before and after.

Alx- i just said they were useless to fry, of course they can be saved for stock with the backbone. should have mentioned.

Everyone else, thanks!

iliea said...

OOooh cant wait for french fries! do you have a recipe for maybe falafel? just a fried food i been daydreaming about recently.

Chef John said...

sorry, no falafel recipes

Anonymous said...

K chickens in the fridge marinadings carcass on the stove for gravy twice baked potatos in oven an I just making the pazkis for desert,Um what we having tommorow John :) is it a supprise :)

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Thanks for clearing that up. I had no idea. I do love chicken that's had a bath in buttermilk brine.

Jen said...

Looks great, however, as a born and raised southerner...I've always used buttermilk, as that is how my grandmother taught me, and she was also born in the deep south of Georgia. I'm sure you will hear both sides of this, some agreeing and some not, but I will tell you that the buttermilk bath is quite common. Now not using a cast iron skillet and Crisco is another story :)

DocChuck said...

As another "born and raised southerner", from a long line of "born and raised southerners", I am not sure whether I should be amused or insulted by some of your remarks.

What I CAN tell you is that my Texas relatives have been frying chicken (after soaking in buttermilk) in lard in a cast iron Dutch oven GENERATIONS before YOU were born.

And my family (several of which can trace their ancestry to Plimoth Plantation), always seemed to enjoy the chicken.

Chef John said...

you should be amused and insulted.

actually you'll notice I didn't take a stand either way, I said "apparently" the real deal is just floured. Besides, what do they know about cooking in Texas?

DocChuck said...

Thank you for the clarification.

But to answer your question, "what do they know about cooking in Texas", the Texans have forgotten more about cooking than the fruits and nuts in California will ever understand ;)

Sheliza said...

Okay now my husband is going to be mad because I am sending him out for some buttermilk and peanut oil. I. Must. Have. Fried. Chicken. Chef John's fault!

Chef John said...

spoken like a true Texan! lol @ fruits and nuts

Chef John said...

Sheliza, he's lucky to have you...

Lucia said...

Need french men to start selling buttermilk. I sometimes use a mix of milk and lemon, but i fear the lemon will vary, especially if i add to much lemon.

And well tbh, I have seen a lot of peope saying they are southerners saying the use buttermilk and bunch who say they dont. And it shouldn't matter I think, every home has their own traditional recipe and the best is whichever you like more.

Lucia said...

BTW, I heard that peanut oil is peanut allergic tollerant if it's well refined (Alton Brown said it I think). But then again, use canolla oil just in case.

Linda said...

You can't get more southern than Alabama, born and raised.... And yes, I do say, "Bless your heart," when I want to express my sympathy to someone. This is exactly how I make my chicken, my mother, my grandmother and great grandmother too. We do use the cast iron skillet instead of the dutch oven. This will really give it away but I remember my grandmother catching the chicken in the yard and my grandfather preparing it for dinner. This could give a little girl nightmares. I never ate it when I was little for that reason. Love your recipes. Thanks Chef John.

Elizabeth said...

This looks amazing - I am literally drooling!

robyn said...

no fair no fair..!!! everytime i try making fried chicken the batter came out soggy and the thighs are always red and slightly bloody inside :( eventhough i've fried it for 1/2 hour. Furthermore the fried chickens i made look soo charred :(

Chef John said...

sounds like the oil isn't hot enough, but I don't know. Always works for me.

Yubi Shines said...

For iliea: I was just making falafel today and it turned out good, much better than what I had at a food court the other day.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and rinsed (much better than canned, IMO)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro (I think it's a combo of cilantro and parsley, but didn't have the latter)
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1-2 pinch fennel seed (optional)
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste (used paprika in lieu of cayenne)

Boil chickpeas for 3-5 minutes on high, simmer on low for about half an hour, drain thoroughly. Shred them and the onion/garlic in a food processor.

You can shred the parsley and cilantro with the above, which will make the paste green, but I just chopped them and mixed it at the end.

Put everything in a mixing bowl, add the spices, flour, and beaten egg, mix.

Form into slightly flattened golf balls, or burger patties. Fry or deep-fry until golden brown. I suppose you could coat them in breading but there's no need.

...eee. I was hoping this would be a short comment. If I had a tripod I'd have filmed my attempt and cut out all this text.

Anonymous said...

Hey chief Jon. How about using bread crumbs instead of flour?

Krists said...

Hey chief John. How about using bread crumbs instead of flour?

Chef John said...

breadcrumbs? never!

peter w said...

hey cheif me being a guy only 18 living on my own i dont have a dutch oven can i use a deap fryer

Chef John said...

Of course, deep fryer is even better

Pamela said...

I have run out of peanut oil? Can I mix with canola oil?? Making the chicken now.. :)

Pamela said...

one more question how come some people add egg to this sort of recipe when after they marinate in buttermilk ?

Chef John said...

yes on the canola, and eggs? I have no idea, they're crazy

Anonymous said...

Chef John.....chicken looks delicious and am anxious to try the recipe myself. Only difference is I have a 10lb bag of assorted chicken parts and was wondering how can I adjust your recipe to fit? As simple as x3 on everything??

Chef John said...

pretty much except the oil is the same, you just have to fry in batches.

ken said...

Chef John,

I just successfully dismembered my first whole chicken thanks to you, woo hoo! You're awesome.

