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Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken


From the Southern Restaurant Birds and Bubbles

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Rate this recipe 4.3/5 (9 Votes)


  • Chicken
  • 5 lbs. skin-on chicken quarters and boneless breasts (Simmons recommends organic chicken from Whole Foods)
  • Batter
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Dredge
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne


Adapted from


Step 1

Step 1: Prepare the spice blend and season chicken.

Mix kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne into a bowl to create the dry brine for the chicken. “We don’t submerge the chicken in liquid; we want to prevent bloating that might occur from extra water,” says Simmons. Sprinkle the seasoning onto the various chicken pieces and chill them in the fridge for 24 hours. Before frying, remove chicken from the fridge and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Dredge the chicken.

Whisk eggs and buttermilk together. Buttermilk adds an element of acidity that you won’t find in regular milk. In another shallow baking dish, mix together AP flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Use a plastic container to spread evenly over a sheet pan. Using your left hand, dip individual pieces of chicken into the egg mixture, letting it drip over the bowl. Place chicken piece onto the sheet pan. Using your right hand, coat it with flour. Gathering excess flour to cover the piece of chicken, packing it like a small child in the snow. Turn over chicken, and repeat. Designating your hands for dipping and dredging is a nifty trick that allows you to avoid clumpy hands.

Step 3: Heat the oil.

Pour canola oil into a cast-iron skillet halfway and heat on medium-high until the temperature rises to 350°F. Simmons also likes peanut oil: “It’s the lard of oils,” she says. Just don’t use olive oil. It has a low smoke point and will burn before you finish cooking all of the chicken. 350° is the sweet spot for attaining a golden crust: too high and it will burn, too low and it will remain greasy.

Step 4: Fry.

Because different pieces cook faster than others, fry like-sized pieces at the same time. Place skin side down.

Because different pieces cook faster than others, fry like-sized pieces at the same time. Place skin side down.

After removing the chicken from the grease and placing it on a rack, a home cook can do two things: finish it off in the oven at 350° for six minutes; or, if the host wants to entertain guests, hold it at 250° for 1 to 1½ hours in the oven. This decreases the risk of serving greasy chicken.

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