How to Make Southern-Fried Chicken


Start to Finish: 9 hours
Servings: 3 to 6
Difficulty: Intermediate

Southern fried chicken is known for its contrasts. The skin is crisp and never greasy while the meat is juicy and tender. As a homestyle recipe, there is plenty of room to interpret and make this dish your own. You need a deep fryer, dutch oven or wide heavy-bottomed skillet to fry in and a meat thermometer to check for doneness. This recipe is adapted from one published in Southern Living in 2010.


    • 2 pints buttermilk
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    • 3-pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces
    • Vegetable oil


  • Whisk the buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken pieces, making sure the meat is submerged in the liquid. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

    Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Allowing it to warm up slightly speeds the cooking time without allowing enough time for illness-causing bacteria to multiply.

    Set a wire rack over a sheet pan near your work area. Combine the flour and Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Use tongs or clean fingers to move the chicken from the buttermilk marinade to the flour mixture. Dredge the chicken, making sure all surfaces are coated, then move the chicken to the wire rack. Repeat until all of the pieces of chicken have been coated.

    Dip the coated chicken in the marinade, then re-dredge in the flour mixture. This ensures a thicker, crispier coating on your fried chicken.

    Heat the oil in a deep fryer, dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, for 5 minutes per side.

    Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 F. If the outer layer of your fried chicken is done but the inside isn't, bake it at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it reaches 165 F.


  • Adjust the seasonings in the buttermilk marinade and the flour mixture to taste. If you like your fried chicken spicy, add more Tabasco sauce to the buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to the flour.

    Marinade the chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.


  • Don't fry too many pieces of chicken at once. Doing so lowers the temperature of the oil and causes the coating to become greasy rather than crispy.

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  • Photo Credit bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images
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