I'm currently trying this recipe and my chicken is soaking in buttermilk right now. Two questions for ya:

1. I am using lowfat buttermilk, is that a prob?

2. My chicken will end up soaking for about 24 hours since I'll be at work. Is this a prob?

Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

that may be a little long, i think overnight should be the max, but some do 24 hours, should be ok.

Ken said...

Thank you very much for the quick response. I'm assuming the lowfat BM is fine, and I'll try the 24 hour soak and see how it turns out. I hope my chicken is nice and clumpy like the one in your picture. That's the best!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef,

My chicken is soaking in the buttermilk now, 3 hrs till I fire up the stove!!

This my first "go round" with fried chicken, my question is: Can I use a couple of pounds of lard and 1 pound of butter as my cooking oil?

Chef John said...

lard yes, butter no

Esti said...

Chef John, I would love to try this recipe, only problem - I wanted to know if I can replace the buttermilk with something else - I need a non dairy substitute.

Please let me know,

Josh

Chef John said...

not sure, dont they make lactose-free milk?

dan said...

Chef,

I want to use boneless thighs and breasts. How much less is the cooking time?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The time of 20 to 25 minutes is absurdly too long. Esp at 350 as you state in the video. I just fried using your recipe only at 325F and the chicken was done in about 12 minutes. It was really too dark but the int temp was at 180 on most but 175 on some. Your video shows a fry therm at well well below 350, more like 200F. What gives?

Chef John said...

i think youre looking at the bottom of the needle on the thermometer. The oil was 350, which goes down to about 300 when you add the chicken. Mine was perfect is 20 minutes. Not sure what your problem was(is).

vincent said...

hi chef john, i am thinking to bake the chickens instead of frying it.. does it work ??

Chef John said...

it will cook, but not get crisp

Leonard said...

recipe calls 1 tsp ground dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)does that mean tsp of each or a tsp total of combination of all 4. If that makes sense?

Anonymous said...

Would you use this same frying process for cooking chicken livers? I know the cooking time would be shorter. Also, what kind of sauce (if any) would you serve with them?

Chef John said...

U could do livers I guess, but not sure what sauce Id use.

jenny said...

Chef John:

After yet another failed attempt at preparing fried chicken, I Googled "no fail fried chicken for dummies recipe" (ha) and wound up at your YouTube site.

I must say, after watching your video and reading your explaination on the blog, I am inspired to try, try again!

Thank you for providing me with the encouragement and tools not to feel like a failure as a nth generation Southerner (*cough* Texan) who can't properly prepare fried chicken.

From the looks of the other recipes on your blog (ie smothered pork chops), my husband will be very grateful to you for a long time to come. I concur with that sentiment :)

Thank you,

Jenny

Anonymous said...

A+++++ this recipe is definitely the best recipe ever for chicken wings! I've been looking for this recipe a long time ago.. so delicious thank you

marlowe said...

my chicken is now marinating! :D thanks Chef John! and oh...been reading through the comments at the top...they were from last year...people were greeting you a happy birthday...last July 13, 2009...so...that makes your birthday this year...also July 13! happy birthday! lol. i'm lame. thanks again for the recipe! hope i'm successful replicating it. hihi. :D

Anonymous said...

Chef John - I spent literally three hours last night wading through your blog after Googling southern fried chicken recipes. Not only is yours by far the best sounding and looking one amongst the dozens I found, I have also come to the conclusion, reading through your other recipes, that you are from the James Barber school of easy-going, modest and approachable genius with an enormous reportoire.

Two questions about this chicken recipe -
1) what's your opinion of a brine soak before the buttermilk soak? Obviously you don't use it, but do you think it would add, detract or be completely indifferent to the end result? Several other recipes I've seen swear by it, but the only advantages I can really see with it are tenderising the meat (here done by the buttermilk) and getting some salt in there (is there REALLY any need for extra salt in fried chicken?)
2) I LOVE crispy-crispy fried chicken, but here in the UK our "brand name fried chicken" establishments don't offer the extra crispy option. Will the chicken cope with a second dip in the buttermilk and flour, or will it then be way too thick to cook through?

In the meantime, thanks for being generous enough to impart your knowledge on keen home cooks like me who don't have the time or the money (or particularly want to!) to create nothing but michelin star cuisine.

Chef John said...

Thanks! I hear brining is great, but never tried for fried chic. The extra crispy stuff is actually pretty high tech stuff. I've never had home cooked FC that was the same, so not sure.

rosemary said...

Did the chicken Sunday. I used sour milk. Next time I will double the chicken pieces. We did not feel like we had enough. My daughter said we should have it every three days. Hubby woke Monday morning and from nowhere said, "That chicken was good." The family said they don't mind gaining weight because of eating chicken that tastes so good. I proposed that we have it quarterly. See, I am the one whose body is most affected in the family.......Am thinking about that chicken now. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

Here is the dope on cooking temperatures for fried chicken using a cast iron skillet.

Start with about an inch of peanut oil heated to about 360 degrees F.

As you add chicken pieces, the temperature of the oil will drop. This is a GOOD thing. Adding about 4 pieces will lower the temperature to around 315 degrees.
You want to fry chicken at around 305 to 315 degrees F.
If you cook at a higher temperature, the outside of the chicken will get dark before the inside is cooked. Note that "Americas Test Kitchen" on public TV also states that 310 - 315 F is the ideal temperature.

Note that if I put five pieces of chicken in the skillet, the temperature will go below 305, if I put only three pieces of chicken, the temperature will be around 330 degrees. Bottom line is that you need a good temperature probe an constant monioring. If it gets too hot, slide the skillet of the burner.

