If I had to choose one dish that best represents real Southern cuisine I would select either cornbread or this Southern Fried Chicken. The flavor and tenderness of the meat with it’s unique crunchy crust just isn’t duplicated in many other dishes.

This classic Southern favorite is universally popular but seldom duplicated outside Southern kitchens. It is not difficult to make but it helps to know the techniques presented here.

Fried crispy chicken legs

Southern Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 24 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • o Fresh, cut-up chicken (about 3 pounds)
  • o 2 cups flour
  • o 2 tablespoons salt
  • o 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • o 1 whole egg
  • o 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • o Cooking oil as required (see directions)


1. Using a large frying pan (cast iron works best), fill with enough cooking oil to cover at least half the thickness of the chicken (about 2-3 inches oil depth in the pan).

2. Place frying pan on medium-high heat

3. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine egg and buttermilk, mix well

4. On a large plate, combine flour, salt and pepper, mix well

5. Wash chicken parts, pat dry.

6. Dip each chicken part in the egg-milk wash, then roll in the flour mix to coat on all sides

7. Place coated chicken parts on a cake cooling rack and allow to dry for 3-5 minutes.

8. Place chicken parts back in the egg wash again and then in the flour mix again to coat a second time.

9. Allow chicken to dry on the cooling rack another 3-5 minutes.

10. Check oil temperature in the frying pan (place handle of wooden spoon in oil. You should get bubbles rising around the handle immediately.)

11. Place chicken parts in frying pan (should not be touching each other)

12. Fry chicken on first side 2 minutes then turn to other side. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM. Continue to fry on each side until golden brown (total cook time about 12 min each side)


1. Do not use skinless chicken. Although the skin adds fat it also provides the crispy crust essential for Southern fried chicken. You will not get a good crust without the skin. Also, the double dip (step 6-9) is important to achieve that special crust.

2. Use a cast iron skillet if possible.

3. Use an oil that handles high heat. We recommend refined peanut, canola or safflower oil. (Must be “Refined”).

4. Be sure the skillet and oil are hot before placing chicken in the pan. The first few minutes of frying is what seals in the flavor and gives a good crust.

5. Use thongs to turn chicken. Do not use a fork or other utensil that will puncture the chicken skin.

6. After removing cooked chicken from skillet, do not cover chicken. Covering will affect the crispness of the crust. If you need to keep chicken warm to serve later, put it in an oven set on low.

7. To tenderize chicken, cover with buttermilk in a deep bowl and refrigerate overnight before cooking.