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Southern Fried Chicken frying in a Cast Iron

Southern Fried Chicken

One bite of this chicken's crunchy, spicy outer layer followed by the tender, juicy meat inside, and you'll understand why this is a true-blue Southern classic. Infused with spices for intense flavor and soaked in buttermilk tender juiciness, this is the perfect addition to your collection of chicken recipes!
Course Main
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 242kcal
Author Imma


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1½-2 teaspoons salt, adjust to preference
  • ½ -1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 4 cups buttermilk (for both marinating and coating)

Chicken Coating

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1-1½ tablespoon dried herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste


Prepping the Chicken and Coating

  • Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Then season it with salt, crushed garlic, hot sauce, and Creole seasoning.
  • Pour some of the buttermilk over the marinated chicken, transfer the chicken to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
  • Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Remove the marinated chicken from the buttermilk. Then dredge it in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. You could use a Ziploc bag for this process, too.
  • Double dip the chicken in the remaining buttermilk (add fresh buttermilk as needed), followed by the flour mixture - shake off any excess flour. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes while preparing the oil. That will help the coating to stay on better.

Frying the Chicken

  • Heat oil in a deep fryer or cast iron skillet to 375℉/190℃. The temperature will drop once you add chicken.
  • Slowly and carefully place the chicken in the hot oil using a tong. Work in batches, and don't overcrowd the skillet. 
  • Fry the chicken until golden brown, turning once every 10-15 minutes - depending on the size of the pieces. Chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and its juices run clear, or your instant-read thermometer reads 165℉/75℃. You may do a test by piercing the chicken with a fork.
  • Drain the chicken on paper towels and then transfer them to a wire rack.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


  • After you coat the chicken with the flour mixture and dip your chicken in buttermilk, let it rest first before frying it. That will allow your chicken to form a crust and warm to room temperature, which will help it cook evenly.
  • When frying, ensure your oil is at the right preheated temperature. If it's too hot, the outside of your chicken will get burned; if it's cold, the chicken will get soggy and greasy.
  • Don't ever use extra virgin olive oil on fried chicken because it'll result in bitter-tasting meat. Go for a neutral-tasting oil like canola, vegetable, or, preferably, peanut oil.
  • Don't overcrowd your pan with chicken because it will lower the oil's temperature and slow the cooking time (soggy chicken isn't good). Do it in small batches instead.
  • A cast-iron pan is a must for a perfectly cooked fried chicken because it holds the temperature better and heats evenly, resulting in perfectly cooked chicken.
  • Rather than deep frying or submerging your chicken entirely into the pan or deep fryer, only ¾ of the chicken should be covered in hot oil. The weight of the chicken will cause it to sit just almost above the oil's surface, creating a crispy crust without burning.
  • Don't let anything fried sit on a paper towel too long because it'll start to steam. Then your chicken might get soggy and stick to the paper towel. Instead, drain your chicken using a wire rack over a baking sheet, and they'll cool crispy and dry all at once easily.
  • Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 764mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 3mg