After awhile, you tell by the sound of the chicken frying if he oil is too hot or too cold.

Anonymous said...

Hi John. I am curious about the teaspoon of oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage and I noticed someone else had asked about that too. Do you mean one teaspoon of each or a quarter teaspoon of each one? May sound dumb but the recipe doesn't specify. Thanks.

Chef John said...

No just one tsp of dried herbs total

Saman said...

Hey Chef, I tried this recipe once and tasted some herbs taking over the others. would you please tell the dried herbs combinations? Thanks.

Chef John said...

I used a tsp of McCormick dried Italian seasoning.

rosemary said...

I use a quarter teaspoon each oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and it turns out ok.

Nick Gaughan said...

Hi. I'm new to foodwishes.com, but I tried this recipe yesterday and I can confirm that it tastes fantastic. Thanks Chef John, great site!

Nick from Glasgow, Scotland.

Anonymous said...

chef john...i like the deep fried chicken best but a good thing about pan fried is that the drippings can be used to make milk gravy if you're serving mashed potatoes...

Anonymous said...

Hi! This recipe looks great. I'll surely try this one. Hope this ends up as it is on the picture. Anyways, I don't have any problems in cooking I have experienced dumpling, dimsum, chinese, japanese, filipino, thai, italian, and european cuisines. I just hope this one is like the hot and cripy of KFC.

Robyn M said...

I found this yesterday, looks great! I was planning to cook it tonight, but don't have time to let it sit 6 hours. I would be eating at midnight! So I guess I will have to toss this together before work tomorrow instead so it has enough time.

Why six hours? Could I get away with less in a pinch? I have seen other recipes that only call for a couple hours in the milk.

Chef John said...

yes, no problem!

Ben said...

10 min @ 350f and the chicken got dark. I wish I would have read the post above from sep. 6 by Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I'm making this recipe tommorow! I was just wondering if I could use a few pieces of boneless breast to make tenders. And how would you compare the taste of these like Popeye's chicken vs KFC chicken.

Chef John said...

sure! its not as good as those!

JohnH said...

Trying the recipe tonight.. Will watch my oil temp closely. I will let everyone know how it turns out! Thanks again!

serene said...

Hi chef John! I'll be trying this recipe out tomorrow. Living in Singapore, its quite tough to get paprika and cayenne pepper so I'll probably substitute it for curry powder. Hope it turns out well!

Jen T. said...

How I can tell Chef John is not a southerner "How often do you make fried chicken, like.. once a year?" LOL I love the fried chicken my mom makes but it looks far too complicated and hard to remember (she goes through a whole salt water brining process etc) so decided to try this one as it looks delicious, mine is in the fridge marinating now, will update on how it turns out.

Micha said...

Hello Chef!,

i love your recipe and i'm writing from Italy but i'm french,just have a doubt about buttermilk, i don't know what it should be in Europe?!
Can i use sourcream?
thank you;-)

Chef John said...

Just use plain yogurt. Enjoy!

Sorush said...

Dear Chief,

I am Iranian. I searched the cooking websites for the chicken crispy until I found Foodwishes. I watched your video and I have liked your recipe. I will substitute plain yogurt for the buttermilk. I am gonna make it tomorrow.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to make this recipe for SO LONG! I finally got all the ingredients and made it today... but I burned it ALL! So sad. I was under the impression that I should keep the oil temp at 350 even after adding the chicken. It was done after about 12 minutes, but I didn't trust it and wanted to stick to the recipe. It still tastes OK, but not as good as I had hoped :(

Maybe I'll be brave enough to try again, but for a college student it was a lot of supplies that I don't usually keep around.

Chef John said...

I must need to clarify this recipe, since there seems to be some confusion on the temp! the temp drop from 350 to about 300 when u add the chicken. I just added a notation in the video to explain this, but too late for you. Please send me your address to foodwishes@yahoo.com and I will pay you to try this again!

Carol said...

Dear Chef Jonh,
I’m from Brazil, and since we don’t have KFC in Brasília and I know the taste from the real one, I have to say this recipe was better! Way much better! My family just love it.
To the buttermilk, I use the proportion ¾ of plain yogurt and ¼ of milk. (hope this information help everyone else that don’t have buttermilk in your city)
So thanks for this perfect recipe and all the others in your blog
I’m a huge fan!
Sorry about my terrible English..

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Regarding the oil. I've read that peanut oil can be easily replaced not only with the canola oil but also with olive oil (similar cooking parameters). Is it true? I mean, will it fit well to this particular recipe?

Adam, Poland

Chef John said...

Yes you can use both those oils!

Christina said...

I'm embarking on this delicious fried chicken journey in a few days and can not WAIT to taste it. My boyfriend has been drooling ever since I mentioned it :D

Question, 2 1/2 quarts canola oil is a LOT of oil to discard. I do not feel comfortable pouring it down the drain but is that OK? What is the best method to throwing out all that oil? I would reuse it if possible, but I also do not know what container is best to store it, all I have is plastic (obviously I would let the oil cool before putting it in plastic) Help!

I perused the other comments to see if you answered this question already, but didn't see it. Sorry if you answered this already.

Chef John said...

Sorry, I'm running out the door, but if you google "how to save oil from deep frying" you will see all kinds of great advice. (use one of the bigger foodie sites)

Shouldn't go in the drain! :-)

Christina said...

Using google, I found a great tip about recycling cooking oil food wishers!

