Southern Fried Chicken, classic comfort food that comes out perfectly every time!
This southern fried chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.
Southern Fried Chicken
This southern fried chicken recipe is a thing dreams are made of. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.
This southern fried chicken is truly finger licking good!
And, me being well… me. I added a little something-something to the mix to make this chicken dinner (or lunch or snack, I don’t judge) over the top!
This post may contain affiliate links.
Grocery and pantry items needed to make this southern fried chicken recipe
- Bone-In chicken, I like to remove the skin from the breast and thighs, but that is up to you
- Buffalo Sauce – our secret ingredient!
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Self-rising flour, learn how to make self-rising flour here!
- Oil for frying, I prefer peanut oil
Equipment needed to make southern fried chicken
What is southern fried chicken?
Whole, bone-in pieces of chicken that are dipped in a wet mixture, such as beaten eggs and water. Then, dipped in seasoned flour, normally self-rising flour to get a thicker crust.
The chicken is then deep-fried until golden brown and delicious.
So, what is the secret ingredient to this southern fried chicken batter you might ask? Buffalo wing sauce… oh yes!!
How to southern fried chicken
- First, I season the chicken itself with garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt.
- Then, I dip the chicken in a mixture of beaten eggs, water, and buffalo sauce.
- Next, coat it in self-rising flour that is seasoned with fresh black pepper.
- Fry it up! White meat takes 8-10 minutes, and dark meat takes 13-14 minutes, but check the internal temperature, it should read 165° in the center of the thickest part of the meat.
- Sprinkle with a little more kosher salt as soon as it is out of the fryer and serve.
Super crispy crunchy. You would think there would be a lot of heat from the buffalo sauce, but nope, it just seasons the chicken nicely.
What type of flour is best for fried chicken?
I like to use self-rising flour for fried chicken because it will automatically puff up a little and be extra crispy.
You can also use regular flour with a little baking soda and baking powder mixed in. For my fried homemade chicken tenders, I use a ratio of 1 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
You can also use cornstarch, equal parts cornstarch to all-purpose flour or self-rising flour make for a very crispy exterior as well. To see how I use cornstarch in batter, check out my sweet and sour chicken recipe!
How do you get the perfect crust on fried chicken?
To me, it’s all about the sticky items you dip the chicken in before dredging the chicken in flour.
If you just put a piece of chicken into plain flour and place it into the hot oil, it is not going to result in a classic southern fried chicken exterior. It will have a very think coating on the outside and may not get very crispy. The whole purpose of fried chicken!
The mixture of eggs, water, and buffalo sauce are what really makes the perfect crust on fried chicken. Dipped in this first, and then placed into the flour makes a lot of flour stick to the outside, resulting in that classic fried chicken crunch!
What oil should I use to fry chicken?
I prefer to use peanut oil to fry chicken. A couple reasons why:
- The smell, peanut oil does not produce that horrible hot oil smell that can linger for DAYS in your house. It does produce some smell, but nothing like other oils I have used.
- It has a very high smoking point, perfect for frying chicken.
- It has a very clean taste and doesn’t leave the chicken tasting greasy.
Other oils you can use are canola, vegetable, or corn oil.
How does Paula Deen make fried chicken?
Paula Deen’s fried chicken recipe is extremely similar to mine. You can find her recipe by clicking here!
Tips and tricks for a smooth cooking experience
I ALWAYS recommend reading through the recipe in full a couple times before starting. That way you know exactly what to expect and you aren’t running around like crazy.
Gather all your ingredients before cooking. Believe me, I have forgotten to add an item here or there in my cooking adventures before because of this. (No sugar in my cinnamon rolls… are you serious!?)
I can get that this recipe can be a little daunting, especially if you are frying for the first time. That is why I love using a deep fryer, since it has a lid you can just drop the chicken, add the lid and you don’t have to worry about splatters.
BUT, when dropping any kind of food into the hot oil, you have to be careful. I have seen thousands of time people are scared of the oil and drop food into it from high above, what do you think will happen?! That is going to create waves and splatter everywhere!!!
Yes, the oil is hot but it’s not going to jump up and bite you, carefully place the item into the oil, just make sure your fingers don’t hit the oil. It’s that simple.
Especially with larger pieces like southern fried chicken, place the piece of chicken into the oil away from you.
Once the chicken is done frying, blot off any excess oil and then place it directly on to a wire rack. This will ensure the chicken stays crispy all over. DO NOT PLACE IT ONTO PAPER TOWEL LINED PLATE AND JUST LEAVE IT THERE. The chicken will then steam and the bottom of it will become soggy.
Variations for southern fried chicken
Take this recipe and run with it. As with practically all recipes, this can be made your own.
Like your chicken extra spicy? Add some cayenne. Like a smokey and spicy kick? Add chipotle powder into the mix.
Get creative, the flavor profile is entirely up to you. How about bbq seasoning, hello yum!
How to store southern fried chicken
Once the chicken is cooked and you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely. Place uneaten pieces into an airtight container and place into the fridge, eat within 3 days.
To freeze wrap the cooled pieces in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a zippered freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. However, I do not personally recommend freezing any leftover fried chicken as it may affect the crispy exterior.
Growing up, one of my favorite recipes my Grandma would make for us was her fried chicken. I just couldn’t get enough, and every time I make it I think of her.
I love how food can transport you back in time!
How to make southern fried chicken
Southern Fried Chicken
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
- 1 whole chicken cut up into parts (or 8 pieces of your favorite parts)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 25 cracks black pepper divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- oil for frying
- Preheat oil to 350 degrees. I used a deep fryer, you can also use a heavy bottomed skillet with at least 3 inches of oil up the sides of the pan. DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR SKILLET.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and buffalo sauce. Set aside.
- Season chicken on all sides with the salt, 5 cracks of the pepper, garlic and onion powders. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and remaining pepper together. Set aside.
- When the oil is heated, take the chicken piece by piece and dip it in the egg mixture. Let any excess egg fall off. Dip it in the flour mixture and coat on all sides. Shaking off any excess flour.
- Slowly and carefully place chicken in the hot oil, do not overcrowd the pan. You will need to do this in batches. Dark meat takes 13-14 minutes, white meat takes 8-10 minutes. If needed, turn chicken halfway through for an even golden brown. Chicken is done when internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Let the chicken drain on a sheet tray topped with a wire rack. Sprinkle a little more salt on top right out of the oil. Serve warm.