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Easier Bone-In Buttermilk Fried Chicken


Fried chicken is a Southern specialty. I have never made Southern Fried chicken, until I made this recipe (from Cook's Illustrated, September 2010). Fried chicken should be crunchy on the outside, with plenty of seasonings, and be moist on the inside. But, do we really need to deep-fry the chicken in 5 cups of oil? Thanks to Cook's Illustrated, the answer is "no"! What important is that the chicken is brined in salted buttermilk for several hours. The chicken is coated with seasoned flour, and just a splash of buttermilk to create a crunchy outside coating. Quickly deep-fried in vegetable oil, the chicken is then finished in a high heat oven. This chicken yielded a delicious crunchy coating, with moist and flavorful chicken. Best of all, there wasn't a lot of leftover oil to deal with. Served with buttermilk biscuits, you'll be whistling Dixie with this recipe.

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  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (divided)
  • Table salt
  • dash hot sauce
  • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (divided)
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable oil


Cooking time 40mins
Adapted from


Step 1

For the brine:
Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in large bowl.

Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

For the chicken:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl.

Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form.

Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.

Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes.

(Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach -correct temperature.)

Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

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