After the oil cools, no need to throw it away and destroy the environment. Instead, filter it through cheese cloth so you can simply reuse it! May be a touch messy, but worth saving the money!

http://www.ehow.com/how_2330455_filter-cooking-oil.html

Anonymous said...

thnx for the great recipe chef but can i ask u which flour to use:
corn flour or wheat flour or all purpose flour?

Chef John said...

When I say flour here I always mean regular AP flour. I would say corn or wheat if I used those. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef - I was wondering about using half corn meal & flour for the chicken? What do you think?

Chef John said...

never tried, but should work i think.

Nor said...

I just made this delicious chicken 2 days ago and my grown son said it was the BEST fried chicken he has ever had...so step aside, Colonel Sanders, Mom Patterson rules in this house...(with Chef John's help) LOL
I have already shared your site with 3 others on Facebook who wanted to know how to make "perfect" fried chicken.
Also, a Fry Daddy fryer works well for this, uses only 2 1/2 cups oil and maintains the temp automatically. You do have to do in batches of 3 pieces at a time, but I just kept finished pieces on the jelly roll pan with the rack in the oven at 350 degrees and it stayed nice and crispy and insured the larger pieces were cooked through...this worked best for me as I don't like the coating to get too dark from frying, so finishing off in the oven worked very well.

banjopicker216 said...

Chef John,
Greetings from Dover, Pennsylvania USA. I tried your recipe as per the video. It was great. Easiest chicken I've ever prepared short of going to Popeye's. Thanks for the great recipe and the instruction video.

Ed

Christina said...

So, my first attempt at this was not fabulous. It was still edible, but I need to tinker with the cook time and amount of chicken I fry at once.

When I put in the chicken the dutch oven, the oil temp dropped to 175 degrees and refused to come back up. The chicken started to get dark at around 15 minutes so we took it out, even though I was afraid it would be under cooked. To my surprise, even though the oil temp never came back up, it was cooked perfectly. Besides the crust being a little darker than I would have liked it wasn't horrible.

I will try this again next winter. Now that I know what to expect, I'm sure I'll nail the recipe and have fantastic tasting (and looking) fried chicken.

Rosa said...

Hi Chef John, i'm an avid fan of yours!
i have a question, In panama we don't have buttermilk, so i will use milk with vinegar, so what can i do with the used "buttermilk"?
-Can i reuse it for another batch of chicken
-throwh some flour and make some deep fried batter
-Or throw it away?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John. I tried this recipe a week ago and it was delicious. My only problem was... the flour didn't stick to my chicken that well. It had a really thin coat of flour and I was aiming for a crispy fried chicken. Any suggestions on how to achieve that?

sidney.hoyle said...

Hello Chief John,

I'm new to you site and will be signing up or whatever it takes to be part of the site. I read all the posts for this particular dish and some of the comments I felt were a bit rude and uncalled for and I really like the way you handle those situations, very professorial. 350 is NOT the cook time... you only heat the oil to that temp knowing that when you put the 8 pieces of chicken in the fryer that the temp will drop down to 300-310..... THAT is the cook temp for 20 minutes. And when you offered to pay the women that burned her food that said a lot about you as a person I was wowed. The fact that some people seem to be forgetting is you are here sharing your culinary knowledge, giving your time to this... to us and i just wanted to say even though I'm new to the site I appreciate your time.

Just a quick question about the dish please... I haven't tried it as yet but I would assume that there will be a lot of leftover buttermilk and left over flour mixture. Would I be able to use that to make a nice milk gravy?

Thanks again,
Sidney H.

sidney.hoyle said...

Hello again Chef John,

Just one more quick question please, the McCormick dried Italian seasoning is that you used for the oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage correct?

thanks

Chef John said...

Thanks! You could, but I'm not crazy about BM gravies, since it's too tangy for me. Make cornbread instead!

Chef John said...

yes!

sidney.hoyle said...

Ok.... got it...

Thanks Chef...

Much appreciated!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John. I tried this recipe a week ago and it was delicious. My only problem was... the flour didn't stick to my chicken that well. It had a really thin coat of flour and I was aiming for a crispy fried chicken. Any suggestions on how to achieve that?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chef John!
I am a single father cooking for my 2 kids and I've made this chicken recipe a few Sundays in the last couple months. We love it. It's easy and delicious. I was always nervous about fried chicken but this has become one of our favourite meals. I always have chicken left for my childrens' school lunches which they actually EAT! Thanks very much.

Chef John said...

Some people double dip and flour to get a thicker crust, but this recipe doesn't produce a very thick coating. You may need to find another recipe that uses more of a breading.

Anonymous said...

Whoever told you that southern fried chicken doesn't use buttermilk as a marinade is WRONG or is trying to mislead you or just makes bland chicken. Chicken + flour + oil = something any average person in America does, and simply doesn't taste very good. I grew up in Alabama and not only did I grow up eating fried chicken, I grew up making it too. You brine the chicken(overnight), then put it in buttermilk, and when you fry it, you fry it in lard. Seasoning varies depending on whether you want it spicy or not. Breading depends on where you are from/taste as well. There's no official way. What we usually did was your typical flour, or flour/cornmeal or flour then buttermilk, then bread crumbs. Sometimes an egg. Southern style chicken fingers are done the same way(but with a thin flour batter).

Non-Chef John said...

Chef John, should the all-purpose flour be bleached or unbleached? For biscuits we use White Lily Unbleached Self-Rising, but their AP flour is bleached. Thank you.

Chef John said...

