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Fried Chicken Done Correctly

Updated on April 19, 2019
Scott P Davis profile image

Scott is an award-winning professional educator with almost 25 years of experience.

Perfect fried chicken
Perfect fried chicken

The Recipe


  • Fresh Chicken, with the skin on (12 to 16 pieces)
  • 3 quarts of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 cups of flower
  • 2 tbs of brown sugar
  • 2 tbs of sea salt
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbs dried onion flakes
  • pinch of nutmeg


I own a deep fryer, but I do not use it for this as the element is not strong enough to keep the oil hot as I add large pieces of chicken.Instead I use a 6 quart stock pot and fill it with two quarts of oil. Preheat the oil on high, and then reduce the temperature down to low / medium after about 10 minutes. I test the heat by sticking a wooden spoon in there. If bubbles come off of the spoon, I know it is hot enought to begin cooking.

Stock pot with oil frying chicken
Stock pot with oil frying chicken

Three different Dips of the Chicken

The chicken should be fresh and ready to dip. I like to rinse my chicken in cold water before I start the process. The pieces should be skin on for the best flavor and to allow the batter to adhere. Skinless chicken is not good for making fried chicken. Three different dips are used to get the chicken ready.

Bowl 1:

This is just a bowl of 2 cups of flower. Nothing is added.

Bowl 2:

A mixture of 3 large eggs and 1 cup of buttermilk. Put the eggs and buttermilk in the bowl and whisk them to a fine consistency. It should look like yellow runny cake batter when it is done.

Bowl 3:

This is the magic. Mix three cups of flower with all of the dry ingredients listed above. I use a small whisk and take my time getting this thoroughly mixed. The brown sugar will have a tendency to clump and it needs to be evenly distributed. Once this is done, you will have three bowl ready to begin the dipping and cooking process.

3 bowls for fried chicken
3 bowls for fried chicken

The Dipping and Rolling Process

This is going to be super easy and fun. The chicken will taste like it came from one of the major outlets, but it will be much more fresh. Begin by rinsing each individual piece of chicken. You are going to make this in batches of four pieces at a time, so plan on rinsing your first four pieces. Once the chicken is rinsed, start by dipping it in the pure flower bowl and get a fine coating of flour all over the chicken.

Next, take the flour coated chicken and gently roll it in the liquid mix, the flower will help it to adhere, and it should be thoroughly coated in egg and buttermilk mix.

The next step is to put that in a large bowl of your dry seasoned flower and make sure that a nice coating attaches to the chicken. It will be somewhat dry on the exterior, but you should pick-up quite a bit of the dry batter.

Immediately, carefully, and gently place this chicken into your hot oil vat. The heat should be on medium, and the chicken should begin to boil very hard on entry. Put four pieces into the vat. This should take no longer than three minutes.


As the chicken cooks, it should keep bubbling the whole time. Make sure your oil is not even close to overflowing your pot. This could be dangerous and cause a kitchen fire. This is why we use a large stock pot, so there is plenty of room.

Legs: 15 minutes (all pieces should be golden brown)

Thighs: 18 minutes

Breasts: 20 minutes (these are more difficult, keep the heat a bit lower, and go longer if needed - depends on the size of the breasts)

Some of the spices I use
Some of the spices I use

Spices Can Vary

One of the things I like to do when I am making fried chicken is to play around with the spices. My son really enjoys Cajun spice, so if I want to make spicier chicken this is a goo d way to go. I have some Cajun spice mix in the cupboard, so I add about one teaspoon to the mix, and then double the paprika. The paprika does not make the flavor much different, but it does make the batter more red. I can also double the chili powder and add a pinch or more of Cayenne Pepper to give it an extra kick. Many people love a spicy Cajun style Louisiana Fried Chicken, and that is an easy way to achieve that.

The price of 12 pieces of chicken, including the chicken is under ten dollars if you make it yourself. This is a bargain for fresh fried chicken, and you can make it the way you like it. The chicken you buy from the grocery store or meat market is usually much larger than you might get from a chain chicken restaurant. I do not even know where they find those tiny chickens.

Bon Apetit

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Scott P Davis


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