Any AP flour is fine!

full of flour said...

chef john.. help! i made this chicken last night and followed your instructions meticulously

i put the chicken in the oil (canola becuase thats what i had)at 350 degrees and kept it steady between 305-310 for 20 minutes..

my chicken was juicy but way over dark, it isnt as light in color as yours... i only fried two pieces of chicken, could that be my problem?

any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated

love your stuff!! voted for you for best online food series!

Sharon said...

Hi, Chef John...I just found your web site today...I love fried chicken and KFC or any of the other fast food places can't cook it like my Mama did, but, your video looks so much like hers. I'm in Texas and she always fried hers in a black iron skillet that was deep, probably a dutch fryer. She never soaked hers in buttermilk, but, I do and it makes it taste wonderful!!! I want to make this now....so hungry!!!
Thanks for the wonderful videos!!!

Anonymous said...

chef..1 newbie question..is all purpose flour the same with wheat all purpose flour?and can i use the wheat all purpose flour for frying?i kept looking for AP and all i can found was wheat AP.. :(

Chef John said...

Not the same. You can use it, but most much prefer the taste of white flour.

Gary C said...

Hi Chef :o) Tried this tonight but as I didn't have plain yoghurt I used milk and a little vinegar... worked fine. I used your seasoned flour recipe but marinaded the chicken in my vacuum marinator using the "buttermilk", some kosher salt, sugar, dried chili flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. I tumbled and marinated the chicken for about 30 minutes. Perfect flavour profile when combined with your dredge!! Thank-you so much Chef :o)

sharon1106 said...

I did everything I was supposed to along with the correct oil temps and it was terrible. Burned on the outside & raw in the middle. I've been cooking for 60 years & never had such a fiasco! Does altitude make a difference? I'm at 5000 ft.

Bethany said...

Hi Chef John - I'm excited to try this recipe. Looks great. If making a lot and doing several batches for a large group of people, how can the chicken be best kept warm, or re-warmed for the group??

Chef John said...

you can keep in a warm oven for a while, but doesn't reheat very well. Not sure if this is the best recipe for a large group.

eadel said...

Hi Chef
in my life I haven't tasted chicken quite as good as this. Since we found your recipe, my husband is knocking out batches of it almost every evening. (you gotta gimme a recipe for weight loss next...ha ha)..
I can't wait for our friends to taste it. And your instruction video was so clear to follow...
thank Chef...
...big fans in ireland..

Anonymous said...

Hi! Excited to try this tonight, chicken in buttermilk now. Can I use crisco shortning, or a mix of shortning and oil?
Thanks.

Chef John said...

Yes, any combination of veg or peanut oil works! enjoy!

ThePlumpBeauty said...

Hi Chef John,

I just discovered your blog today, and I must say I am SOOOOO impressed!!! I can't wait to make this recipe, but I would like to know how long the cook time will be if I am using this as a bases for making chicken wings????

Thanks!!!
Beauty

Chef John said...

Depends on size, between 5 and 12. Enjoy!

David Rosenberg said...

Chef J - saw the video and the outcome looks amazing. Re the issue of brining vs not - definitely should brine as this removes the residual blood from the chicken. The result is a sweeter chicken than you'd get otherwise. Or, one could just use a kosher chicken, which is already soaked and salted and ready to go.

Re peanut oil, it's the best - no peanut flavor as some folks might imagine, and doesn't foam up too much. I get mine in 5 gallon jugs at Costco. If you buy peanut oil in quart sizes at the supermarket, you're going to pay through the nose! At Costco it works out to about $5 per gallon.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of observations and recommendations:

Peanut oil can and if possible should be stored under refrigeration to keep it from turning rancid.

An immersion thermometer is a MUST when deep frying (it's got a clip on it to hold it on the side of the Dutch oven or deep fryer.

Speaking of deep fryers those outdoor gas rings used to deep fry turkeys are worth their weight in gold. That, and deep frying stuff inside will stink up your kitchen.

Very important to bring the temp. of the oil back to 305-310 as quickly as possible in order to ensure proper cooking of the meat and prevent excess oil absorption.

John

davidredaction said...

I came across the recipe on youtube and it definitely looks good! Just have to look for a french equivalent of buttermilk though, not very used to this kind of "milk"

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef,

from the looking of this video result the chicken seems quite tasty.

I have two questions:

1- What is the AP flour you used in this recipe ?

2- some fried chicken recipes use baking powder, why ? and if we added baking powder to this recipe can it make it more crunchy and crispy ?

Thank you.

shervie2 said...

"1 tsp ground dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage)". Is that each or total? Looks like each, thanks :)

Souheyla said...

Hi Chef Jhon,

I would Like to Thank you for all the WONDERFUL, successful recipes you have posted...I have tried a lot from your web site and every time it turns to be awesome ..My husband loves me 100 times more just because of my cooking now.

ps: I see that someone requested falafel recipe I do have a Excellent one ..that I made today actually if you want me to post it?

Than you
Souheyla

Anonymous said...

hello; I´m Elizabeth, I live in Mexico, and I have two questions for you chef Jhon:
1 I dont have buttermilk, and I hear something about milk and lemon juice o venager but i dont have the exact amounts for doing that.

2 I dont have a dutch oven could I use any aluminiun pot or something like that?

Thanks
PS. I have made your pizza dough and it´s simply incredible.

Elizabeth

Cyndie Todd said...

Buttermilk fried chicken is the best! And I live in the South! I have a very similar recipe on my blog. I'd love for you to take a look. ~C.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,I would love to try this recipe, but can I use vegetable oil instead?

Chef John said...

yes!

IBuyOnly - aka Clifford J. Phillips said...

NOTE - To anyone new who is thinking about posting.

If you have a question about the items listed below, please peruse (look through/browse/etc) previous posts. You are more than likely not the only person who has these types of questions and the good Chef John has answered these a few times previously. I must say that he is patient. :-)

Oil types - Veg/Peanut/Canola/even Lard

Spices - McCormick Italian seasoning or pick your own combination

Buttermilk substitutes - Yogurt/Yogurt thinned with milk/Milk with lemon juice added

Oil temp vs cooking temp - 350 oil vs 305-315 cooking

I hope that my words are not coming across rudely as I honestly have no intention of that, I just want to help you folks find what is needed and to save on the obvious repetition of requests, which would result in unkind responses on many a blog/help site/forum/etc from experienced members. I know as I have been the recipient of many such. :-)

Hope you all have a good day.

Chef John, thank you so much for the wonderful recipe.

Anonymous said...

Let's say my kitchen is lacking a certain thermometer.. Can I get away with turning the heat up to full blast and waiting for the oil to get.. reaallyy hot? :D

1Bigg_ER said...

I didn't deep deep deep fry mine, I used wesson vegetable oil from sams club. Used about an inch and a half in a lodge cast iron skillet. All drumsticks. I've been threatened to make another batch this week or else....

Angel said...

I used coconut milk as a substitute for the buttermilk. Turns out SOOO juicy and tender every time and I promise it does not taste like coconut! Also used canola oil and I don't have a thermometer either so I used the old school method of a wooden spoon in the oil, when it bubbles around it it's ready. Turned it down a bit before I put in the chicken. I was SO excited when I made this as it is the FIRST time my fried chicken has turned out this flaky and crispy! IT is the best fried chicken I have EVER made! I also used skinless, boneless chicken breast and my son ate it without any barbeque sauce or gravy which is HUGE!!! BIG HIT!!! And I have posted this link and website to ALL my friends on facebook!

hawkturkey said...

Some time back, folks were asking about possible oils to use. The Good Eats page http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/collectedinfo/oilsmokepoints.htm helpfully lists cooking oil smoke points. At the temperature recommended here, 350F which falls to around 310F when chicken is added and maintained there, lard or any refined vegetable oil or shortening, except possibly hemp seed oil, would work and not smoke. Smoking means the oil is breaking down (as well as risk of fire).

hawkturkey said...

To the person who was having trouble with the recipe at 5000 feet. High altitude decreases the boiling point of water, leading to things like quickly dried out outer layers of chicken and consequent poor heat conduction to the inside like what you saw, so foods may need to be cooked cooler and longer to compensate for that. Measure what the boiling point of water is where you are, and try using oil that is cooler by at least the same amount that your local boiling point is below 212F, and add a few minutes more cooking time.

hawkturkey said...

Well, enough talking about the recipe. I tried it.

I used solid vegetable shortening thinking it would be easier to store the oil later (in the original cans, once cooled down enough to safely pour back, and no messing with a funnel). It worked fine and tasted OK if a bit bland (I would double all spices next time) but looks weird when served as the oil that drips off the chicken promptly re-solidifies on the plate. Liquid oil would doubtless result in a better presentation.

I did two smaller batches of five chicken parts each. Even with that, my 2600 watt large burner strained to keep up the temperature during the first batch. The trick with electric is to turn it to maximum and when the oil hits 350F put the chicken in right away. Then back off the heat very slowly until it gets to 310F and keep watching it from there as the temperature may want to plunge quickly a few minutes into cooking, needing another return to maximum for a few minutes. Also, stir the oil with a long spoon when initially heating; a thermometer clipped to the edge may not have a good reading of the overall temperature and the oil can even start smoking before the thermometer indicates the temperature is high enough. The frying activity keeps the oil well stirred once chicken is added.

Stroke of genius said...

This chicken is so ridiculously good. For a show-stopper feast, all you need is Chef John's fried chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, and homemade biscuits (I usually throw some green beans on my plate too). You've made each component totally accessible and totally amazing!

Maxx Machi said...

i just made these. and they turned out all brown and a bit of black spots all over the chicken. what did i do wrong? :(

Will Dekorte said...

Is it possible to use Gluten Free Flour for this recipe?

Would really like to make

Will Dekorte said...

Is it possible to use Gluten Free Flour?

Chef John said...

Sorry, never worked with it!

Stephanie McElhaney said...

Born and raised in the South, I can tell you some of my family marinates their chicken in buttermilk and some go with just flour. It's simply a matter of preference. Battered and deep-fried chicken is southern whether you soak it in buttermilk, brine it, or just dust it with flour. And as a formally trained chef from the South, I always either brine my chicken or marinate it in buttermilk. Straight floured chicken tends to be dryer and lacking in flavor. You're right on with this recipe!

Julie E said...

I'm making you recipe for dinner tonight. It totally reminds me of the was my grandmother used to make fried chicken on Sundays for our family supper. I'll be sharing this recipe at my blog on July 7th as part of the Crazy Cooking Challenge, and I'll be sure to send lots of love your way for the delicious food.

Ronarica said...

I tried this recipe and it is so yummmmeeeeee! Only problem is the flour didnt stick with the chicken. How can I have something crispy and flaky coating like what you have here? Really hoping you could help me with this since my children loved it! Thanks Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I burnt the coating !!!. It over-browned the instant I dunked it. I used a thermometer to mind the temperature. I fried with canola oil over an outdoor gas burner. The pot was aluminium. I did mix some semolina in the flour mix.

Please reconfirm frying the temperatures !!!

What went wrong ?

Chef John said...

are sure you maintained an oil temp of 305-310 as it cooked? It starts at 350, but drops as soon as the chicken goes in. You may have kept yours at 350 the whole way since you had a powerful burner? Please rewatch video for oil temp note.

Weihua Leong said...

Hi chef, can I use buttermik substitution instead of natural buttermik?

Weihua Leong said...

Hi Chef, can I use buttermilk substitution instead of natural buttermilk?

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure what that is!

Alexandra K. said...

Hi Chef! Its in the fridge marinating now!
we're gonna have a blast at dinner, im sure!

is there anything we can do with the buttermilk after the marinating? it seems like such a waste to throw it it away (esp since i paid MYR 20 for it - roughly USD 6.50 for the two cups needed). Thanks!

Alex from Malaysia

Anonymous said...

i bought a bottle of white pepper but then, chef, the smell was not that great..barnyard odor. what should i do?

Mr Sanders, Kentucky, USA said...

you bastard you will pay for this

DJA said...

if i added baking powder to this recipe can it make it more crunchy and crispy ?

Chef John said...

never tried!

LeatherLion said...

Hi, Chef John.

First, I really love your YouTube channel!!! Your recipes are great and I love your sense of humour :)

I know this buttermilk fried chicken recipe is from a few years ago, but I saw it again and got me to wondering, what the heck do you do with the oil after you've used it? Do you throw it out? If so, what's the best way to do that?

Best,
Grant Ito
Vancouver, Canada

Chef John said...

I just toss out in the garbage in a bag!

-- said...

Hi Chef John,

Just had a quick question with regards to the alternate method of frying you suggested.. I don't have a dutch oven but I have plenty of skillets so I plan on making this with that method. Just wondering what the cooking time is if you choose to flip them in the inch or so of oil? Same length, just flip the chicken exactly halfway through?


Thanks!

Chef John said...

Sorry, can't give a time! Use a meat thermometer to check internal temp.

Lauren Drambis said...

Hey Chef John,

I'm a student and I can't always afford culinary tools like an internal thermometer! Because I cannot precisely tell if my oil has hit the 350 mark, is there another way to gauge the heat without a thermometer? Thanks! I appreciate the help!

Chef John said...

Some say the oil starts to shimmer, but there really isn't another way to know for sure.

1Bigg_ER said...

Lauren, a wooden spoon will sizzle immediately when dipped in ready to fry oil.

Lauren Drambis said...

Thanks for the help, all!

lillulu623 said...

Hello Chef,

Do you need a tsp of each ground herb?

Chef John said...

all together! :)

SoCal Food Lover said...

Hi chef John, love your recipe. But why do you think mine comes out "doughy" sort of bread like instead of that nice crispy brown. In fact this has happened before making other types of fried recipe that involves coating with flour. Thanks!

Steve Magruder said...

SoCal Food Lover: Make sure you're using all-purpose flour, not self-rising. Also, you have to wait until the oil is hot before placing the chicken in. Those are the two aspects that come to my mind with respect to your issue. Hope that helps.

Steve Magruder said...

Chef John: I've found that dipping chicken into egg whites before applying the coating helps the coating stick better when frying, especially if done in a skillet, where the pieces can easily lose some coating when being turned over.

Adventurer said...

Hi Chef John

I tried the recipe and it was great but the skin became too hard.

What did I do wrong?

Chef John said...

Sorry, no idea! No such thing as too crunchy skin.

Moromillas Radec said...

Chef John, serious question,

For some strange reason, I'm much more satisfied eating food in its entirety, including the crumbs. So, I used a fillet knife for the breast meat, and made 4 pieces of chicken that are boneless.

Is this considered heresy in the chicken frying community?

Larissa Carvajal said...

i really wanna make this for my family, but skeptical bout it burning and not being cooked thoroughly. and i would really like to use crisco for the frying process. thanks!

Shalimar Jalmasco said...

Thanks Chef John! I will try this later on..and also thanks for the alternatives for the buttermilk because im really not sure if we have that here in the philippines. im using a skillet because we dont have a deep fryer, would that be ok?

Chef John said...

You may want to try something else, since the buttermilk and the deep-frying are key!

Michael said...

@Shalimar Jalmasco - I am not trying to disagree with Chef John at all; his advice is much more qualified than mine. However, simply to share a personal experience of my own -- I live in North Carolina and learned my Southern cooking from grandparents and parents on both sides of my family -- and when I fry chicken, I use a regular 9-or-10 inch iron skillet rather than something deeper. (In my case, it's because I just hate to waste the leftover oil, and I don't deep-fry often enough to use it for another purpose before the leftover bits of food in the oil cause it to spoil.) So, I try to avoid having a whole pot-full of oil to deal with.

I have had success with frying chicken in a regular iron skillet. (I would not personally use any other kind except iron due to the sustained heat we're dealing with.) The trick is, you need the oil deep enough to fry the crust of the chicken, but not so deep that you overflow the pan and start a fire or make a mess. I fill the pan about 3/4 full of melted fat or oil, and then fry in small batches of 3-4 pieces so that I don't overflow.

When I do it this way, the chicken is about 7/8 immersed in the oil with the top sticking out. Halfway through the frying time, I use tongs and flip the pieces over. They are still deeply immersed enough to cook from the sides as well as the bottom, and to fry MOST of the crust at the same time, which is what makes this different than just shallowly pan-frying or sauteing the meat. The only thing that makes this harder than true deep-frying, in my opinion, is that it becomes easier to dislodge the top flour coating, and it can be trickier to get it just-done-enough without overcooking or undercooking, since the sides get cooked twice while the top and bottom only get cooked once. It's definitely possible, though. You just have to practice.

If you are using unusually tall cuts of chicken like some of the breast meat that is available in supermarkets, you may want to slice them in half the "long" way to reduce their thickness (and reduce your cook time a little bit as well... the ever-present danger is burning the outside before the middle is done.) With a deeper vessel, you could probably get away with using bigger cuts of meat whole.

As far as buttermilk goes -- lots of people have mentioned this but no one has given the proportions yet -- you can take regular milk and mix lemon juice or plain white vinegar into it. The way to do this is to use about one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (I personally use more like 2 teaspoons, but most books and my grandmother call for a tablespoon so that's what I'll say here) for each cup (8 ounces) of milk. You mix them together and then let it "stand" for five to ten minutes. The milk will have thickened when you go back to use it, and it is close enough to buttermilk for cooking purposes. It's not ideal, but it works.

One final word of caution to anyone who has read this far down in the comments. Buttermilk is *not* the same thing as milk that has gone bad due to age. I saw someone above say they used "sour milk" and was quite concerned that this might be what they were referring to. That would be disgusting, I would think, and possibly dangerous.

Chef John said...

Thank you for this. Lots of great info!

Shalimar Jalmasco said...

@michael thank you so much for the great info. appreciate it :D

AT said...

Just made this recipe for my girlfriend's birthday party, except I made a popcorn chicken version with breast meat. Awesome! You're the king.

AT said...

Just made this recipe for my girlfriend's birthday party, except I did popcorn chicken with skinless breast meat. Awesome! You're the king.

Muhammed Khalifa said...

hi can you use vegetable oil

Muhammed Khalifa said...

cn you use vehetable oil

Chef John said...

Yes, you can!

d386405e-2be2-11e3-ae16-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Chef John, you said it was ok to marinade overnight (longer than the recommended 6 hrs) but is there such a thing as over-marinading this recipe? We're talking longer than overnight... I imagine it'll make the chicken more savory = more flavorful, which can't be a bad thing, can it?

Chef John said...

Sorry, never gone past 12 hours, so not sure!

Sylvia Ruano said...

I did as your recipe instructed but my chicken came out burned:(

ItasF said...

Hi Chef,
I brined the chicken in the buttermilk sauce 24+ hours and it was stuff yo' face delicious! Paired it with string beans & red chard drenched in leftover beef stroganoff sauce! OMG!

George said...

In your opinion... is it best to use a pressure cooker to cook the chicken? If so, would you have an apx cooking time?

ChapulinColorado said...

Hi Chef John, thanks for the recipe, I use yogurt with milk and only two hours of marinated and got more than acceptable results!

Ken Weller said...

This is my go-to technique now for fried chicken. I spice it up more with a good dose of sriracha, a dash of smoked paprika and some adobo instead of just salt, but I like it spicy. Seasoning is personal taste and this recipe is awesome as presented while still being something to riff on!!

tazlowe said...

WOW! Just made this chicken for the family. Crispy on the outside tender and juice on the inside. The best chicken I have ever made. Thanks Chief John! You amazing.
*The only thing I did add to flour was crushed up corn flakes to give it that extra crisp outside.

Vincent Michael said...

I'm a chef and an owner. I grew up eating fried chicken cooked by great cooks that learned from great farm gal cooks, and I have NEVER heard of frying chicken for 20 minutes. It's made up. The longest a thigh would ever be in the grease might be 14 minutes depending on size.

Yumi Shiraishi said...

I live in Saudi Arabia and have substituted what the Arabs call "Laban" for buttermilk, and it's turned out pretty good!

Those of you outside the USA, if you can find an Arabian/Lebanese market, see if you can find Laban! Tastes just like (and has consistancy of) yogurt thinned with milk (just like how Chef John explains), and the chicken turns out just fine! I've used both full fat and low fat and I can't tell the difference. Seems like all the big yogurt makers here in the Middle East (including Dannon/Activia) make laban, so if you don't have buttermilk, just letting you know what worked for me!

In Japan/Korea, they do have buttermilk in some of the high-end department stores, but I've always used plain yogurt stirred until loose and added milk until it's a pour-able consistency. (Cheaper that way)

I add 1 Tbsp of corn starch/flour to the regular flour for some extra "crunch."

P.S. I always fry in 2 batches since I don't have a pan deep enough and then a batch of potatoes cut up with an apple corer in the same oil while I'm waiting for the chicken to cool, but after the chicken there's these small black pieces of batter that float around and can't be collected by a mesh strainer. Anyone have any ideas on how to "clean" the oil between frying batches?

JOHN ALBRECHT said...

Hey John,
I'm a 65-year old, third generation Texan and there's nothing wrong with calling this "Southern" Fried Chicken. Yes, my grand mother likely used only S&P/flour to fry...and, we ALWAYS had buttermilk; bet not too many can say that! Anyway today we have more, and continue to learn how to do things better. I made this recipe last night and it was wonderful - a fantastic crispness! The only alteration was no sage for us!
You are indeed my all-time favorite chef and mentor!!
Thanks,
John Warren Texas